My daily exploration of the Bible, taking it one chapter at a time. If I do it everyday, it'll take 1189 days.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Oh God! I can't hear you like our fathers did, even though I call out like they did.

I'm just a worm. Everyone mocks me.

You've always been my God. Why do you let me be destroyed? Why do the animals and evil men pierce my hands and gamble for my clothes.

Deliver me, God! Everyone comes to eat with you and declare your righteousness.

Key verse:
16. Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.

My thoughts:
The references to Jesus in this Psalm are explicit. Pierced hands and feet. Garments distributed by lot. Even the first line "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" is exactly what Jesus said on the cross. Jesus spoke in Aramaic, and this chapter is in Hebrew, so Jesus almost said the exact same thing word for word.

This is one of many 'woe is me' Psalms. The worst/best is Psalm 88

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Psalm 21

God and his king

The king rejoices, because God has helped him. God gave him wealth, long life, glory and blessing. When God turns up, the enemies and destroyed. They cannot succeed.

Key verse:
4. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—

length of days, for ever and ever.

My thoughts:
There's quite a few statements of eternity in this Psalm. God gives the king life 'forever' and it is a eternal blessing he receives. It's hard to know what was exactly meant by the eternal language. It may have been a developed theology of afterlife, or it may have just meant 'a very long time' rather than actually eternal. This is the case in other uses of the word 'forever' and 'eternal' in the old covenant.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Psalm 20

God the provider

May God protect you, and accept your offerings. May he bring you success in what you do.

We'll praise God, because he saves us. Some trust in advanced weapons, but we trust in God.

Key verse:
4. May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.

My thoughts:
This Psalm speaks of a very supplicant God. It affirms our right to ask things of God earnestly, though it doesn't mean that we can expect him to comply!

We have an interesting phrase "God, save the King" here. This would seriously suggest that it was written under a Jewish monarchy. This is not news if you hold to a largely Davidic authorship, but many consider much of the Psalms to be written after/during the exile.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Psalm 19

The language of the sky

The heavens and sky praise God, and there's nowhere where you can't hear what they say. The sun is the sky's champion.

God's law is perfect, and brings joy. Fearing God is better than gold.

Lord, keep me from sin.

Key verse:
1. The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
14. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

My thoughts:
The first half of this Psalm is about how the heavens (sky) declare God to the world. As it moves onto other matters of the law and the fear of God, we read this in the light of how we have just experienced the sky. It declares God's glory.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Psalm 18

The Lord our rock!

God is David's rock and shield. When death entangles him, he called out to God who hears and takes action. He prepared for battle, came down, and defeated the enemies, rescuing David because of his righteousness.

God is good to the good, and cunning towards the evil. He gave David all his abilities, and power to defeat his enemies.

God deserves praise!

Key verses:
25. To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless
2. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.

My thoughts:
We've just being talking in class as to whether God is, in fact, entirely good. Here we have God being blameless before the righeous, but 'cunning' before evil people. Are there times when God intentionally does 'bad' things?

Does God do good things, or is it good because God does it?

This is a long Psalm, with a lot of powerful battle imagery used for God. He is the rock and shield. It is a reoccuring notion in the Psalms of God as the rock - the firm foundation.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Psalm 17

Keep the righteous safe from the wicked

Lord hear my prayer! You cannot hold anything against me! Show your great love and salvation, and protect me from the wicked, who now surround me.

Key verse:
8. Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings

My thoughts:
No footnotes on this chapter, which is weird.

I hope you do go and read the Psalms for yourself, because any summary I make absolutely guts a Psalm of its beauty and poetry.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Psalm 16

Joy from God

God is the only good thing David has. Those who chase other gods will fail. David rejoiced because God had given him a good life, and will not abandon him.

Key verse:
11. You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

My thoughts:
I think verse 10 here, saying that the Holy One does not decay has been used in reference to Jesus, saying that he was not allowed to decay, and only remained dead for a couple of days.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Psalm 15

The walk of the blameless

Who can live with you God? Only the blameless, who controls his tongue and doesn't accept bribes.

