Posts Tagged ‘Horner Bible Reading Plan’

Bible Study: 2 Kings and Hosea

August 9, 2010 Comments off

My recent readings in Old Testament History and Prophecy currently line up with a good time-sync:  2 Kings 14 through 16, and Hosea.  Just as I’ve been reading (2 Kings 14) about the beginning of King Uzziah of Judah, and the reign of Jeroboam II, the fourth in the line of Israel’s King Jehu, I notice the beginning verse of Hosea, “The word of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.”  Then, Hosea 1:4 mentions Jezreel, and upcoming judgment on the House of Jehu.  As I’ve been following along the last few days in 2 Kings, this too fits — in 2 Kings 10 Jehu became king, and God promised Jehu a dynasty to the fourth generation (2 Kings 10:30).  The next few chapters describe the reigns of Jehoahaz and Jehoash/Joash — as well as the kings of Judah during this time.  By chapter 14 we’re up to the 4th generation of Jehu’s line, in Jeroboam II, and so Hosea ties in well with these chapters in 2 Kings.

The next day’s readings, 2 Kings 15 and 16, continue the lines of both Israel and Judah, with mention of Jotham and Ahaz, also mentioned in Hosea 1:1.  Interestingly, the 2 Kings text mentions several kings of Israel who followed Jeroboam II, who were contemporary with Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz — yet Hosea stops with the naming of Jeroboam; perhaps it simply wasn’t necessary to mention these lesser kings, having already established the time setting well enough.

Another interesting thing from 2 Kings 14 is verse 27 — But the Lord had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.  Here we have another incident where God uses wicked men, unregenerate Jews, to save His people — again because of His own promise of what He will do for His people.  Here I think also of the story of Esther (reference Mark Hitchcock’s Study), another case where God in His providence clearly orchestrated events so as to save the Jews from destruction — again by the hand of unregenerate, unsaved Jews (Esther and Mordecai).

The book of Hosea continues a more in-depth look at the spiritual problems that 2 Kings only gives an overview of.  Several places in the 2 Kings text note, again and again, in reference to the southern kingdom Judah, that “The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.”  (2 Kings 14:4; 2 Kings 15:4, 35; and 2 Kings 16:4  (spoken of King Ahaz), “He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.)  Israel is described in similarly repetitive terms, “did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”  (2 Kings 14:24; 2 Kings 15:9, 18, 24, 28.)  Hosea, describing the same time period, gives more detail concerning their deeds (as Hosea 4:13-14) — and yet the promise that God will restore them (Hosea 3:5).  In Hosea 4 God provides a contrast, telling the people of Judah (to whom Hosea wrote) not to follow in the way that Israel has gone (Hosea 4:15-19):

Though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Enter not into Gilgal, nor go up to Beth-aven, and swear not, “As the Lord lives.”
Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?   Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone.
When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring; their rulers dearly love shame.   A wind has wrapped them in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Recent Bible Readings: Horner Bible Reading Update

August 6, 2010 Comments off

Another update from Bible readings, in my daily walk through the different Bible genres in a modified Horner Bible Reading Plan.  As always, this genre plan of reading Bible chapters in parallel, with selections from each of several (eight) sections of the Bible, provides some interesting cases of readings that go together.  Consider the following recent readings, two selections both read on the same day:

Some other good observations, scripture thoughts from Bible reading:

For encouragement, Phillipians 3:15 , Job 33:16-26, 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 and 13, 2 Thessalonians 3:5, and 2 Timothy 3:12

Observations from reading through history and the prophets:
In 1 Kings 1:7 I noticed again the mention of Abiathar the priest, who now must be at least 42 years older than when he was first introduced in 1 Samuel 22, as the young son of Abimelech the priest, the one that managed to escape from Saul and Doeg.  After all, David has now reigned for 40 years, and 1 Samuel 22 was at least two years before that, before David spent time in Philistine territory.  By now Abiathar’s son Jonathan, also mentioned in 1 Kings 1, is also a priest.  Yet what a different person, now hardened and turned against David to support Adonijah.  By the end of 1 Kings 1 he is deposed from the priesthood, as yet another fulfillment of the words spoken to Eli by the prophet Samuel so many years before.

1 Kings 4:31 mentions Ethan the Ezrahite, indicating that he must have been a contemporary of Solomon.  This time I remember the name as the author of Psalm 89, a passage that S. Lewis Johnson spent some time discussing in reference to the Davidic covenant.

