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



Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Psalm 83

Freak out the bad men!

Summary:
Don't be silent God. The enemy wants to destroy us; all our traditional enemies have allied together.

Destory them, God, like you destroyed our enemies in the past. Freak them out good.

Key verse:
15. pursue them with your tempest
and terrify them with your storm.

My thoughts:
Don't you sometimes feel like praying this about some people? Those annoying people?

Of course, I never feel this way, but in this blog I am trying to cater for people less perfect than me.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Psalm 82

God the judge

Summary:
God is the highest judge. Don't defend the wicked, God, but defend the oppressed! The wicked live in the dark, and will die like men, though they call themselves gods.

Key verse:
6-7. "I said, 'You are "gods";
you are all sons of the Most High.'

But you will die like mere men;
you will fall like every other ruler."

My thoughts:
The use of the word 'gods' here is confusing. Is it referring to men, or is it referring to beings in God's heavenly court?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Psalm 81

Stubborn Israel

Summary:
Let's praise God with music because he set us free from slavery!

Don't have foreign gods. God will give us all we need. But Israel is stubborn. If they followed God, then see how quickly he'd solve their problems.

The haters would be punished, but Israel would be blessed.

Key verses:
13-14. If my people would but listen to me,
if Israel would follow my ways,

how quickly would I subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!

My thoughts:

God wants to help us so much, but we just don't let him, and then we blame him for everything. We see in this psalm how quickly God would set things right if we just let him!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Psalm 80

The vine of Israel

Summary:
Hear us and save us, our Shepherd! We've lived off our own sorrow for so long, and we are mocked!

You led us like a vine out of Egypt, and allowed our tree to grow in Canaan. Your chosen tree is being destroyed. Protect its branch, its chosen man.

Key verses:
15. the root your right hand has planted,
the son [or branch] you have raised up for yourself.
cf.
17. Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
the son of man you have raised up for yourself.

19. Restore us, O Lord God Almighty;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.

My thoughts:
This is an interesting psalm when viewed Christocentrically. Verses 15 and 17 probably originally point to a king figure in the line of David. The Davidic language is also present by referring to God as shepherd. Notice how the language is identical to what is used for Jesus - Shepherd; at God's right hand; son of man.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Psalm 79

Punish the nations!

Summary:
The foreigner have come and defiled our land and temple, and killed your people, God. How long will you hate us? Forget the sins of our ancestors, and punish the foriegn nations!

Hear our cries! We don't like being mocked. Make things right, and then we'll praise you forever.

Key verse:
10. Why should the nations say,
"Where is their God?"
Before our eyes, make known among the nations
that you avenge the outpoured blood of your servants.

My thoughts:
Gotta love good ol' revenge! If God kept the justice that this psalmist wanted, then surely Israel would be the first to go?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Psalm 78

David, the fulfilment of Israel's history

Summary:
Listen! Cos I'm about to say some good stuff in parable-form! We will tell it so our kids don't forget and become sinful like our ancestors. They saw all the amazing miracles, but still didn't keep the covenant! They tested God all the time, asking for even more miracles!

Like in the desert, he gave them miracle water and bread from heaven and rained food on them. But they complained and did not trust God, so he killed many of them.

Every now and then Israel would bother to flatter God with their mouths, but they'd keep sinning.

But God never forgot them, even though they'd fogotten all the amazing things God had done. He rejected the temple at Shiloh though, and sent his ark away. And then, after much rejection, God chose Zion in Judah. He chose David, and David led them well.

Key verse:
72. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.

My thoughts:
This psalm is a highly theological summary of Israel's history. It has two foci, the time in the desert, when Israel continued to sin against God despite all the miracles, and then secondly the period of history narrated in Samuel (1 and 2). Verses 59 onwards seem to follow the Samuel narrative as we now have it, rather than in its earlier form as a set of potentially unconnected stories.

Anyway, the theological highpoint of this psalm is David. After a despressing retelling of history, we finally have the fulfilment of God's will in David, the shepherd, and the good king.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Psalm 77

The footprintless God

Summary:
I cried out to you, God, in my distress. I thought back to the past, and wondered whether God would reject me forever.

But as I looked back, I held on to your miracles of old. Then I realised how awesome you are.