Key verses:
1-2. Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart

My thoughts:
I quite like the devise of answering your own question, and I think it come across quite beautifully here. I don't know about you, but from this Psalm I really feel the sincere appreciation the Psalmist has for he who's walk is blameless.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Psalm 14

Search for salvation

Only idiots don't believe in God. He looks down on us, looking for someone who'll follow him. But no, everyone goes their own way. If only Israel could be saved from Jerusalem.

Key verse:
3. All have turned aside,
they have together become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

My thoughts:
My 3rd Form Social Studies teacher, Mr Wartho(g), quoted Psalm 14:1 saying "There is no God", demonstrating how you could misquote a document if you really wanted to.

Not particularly subtle deception.

Anywho, we have a clear statement here of the sinfulness of all people, which is on par with Protestant/Christian doctrine. There's also possibly a glimpse of Jesus in the desire to see salvation to come out of Zion.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Psalm 13

Getting God's attention

Don't forget me God! Please!!! I trust you, cos you've been good to me.

Key verse:
5. But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.

My thoughts:
It always surprises me that there are actually quite few completely praiseworthy psalms. Most are desperate cries for help.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Psalm 12

A society against God

Oh God, where are the godly people? They've gone. Everyone's dicks to one another. But God will rise up for the oppressed, and keep us safe.

Key verse:
6. And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver refined in a furnace of clay,
purified seven times.

My thoughts:
Often we see our own society as the only society which neglected God, but it's clear that throughout history the godly have always been a tiny minority.

Such a society is bemoaned here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Psalm 11

Hellfire and Brimstones

David refuges in God, but the wicked attack good people. What can good people do when under attack?

God loves the righteous but hates the wicked. He'll womp them with burning coals.

Key verse:
3. When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?

My thoughts:
Despite all the violence in the old testament, it is pleasing to know that violence is seen as a sinful attribute.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Psalm 10

Don't ignore the wicked?

Why do you hide when stuff sucks? The wicked don't care for you, yet they prosper. They ambush people. Come on God! Do something about it!

Key verse:
12. Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.

My thoughts:
This Psalm and Psalm 9 were originally the same poem.

This Psalm communicated what more and more becomes a common sentiment. The lives of the wicked seem so freaken' sweet. We can feel the same in our society.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Psalm 9

God the just ruler

David will praise God, cos he's beaten his enemies, and done the right thing. He'll always be King, and the oppressed can come to him. Everyone who knows him worships him.

The wicked have screwed themselves up. Don't let them prosper, God.

Key verse:
15. The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug;
their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.

My thoughts:
It's good that God fights for the underdogs.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Psalm 8

Why do You even bother with us?

Oh Lord, you're awesome, and everyone knows it. I look at the expanse of space, and wonder why you care about lil' ol' us. But you've put us over everything in the earth! Just a little lower than the angels!

Key verse:
5. You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

My thoughts:
This verse is quoted in the new testament, and is quite well known. The word for heavenly beings is the Hebrew word elohim, which usually means 'God' in Hebrew. So quite plausibly, this says we are created just under God himself, which is an interesting concept.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Psalm 7

David confides in God

David refuges in God, as his enemies pursue him. If it's because of his sin, David asked that his enemies beat him.

He prayed that God would rise up and judge all. God is righteous, and judges correctly. The wicked dig their own graves.

Key verse:
9. O righteous God,
who searches minds and hearts,
bring to an end the violence of the wicked

My thoughts:
I find it interesting that the Psalmist seems here unsure whether he has sinned, and asks God to respond appriopriately if he has sinned. We're not the only ones who can struggle to know exactly what we're supposed to do.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Psalm 6

It's not all peaches and cream

David called for mercy, because he was weak and struggling. He was in anguish and in tears because of his enemies, and wanted God to save him. He knew that God heard his prayers and that his enemies were beaten.

Key verse:
3. My soul is in anguish.
How long, O Lord, how long?

