Day 140 (May 20): Lord, show our enemies your power that they will be disgraced, Solomon becomes king, Solomon is wise to Adonijah’s plan to overthrow him, Adonijah, Joab and Shimei killed, Solomon sacrifices 1,000 burnt offerings, Solomon asks God for wisdom

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.

Psalm 83

1 Chronicles 29:23-25

2 Chronicles 1:1

1 Kings 2:13-46

1 Kings 3:1-4

2 Chronicles 1:2-6

1 Kings 3:5-15

2 Chronicles 1:7-13

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalm 83): This may be our last psalm?

A. By my count, we did not get all of the Psalms (I think Psalm 72 is actually attributed to Solomon- maybe he tried his hand at his father’s hobby of poetry).  There are 150 Psalms in all, and I think we covered a bit more than half of them.

Q. (1 Chronicles 29:23-25): I am sure Solomon did a great job as it states here.  But, are we to apply how Chronicles made David seem like he could do no wrong to Solomon?

A. No.  David is the central figure of Chronicles, and though it will be rosy with parts of his story (as Kings is), it will be happy to show some of his downside at the end of his life, and the effect that it has on the kingdom.

Q. (1 Kings 2:13-25): Why would Adonijah’s request to marry Abishag seal his fate?

A. If you remember from the last “chapter” we read (1 Kings 1), Abishag was the beautiful woman who basically provided body heat to the elderly David as he was dying.  Though David never had sex with her (1:4), she would have been considered a part of his harem.  Adonijah’s — who remember is Solomon’s older brother — plan is really sneaky: he’s trying to play both sides to get another shot at the throne for himself.  Being married to part of the previous king’s harem would have been understood as a powerful sign of your right to the throne, basically that you had “inherited” the rights to these women.  But since she was a virgin, the move appears more innocent, since she wasn’t technically his concubine.  But make no mistake, he is once again trying to plot against Solomon, and he even uses Solomon’s MOTHER to do it!  No wonder Solomon was enraged.

Q. (2:36): Is Shimei back in the picture because he cursed David and Solomon wanted to rid Israel of the evil he inflicted?

A. Based upon the time frames involved (even if it’s a new book), Shimei’s offense would still have been “recent” news in Solomon’s mind.  From the passage as I see it, Solomon had no interest in killing Shimei at all, and basically gave him exile instead, which Shimei foolishly squandered.  Solomon offered him a way out: his death is on his own head.

Q. (2:13-46): I think four people died in this passage.  Death seems to be the punishment of choice for this time period.  Why so harsh?  Because they won’t listen to and respect God’s commands?

A. You don’t mess with the king in this era, especially one put in place by God as Solomon is.  We will see how this plays out in the rest of Kings, when prophets are sent to confront corrupt kings, and often fear for their lives!

Q. (1 Kings 3:1-4): Why did Solomon want to build an alliance with Egypt?  Did Egypt now follow God?  I guess Egypt has been rebuilt?  In verse 3, it sounds as if burning sacrifices was not honorable because of the word “except.”

A. Egypt surely has rebuilt from whatever havoc God wreaked upon it: the Exodus was hundreds of years ago.  While David was a warrior, Solomon is a master diplomat: he will prosper and make his nation great and incredibly wealthy through trade with other nations including Egypt, which would have been a valuable trading partner and also a powerful nation.  He will need these other nations to provide him with supplies for the massive temple building project he is about to undertake.  But don’t be misled: Solomon will regret making some of these decisions, notably marrying foreign wives in clear violation of the Law.

