Friday, March 29, 2013

The Psalms of Asaph; Godly Advice

Today's Reading:
  • Psalm 79:1 - 79:13
  • Proverbs 12:25 - 12:26
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Psalm 79:1 - 79:13
Psalm 79 is a Psalm of Asaph.  The people are in the midst of great destruction brought upon them from the Lord.  The people are begging the Lord not to punish them, but to instead punish the godless who caused their demise.

I have a few problems with the cries from these people.  First of all, they do not account of any sins.  They claim they are being punished for their ancestors.  I have not yet read about these people anywhere else but these Psalms -- since my readings are broken up, I am reading Psalms along with my regular readings.  That being said, my study bible quotes two verses that state people will no longer be judged by the sins of their parents -- Ezekiel 18:20 and Jeremiah 31:30.  I assume, based on those two verses being quoted here, that the timing of this destruction took place after people were eradicated of the sins of their parents. So in other words, these people are not yet even realizing what sins they have committed (or they are ignoring them and passing blame elsewhere).  If they don't realize the sins they have committed, how can they ask for forgiveness from them?

The other thing that bothers me about this psalm is that the people don't praise the Lord at all.  All they do is ask the Lord to save them, and only then will they praise and thank him forever (79:13).  All the great psalms of David made sure to praise the Lord, even during the midst of the storms he faced.  Our Lord is worthy of praise, always.

The writer of the psalm begged the Lord to punish the offenders, not His own people.  I could certainly see why the Lord would be more harsh with his own people.  I think of my own children -- when one of them knows that they are disobeying, they are always punished far greater than the one that does wrong yet does not realize it.  As the Lord's people, we are expected to love him, and show that we love him, we obey him.  That is how we choose life instead of death. 

Proverbs 12:25 - 12:26
25  Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers them up
26  The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray
These are two very good verses to consider.  I would like to focus on the second one (verse 12:26).  I can say I do my part by giving my friends good advice and not trying to lead them astray.  So when I read that verse, I thought about the reverse of it -- about receiving advise.

According to this verse, I should be wary of the advice of those who are not godly and give much more esteem to the advice of those who are.  I will certainly keep this in mind for anytime that I am faced with a dilemma! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Short Parables of Jesus, According to Luke

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 13:1 - 14:6
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Luke 13:1 - 14:6
Today's reading contained many short parables.  These parables are:

The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree (13:6-13:9)
A man planted a fig tree, but that tree had yet to produce fruit.  So he was going to cut that fig tree down, until the gardener pleaded with him not to.  The man decided to give the tree one more year to produce figs; if it failed to produce fruit after all the extra nourishment then it would be cut down. 

This was a very short parable that was very open to interpretation.  Jesus in his time was talking to Israel, so perhaps it was a warning to them.  I read it as a warning to myself -- what I am doing to produce a fruitful crop?  How am I trying to help grow the Kingdom of Heaven?

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (13:18-19)
Jesus told the people that the Kingdom of God was likened to a mustard seed.  It starts off as the tiniest of seeds; yet grows into something so large that it houses the birds in nests. 

Again, this parable is so short and has no extra explanation to it, which leaves one to decipher the meaning of it themselves.  My study bible says the birds who nest in the tree are likened to the people who find protection and security within the Kingdom of God. 

The Parable of the Yeast (13:20 - 21)
In the final parable of this reading, the Kingdom of God is compared to yeast.  It takes but a tiny sprinkle to completely permeate all of a loaf of bread dough.  My study bible suggests that this is reference to the Kingdom of God permeating the entire world.  It is amazing how the Kingdom of God continues to grow.