Throught tempests and storms you led your people, but you left no footprint.

Key verse:
11. I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

Key verse:
What a cool psalm!

The psalmist looked back to Moses and Aaron and knew God loved him. As Christians, no matter what we are going through we can look back on Jesus and his sacrifice and know, without any shadow of a doubt, that we are loved and chosen by God. There is no elect chosen few. We are all chosen, and are loved. We know this because of the event of Jesus, and we need not wonder whether God loves us.

Also, here we have the God with no footprint. He is a God who leaves space for faith, and doesn't leave blatant footprints of his existence. (Though, I feel that Jesus was a pretty blatant footprint). "Better is he who believes but has not seen."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Psalm 76

God of war

Summary:
God is known in Judah and its mountain. That's where God has won his wars.

You defeat any army. Everyone fears and praises God because of it. Keep your promises, God!

Key verse:
1. In Judah God is known

My thoughts:
This is really that relevant to the text, but that first phrase of the psalm got me thinking. How can we really know God? How is he known?

And the answer is simply that he reveals himself. We cannot know him any other way.

He revealed himself to the Jews ("In Judah God is know"), but also through the Jew Jesus. Salvation will come from the Jews.

My Bit:
Yea... I'm pretty much the most behind I've ever been. 22 days or something. If I do two chapters a day, then I will've caught up in a mere 22 days!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Psalm 75

God the sole judge

Summary:
God says: "I choose the time. I hold the earth firm. I silence the arrogant and wicked."

God alone brings down and exalts people. I will praise him forever.

Key verse:
10. I will cut off the horns of all the wicked,
but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up.

My thoughts:
I don't really know what is meant by 'horns' in this chapter, and I don't quite get the imagery of God's cup in verse 8.

The statements from God are quite cool and powerful.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Psalm 74

Save your chosen people!

Summary:
Why have you rejected us forever, when you bought us ages ago.

The enemies came with massive armies and destroyed everything where you were worshipped.

But you do nothing! Do something! You own the world and created it!

Don't forget us and your covenant, and defend your cause!

Key verse:
3. Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.

My thoughts:
I like the description of the foreign army in this psalm. If gives a bit of a glimpse of what an ancient army might have been like to behold.

i believe the focus of this psalm is God's covenant with Israel. The psalmist (Asaph) is trying to make God hold to the ancient promises he made for Israel.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Psalm 73

The clarity of your sanctuary

Summary:
God is good, but I am struggling. I used to envy the prosperity of the wicked. They speak evil, and have no respect for God, but they're rich!

Have I kept myself holy for no reason? I was so confused.

By then I went into your sanctuary, and suddenly it all made sense. You have another plan for them in the long run. They're on a slippery slope, and will be destroyed.

But you hold my hand, and I find peace in you.

Key verses:
16-17. When I tried to understand all this,

it was oppressive to me

till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.


My thoughts:
So often we get all worried about ourselves and life, and often that's because we have the wrong perspective. God must look at us and realise that things look so different from our point of view. That's why he sent Jesus.

It's when we begin to see things from God's point of view, from his sanctuary, that things are in the right perspective. Often we see those God moments where everything seems to make sense as an abberation, but they're not. They're the norm. Our 'normal' perspectives are the inaccurate aberations.

Abberation has either one or two b's. I'm not sure. I therefore, spell aberation with democracy in mind.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Psalm 72

God bless the king!

Summary:
Bless the king, and make him just and righteous. May he be your representative for the poor.

He'll live and rule forever. The kings will bow to him, because he cares for the oppressed. May we prosper and may the king's name live forever!

Praise God!

Key verse:
1. Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.

My thoughts:
As many things in the old testament, this can be seen in two ways. First and foremost it is written about David, but it is also about Jesus, and his name which will 'endure forever'.

This is curiously called a psalm of Solomon, which is rare. However, at the end of this psalm there is a little addition stating that this is the end of the psalms of David. So presumably, the proposed davidic content of the following psalms is less prevalent. Psalms has been edited into different books and sections, and we have now entered a new one.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Psalm 71

My refuge til old age

Summary:
God, be my refuge. Save me, God, as I always rely on you. Don't forsake me as others expect.