This time through Ezekiel, I have especially noticed the many references to the word “prince” as descriptive of the human ruler, usually the ruler in Jerusalem but sometimes other uses such as Ezekiel 30:13 in reference to the ruler of Egypt.  As pointed out in SLJ’s Davidic covenant series, the Lord God is the king, and the human ruler, David (and his descendants) is the prince.  This designation of prince throughout the earlier chapters of Ezekiel, makes the references in Ezekiel 44-48 more understandable–as referring to the human ruler over the people.  Knowing the use of that word, prince, throughout the many earlier chapters, makes it obvious that of course in Ezekiel 44-48 it’s not talking about Christ — as even some of the passages in Ezekiel 44-48 indicate, that the prince is a separate person than the Lord God (reference Ezekiel 44:3, The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD).

Great Teachings from the Psalms

August 4, 2010 Comments off

Some really good Bible teachings come from the Psalms, that collection that I once thought of as “mere” devotional, poetry material — good for reading one a day, but no further study.  Even the original Horner Bible Reading Plan has the Psalms in a 150 day list, reading only one per day — yet has other wisdom books in shorter lists.  My modified Horner Bible Reading plan includes two Psalms per day, and cycling back through every 85 days (allowing ten days to read through Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon), a much better way to approach the Psalms as on par with the other reading lists.

The music ministry group George and Kathy Abbas recently came to the local church, for a Wednesday night much better than most.  In addition to singing many scripture songs, they emphasized the importance of daily feeding on God’s word, continual reading and study of God’s word, and all the wonderful benefits from doing so (a message seldom heard at this church, and so well needed for the people there).  These ideas, along with the scripture songs, come especially from verses in the Psalms.  I don’t know all their theological beliefs (other than Baptist and Sovereign Grace), as to where they stand concerning such things as creation, Israel, and the Second Coming; but certainly they did a better job of teaching the value of reading and treasuring the Bible as God’s word, a vast improvement over the usual at this church.

My recent sermon studies have included two with texts from the Psalms:  S. Lewis Johnson (Psalm 16), and Charles Spurgeon (Psalm 91:5).  Johnson’s “Lessons from the Life of David” intersected with Resurrection Sunday in 1991, and the result was a break from the study of 2 Samuel to look at “David and the Resurrection,” from David’s words in Psalm 16.  It’s not a traditional Easter Sunday text, but certainly does fit, for David indeed did understand something of the resurrection, and spoke of the coming Messiah, He of whom it would be true that “you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”

Another great sermon from the Psalms is Spurgeon’s #124, “The Snare of the Fowler.”  Here, Spurgeon observed the features of the “fowler,” Satan’s ways of trapping believers, and the wonderful promise that God will deliver us from the snare: sometimes by keeping us from it (reference Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, Genesis 39), and sometimes, when we have been caught in it, by rescuing us out of it.  Some of the great words of Spurgeon:

The snare of the fowler is generally noted for its adaptation. You do not find a fowler setting the same snare for one bird as for another. He knows his bird and he adapts his bait to it. He would be an unwise fowler who should go to work with the same machinery to catch the lark that flies on high as the duck that swims long the stream.

The fowler is wiser than that—he adapts his snare to the condition of the bird which he desires to take.  Satan the fowler does just the same. There is one man here. He tempts him to drunkenness. Perhaps that would naturally be his sin if left without grace in his heart. And Satan knowing it to be his weak point attempts to overcome him by surfeiting, gluttony and drunkenness. Another man is utterly impervious to any temptation to that bestial habit but, it may be, he is easily taken in another snare—the snare of lust. Therefore Satan adapts his temptation to the hot blood of the man who naturally would be inclined to live a life of sin.

Another one perhaps eschews every lascivious and sensual habit—then Satan comes to him and adapts his temptation to the shape of pride. The man is naturally a melancholy man, fond of solitude—Satan gets him, if he can, to wrap himself up in a solitary dignity, to say, “I am holy.” “Lord, I thank you, I am not as other men are.” . . . Oh, how often it happens, Beloved, that you and I condemn a thing in another person which we allow in ourselves, perhaps without knowing it. We say of such an one, How proud he is! Well, our pride is not exactly of that shape. We have got another shaped pride but the same article, labeled differently but the same thing.  Satan adapts the pride to each particular case. We are rich—he does not perhaps tempt us to the pride of riches but he tempts us to the pride of mastership and makes us harsh masters to our servants. Or if he does not tempt us to that pride, he perhaps enchants us with the pride of generosity and we are apt to boast of our kindness and of what we have given away.