O. (1 Kings 3:5-15): How smart Solomon was to ask God for wisdom.  Something most of us could use, but don’t think to ask God for.  Sovereign Grace has a great kids’ album — I like it just as much as my kids — titled “Walking with the Wise” I have mentioned this album before.  It has a very catchy tune, “Make Me Wise,” that tells of Solomon’s request to God.  You can listen to it at http://sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/Make_Me_Wise/4

Day 139 (May 19): Psalm 79): Asaph cries out to God to quickly rescue the Israelites from their demise as they are being devoured by neighboring pagan nations. He pleads for the Israelites to no longer be punished for their ancestors’ sins. 80) Oh God, bring your glory back to the nation you created. Let it shine! 81) If only Israel would listen, God would bless them. 82) Lord, judge the rulers for what they are: oppressors.

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.

Psalms 79-82

 

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.

 

Day 138 (May 18): 75) God alone will judge us. The wicked will suffer. 76) Nothing compares to the glory and power of God. Pay tribute to God, the one who judges and rescues. 77) God, you have done so many miraculous things, But why are you now so far away? 78) Let us learn from our ancestors mistakes and teach the ways of God to our children.

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.

Psalms 75-78

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalm 75): We have talked about deterrents — punishments that happen to people who “misbehave.”  The thought of being judged for all the things I have done is a big deterrent for staying on the path to righteousness.  It also helps me cope with seeing someone making unholy choices, yet living a lifestyle I may be envious of.  I may not feel rewards now, but I will later.  On the flip side, it is easy to think, “na nanny boo boo, I know better than you do” that those who are acting out will get their punishment.  But then, a stronger feeling comes over to help them so they can also enjoy the afterlife.  Is there any scripture that gives advice on how to turn people toward God without turning them away because they perceive us as “preaching,” “crazy” or a “know-it-all?”

A. There are, and I would say that they primarily come from one of Solomon’s contributions to the OT: Proverbs, the book that imparts the wisdom of the ages.  Since that book is coming up soon on our little list, why don’t we hold on to this one and re-examine it down the road.

Q. (Psalm 76): The psalms have talked about God’s anger, like this one in verse 76:7.  Can you explain this when we usually think that God is loving?  Is it fair to compare God’s anger to a parent’s?  It seems like today’s society tries to foster peaceful relationships.  To children, we say use your gentle hands and nice words.  Lawyers try to settle disputes in mediation.  Yet — I’m not being sarcastic, just saying what I think the Bible says — our role model gets angry.  Personally, I would get angry too … if I were God.  Of course, I’m not and maybe that’s the answer.  God can be angry, but we should try to be more loving.  Maybe it’s the OT vs. the NT?  Doesn’t God’s anger calm down immensely in the NT?

A. It only appears that way if you focus on Scripture from a certain perspective.  Unfortunately, that perspective has become the dominant one in modern Western society: the view that God is ONLY love, and therefore would “never” be angry or judgmental about sin.  But this perspective tends to gloss over — at great expense frankly — the idea that God is holy — set apart — and just, and He is in charge of what goes on and what does not.  When you have a “God” who allows you to do whatever you want with the understanding that they will ALWAYS love you (how does that sound in the parent metaphor?), you can see how things can get pretty messed up pretty fast.  Much of our tolerance of sin in the public eye in society today is, frankly, due to our abandoning the idea that there is an external source of justice and right and wrong — God — and when we do that, anything becomes permissible.  It is certainly something that Christians should be aware of and speaking out against.

One other quick note: we all have our biases when it comes to reading Scripture: there is simply no way to avoid it.  We tend to read — and mentally focus on — our favorite stories at the expense of other Scriptures that are a bit harder to reconcile with our belief system.  So I am not simply attacking those who want to focus on God’s love at the expense of all else: many others can and do read scripture and see no evidence of love, but only of a wrathful God waiting to strike down sinners.  If that’s what you want to see, it’s there.  The trick, I think, is to not allow yourself to be closed-minded to the possibility that there is always more that God desires to teach us about Himself.  If we have that mentality, I believe that we will be much less likely to fall into the trap of Biblical “bias.”

Q. (77): I completely understand that I’m not supposed to understand all of God’s reasons.  It’s not my place, nor anyone else’s.  I think it’s hard for humans to have patience with God, especially when we have read about his great rescuing miracles, like the parting of the Red Sea as is stated here, and wonder why he can’t grant our one simple request.  I know … He has His reasons!

