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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Mockers and the Wicked

Today's Reading:
  • Proverbs 8:33 - 36
  • Proverbs 9:1  - 6
Read Bible Passages Online

Proverbs 8:33 - 9:6
We hear more from Wisdom in these verses.  Wisdom beckons those who are simple and who lack good judgement to dine with her and to begin to live and learn to use good judgement (9:4-6).  So it doesn't matter how "simple" one is or how much judgement one lacks.  Wisdom and good judgement can be learned if you are willing. 

I think a good majority of lack of wisdom just comes from being young.  You think you have the whole world figured out, and that your views are supreme to others, but in the end you just don't have the experience to realize that you are building a box around yourself.  But the good news is that Wisdom can be learned, and is open to all those who seek it.

There are a few more interesting verses here that talk about those who mock and those who are wicked.  Just yesterday I wrote about the people of today who leave boisterous and outrageous comments all over the internet.  What happens if you reply to one of those?  Why, they lash back with a fury, of course. 

When has a well thought out comment, even completely lacking in judgement against the original offender, ever caused that person to say, "Hey, I see your point and have gained some wisdom/empathy/sympathy/understanding" for this situation"?.  Yeah, it doesn't work that way.  All that happens is that those people fire back an even greater insult at you.

This is confirmed in verses 7-8 of Psalm 9:
Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.  Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.  So don't bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you.  But correct the wise, and they will love you.
 As hard as it is, we must learn to let these things go and leave the "mockers" and the "wicked" to their own devices.  There are those who love wisdom and would love to gain more of it, so we should focus our energy on sharing our knowledge, insights and wisdom with those people, and to take in return what we can gain from them.

Notes
This concludes my reordering of readings that began when I smashed the two Matthew readings together a few days ago.  I won't promise that I won't do it again, because sometimes I just have to follow my inclination to keep reading, but at least the readings will be back to normal (for a time), starting tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fickle People, When will God be Great Enough for You?

Today's Reading:
  • Exodus 32:1 - 33:23
  • Exodus 34:1 - 35:9
Read Bible Passages Online

Exodus 32:1 - 35:9
While Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, the people who had been brought out of Egypt were again disgruntled.  They asked Aaron to make for them an idol to worship.  He then instructed them all to given him their gold jewelry, and he melted it down and formed a calf made out of gold.  They then worshiped the calf, thanking the gods for delivering them from Egypt.

I don't know by what patience Moses managed to put up with those people.  I can hardly stand to read about their complete ungratefulness and lack of faith; I couldn't imagine actually having to deal with it all.  And here they go again, with perhaps their worse sin of all -- attributing the works of God to false gods, all when Moses hadn't even been gone for two months.

Both the Lord and Moses were outraged.  Moses called for those faithful to the Lord to slay those who were not, and we are told that 3,000 people were killed at that time (32:28).  The Lord then called for a plague (though it does not say what kind) to fall among the others who had been unfaithful to Him.

People are so fickle and never fail to astonish me.  I read comments on news stories, blogs and opinion articles, and so many of those comments are utterly ridiculous.  Each time I see this I wonder what is wrong with people these days?!  But the more I read the bible, the more I understand that the things going on in the world today and the people of the world today are no worse than the all the people of history.  God literally parted the Red Sea for these people, He delivered them from Egypt with a supernatural display of force, yet so easily they turn -- whining at every bump along the way.

This also goes to show that no matter what is done for other people, no matter what God has helped them to accomplish in their lives, no matter how much we share the gospel and the Lord's love with them -- no matter what, we cannot change another person's heart. 

We can merely pray that their hearts been softened so that they can acknowledge the truth and receive the spirit of Christ into their hearts.  Other than that, people will always be people and there's nothing else that can be done.  After all, we all have free will.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Betrayed by a Kiss

Today's Reading:
  • Matthew 26:47 - 68
  • Matthew 26:69 - 27:14
Read Bible Passages Online

Matthew 26:47 - 27:14
Jesus is betrayed by a kiss from Judas to those that came with swords and clubs to collect him.  Not only did Judas betray Jesus, but he did so with a kiss.  How terribly heartless.

 Later we see that Judas, after he realized Jesus had been condemned to die (what else did he think would happen? Jesus himself said that would happen, but I guess Judas was lacking faith in Jesus Christ) was troubled.  He tried to return the blood money he was paid (obviously it wasn't worth it, was it?!) but they wouldn't take it back.  Judas then hung himself.