Later Spurgeon describes the case of a believing young woman who married an unbeliever and over the years was led away from God to enjoy the pleasures of this life.  Then after many years, God took away each of her children and then her husband, and thus delivered her out of the fowler’s snare:

From the wife and mother her husband and all her children were now taken away. Reason returned and she was led to reflection. She saw her dreadful backslidings, her pride, her rebellion. And she wept with the tears of a deep repentance. Peace was restored to her soul. Then would she lift up her hands to Heaven, exclaiming, ‘I thank you, O Father!—the Lord has given, the Lord has taken away and blessed be the name of the Lord.’ Thus did her afflictions yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness.  Her Heavenly Father had chastened her, “not for His pleasure but for her profit, that she might become partaker of His holiness.

So God delivered her soul out of the snare of the fowler. She started afresh in the ways of righteousness, serving God with diligence and zeal and growing up in His fear. By trouble and trial, by some means or another, God will surely deliver His people out of the snare of the fowler, even when they are in it.

Modified Horner Bible Reading Plan: Recent Bible Readings

July 14, 2010 Comments off

My recent Bible readings, in my modified Horner Bible Reading Plan, have included some interesting passages from Luke, 1 and 2 Corinthians, 2 Samuel, Job, and Ecclesiastes.  Among the readings are these highlights:

Luke 9 shows an interesting contrast:  three incidents (verses 46, 49, and 54) that show the disciples’ increasing attitude of greatness and superiority, all in the same chapter that also includes Jesus predicting, twice (verses 22 and 44), His soon death.

Now that I’m catching up to the readings covered in S. Lewis Johnson’s “Lessons from the Life of David” series,  I notice several things he pointed out regarding these texts.  Luke 12:16-21, the parable of the rich man storing up treasure for himself, really does fit well with another recent reading, 1 Samuel 25 (link:   my previous blog), and the character Nabal.

2 Samuel 4:10 (a chapter SLJ skipped) provides additional confirmation to the truth of the incident in 2 Samuel 1, for here David tells the two men who killed Ish-Bosheth that the previous man (the Amelekite) was killed because he “thought he was bringing good news” — and “That was the reward I gave him for his news!”  Clearly by this time David knew the truth of the matter, and thus speaks as he does here in chapter 4.

1 Corinthians goes well with some great teaching from J.C. Ryle’s “Practical Religion” (chapter on Love).  1 Corinthians 7:15 ends with the sentence, “God has called us to live in peace” — as Ryle pointed out, this is one of the expressions of love.  Ryle’s discussion of the differences between faith, hope, and love, comes from another recent reading, 1 Corinthians 13:13. (“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”)  Faith is only for us (not God) and will be swallowed up in sight, and hope will change to certainty when we reach our destination, in the presence of God.

Job, Ecclesiastes, and 1-2 Corinthians provide some interesting contrasts.  Ecclesiastes especially has great words of wisdom, yet chapter 1 also expresses the emptiness of wisdom and knowledge by themselves — in agreement with 1 Corinthians 13.  Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 expresses the physical, human perspective of lost man, regarding the fate of man and animal.  But contrast that with the wonderful words of life from Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:39, in which he writes about the resurrection, noting that not all flesh is the same but that men have one kind of flesh and animals another.

Job 19:25-26, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;” fits well with 2 Corinthians 5:1-8, Paul’s words about how we long to leave our “earthly tent” and be clothed with our heavenly dwelling.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 is a great verse to keep man in his proper place, to caution those who would try to reconcile scripture according to modern ideas of “science” and claim that the world is billions of years old:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

How true that still is — man cannot discover the matter of creation on his own, apart from God’s special revelation to us.  All we can know about eternity, from creation to the future end of the world, comes from God alone — and all the compromise and accommodation to try to “fit” God’s word to our own ideas is utter foolishness.

Another verse in Ecclesiastes, 10:16, sets forth the general rule regarding nations and their rulers:  “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child.”  S. Lewis Johnson referred to that truth in his exposition of the Davidic covenant in the prophets, pointing out the contrasting exception in Isaiah 9:6-7, the wonderful prophecy about the child to come, a child that shall rule and reign.

