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

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Psalm 52

Evil people

You're so evil, man! And you, like, even boast about it!

You get off on lying, dude! God will pop a cap in yo' ass.

We'll then all laugh at you. I sweet. I trust God.

Key verse:
1. Why do you boast of evil, you mighty man?
Why do you boast all day long,
you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?

My thoughts:
Pretty cool imagery of trees and being rooted in a good foundation in this Psalm.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Psalm 51

Prayer of repentance

Have mercy on me and wash me clean. I've always been sinful against you and you alone. Clean me, God, because only you make me clean!

Don't neglect me. If you wanted sacrifices I would give them to you. But you want my broken heart.

Make Jerusalem prosper.

Key verses:
7. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

17. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

My thoughts:
The more observant amongst you will notice that I have gone for the footnoted translation for verse 17. This is because the cause of the difference in translation is only due to the dots the Masoretes put in around 900AD, and the alternative translation makes more sense.

This is an awesome Psalm. It is oft quoted, and is used in many songs. It is simply, plain and pure, a guilty man's cry to God.

I love verse 17, where the Psalmist offers God all that he has - a broken heart. Sometimes it's all we can offer, but God accepts it.

This Psalm is good to say when you feel the need to be cleansed by God.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Psalm 50

Too many burnt offerings!

God shines and controls the sun. He is firelike and judges.

He says "Thanks for all the sacrifices which you constantly offer, but honestly, I don't need them. I own all the animals anyways. Rather be thankful and do what you will!". But he tells the wicked to bugger off, because he knows what they do. Give thank offerings!

Key verses:
9-10. I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens, 10 for every animal of the forest is mine

My thoughts:
Here we have the critique of the cultic (sacrificial) worship of God. Despite sacrificial worship being ordained by God in Leviticus, there are still many passages criticising it (1 Sam 15:22 ; Hosea 6:6 to name a couple). Their point is not that sacrifices are bad, but that they're not as important as having a good relationship with God, and they are no replacement.

Whenever someone feels justified through and action, rather than through their relationship with God, then something has gone wrong!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Psalm 49

Riches smiches

Listen up, I have something smart to say.

Why should I fear evil people? No-one owns anyone but God. Rich or poor, wise or wicked, we all die. The wicked stay dead forever, but God will take me for himself. Don't be dazzled by wealth and bling!

Key verse:
20. A man who has riches without understanding
is like the beasts that perish.

My thoughts:
This Psalm seems to hold that death is for animals and wicked people. God's people get, apparently, life after death. There are few verses in the Old Testament which speak of life after death, so this is significant. For now, not all people are destined to the same depressing fate.

The point of all this is, of course, not to be focussed on earthly success. This is perhaps one possible answer to the cries for justice in other Psalms when the wicked prosper on earth, and the righteous struggle.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Psalm 48

Oh Jerusalem!

God is great in the holy city! He lives there.

When people come to attack, God destorys them.

We meditate in your temple, and everyone praises you. Man, Jerusalem is awesome!

Key verse:
14. For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end.

My thoughts:
All of Jewish life becomes completely centred arounf Jerusalem at a very early stage. Her importance is unprecedented, and the current conflicts over Jerusalem are not surprising.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Psalm 47

God on his throne

Praise our awesome God! He got our land for us from the nations. Praise him as he sits on the throne. All the kings belong to him.

Key verse:
6. Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.

My thoughts:
This is a straight Psalm of praise. It is simple and unambiguous in it's intentions. It's a nice change.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Psalm 46

God our strength

God's our refuge, so we aren't afraid of anything. God can destroy nations, and is with us. He ends wars. He is God.

Key verse:
9-10. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.

"Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."

My thoughts:
This is quite appropriate for ANZAC day, all about God stopping wars. God is so freaken powerful in this Psalm.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Psalm 45

Song for the King

Oh King, you're pretty much awesome. Your weapons are sharp.

Your throne, Mr God, lasts forever.

God has set you high, Mr King. You smell good, and have good women. Good women visit you with their entourage. You have awesome sons, and you won't be forgotten!

