Day 199 (July 18): Judah’s worthless treaty with Egypt, a warning for Judah, those who choose God will be blessed, sorrow for those why rely on Egypt, Israel’s ultimate deliverance, the downfall of Assyria

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.

Isaiah 30-31:9

Isaiah 32:1-20

Isaiah 33:1-24

Questions & Observations

Q. (Isaiah 30:1-7): Now this is really happening, right?  It’s not a prophecy?  Why would Judah ally with Egypt when they are so far away and across a desert?

A. Judah was seeking an ally against Assyria and the nations that would follow her, such as Babylon, the nation that will bring about Judah’s destruction.  In desperation, Judah reaches out to Egypt for protection (Egypt had great influence in this area for most of Israel’s history and used the area as a trade route).  But Isaiah is still prophesying: those who ally with Egypt will be humiliated for doing so.

O. (30:15b): I like these words “resting in me!”  Among our stresses, or Judah’s, we can rest, having faith in Him and knowing He will take care of us.

Q. (30:19b): I know that this charge is directed at Judah.  I think we can apply to our lives.  My husband always says he feels bad asking God for help.  If someone asks him if they can pray for him, he has a hard time coming up with something.  He says he feels blessed and doesn’t feel like he needs to ask for anything.  I think he gets this to, or at least I do, from the fact that we are to humble ourselves toward God.  And, asking for help would mean that God isn’t providing enough, when, in fact, He provides plenty.  I, on the other hand, differ.  I think of God as a parent.  He wants to help us.  If we don’t ask for help, then we are taking on our problems by ourselves and that’s not what He wants.  He wants us to seek Him, right?  And, acknowledging that we need help shows that we know God is in charge?

A. God does indeed desire for us to seek Him (Jeremiah 29:12-14), but there is no need to ask for help if there is no help needed.  We are not required to ask simply for the sake of asking.  But it sure is nice to know that there is help out there, just a “prayer away” as it were, when the help is needed.

Q. (30:21-22): Are these verses talking about the Holy Spirit here?  To me, it’s saying that if you ask for God’s help, He will surround you and you will know that God’s hand is in your life.

A. The Spirit of God is clearly at work in these verses, and I would say you have judged them correctly.

O. (30:26): Here is the number 7 again which signifies completeness.  See Day 3’s reading for more on the significance of several numbers used repeatedly in the Bible.

Q. (31:8): Judah and Israel are constantly at odds with the Assyrians.  What is it about Assyria?  Why are they so strong?  Why are they enemies?

A. Assyria is a powerful nation that is, frankly, much more interested in Egypt then Judah.  That’s because Egypt represents the other major power in this area.  So, basically, Judah is stuck in the middle between these two rivaling superpowers.  It’s not so much that Judah is the “enemy.”  Judah is a meaningless spec of dirt to Assyria, but it is a spec of dirt that is right in the path they desire to go in order to move against Egypt.

Q. (32:1-3): Is this a prophecy?  Who is coming?  Before I started BibleBum, I didn’t know much Old Testament past the Exodus except for a few stories here and there.  And then, I know more of the NT, well about Jesus’ birth and resurrection.  So, anytime I read scripture about a king coming, I think the author is referring to Jesus.

A. One of the “signs” of the restored kingdom is a righteous king from David’s line who will rule.  And Judah/Israel (once restored) will see this King in the incarnation of Jesus, but He will be a king like they have never seen before.  As Jesus Himself said, His kingdom is not of this world at all (John 18:36)!

Day 195 (July 14): The godly will enjoy the fruits of their labor, the godly are never defeated, the Lord’s love is unfailing and everlasting, don’t sleep until a house for the Lord is found, God chose Jerusalem, God is supreme

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 128-130

Psalm 132

Psalm 134-135

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalms 128, 129): These two contrast in that 128 says that those who “fear” God will enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Whereas in 129, the author has been continuously persecuted for his beliefs, but never defeated.  So, as a Christian, you never know which life you will have, but regardless, God will be with you.  Would this be an accurate interpretation?

A. Those would be the extremes, but many Christians (notably those not in the West) live somewhere in between.  God can choose to bless them greatly, but there are still times of persecution where many are made to suffer.  The same can be true for any of us: God uses us for whatever He desires, but you have the last part right: He will neither leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5).