My thoughts:
I think this is the first of many despair psalms. The Psalmist often speaks of deep depression, and feels that God isn't there. In a similar vibe to Job, this enables us too to be honest with our situations, and not pretend things are sweet when they're not.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Psalm 5

Good Morning!

David asked God to hear him in the morning as he calls out. God hates evil, and can't stand it. David, however, strives to live in God's house. So he asks God for righteousness, and for deliverance from his evil enemies, and for blessing for the righteous.

Key verse:
12. For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

My thoughts:
Hmmm... even David prays in the morning. I've recently been convicted to keep good prayer habits, and mornings seem to be the time when it should happen. It's so hard! But hopefully that'll make it more effective. Who knows?

Of course, the idea of the morning is not key to this Psalm. It's just all that really interested me today.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Psalm 4

God helps me sleep

David called God to answer him, and was disappointed for people chasing lies.

God has set apart his chosen. Don't sin in your anger, and sacrifice properly.

God is good, and makes David sleep well.

Key verse:
4. In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.

My thoughts:
This Psalm seems a bit all over the place. It's hard to find what it's really saying. The perspective seems all over the place.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Psalm 3

David hopes in God

David called to God, because he had many enemies, knowing that no-one expected God to help him. But God is his shield and his hope. There's nothing to fear.

Key verse:
3. But you are a shield around me, O Lord

My thoughts:
Here we have a psalm specifically attributed to David, and it follows typical Davidic language to being in strife but hoping in God.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Psalm 2

God and his son

People and rulers make plans against God, but God just laughs at them. God has set up his king, his son. God can do anything, so people should then serve God, and honour the son.

Key verse:
7. You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.

My thoughts:
This is quoted in the New Testament.

Psalms is a common hunting ground for prophesies about Jesus. Here we have references to God's son and anointed one (Messiah), and king. This probably originally referred to the Jewish king sitting in David's line, but it has some very definite connections to Christ. This Psalm does seem to point to a dual system of God and his King (Jesus/David).

Friday, March 10, 2006

Psalm 1

Delight in the Law

The wicked are retards, but those who delight in the law and medidate on it rock. They have a firm foundation, but the wicked don't.

Key verse:
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

My thoughts:
A lot of people don't really appreciate the role of meditation in Christian/Jewish worship and devotion. It is seen as an eastern religious practice. But we should meditate on God and his word. It is slighty a different act of meditation, but important all the same.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Job 42

Job restored

After listening to God, Job admitted that he didn't know what he was talking about, and he repented.

God was angry with Job's first three friends, because they were idiots, and got them to make a sacrifice. Job, however, was restored, and was twice as wealthy as before, and everyone threw a party for him.

Key verse:
12. The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first.

My thoughts:
Isn't that a nice happy ending. There's bit of a mixed message as to whether Job was good or bad. It sounds like he spoke out of ignorance, but verse 7 says that Job spoke what was right.

Anyway, interestingly, Elihu is not mentioned. The three other friends get a slap on the hands, and everyone lives happily ever after.

On to Psalms!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Job 41

God's leviathan

Can Job tame the great leviathan? No! If he touches the leviathan, he'll regret it. God continued to speak praise of the mighty leviathan. He's really massive and strong. Really.

Key verse:
8. If you lay a hand on him,
you will remember the struggle and never do it again!

My thoughts:
This leviathan is perhaps a crocodile, or something. It sounds more like some sort of sea dragon. It sounds quite mythological, or it may just be hyperbole for a real animal.

are some images of what a leviathan might look like.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Job 40

Job replies, God continues

God told Job to answer him, and Job gave a humble grumble about confessing his foolishness. But God wanted more, and continued to ask Job whether he was as strong as God. If he is, then he should unleash his fury and then God would concede that Job was worthy to defend himself.

The behemoth is massive, but God, his maker, can defeat it if he wants.

Key verse:
14. Then I myself will admit to you
that your own right hand can save you.

My thoughts:
God here actually concedes that he will leave Job alone if he can prove himself worthy of God. Which he can't, but it's an interesting thought anyway.