Key verse:
1. My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

My thoughts:
This is a weird Psalm, because it's to the King, not to God. However, the Psalmist seems to call the King 'God', which is a bit weird.

Unless all this is simply a prophecy about Jesus. Mwahah! Then it all makes sense. Except for the part about women etc.

Anyway, it unusual to have a Psalm so clearly set in its purpose.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Psalm 44

God of past victories and present sufferings

We've been told of how we won victories; not by might, but by your hand. We won through you, and boasted in you alone.

But now, even though we have kept your covenant, you have rejected us and we are scattered. You, of all beings, would know if we had turned from you! Don't reject us, but rise up and save us!

Key verse:
17. All this happened to us,
though we had not forgotten you
or been false to your covenant.

My thoughts:
Wow. This is quite a different view than most of the Bible. The Old Testament seems to say that Israel is punished because they have turned away from their covenant. Here, however, we have a clear statement saying that, in fact, Israel had not sinned, and God was rejecting them for reasons known only to himself.

I am always pleased that the Bible doesn't pretend that suffering makes sense in a clear formula. It doesn't, and as Christians we don't need to uphold a view that all suffering is somehow explainable.

My Bit:
CONGRATULATIONS are in order for the engagement of two of my good friends, Sarah Field-Dodgson and Joe McMenamin. No need to muck around!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Psalm 43

The Truth and the Light

Vindicate me before the sinners, God. Don't neglect me. Guide me in truth and light!

Oh Soul, don't cry. Praise God!

Key verse:
3. Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me

My thoughts:
This is really part of Psalm 42, and many Hebrew manuscripts have them as one Psalm. The chorus is the same.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Psalm 42

As the deer panteth for the water...

My soul yearns for you like animals for water. I'm hungry, alone and mocked. I used to lead your people in praise.

Oh Soul, don't cry. Praise God!

God has swept over me, yet I feel forgotten.

Oh Soul, don't cry. Praise God!

Key verse:
5+11. Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

My thoughts:
We have moved into Book II of Psalms. I think the entire first book is attributed to David, whereas now they are attributed to many authors. This Psalm is attributed to the Sons of Korah.

I think this is the first Psalm with a repeating chorus. It's quite a cool Psalm with powerful imagery.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Psalm 41

A Psalm of David

God looks after those who care for the weak.

Have mercy on me because everyone's turned against me. I know you're pleased with me.

Key verse:
11. I know that you are pleased with me

My thoughts:
The Psalmist here has what theologians call assurance. He knows that he is accepted by God. Throughout Christian history many have struggled to find assurance. Take the Puritans for example. Some people seek assurance through the sacraments such as communion or mass. I think one of the clearest consequences of Jesus' sacrifice is that we can have automatic assurance, and knowing this dramatically changes how we might approach God. We have to stop struggling to get his acceptance!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Psalm 40

Set my feet on a rock

I trusted God and he saved me. He has done so much for the world, and I will follow his law openly.

God have mercy, and don't forget me in my struggles.

Key verses:
2-3. He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.

My thoughts:
The text speaks of people crying "Aha! Aha!", and I wondered how they got this from the Hebrew. Turns out that the same phrase in Hebrew is "He'ach! He'ach!", which is kinda similar...

There are some images in this Psalm which are commonly used in songs these days, as they speak of a very benevolent God who brings us joy and peace.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Psalm 39

Man's fleeting nature

I promised not to sin, so I just stopped doing stuff to avoid sin. But it didn't make me feel better. Show me short my life is please!

We're all just fleeting, so I trust in you. You are everything compared to us, and are overwhelming.

Key verse:
6. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro:
He bustles about, but only in vain;
he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

My thoughts:
God is very terrifying to the Psalmist. I used the word overwhelming, but the Psalmist, in realising humanity's briefness compared to God, begged God not even to look at him.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Psalm 38

A plea for mercy

Be nice to me and don't punish me, God! I'm already injured from your last attack. I'm in pain, and everyone avoids me. But I turn to you for help and confess my sins.