Q. (135:5): I am still curious about the Bible’s authors acknowledging other gods, usually saying that the Lord is better.  But, why even call them a god when they don’t actually exist?  If there were other gods, God would have had to create them because we learned in Genesis that the earth was nothing.

A. The Bible speaks clearly about the existence of other beings besides humans, which do not have bodies — that is they are spiritual beings — called angels.  We call the evil ones demons.  Not all of these angels are on the side of God.  It is possible (and the common Christian interpretation) that these evil or fallen angels give demonic power to other nations, and attempt to influence their leaders.  Watch for the interaction with one in Daniel 9 when we get there.  So it is very possible that we understand these beings to be the other “gods” worshipped by the nations, but that only God is supreme.  And you’re right: fallen angels are indeed created beings, which adds a wrinkle to our understanding of why God made them in the first place.  Of course, the same question could be asked of human beings.

Q. (135:13): Many of the Bible’s stories seem so amazing to me.  It’s crazy that so many people follow God.  The Bible has done a great job of carrying the stories to written form and they are still read by millions today.  It’s pretty spectacular that the Bible is still regarded as such an important book.  A charge: carry it on to the next generation.  Make sure the little ones know what it is and that truth comes from it.

A. That is certainly an important charge, especially in an increasing post-Christian world, that thinks it knows the Bible, but in truth knows very little about it.  Would that this were not true for many Christians!  Sometimes its not just the next generation that needs to know about the Bible, but the current one.

Day 191 (July 10): Thank God for always being there to rescue, the wise will see the ways of the Lord, the godly will be honored and infuriate the wicked, God revives those who are suffering

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 107, 111-114

 

Questions & Observations

O. (Psalm 107:1-7): God has such grace and mercy.  No matter how far away from God one has strayed, he will always welcome them back and give them a place to reside.  What a gift we have in Him!

O. (111:10): Great verse.  I have been feeling wiser.  Reading the Bible in it’s entirety is the best decision I have ever made.  I have wanted to do it for so long and started several times.  What could be more important in life than knowing God’s textbook.  It should be the foundation for who we are and how we live!  I always said — because I hadn’t found time to read the Bible — that as long as I love everyone and act accordingly, I would “make it.”  But, I can see that I was naïve!  There is a ton more of knowledge available that is helping me know more of what my life is about.  I wish everyone could make the time!

O. (112:1): Several years ago, we were gearing up for our daughter to attend Kindergarten.  Although we lived in the best school district in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, we wanted our daughter to not just be exposed to Christianity, but to live it, to be it.  What a great decision that was!  I cringe at the thought of my kids not being allowed to pray or not taught the virtues of the Bible.  If there is any bullying going on at school, it is immediately dealt with.  In my daughter’s Second Grade class, I have witnessed kids talking through hurt feelings with love and respect.  These kids are so compassionate.  I left my daughter’s birthday party in tears.  Each child said a prayer out loud for her.  Classical Christian schools rock!  They make it very clear that God should be the center of our lives.  I know by talking about this that some may think I’m a know-it-all or inconsiderate because private schools are so expensive.  In society’s standards, we can’t afford it.  Many things have been put on hold because our children’s education comes first.  I’m just saying, check it out!  And, there are scholarships available.  (Sorry for those of you who are reading this and have no children.)

Q. (112:3): I’m holding out for the riches.  Really, God, I will be generous!  I do believe that if you follow what God wants you to do that you will have just what you need to be very happy.

A. There’s one of those old “conversations with God” that get used in sermons a lot that I have that I think sums up my thoughts on your question: I asked God to give me happiness. And God said “No”.  He said, “He gives me blessings, happiness is up to me.”

O. (112:4): I love these three virtues — generosity, compassion and righteousness.  If your life isn’t great by society’s standards, I think it’s awesome that a light can shine if you are a believer of God.  I think those three things can help you stay happy by giving of yourself.