Punish my accusers! I always declare how awesome you are, and I want to declare it to the next generation too! So keep me alive!

Though you can make life hard, you always lift me up again.

Key verse:
20. Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again

My thoughts:
This psalm describes a truly faithful life. One that relies on God, despite the hardships life might bring, and a long life that never ceases to proclaim how good God is.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Psalm 70

Quickly, God!

Summary:
Save me quickly! Get rid of the wicked, and let the righteous exalt you!

Key verse:
5. Yet I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay.

My thoughts:
This distinguishing feature of this short psalm is the focus on how quickly the psalmist wants God to deliver him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Psalm 69

Flood

Summary:
I'm sinking, God. People hate me for no reason! Don't let me pull down others with me!

I am mocked because of you. They sing about me when they're drunk. You know all of this, so save me, God! Punish those who accuse me! Then I will praise you forever!

Key verse:
14. Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink;
deliver me from those who hate me,
from the deep waters.

My thoughts:
I'm listening to Jars of Clay at the moment, which is kinda appropriate to the theme of this song. That sinking feeling you get in life, when you suddenly realise that maybe, just maybe, you actually are screwed and you can't work your way out of this one!

Anyway, This is my first post in ages, so I have some catching up to do!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Psalm 68

The kings will come to Jerusalem

Summary:
May God's enemies be taken away, and the righteous be happy. You, God, love the marginalised.

You rained down on us, and scattered the kings before us. From Sinai, God now lives at Mount Zion, and the other mountains are envious.

He saves us, and crushes his enemies. His procession is great, and the leaders of the great tribes go with it. Show your strength, God, and the kings will come to us! Praise God!

Key verse:
24. Your procession has come into view, O God,
the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.

My thoughts:
This is very Davidic/Deuteronomistic theology. The focus is on Jerusalem, the sanctuary, Judah and Benjamin.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Psalm 67

Let the nations praise!

Summary:
Bless us, and may all people know you. May all those heathen nations praise you. Then our crops will grow.

Key verse:
3,5. May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you.

My thoughts:
The word for nations in this psalm, goyim, has very negative overtones. The nations are most often referred to as those who oppose God and fight Israel. It is quite cool, then, that this is a psalm calling the goyim to praise God

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Psalm 66

Bless God!

Summary:
Praise God with the earth, cos he's awesome.

You have protected us through fire and water and refined us. I will make offerings to you. Praise God who listens to me!

Key verse:
20. Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

My thoughts:
I like praise psalms. They're nice and happy.

The 'normal' word for Praise in Hebrew is halel (Think hallelujah), but the word used in this psalm is barak, which is often translated as 'bless'. Perhaps halel is used more often for the devine name Yahweh, whereas barak is used for the general word 'God' (or gods), elohim.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Psalm 65

God of crops

Summary:
We'll praise you. You cleaned us when we'd sinned, and we're blessed to live with you.

You do awesome deeds, and control all of creations, the seasons, and our produce

Key verse:
10. You drench its furrows
and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers
and bless its crops.

My thoughts:
We need to bless God where we see him working. No point blessing him for something obscure that doesn't really affect us. This is what Israel is doing. Blessing God for the crops.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Psalm 64

God the womper of evil

Summary:
Hear me, and protect me from those evil people. They use their words and weapons and take aim at the innocent. They conspire together.

But God will womp them, and then everyone will fear God.

Key verse:
9. All mankind will fear;
they will proclaim the works of God
and ponder what he has done.

My thoughts:
I really recommend not reading all the Psalms at once, like I am. They're not made for that, and they get repetitive fast.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Psalm 63

In the desert

Summary:
You are so my God, and I long for you like I would for water in a desert. I've seen your power so I will praise you and be satisfied by that alone.

I will remember you and my enemies will perish. The king will not forget you.

Key verse:
3. Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

My thoughts:
This is quite a cool praise Psalm which has a strong sense of who God is in relation to us.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Psalm 62

junjunjunJAH!

Summary:
I trust in God alone. The evil ones love bringing people down.

Rest in God. He is the rock.

The weak are unnoticed, and the powerful are liars.

You, God, are loving. You, God, are strong.

Key verses:
11-12. One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.