A. I suppose it would depend upon what the request was and why, deep down, you wanted it.  Keep in mind, the nation of Israel was chosen by God not only to be His people, but to bring about salvation to the entire world through the Jewish God/man Jesus.  So that, in my mind, creates a necessity for some of the places where God clearly intervenes in history: if there is no nation — because they’re wiped out by Pharaoh’s armies — then there is no salvation for the world.  I think always keeping the salvation of the entire world in the back of our minds as we read through the OT is a great way to see why certain events unfold the way that they do.  That certainly gives weight to some of the things God does, doesn’t it?  (From Leigh An: This makes me also weave in one of Jesus’ comments when he says things have to be a certain way for the Scripture to be true.)

Q. (78:2): Why does Asaph want to teach in parables and why did Jesus?

A. Parables are a way of presenting truth in story on levels that can reach very different people in different ways.  You can hear the “surface” truth and just get a good story, or if you desire, you can dig into the words and often discover greater “pearls” that the author intended to be found but not everyone will seek.  That, by the way, is probably why they make such great sermons — you can attack them at multiple levels and lay the “inner” parable out for everyone to share.  Jesus will address this issue in his earthly ministry in Matthew 13.

Having said that, what Asaph is doing here is using Israel’s history as instruction on what the people SHOULD be doing, and not truly disguising ideas within the words.  He is not really using the “parable” concept in the same way that Jesus does.  He is using it more like Stephen will do in Acts chapter 7: convict the people of their present sin by looking at sins of the past.

O. (78:40-55): This is an amazing image: God causing all of this terror to the stubborn pharaoh and his people with frogs, gnats, blood, locusts, hail, death, YET he peacefully walks the Israelites out of this plague-ridden land and protects them, like a shield.

Q. (78:65): I don’t think comparing God to a warrior waking from a drunken stupor is very respectful.

A. I agree, but it’s an interesting image, no?

Q. (78:67-68): Can you tell us again why God chose Judah’s descendants for the throne instead of Joseph, who appeared to be the chosen line?

A. I do not have a good answer to that question.  From Jacob’s deathbed blessing (Genesis 48), we have seen the power of Judah grow the further we have come.  The best reason I can see for the move is that Joseph’s descendants (Ephraim) were not very good leaders (they were the ones responsible for losing the Ark when it was in Shiloh), so God rejected them as the prominent tribe and selected Judah instead out of His own purposes.  This will continue with Jesus, whom Revelation will call the Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5).

Join us tomorrow for more Bible wisdom.  We hope you have an awesome day!

Day 137 (May 17): Psalms 50) God says giving thanks trumps sacrifices. We are humble to God’s greatness. 73) Asaph says staying righteous is very difficult, but knowing what happens to the wicked can help keep you on the right path. 74) Lord, how long will you let the destruction of the temple continue?

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.

Psalms 50, 73-74

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalm 50): Do we know if God instructed Asaph what to say in this Psalm?

A. Yes, the text is inspired.

Q. (73): Asaph seems to have a full spectrum of the destinies of those who are good and those who are evil.  We don’t read about Asaph having talked to God much.  Do we know where he gets his knowledge?

A. We do not.  All we know of him is that he was one of David’s musicians and choir leaders.  But I think we can assume that this position came with great responsibility for Asaph to have a heart for God himself, and I see no reason to assume that he was not faithful in his walk with God.  David seems to generally be very good at picking people … with God’s help.  Even that rat Joab served David well for a long time.

Q. (74): What devastation is going on here?  It sounds like enemies are destroying the temple.  Someone invaded Jerusalem?

A. If you mean during David’s time, then the answer is no.  If you mean in the OT, then the answer is yes, but…well, I don’t want to spoil the story.  The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel will lay it all out for us down the road.