Q. (112:7): As I have said in the above observation that our budget is tight.  We moved a year ago, my husband started his own business which can be stressful, you know this if you have ever done it, our daughter’s school bill doubled with the change of school and we have another child starting, so our school bill will be quadrupling from two years ago.  But, the more we trust in God, the less we are concerned about it.  It’s scary that it feels good.  I guess money is the fear that we are trying to hand over to God.  But, there are more fears like my in-laws are dealing with: many of their friends are fatally ill.  I’m sure that makes them look at their own vitality.  There are fears about our children being safe.  Just pray and hand those worries over to God!

A. (Just as a quick note, when I’m discussing fear in my response, I’m not talking about fear in the sense of reverence for God, and a right understanding of who He is, as in Proverbs 1:7, among other references.  I would use the word reverence myself.  That’s not the type of fear I’m going to be discussing).  Now then: fear (anxiety, cowardice, etc.) though sometimes a powerful motivator, is ultimately a fruitless emotion.  And fear is not of God.  If you think about it (and as 1 John 4:18 notes), the opposite of love is not hate, but fear.  Fear is the very antithesis of what God calls us to.  We are called to see the example of His love for us on the cross, and trust Him with the rest.  The more we trust Him, the less we will fear.  Now that doesn’t mean that fear will just, poof, disappear.  We will continue to struggle with fear and sin our whole lives, even as we grow closer to God.  But as we see the work of God in the Bible and in our lives, we will see that God calls us to have a spirit of boldness and trust, not a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).  One of the most common commands in scripture (especially when encountering God or an angelic being) is, “do not fear”.  Trust in God, and learn from Christ what it means to live a bold life for Him.

Day 188 (July 7): Give thanks to the Creator, God is eternally strong, the wicked will be judged justly, the godly get joyful rewards, nothing can conquer God,

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 92-97

Questions & Observations

O. (Psalm 92): Notice the organization of this psalm.  First, they say to give thanks and praise God in the morning in the evening (to me, whenever or as much as the feeling arises).  Second, they show their depth of knowledge of what God means, acknowledging God’s complexity and creation. And lastly, the amazing rewards for the godly.

Q. (94): Here the author is naming some ungodly traits: gloating, arrogance, boasting.  He is saying that these wicked people should wake up.  Are they so foolish that the think God will not notice their sins, that He will spare them?  This always makes me think of judgment day: those who have always rose to the top as they put others down will have the tables turned on them.  It’s bitter sweet though.  As a Christian, I feel sad for them that they didn’t see the Light and now will suffer for a very long time.

A. One of the common warnings Jesus gave during His earthly ministry is summarized in Matthew 20:16, “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”  It is what is commonly called the great reversal.  It is a clear warning to those who have enjoyed life in this world without consideration for others who are not as fortunate.  Wealth can be a great blessing from God, and in the right hands it is.  As long as we keep a proper perspective on things (i.e. all the wealth we have comes from God’s blessing, not our effort), then we will have nothing to fear from our wealth on the Day of Judgment.  But if our attitude is that we have earned all that we have, and it is to be used for our benefit and comfort alone, we will likely be in grave trouble.  Now I would add that salvation is possible for all who believe in Christ, but if a person of great wealth who uses it to exploit others, I would question whether they had understood the central message of the Gospel at all.

Q. (96): This is a psalm of huge proclamation.  Verse 13 is talking of the messiah?

A. I would say no: it appears to be speaking of the rule of God alone, and His earthly King/Messiah does not appear to come into view in this writer’s perspective.

Day 187 (July 6): Joyful are His followers, a charge for the kings, the wicked are successful but they will feel God’s wrath, God created us, He knows us, a cry for God’s care, those who find shelter in God find rest

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 1-2, 10, 33, 71, 91

Questions & Observations

O. (Psalms 1:1-3): If you think about things that kind of irritate you, bring you down and you just can’t shake them, where do those thoughts stem from?  I hadn’t thought about this until just now.  Whatever those thoughts are, they do not include God.  But, when I am focused on God, I am always happy.  When I listen to our local Christian music station, 88.3 FM, I am welling with happiness.  So, set your eyes on God and you will find happiness!

O. (1:4-6): What a comfort to know that God is always watching over us, as long as we are on His path.

Q. (2:7): We talked before about the anointed kings being like God’s sons.  The people are encouraged to follow the king’s orders and the kings are charged with being wise and making good decisions.  Why does God link the kings directly to Him?