My thoughts:
I love it when all the complexity of God and the Bible and theology gets so simply yet so aptly summarised.

To borrow from a quote I heard today. God is a place where toddlers can paddle and elephants can wade.

You, God, are strong. You, God, are loving. If I forget everything else, may I know this.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Psalm 61

Long live the king

Summary:
I call on you, higher than me, from the earth's ends. You are the refuge where I want to dwell.

You hear us, God. Give the king long life.

Key verse:
2. From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

My thoughts:
Yea. I wonder which king this is in reference to, because plently of them didn't deserve to have psalms written about them!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Psalm 60

God over the Middle East

Summary:
You have made it hard for us, and crushed us, God. Now set us free!

The land is yours, the land of Israel and its surroundings, so help us!

It's all down to you, God. Give us victory.

Key verse:
1. You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us;
you have been angry-now restore us!

My thoughts:
Here we have a description of God as having royal power over all of the common nearby lands of Israel. This doesn't imply that God is not king over all other land, but it does mean that the Psalmist can rely on God to restore Israel to their land.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Psalm 59

Stupid dogs

Summary:
Save me and deliver me, because I'm innocent. Punish the evil!

They come at night like violent dogs. But you protect me and go before me.

Don't kill the evil, so that people forget, just humiliate them. They will be hungry dogs, but I will praise you.

Key verse:
11. But do not kill them, O Lord our shield,
or my people will forget.
In your might make them wander about,
and bring them down.

My thoughts:
It's kinda interesting that it is requested that the enemy aren't killed. Its motivation is ambiguous.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Psalm 58

Curse the wicked

Summary:
The rulers are all corrupt. Evil lives in them from birth. They are untrained snakes. Break out their teeth, God!

Make them disappear so that the righteous are happy, people will know that you are God.

Key verse:
10. The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.

My thoughts:
Hmm... How violent.

Note that the Bible doesn't only contain blessings, but also curses, and that's pretty much what this psalm is. A curse on wicked people.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Psalm 57

Music to God

Summary:
Have mercy as I refuge in God. He sends help and saves.

I'm under attack. Be exalted God.

I will sing to you and praise you.

Key verse:
7. My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.

My thoughts:
Don't forget that these songs are largely used for worship, so they don't always need to present a bunch of theologically complex or important truths, they just need to be a focus for people glorification of God.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Psalm 55

The light of life

Summary:
Have mercy, because I'm hunted. I trust you. I'm not afraid even though they turn my words against me. Don't let them get away with it!!

Write down my heartache, then I should get some peace.

Why should I fear people when I trust God? I will walk in the light of life.

Key verses:
11. in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
13. I may walk before God
in the light of life.

My thoughts:
So often we need things to be put into perspective. We care so much about what people think, when really it's only God who matters.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Psalm 55

A psalm of a terrified heart

Summary:
Hear me, God, I'm terrified. If only I could fly away from it all!

Obstruct violent and wicked people, God. You know, if it was only men who were against me, then I'd be sweet, but it's you God, you!

I'll always call to you. You'll bring the wicked down.

Trust God.

Key verse:
5. Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.

My thoughts:
This psalm seems to be in some sort of conflict with itself. In one sense God is the opposer of the wicked, but also God seems to be opposing the psalmist himself.

Anyway, if you're ever just feeling so frightened by stuff in life, then you're not alone.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

PSalm 54

Freewill offering

Summary:
Save me from my attackers, God, cos you rock.

God helps me, so I freely praise him.

Key verse:
6. I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;
I will praise your name, O Lord,
for it is good.

My thoughts:
This is following a common theme in psalms, asking to be saved from enemies. The number of Psalms like this are not surprising given the amount of oppression Israel went through for the largest part of its history. Only in the reigns of David and Solomon did Israel really do the oppressing rather than being oppressed.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Psalm 53

The plight of human destruction

Summary:
Only idiots don't believe in God. God looks for those who seek him. But everyone's evil. They'll never learn. God scatters them.

Bring salvation, God!

Key verse:
2. God looks down from heaven
on the sons of men
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.

My thoughts:
Often we see ourselves in a massive mission to seek God, but God himself is on a mission to find those who are interested in him. If we are keen, he'll find us!