Some other great passages to remember and meditate on:
2 Cor. 4:16-17 — “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”


Ecclesiastes 7:10, 14, and 16-18

Highlights from Bible Readings: Scripture Thoughts for Today

June 24, 2010 Comments off

Lately my Bible readings (modified Horner Bible Reading System) have included some great readings in Genesis (list 2), Ruth and 1 Samuel (list 6), Jeremiah (list 7), and Romans (list 3).  Now for some highlights:

The despair of people, just before God works great things in their lives:  Naomi (Ruth 1:20-21), and Jacob (Genesis 42:36).

Ruth and Genesis also nicely fit together in another interesting way, as in the day which included both Ruth 4 and Genesis 38.  Genesis 38 of course tells the story of Judah and Tamar, ending with Tamar’s birth to twins, one of whom is Perez.  Ruth 4, verse 12 and again in verses 18-22, again mentions Perez and then completes the lineage from Perez (Genesis 38) to King David.

Speaking of Ruth, Thomas Constable has a good four part series through this interesting book.   I recently listened to the first part, a good introduction to the characters and the story.

Stones as Witnesses

In the Pentateuch and history lists I’ve come across many incidents of stones setup as memorials or witnesses — for agreements between people, as well as witnesses between man and God — such as in Jacob’s journeys in Genesis: Genesis 31:45-53, and again in Genesis 35:14.  Early in 1 Samuel, chapters 6 and 7 also feature two such incidents of stones used as witnesses:  1 Samuel 6:18, after the Philistines returned the ark to Israel, “The large rock, on which they set the ark of the LORD, is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.”  Then 1 Samuel 7 has Samuel setting up a stone (1 Samuel 7:12), called Ebenezer, after a great victory over the Philistines.  I also recall the “stone as witness” theme from recent reading through Joshua (Joshua 24:2-27).  The people saw rocks as something more permanent than themselves, part of God’s creation that was always there, like the mountains and hills, to “witness” in the future.  Even when men had forgotten the thing witnessed, those rocks were still there.

So during these readings, when Romans 9:32-33 also refers to stones, as in “a stumbling stone,” the “rock of offense” that Paul quotes from Isaiah 28, in the context of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, the imagery of a stone has that much more meaning and depth.  Beyond the basic understanding that stones can get in our way and trip us up, lies the rich history and meaning that the people of Israel associated with stones, straight from their own history, from their own prophets and leaders, even back to Jacob–Israel himself.

Benjamin — both the person and his descendants — also has received frequent mention.  Today’s readings, for example, featured Benjamin himself (Genesis 45), then Romans 11:1 (Paul “an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin”), then 1 Samuel 9 (introduction to Saul the soon-to-be king), and again in Jeremiah 37:12 — “Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property among the people there.”  Jeremiah chapters 37 and 38 also frequently mention the “Benjamin Gate” in Jerusalem.

Scripture Thoughts from Jeremiah and Revelation

June 17, 2010 Comments off

From my Bible reading lists, the following observations from lists 7 and 8,  Jeremiah and Revelation.

Jeremiah and Revelation feature many references to the future events associated with Christ’s return, including the gathering of the nations, and judgment.
Consider Jeremiah 16:19 — “to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.”  Then in Revelation 15:4 comes very similar wording about the nations:  “All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”   The verses in Jeremiah 16 use global language (“all nations” and “from the ends of the earth”), promises in a section talking about Israel’s future restoration.  The reading in Revelation 15, my very next reading selection, again emphasizes that all the nations will come to worship the Lord.

The MBC (MacArthur Bible Commentary) concurs with the natural reading of the texts, adding that Jeremiah 16:19-21 was partially fulfilled after the Babylonian exile when some Gentiles renounced their idolatry.  But the final fulfillment awaits the Second Coming — events also described in Revelation 15.  The MBC also gives additional references:  Isaiah 2:1-4; 49:6; and 60:3.

A few chapters later, Jeremiah and Revelation continue the judgment theme, as in Jeremiah 18:21-23 and Revelation 16:5-7.  In the first text, Jeremiah cries out for judgment upon those who have plotted against him, in words very similar to the imprecatory Psalms, with such lines as “deliver up their children to famine; give them over to the power of the sword; let their wives become childless and widowed,” and concludes with “deal with them in the time of your anger.”  Lest anyone think Jeremiah’s words unduly harsh, that Christians should not think such things of their enemies who persecute them, note that Jeremiah does give the matter to the Lord:  “Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger.”  Revelation 16:5-7 declares:  “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink.  It is what they deserve!” And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, Lord God the Almighty, true and just are your judgments!”