A. Ok, first things first.  Generally, one of the ways that these ancient cultures thought about royalty is that their leaders were anointed by God (or whatever other gods there were in their society), and were therefore given the title of “son” of God/god.  This is only a cultural title, and does not generally apply to actual genealogy.  Now, having said that, this Psalm is something else entirely.  Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm, one that describes actions or characteristics of the Messiah, God’s anointed or chosen, ruler, and here we see the ruler described as an earthly king.  So in this case, the writer really is referring to a father/son type relationship between God and this Messianic ruler, which the Jews of this era would have been expecting.

One of the “offices” or “titles” that the Messiah will hold (that is, and office anointed by God) is that of king (the others are priest and prophet, so watch for Messianic descriptions of these offices as well).  He is God’s chosen ruler, the one whom the government will be on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).  He, the whole of God and the best of our humanity, will be the true ruler in the Kingdom of God.

Q. (2:16-17): This psalm and many others speaks so confidently about God’s power, yet they also speak of their reservations about God not being sovereign and failing to help ones who are suffering.

A. I think they are being true to their thoughts: they know God to be all-powerful, and trust in Him, but see that their reality is a lot more “gray” then they would like.  It, to me, is the writer’s attempt to reconcile the truth of God with what they see.

Q. This is a random thought: it seems like in Bible times, people who were following God, or any false god, made lots of time in their day to worship.  I would say a good majority of Sunday Christians just worship on Sunday and maybe say prayers before they eat dinner.  In contrast, some religions in other countries worship at set times during the day and may seem more devoted than the when-we-make-time-for-it religion. But, I’m wondering if God maybe might approve of someone’s faith in Him when they worship on their own time and don’t feel forced to attend.

A. As we have discussed with the issues that got the Jews in trouble in this era, God is after our hearts first and foremost.  So we’ve got to get rid of this idea that we are being “forced” to do anything with our relationship with God.  If you feel like you have to force yourself to be part of religious ritual, then frankly, I would say that’s a problem with you!  It should be our desire to make God the priority in our lives.  From the 10 Commandments on, however, we see that God only requires one day a week from us (the Sabbath—however we choose to interpret it).  What we give from there is, strictly speaking, up to us.  (And I would say the same applies to tithing — 10% required, more than that optional and at our discretion).  Our relationship with God should never feel forced: we would be very concerned about a person if they were asking, “how much time do I have to spend with my kids or my spouse?”  That would tell me there’s a major problem with the relationship, and it would be the same concern I would have if that’s the way they treated their relationship with God.

Now having said that, there’s a flip side to this that does need to be addressed.  I think that the record of scripture teaches clearly that giving God more of our time, talent, or treasure does NOT make Him love us more, but it may change us in the process (note the difference between the two!)  Being devoted to God more hours in a given day will not cause God to bless us more, but it might bring us into closer relationship with Him.

Q. (Psalm 71): It seems that a lot of Psalm writers are worried about God forsaking them.  The writers almost threaten God to not leave them.  Why?

A. Very likely some of these Psalms are written in the midst of terrible things happening to the people of Judah (like watching a foreign power march through and destroy Israel).  The truly insightful Jew is willing to acknowledge that God is all they are really holding onto in the end, so if He “leaves,” then you know you are out of luck.

Q. (Psalm 71:20): Would you say that some “hardship” is sometimes just part of the plan?  I know that the big picture is just to keep trusting in God and He’ll take care of you.

A. Sure.  God does not guarantee us a smooth ride in life, but we believe that He is faithful.  If we ignore His warnings though, we are in danger of being forced to deal with the consequences of our actions.  The choice to sin always bears poisonous fruit, but often we cannot tell whom it will affect.

O. (Psalm 91:4): What a picture of protection!  What a great image of God watching His sheep.  I was thinking about how Jesus, God and the Spirit work for us.  I have always thought of Jesus working for us by saving us from our sins as he was nailed to the cross.  But, His influence didn’t stop there.  Jesus was always trying to reach more people to share the word of God and give them heaven’s salvation.  We are supposed to be like Jesus, reaching out to and protecting those who don’t know Him.