Key verse:
21. O Lord, do not forsake me;
be not far from me, O my God.

My thoughts:
The Psalmist here is clear in 'blaming' God for his situation. We don't like to do this these days, but I feel that back in the day they had a better understanding of God's role in all things, whether good or bad. Later this all gets blamed on Satan, but the original view of Satan was significantly different.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Psalm 37

The righteous and the wicked and the land

Don't be worried about the evil people. They'll come nothing, but if you trust God, then you'll shine like the sun.

Don't do evil. The meek will inherit the land, and the evildoers will be no-more. The humility of the righteous outweighs the wealth of the wicked.

If God is on someone's side, then they will not stumble. They will not fail.

So have the law on you heart and do good, for the wicked will fail.

Key verse:
6. He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

My thoughts:
This is an acrostic poem in the Hebrew.

The focus of this Psalm is on inheritance of the land. The definition between the righteous and the wicked is based on to what extent they inherit the land. Notice that the meek inherit the land, which is incredibly close to what Jesus said in the beattitudes.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Psalm 36

A world gone wrong

I feel inside me that the world spirally down the pit against God. Everyone loves themselves and plans evil.

You, however, are loving and faithful. You give people strength and abundance.

Key verses:
5-6. Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.

My thoughts:
You'll recognise the key verses from the popular Third Day song.

It seems that the world has always been completely morally corrupt, not just now. I think we often get a picture of a hundred, or fifty years ago as a time when people had much more moral conscience, or that they were 'better' Christians. I reckon that that is a misconception made my TV. People have always been screwed up, and the path leading to life has always been narrow and not well travelled.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Psalm 35

Fight for me, God!

My enemies attack me without cause, so take up arms, oh God, and womp them. Then I'll be happy and praise you.

People lie about me, yet I care for them. They laugh at me when I fall. Don't ignore this God! Don't turn the blind eye!

Show them who's boss, then I'll praise you.

Key verse:
9. Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
and delight in his salvation.

My thoughts:
A strange theology here that the Psalmist will only praise God once God does what he wants. It also echoes the common request for God not to be silent. I think Habakkuk is the bext example of God answering such a request.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Psalm 34

Taste and see

I'll always praise God, cos he answered me. He is good to people - see for yourself!

If you fear him, you'll lack nothing, so all people should follow him and be righteous.

God is for the righteous and protects them. He is against the wicked.

Key verses:
19. A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all
8. Taste and see that the Lord is good

My thoughts:
Notice how it is clear that being righteous doesn't make your life sweet, it just means that God is on your side.

I apologise for my use of only one dash. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Psalm 33

Waiting on God

Sing to God and play music for him. He deserves the praise! He created everything and is good.

Everyone should follow him, because he controls the nations. He watches everything. The size of your army doesn't matter, it's whether you have your eyes on God.

We're waiting God...

Key verse:
20. We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.

My thoughts:
This Psalm, to me, only really makes sense in light of the Jewish exile. They are a people with a smaller, or in fact no army. All they can do is hope in God, that he will provide a way for them. It is a very mature choice to make to wait on God. So often we want to do so much, but often we really just have to wait in expectation of God doing something.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Psalm 32

The praise from a forgiven man

It's awesome to be forgiven. I didn't admit to my shortcomings, and you were against me. Then I confessed to them, and you forgave me. It's that simple.

So pray to God while you still can!

Don't be like a stupid animal, but understand my advice. The wicked have woe, but the righteous praise God.

Key verse:
1. Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.

My thoughts:
This psalm is, to use Matt Redman's words, 'the overflow of a forgiven soul'.

Forgiveness is a central theme of the whole Bible, not just the New Covenant.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Psalm 31

The plagues of enemies

I've come to you, so listen, God. Keep me from traps. I thank you, and give you my life.

No-one likes me because I have too many enemies. But I call to you. Be good to me, and cut off my enemies.

God's good and deserves praise. I rashly worried that you wouldn't save me, but I didn't need to worry!

Key verse:
22. In my alarm I said,
"I am cut off from your sight!"
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.