One more parallel from recent reading:
List 5 — Psalm 116:15 —  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
List 8 — Revelation 14:13 — And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”

Bible Reading Highlights

June 15, 2010 Comments off

Reflection on selected passages from my recent Bible readings:

Psalms 105 and 106 are both longer psalms that recount the early history of Israel, from two different perspectives:

  • Psalm 105 looks at the good things of God’s faithfulness, His deliverance of Israel and His judgment on Egypt.
  • Psalm 106 recounts the same general historical time period but points to the many failings and unbelief of the people.

Psalm 107 makes for interesting reading on the same day as Mark 4; I especially noticed these verses:
Psalm 107: 29-30 —  He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.   Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.

Mark 4:39-40 features a literal “fulfillment” of these verses, the story of Jesus calming the storm.  Of course Psalm 107 is not intended to be prophetic, but it still is interesting to see how the psalmist describes a wonderful scene of God’s power over nature–and then the Messiah came and literally demonstrated that power to His disciples.

This time through Judges, I noticed Judges 6:2, which tells us that the people of Israel made the dens, the caves and strongholds in the mountains, because of the Midianites.  I’ve been listening to S. Lewis Johnson’s series through the life of David, and so this brief statement jumped out as I realized that all the caves and strongholds mentioned in 1 Samuel were not natural caves, but must have been the very structures built a few hundred years earlier in Gideon’s day.  It’s yet another interesting look at God’s providence, that the very caves built by the Israelites in their rebellion (during a time they were under enemy oppression, having disobeyed God) served greater purposes in the time of David and his men.

Lists 6 and 7, currently in Judges and Jeremiah, share the similar theme of Israel’s idolatry and their long history of Baal worship.  Jeremiah 10, among many such chapters in Jeremiah, has strong words concerning the Baals.  Judges 6 tells the situation in the day of Gideon, the early history of Baal worship, including the specific incident of Gideon destroying the Baal idol at his father’s home.

A few great verses out of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 9:23-24:

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

and Jeremiah 10:11 — a verse to the nations, written in Aramaic, as an example of Jeremiah the prophet to the nations (reference back to Jeremiah 1):

Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”

Highlights From Recent Bible Readings

June 9, 2010 Comments off

Some highlights from recent readings through my modified Horner Bible Reading plan:

Joshua 24:32 closes the book of Joshua with a note about Joseph’s bones, brought up from Egypt and buried at Shechem.  The same day’s reading included the well-known chapter Hebrews 11 — which includes an interesting comment about Joseph’s bones in Hebrews 11:22:  “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.” Both of these verses recall the original incident; Hebrews 11 tells us that Joseph spoke of this by faith; Joshua 24:32 tells us that Joseph’s burial wish was carried out, as a way of confirming the truth of all that Joseph had spoken of:  the exodus, that his descendants would one day return to the land promised to Abraham and his family.  Joseph looked forward to the future day of resurrection, too, in his desire to be buried in that land, to be in that land when his body would one day be resurrected.

Genesis 18 (List 2) gives one example of that which is described in Hebrews 13:2 (List 3, same day’s readings):  “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Lists 7 and 8 now feature Jeremiah and Revelation, and here I note that both men were prophets to the nations.  Jeremiah 1:10 gives Jeremiah’s commissioning:  “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”  Revelation 10:11, at the end of the vision of the mighty angel and the little scroll, tells John that he “must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”  Both Jeremiah and John had a strong message of judgment to all who will not repent.

Mercy and Judgment:   Several recent readings deal with these contrasting attributes of God.  James 2, the chapter on faith with deeds, emphasizes the importance of showing mercy to one another, tells us that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13), with the stern warning that judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.

Several of my other readings for the day — Genesis 19, Judges 3 and 4, and Jeremiah 7 and 8 — show various aspects of God’s judgment and mercy.  Lest we focus solely on God’s judgment and forget His mercy, Genesis 19 tells the story of the deliverance of Lot from Sodom. Genesis 19:16 expresses that the Lord was merciful to Lot; the end of the chapter also tells us that the Lord rescued Lot from Sodom, for Abraham’s sake (v. 29): “So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.”

