Day 294 (Oct. 21): Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus explains God’s intentions on marriage, Jesus welcomes the children, rich man has difficulty letting go of possessions

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.

Luke 18:9-14

Mark 10:1-31

Matthew 19:16-30

Luke 18:18-30

Questions & Observations

Q. (Luke 18:9-14): I take it from this scripture, that none of us are better than the other.  As soon as you think you are doing well by yourself because of yourself, you become less dependent upon God, which pulls you farther away from Him.

A. The issue here is not the being “better” or worse (and you’ve got that right, by the way).  The issue is pride and contempt: the Pharisee holds those around him in contempt, and sees himself as superior.

Q. (Mark 10:5-12, Matthew 19:9): I don’t understand what “a concession to your hard hearts” means.  Also, here the Bible says that couples should not get divorced.  It’s a sin.  But, I take it’s a forgivable sin? Divorcees can still be saved, right?  Isn’t it Catholics who deny divorcees from some customs?  I didn’t think they will marry anyone who is divorced.  Also, Matthew says it’s OK to divorce if a spouse has an affair?

A. There’s a line between what God desires for us, and what God permits, and this is a clear case of a line given.  God allows divorce under certain circumstances, but His IDEAL is that there would not be divorce.  As we have mentioned, any sin can be forgiven, and this one is certainly included.  It is not the policy of some churches, such as the Roman Catholic Church, to permit divorce routinely, because they see it as a separating of what God Himself joined, for better or worse, I guess.

Day 221 (Aug. 9): Jeremiah questions God’s justice, the rulers have poisoned the people, God will return exiles to their homes and they will prosper, God uses rotting clothes to describe wicked people, a warning against pride and arrogance, Judah’s unbearable drought, the Lord asks Jeremiah to not respond to Judah’s suffering, a prayer for Judah, Judah’s inevitable doom, Jeremiah’s complaint of persecution, God assures Jeremiah that He will protect him

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.

Jeremiah 12-15:21

Questions & Observations

Q. (Jeremiah 12:1-4, 5-13): Jeremiah is complaining here about the evil surrounding him and why those evil people are not suffering.  Then, God answers Him.  I think He is saying that if Jeremiah thinks he has it rough, he should step in God’s shoes and see what he has to stomach.  In v. 12, God is saying that this evil will be faced with suffering?

A. The suffering will be the consequence of the evil, yes.

Q. (12:14-17): Is God describing Judgment Day here, when the believers go to heaven and the rest … well, go somewhere else?

A. God is describing a judgment day for Judah, but not all humanity.

Q. (14:1-7): What a vivid picture this parched land paints.  I feel so sorry for the people and all other life.  But, then again they had a million chances to turn to God.  I can’t believe that the people — if that’s what is happening here, Jeremiah is speaking for them — would turn this back on God.  After all of His warnings to them, they advise Him to protect His reputation.  This has to hurt God so much to see the people He created, that He loved and wanted to nurture be so devastated, but then, they still look at God for blame instead of themselves.

A. While there is precedent for the argument (its basically the one Moses used to convince God to not destroy Israel in the wilderness in Exodus 32), it was surely shameful for the people to use God’s reputation to excuse their own actions.  As we’ve discussed a bit in Jeremiah, a big part of the people’s problem is that they are listening to the wrong voices: they are listening to false prophets and corrupt priests who proclaim peace when war and destruction is at their doorstep.

Q. (14:19-22): Do we know if this is the pulse of Judah right now, or is Jeremiah praying for the people?

A. He is making a plea on their behalf.

Q. (15:18): I feel for Jeremiah here.  I often have the same thinking, “how long can this go on?”  It’s hard to praise God when you have Him in your heart and trying to live the life He desires us to live, yet a stressful situation we/I/Jeremiah is in remains status quo.  I must say that I do love when God answers.  It’s so refreshing and exciting.  The waiting though is almost unbearable.  When I think about it, it just seems like our whole time on Earth is a testing ground for God to see if we pass the test to get into heaven.  I hope this isn’t dishonoring God by saying this.  I have often thought it, but then as my faith grows, I think that being in heaven for eternity makes our petty complaints here seem lame.

A. The perspective of eternity can surely change the way we look at and understand present circumstances.