I've heard in postulated that the behemoth refered/referred to in this passage is, in fact, a dinosaur. I'll let you make your own decision about that. It could just be a hippo or elephant or something.

Job's response is suitably humble.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Job 39

God challenges God further

God continues asking Job questions, like whether he knew all about the wild animals. Do they obey Job? Does he know their simple minds? Has Job given strength to the horses and the birds of prey?

Key verse:
19. Do you give the horse his strength

or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?

My thoughts:
God's point here is similar to the last chapter. Basically, Job isn't God. God here uses animal imagery referring to the more normal animals. Later he refers to more bizarre/mythical animals. God basically spends his whole time talking to Job describing how he doesn't understand creation.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Job 38

God shows up

Then God called to Job, asking him to prepare himself for God's words. God mocked Job, asking where exactly he was when the earth was created. He asked him who set the limits of the sea. Has Job ever given orders to nature? God urged Job to speak up if he had an answer! Surely Job, in all his wisdom, has an answer to these. Where does light dwell? Darkness? What about lightning? Does Job control the stars?

Key verse:
4. Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.

My thoughts:
Oh... sooo good.

I love God's rant. It's basically a list of rhetorical questions proving that God is God and Job is not. Gutted for Job. He's really getting stormed here.

It's useful to know that Job was in fact being arrogant, and God is pulling him down to size now. It puts some of Job's words into perspective. His voice in this book is not the voice of pure wisdom. It's just the voice of Job, the sufferer.

Notice how God never quite finds time to answer Job's questions and justify Job's suffering.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Job 37

Elihu gets all excited

Elihu got himself all excited about God's awesomeness, and continues telling of how God is in control of everything. The elements, the weather - everything!

God is just so much bigger than us and Job, and is beyond us, but he cares deeply for the wise.

Key verse:
14. Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God's wonders.

My thoughts:
I'm still undecided about Elihu. Here's an interesting article.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Job 36

Elihu argues 'God's' case

Elihu tried to argue 'God's' case further by saying that God is mighty, but doesn't hate us. He punishes the wicked, and enthrones the righteous. He doesn't let anyone miss discipline.

He is with those who suffer, and wooes them from distress. So you have to be careful not to trust in other things like wealth. He's awesome, and he alone knows creation.

Key verse:
16. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress

to a spacious place free from restriction,
to the comfort of your table laden with choice food.

My thoughts:
It is hard to disagree with Elihu in this chapter, and I actually quite like a lot of his language.

I seem to remember Elihu being cursed worse than the other friends by God at the end, but it doesn't appear that Elihu is actually mentioned by God. I might be completely mistaken, but is Elihu maybe right in this narrative? I've certainly never seen it like that before. I'm sure there were explicit references to how wrong Elihu is... but I can't find them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Job 35

Elihu continues

Elihu didn't like how Job expected to be proven right, whilst he still maintains that he might as be sinning, given that he's being punished anyway. Sinfulness and righteousness only affect people, not God.

I mean, if someone's a sinner, and they're in strife, God's not gonna listen to them just cos they're in strife. It's the same with Job.

Key verse:
14. How much less, then, will he listen
when you say that you do not see him,
that your case is before him
and you must wait for him

My thoughts:
I hope you notice that in my summaries for Job, I always adopt the opinion of the current speaker. If my summary says something, it's not that the Bible says it, it's that Elihu (or someone else) says it.

Yea Elihu. He doesn't have a high opinion of Job.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Job 34

Elihu continues emphasising Job's sin

Elihu again quoted Job's statement that he was perfect, and declared that he was in fact a sinner. God hasn't done anything wrong - Job has. God has complete power and sees everything. He doesn't need to question people before he exacts justice. He just does it. Job, however, is a sinner and a rebel.

Key verse:
35. 'Job speaks without knowledge;
his words lack insight.'

My thoughts:
This is the same old rhetoric. Job is claiming that God is wronging him. From a human point of view, the opposite seems so much more likely.