My thoughts:
I think we do this a lot. We freak out for a bit that God doesn't care about us. But he does, just not in our timing.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Psalm 30

Our merciful God

Lord, you've always helped me when I've needed it. Praise him! He'll be unhappy with you for a second, but love you forever.

I was so depressed, stuck in a pit. But you turned my mourning into dancing.

Key verse:
5. For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime

My thoughts:
I like this Psalm. It's a Psalm in praise of a God who loves us so much. Perhaps it pertains well to my personal view of God.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Psalm 29

Ascribe dammit!!!

Ascribe to God. Ascribe to him the glory he deserves. Ascribe! You're not ascribing! Get ascribing!

His voice is pretty much the most awesomest thing ever.

God rocks.

Key verse:
10. The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.

My thoughts:
I don't know what ascribe means.

This psalm uses a lot of repetitive structures.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Psalm 28

Don't play deaf!

Don't ignore me, or I might as well go to Hell. Repay the wicked for their sins, but not me. I trust in God.

Key verse:
2. Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help

My thoughts:
The word pit conveys a similar meaning as another Hebrew word sheol which is generally interpreted as meaning Hell or Hades. However it is not a Hell of burning and fire, but of darkness and silence. A holding place for the death.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light

God is my light and salvation, and I don't need to fear anything. Enemies will fall, and armies don't scare me. I just want to life with God, because he'll keep me safe.

Don't hide from me, but teach me your ways.

Key verse:
4. One thing I ask of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life

My thoughts:
So many modern Christian songs come from the Psalms in part, which I personally think is awesome. There's definitely a few from this Psalm.

Again we have this common Davidic theme of living in the house of God as his greatest desire.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Psalm 26

I'm pretty much the most perfect person I know!

Proove me right, God, cos I've done no wrong. Test me - I haven't conspired with the wicked.

I come before you innocent, and want to live for you. Don't lump with the those sinners!

Key verse:
11. But I lead a blameless life;
redeem me and be merciful to me.

My thoughts:
It's kinda funny that after a Psalm 'of David' asking for great forgiveness, we have a Psalm 'of David' saying how perfect he is.

My Bit:
Up to date for the first time in a month and a half! Good work me!

Here is a points activity. Whoever wins gets a million points. You must answer the following question :- "What is the most amount of exclamation marks used in a row in official literature?"

You must prove your answer.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Psalm 25

Forgive me Lord

In you I trust, and I will not be shamed. Teach me your ways, and forget my sins of the past. You're so damn good, God. My disobedience is massive, but please forgive it.

The man who follows God prospers. But I am covered in anguish. Save me God!

Key verse:
11. For the sake of your name, O Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

My thoughts:
This Psalm makes a bit of a bizarre shift into an anguish Psalm after a while.

I'm not sure if I quite under stand phrases like 'For your name's sake'. What do they mean? Perhaps God is so intrinsically tied up with forgiveness, that it is his 'name', and to not forgive, he would be forsaking his very identity.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Psalm 24

melek hakkavod

God owns the whole world, and only the pure can come to him.

Who is the King of Glory? God is! He's the King of Glory!

Key verses:
3-4. Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.

10. Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.

My thoughts:
I've always liked this Psalm. The famous Psalm 23 is actually surrounded by two quite significant Psalms which no-one generally notices.

I love the repetitive poetry about the King of Glory in verses 7-10, apexing in its conclusion in verse 10.

Yea... it's just a cool Psalm I think.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Psalm 23

The Lord brings rest

God is a shepherd to me, and takes me to safe places. But even when I go through danger, he hasn't left me. He anoints me, and I will live with him forever.

Key verse:
4. Even though I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me

My thoughts:
This is a ridiculously famous piece of Hebrew scripture.

It captures our hearts because of the overwhelms sense of peace this Psalm presents. It also gives us an image of David as simply a shepherd boy, writing what he knows about. There is something beautiful about someone describing God in simple terms due to their simple lifestyle.

It makes you wonder why we waste so much time formulating complex theologies.

The Lord is my shepherd.