Jesus was given a joke of a trial.  First they tried to find people who would lie in testimony against him.  In the end, however, they decided that because Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man that it was testimony enough for him to be put to death.

We also see Peter's denial of Jesus.  Jesus had told him that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crows (26:34).  That prophecy came true as Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus.  Right after the third denial, a rooster crowed.  I love how precisely that prophecy was fulfilled.  Not only did Peter deny Jesus three times before the morning, but his third denial ended immediately with the rooster crowing.

This reading leaves off directly before Jesus is brought before Pilate.

Notes
I did it again -- I wound up combining the Matthew readings because I just didn't want to stop reading.  So the next reading will be in pairs to catch up -- two Psalm readings, two Exodus readings and two readings from Proverbs.


Conclusion
As much as I am enjoy my studies of the bible, I can't say that I'm looking forward to reading about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Just knowing that I am getting close is weighing heavily on my heart. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Joy of Having Wisdom

Today's Reading:
  • Exodus 30:11 - 31:18
  • Proverbs 8:27 - 32
Read Bible Passages Online

Exodus 30:11 - 31:18
The Lord gave Moses instructions for entering the alter (priests only -- they must always wash feet and hands first) and instructions for the holy anointing oil and incense.  As I was reading the very precise instructions for making the oil and incense I thought, "I would love to make a small batch, to see what it smells like."  Just then I read the strict instructions to not make any of that for yourself.  Oops.  Guess I'll never know -- in this life anyway.

God also named people whom he bestowed talents upon for making the items to go in the tabernacle.  I was wondering who they would get to make all those intricate, beautiful things.

The reading ends with Moses being given two tablets with the terms of the covenant that had been "written by the finger of God." (31:18).  As always, I have to wonder where these things are today -- the ark, the surviving tablets, etc -- I know they have to exist (or at least pieces of them) somewhere (unless they were destroyed and I haven't read about it yet).  I know I'm hanging on to mere artifacts, but I just want to see some of it; I think it would be an awesome sight to behold.


Proverbs 8:27 - 32
Here we hear more from Wisdom.  We are told that Wisdom was by the Lord's side even as He created the Earth, and the heavens, and the seas, the lands, and the people.  The reading then ends with Wisdom saying that all who listen to her will be joyful.

So far we have seen that seeking Wisdom will lengthen one's life and keep them in favor with the Lord, but now we see that pursing wisdom will also give us joy.  I could use more joy in my life -- what about you?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Power in the Blood

Today's Reading:
  • Exodus 29:1 - 30:10
  • Proverbs 8:14 - 26
Read Bible Passages Online

Exodus 29:1 - 30:10
Today I read about the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests.  It was quite an intricate process and involved seven days of sacrifices and rituals.  The thing I found most interesting was how they were commanded to splash their garments with blood and oil so that they would be notably holy garments.  To think of all the work that went into making those lavish, detailed garments; only to have blood and oil thrown on them immediately after they are put on.

I guess to me I'm trained to think of blood as being a dirty thing.  It stains clothes, not embellishes them.  But I am realizing more and more that there is pure power in blood.  It was the blood of Jesus Christ that cleansed us all. 

I know that for years I have spoke of "the blood of Jesus" and I have sung the hymns -- but truly there is power in the blood.  The Lord requires blood sacrifice for our sins and nothing less.  It's just amazing how I can talk of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for as long as I can remember but not grasp the significance of the blood. 

I know that it was because he was the only truly sinless man to ever walk the earth that the rest of us are cleansed through him.  But the phrase "the power of the blood of Jesus Christ" is finally truly become clearly to me.

Proverbs 8:14 - 26
I have read a lot about Wisdom so far in the Proverbs, but today's passages are quite astounding.  I notice that Wisdom is often referred to as a female entity.  These verses say that Wisdom was there in the beginning with the Lord and that Wisdom was created before anything else.  Before the earth, before the dirt, before the waters, before the heavens -- before anything else on earth. 

We are told that Wisdom holds the key to success and wealth and noble rulers.  It seems like every person should covet to become wise.  The bible says that Wisdom is out of no one's reach because all who search for it will surely find it.  I guess I really should make an effort to seek out Wisdom myself.  Well I think I'm starting in a great place for that!  Where better to look for Wisdom but in the Word of God who formed her for us to seek.

