Day 343 (Dec. 9): Paul’s letter to Colosse, Paul’s work for the church, Christ can take over as the old self dies, those who live in Christ will share His glory, behave as an ambassador to Jesus, instructions for Christian households, pray, reflect Jesus in your actions

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.

Colossians 1:24-4:18

Questions & Observations

Q. (Colossians 1:27): What does “Christ lives in you” mean?

A. He’s referring to the presence of God within us, though I confess I am not clear on why he refers to Christ within us rather than the Spirit (though note that his larger point is that the Gentiles have been accepted into God’s family).

Q. (2:7):  How do you “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him?  I would take it to mean that you take Jesus’ love into your heart and let it change who you are.  You let it grow until it takes over.  Then, you will be fulfilled?

A. What Paul is describing is cultivating a relationship with Christ via prayer, the reading of Scripture, and fellowship with other believers.  This is what will allow Jesus’ “roots” to grow in us, and make us more like Him.

Q. (2:20-23): Instead of following the ways of the world, we are to follow Jesus and copy his love and grace in our own way.

A. Yes.  Christ calls us to follow Him in our present circumstances.  What I mean by that is that Jesus does NOT want us to move to the Holy Land and walk around with a group of followers and the die for the sins of the world.  The real Jesus already did that: He doesn’t want clones, but people who willingly follow His teachings and act in the ways that He would act if He were living in your present circumstances.

O. (3:17): This made me think of how different I may act if I wore a name tag that said, “Leigh An, Ambassador for Christ.”  It certainly makes me sit up and think twice about it.

Q. (4:2-6): I admit it — God knows anyway — that I’m a daydreamer when it comes to praying.  I start off a little hasty because I am usually squeezing the prayer between two other projects, errands, etc.  I don’t think I pray respectfully.  Feedback, Rob?

A. Keep trying.  Like anything worth doing, it requires practice.  You must train your body in how to pray, and only you can make the process work — with God’s help, of course.

Day 189 (July 8): Let the world shout the Lord’s name, Jerusalem is exalted, God is our shepherd, tell God of your woes, praise God for the beauty of his complex awesome world

Good day!  I hope your summer is going wonderfully!  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 98-100, 102, 104

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalm 98): I notice the harp is mentioned often as a preferred instrument to accompany praises.  Any idea why?

A. I’m afraid I don’t have a good answer for that, other than to say it was a commonly owned instrument of this era, kind of like a guitar today.  When we think of the NLT’s use of “harp,” what they really mean is what we call a “lyre,” a handheld small stringed instrument, like a mini-harp.  According to my notes, there is a reference to the creator of the lyre (as Jews knew it anyway) in Genesis 4:21, and it was also noted to be the official instrument of the nation, probably made so by King David.  Check out some other readings on it here:

http://topicalbible.org/h/harp.htm

and here (lots of pictures):

http://www.rakkav.com/biblemusic/pages/instruments.htm

Q. (100:3): I bet we will see more references to God and Jesus as the shepherd of us — His sheep.  We have seen it several times already.  Why sheep?  They are meek, quiet, community oriented …

A. That last adjective made me laugh: it makes sheep sound like they form little “sheep clubs” with membership dues or something.  The primary reason, as I think we’ve discussed, though for the life of me I forget where, is that one of the main occupations of Israel was sheep herding and ranching.  Sheep would have been an animal that all Israelites would have been familiar with.  Now having visited a few farms, I would have to disagree with your assessment of sheep as being “quiet” or anything like it — they are noisy animals that only get quiet when things turn bad.  But there are lots of other reasons that I can think of why God would call us His sheep.  Since the list I’m coming up with is fairly extensive, I’m going to defer to two resources on the matter.  The first is a book, called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller (according to Amazon, you can get a used copy for a penny: http://www.amazon.com/Shepherd-Looks-Psalm-23/dp/0310274419)

The other is a person’s blog whom I feel does a good job of summarizing many of the reasons I’m thinking of.  Feel free to leave any feedback in the comments.

http://inhonoroftheking.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-does-god-call-us-sheep.html

O. (102:28): How fortunate are those children who are being taught the ways of the Lord.  I feel for those children who are brought into a house of anger, violence or neglect.

Q. (104): This psalm makes me think of how much we take God’s creation for granted.  I am amazed at all the details that God included, how things were made to coexist, how it all works together.  But, I don’t think about it more than once or twice a day.  Then, of all of God’s creation, it’s the human race that He loves the most and works with the most to try to turn toward Him.  I guess this is because we are created in His image and He desires for us to be with Him to share the beauty of His creation?

A. I would say your guess is correct.

Day 30 (Jan. 30): The Lord asks Job Who he is, God’s power and knowledge are endless

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.

Be sure to check out the link to the video at the end of the Q&As!

Job 38-40:5

Questions & Observations

Q. (Job 38:1-40:2): God puts Job in his place.  What do you say about God’s use of sarcasm in (38:21)?

A. God is certainly putting Job in his place.  Apparently, God felt that Job needed some convincing about who was who in their relationship, and it appears He considered sarcasm a useful rhetorical tool in His epic beat down.

O. I am always looking around in amazement at everything God weaved.  These verses open your eyes to the vast amount of control and care God has for all of His creation.  I think God is addressing Job’s pride here.  How can Job boast that He is so righteous, so undeserving of his devastation?  God says that Job has not begun to match Him in his power, so Job has no right to question God’s ways.  He should know that God is all powerful and has His reasons … and will take care of him like He does everything else.

O. (39:9-12): At first read, I read this just as another “power” testimony.  After reading it a second time, I saw God as the owner and the ox as humans.  Basically, can God trust us that we will abide in Him, work for Him, trust in Him, bring Him glory and others?  Can He trust us, even though we have a will or our own?  Anybody else get that interpretation or another one?

Q. (39:13-18): Rob, can you comment on this one.  It has me a little at a loss other than in 39:18, He may be talking of everyone has their own gifts and should use them accordingly.

A. I think God is telling Job that even in an animal so dumb it doesn’t protect its own young, He has poured His creative energy: even the dumb ostrich is incredibly powerful.  I don’t think you should be looking for human applications in these verses: God is showing off.  It gets better in the next section!

Q. (39:19-25): To me, this is saying that we need to be ready and able for God.  We have to know that the road ahead may be bumpy and have some major battles.  Although the battles may make us uneasy, our loyalty and love will make us excited to do God’s work.  Rob?

A. As with the previous question, I would be careful about trying to gain human insight into God’s monologue.  I think God is really talking about horses: wild creatures (even when tamed) that He created.  He appears to be saying that He delights in the raw power and untamed heart of these animals.  God is saying, “Look at My majesty on display in nature.  You didn’t create this.  I did.”

O. (40:3-5): I picture Job in the Naughty Seat right now.  I joke of this, but I shouldn’t.  I am in the Naughty Seat a lot!  My latest is wanting something to change and getting angry inside because of the way it is.  Instead, I should hand it over to God.  If He wants it to change, He’ll make it change.  I can pray about it, but that doesn’t mean God will make it change immediately or at all.  What I do know that He’s in control and I look forward to what He reveals to me.  It may be me that has a change instead of the thing I think needs to be changed.

O. (40:3-5): ‘Nuf said!

Rob found this super cool video that tells Job in a nutshell.  Check it out!  http://vimeo.com/14254004