Judges 3 and 4 show the common pattern throughout this book, of the people disobeying the Lord, then judgment, followed by deliverance from the judgment.  Jeremiah 7 and 8 are in a section full of judgment, to remind us of the seriousness of sin — sin similar to the time of the Judges but now even worse, such that in Jeremiah 7 the Lord even tells Jeremiah not to pray for the people:  “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.”

Psalm 104 is a wonderful psalm of praise to the creator God, expressing thanks to God for His wonders, for His care and concern for His creatures.

Various Scripture Thoughts for Today

June 3, 2010 Comments off

God’s Divine Providence, Fore-ordination, and Omniscience, as Shown in 1 Samuel 23

From S. Lewis Johnson’s “Lessons from the Life of David,” I’m now in 1 Samuel 23, a chapter that shows God’s amazing providence in the ways that He delivers David from Saul.  The incident at Keilah, where David inquires of the Lord if the men of Keilah will give him over to Saul, shows both God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, with no contradiction in these two seemingly incompatible ideas.  But an appeal exclusively to God’s sovereignty, in the case of Keilah, would have left David and his men passively waiting around for Saul to show up and to be handed over to Saul by the Keilahites.  After all, God said they would hand him over to Saul, so leave it to fate.  But no, David understands the message from God and decides that it’s time to get out of Keilah.

This incident from David’s life also shows God’s divine foreordination and omniscience.  Our God not only knows everything that will come to pass, from beginning to end, past to future — He even knows the things that could happen given certain contingencies, and He knows what the men of Keilah will do given a set of circumstances.

In my daily Bible reading, I’m a few weeks away from 1 Samuel, back in Joshua 15 — a very tedious chapter filled with lists of land descriptions and names of the many cities and villages given to the tribe of Judah.  Yet amongst the many obscure names listed there are a few familiar names, including Ziklag, and Keilah.  I probably would have missed the reference to Keilah but for the SLJ bible study in 1 Samuel 23 today.

Another verse to add, from today’s readings, to go with the above theme of God’s providence and sovereign control:
Proverbs 16:33, The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

God’s Faithfulness and Promises
From some of my other recent readings, some great verses that show God’s faithfulness and His great promises:

(From list 7) — Isaiah 61:11:   For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

The first part of that verse reminds me of Genesis 8:11 (list 2):  God’s mercy in bringing forth the new world after the flood.  The dove found the olive leaf, a sign of new plant life, that God was already causing the earth to bring forth its sprouts.  Isaiah 61-62 also tell us that, as surely as we can observe plant life, so we can count on God to fulfill what He has promised, that He will “cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations” at His second coming.  God’s promise to restore Israel to the land, and to give them great blessings and prominence among the nations, is just as sure as what we can observe in how the earth and gardens bring forth the plants.

Bible Reading Selections

May 18, 2010 Comments off

From my recent reading in my modified Horner Bible Reading Plan, the following observations:

From Deuteronomy 8:2:  “to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”  Though in this context the background is the forty years in the wilderness, the words are still true for other situations.  Here I thought of my recent reading in 2 Chronicles 32, regarding Hezekiah, that God tested him to know what was in his heart:  verse 31, “But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.”

Readings in Deuteronomy often relate to other readings, as for instance the day when I read both Deuteronomy 7 and Ezra 9 — both texts have to do with the Mosaic law’s prohibition against intermarriage with non-Israelites.  Today, Deuteronomy 16 talked about the Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles), one of the three major annual festivals.  The List 6 reading, Nehemiah 8, included the celebration of that very feast, one that the Israelites had neglected to observe:   “for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so.”

Another interesting “coincidence” in parallel reading came the day I read Job 41 (List 4), and then Isaiah 27 (List 7).  Job 41 is God’s description of the creature Leviathan, as one of God’s mighty works of creation, to humble Job.  Isaiah 27:1 again uses the word “Leviathan,” speaking of God’s destruction of the true spiritual creature “Leviathan” — the devil, who shows the qualities of the real sea monster.

Finally, a great verse to meditate on:  Isaiah 26:3

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

This verse, from my recent readings in Isaiah, especially sticks out because of the scripture song associated with it, from George and Kathy Abbas.  Such verses are easy to remember when set to music, and contain great wisdom, these treasures from God’s word.