Conclusion
There have been many times in my life that I have tried to read the bible, always starting in Genesis and moving forward.  Then I'd reach all the ceremony and atonement instructions and the detailed descendants lists and I'd just lose interest. 

It truly helps that I am reading both the Old Testament and the New Testament at the same time, because I think I have more patience when reading through parts of the Old Testament like I am in now.  To think that before I skimmed through this relatively uninterested.  Even today I thought that I wouldn't have much to write about.  But it's these passages in the Old Testament that have managed to get through the very important concept of the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.  Who would have thought?  I surely didn't!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Betrayal of Jesus Christ

Today's Reading:
  • Matthew 26:14 - 46
  • Psalm 31:19 - 24
Read Bible Passages Online

Matthew 26:14 - 46
The reading starts today with Judas asking the priests how much they would pay him to betray Jesus.  The reply was 30 pieces of silver, such a sad sum for betraying our Lord.

Next we read about the passover.  Here Jesus told the disciples that one of them will betray him, and that it would be better if that man had never been born (23:24).  Each of the disciples asked if would be them, but when Judas asked, Jesus affirmed it would be him. 

I wonder what took place after that?  How incredulous would everyone be when Jesus told Judas it would be him that betrayed him?  Did they force Judas to leave the passover meal?  Did he just sit there, eating, as if nothing had happened? 

Jesus said it would be better if that man had never been born -- what punishment is Judas suffering, probably even to this very day?  Maybe the rest of the gospels will shed more light.  The reading ends as Jesus is about to be betrayed. 

Psalm 31:19 - 24
Here we are told to put our trust into the Lord, for those who trust in the Lord are sheltered and protected by them.  Even when it seems that all is lost, when it seems that Lord has forgotten you, He has not.  Trust the Lord, love the Lord, obey the Lord -- and He will be with you always.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bearing Guilt of an Entire Nation of People

    Today's Reading:
  • Exodus 28:1 - 43
  • Proverbs 8:12 - 13
Exodus 28:1 - 43
Today I read about the priestly clothing of Aaron and that of his sons.  My study bible has a drawing of what the clothing probably looked like.  It all sounds very intricate and very beautiful. 

I thought it was interesting how Aaron was charged with wearing a medallion on his turban so that he always carried the guilt of his people around with him.  I have a hard enough time carrying my own guilt, I could imagine carrying the guilt of an additional 600,000 men plus women and children.  And then there is Christ who carried the guilt of all who lived with him and since his body died on the cross.  What a tremendous burden to bear!

Proverbs 8:12 - 13
Wisdom says that she lives together with good judgement and knows where to find knowledge and discernment.  (8:12).  The next verse goes on to say that all who fear the Lord will hate evil -- pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.  Apparently it's not enough to just avoid those things yourself -- being in the presence of it should upset you. 

Where does the line fall between hating that which is wrong and forgiveness and walking in love?  I know that I work really hard not to hate others and I try to ignore their actions in hopes that one day they will come around.  I try really hard not to judge others.  Of course I fail greatly, but I do try. 

I'm supposed to hate the things the Lord hates, but hate is a very strong word and it's something that I try really really hard not to do.  I don't know what to think right this moment.  I will just have to read more and self-examine myself on this topic.

Notes (this section written on 3/18/12)
I have fallen behind in managing my blog right now due to sickness and laziness, I guess.  As I have mentioned a few times now, I stay ahead on my blog posts, so a post is written anywhere from a few weeks to a month or more before it is actually published. 

Well right now I am dangerously low on my posts -- only 10 on hand as I write this.  I said a prayer before starting today that the Lord would banish the sickness that has taken over my spirit so that His will be done and shine through me again. 

It has been an entire week since I have sat down to do a study, and right now that feels like ages have gone by.  My studies, because they are so frequent, really feel intimate -- and I like the intimate relationship with God.  But right now it's been an entire week, I've been sick, I've been lazy -- and all that needs to go.  Now.  I have said my prayers and am sitting down once again in my studies.  When you read this, even if it is a month from now, please say a little prayer for me so that I can keep up with my studies and maintain the intimate relationship I am trying to create.  Thank you.