Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Psalm 79): This is the first time where I have read that the Israelites are asking to be lifted from the sanctions caused by their ancestors’ sins. We have read that the sinners are told their punishment will be handed down through their family, but I don’t remember any descendants acknowledging where their pain comes from.
A. We will see that as the generations continue after David — and to a lesser extent Solomon — the people will become increasingly corrupt, often because of their leaders, the kings. And there will be a high cost to the people’s sin, that will not just be borne by those who created the situation, but by those who live after it. In this situation, the results of the previous generation’s sin will be SO obvious that I think you will understand the situation clearly. Hang in there.
Q. (80): Can you tell us the significance of calling the Israelite’s God’s grapevine?
A. Grapes were one of the most important agricultural products in the world during that day. In a day without sanitary water (or knowledge of hygiene), wine (the main product of grapes) was the safest thing to drink — though it had a much lower alcohol content in those days, so no worries about the entire society being drunk. So good grape vines would have been precious to the people, and they would have understood not only the value of the grapes, but also the soil, and the amount of time a farmer would have had to invest in setting everything up correctly. Asaph is calling upon this imagery — he won’t be the last, Isaiah and Jesus will do so as well — to examine the ways that God did all of this for His chosen people, but now the “vine” is threatened.
Q. (81): Will we see in future text a reason why God is letting this destruction happen? From Asaph’s pleadings, the Israelites sound like they are in total despair. Also, is it really as bad as they are writing about? Reading this whiny text, I think in today’s lingo with the response, “drama mama,” but I am judging by today’s standards. This destruction truly is well … true?
A. Oh yes. And the reasons for it will be clear. Jeremiah will make sure of that.
Q. (82): I don’t think God would appreciate verse 2. That’s why I ask is all of this really inspired? Who decided what was “inspired.” Or, do I need to be patient and see that all of Scripture does fit into the Bible’s big picture?
A. So what you are asking is: because God has allowed the true voices of His people to be heard (even if He sees things differently!), the words can’t be inspired? I would disagree with that. One of the most valuable things that the Bible offers us is the true, unfiltered, look at how His people reacted to the things that were happening to them. There will be some truly horrible events that will unfold in our next couple of books, and I do not feel it is in any way unreasonable for the Spirit to inspire His people to speak with their true voices. I wouldn’t worry too much about God taking “offense” or “not appreciating” something printed in the Bible. He is bigger than all of our words, and I believe that we in no way offend Him when we bear our soul and beg for His mercy. It is, to me, a great testimony to the amount of love that He has for His children.