Day 151 (May 31): The wise prevail, fools end in devastation

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.

Proverbs 14-16

Questions & Observations

O. The recurring theme in theses proverbs is godly/wisdom vs. wickedness/foolishness.  I also notice a lot of repetition.  Like other repetition in the Bible, it does a great job of pounding it in.

O. (14:4): I like this verse saying that you have to deal with a mess if you want to be successful.  That’s my motto … and excuse!  So, the success should be coming, right?!  J

Q. (14:12): This must mean eternal life for the godly vs. death for the wicked?

A. No.  What is it talking about is the deceitful path, which can capture both the good and the evil.  It is the seductive path that seems right, but is deadly to those who take it.

O. (14:13): I have known several people with hard childhoods who use laughter and comedy to cope or bring lightness to their lives.  They avoid conflict at all costs.

Q. (14:18): Prudent means to look into the future, but there is that old hymn “One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus.”  What’s the right answer?

A. They’re not mutually exclusive.  You can keep an eye on the future will taking things one day at a time.  In fact, finding some way to do both would appear to be quite wise to me.

Q. (14:20): I don’t understand this verse.

A. I think it’s pretty simple.  Everyone wants to be “friends” with the rich person, even if you don’t like them.  But there is no financial incentive to be friends with poor people, so such people are often cast aside.  I would say there is great insight into human character in this verse.

Q. (14:23): I think fear of failure is the hardest thing to overcome when trying to start something new, especially a business.  For me, it’s also the fear of the unknown.  I know what I want to do, but I don’t know how to get there.  My husband and I want to start a coffee shop one of these days, but figuring out all the details seems daunting!

A. This verse is, I think, assigning value to actually working, not merely talking about working.  I don’t think it has much to say about planning to start a business.  That’s one of our big themes from this book: those who work are rewarded, those who do not lose.

Q. (14:24): Does this mean financial wealth?  All wise people are not rich unless it’s talking about wealth of fulfillment.

A. No, this is not about financial wealth.  Wisdom brings its own rewards, which do not necessarily have anything to do with finances.

Q. (14:26): So, those who fear the Lord, but don’t get everything right, are still promised a place in heaven and protection for future generations?

A. As a general rule.  Don’t forget, this is general wisdom here, not etched in stone principles.  We are saved by our faith, not our deeds, so being in right relationship with God and trusting Him is the most important thing.  Beyond that, anything God chooses to bless us with is up to Him.

Q. (14:28): I was trying to apply this to the leaders of countries.  But there are some out there that grow in population but aren’t glorious nations.  We could apply it to businesses?  Usually if a business does everything right and produces a good product or service, they grow?

A. I would be very cautious with either application.  There are just too many variables out there.

O. (14:29): Amen.

Q. (14:31): I never thought about oppressing the poor as insulting God, but I knew it was bad.  This seems obvious.  I always thought not helping was ungodly.  When a cashier asks if we want to donate to their company’s chosen charity, should we give with a happy heart?  Honestly, I am always a little annoyed by the question.  I usually say “no.” But then, there is that stubbornness.  Here is a business trying to help others and I’m scrutinizing the practice.  But, then again, are they doing it for a tax write-off or out of love?  Should it matter?

A. Helping the poor is one of the crucial things to understand from the Law: If we are all created in God’s image, then we have a responsibility to care for those who cannot support themselves.  Beyond that, however, we all must choose our own ways of going about it.  If it involves donations to companies that you know do good work in this area, then by all means do it.  If you support people you know directly, that is certainly something that honors God as long as your donations are not “holding them back” if that makes sense.  I struggle with the idea that if you make the donation to charities, then you are “done” with your service.  I think it is a very reasonable expectation of Christians that they find a particular area where they can donate their time, talent, treasure, etc. to personally make life better for others.  God surely blesses such efforts.

Q. (14:32): So, this is saying that the godly may go through disaster with the wicked, but at least the godly will have heaven?

A. I would say that’s about right.

Q. (15:1): I may be repeating myself, but this story applies here anyway.  In a past Bible study, the leader said that in most arguments attitude — pride, stubbornness — is half of the problem.  So true, right?

A. Yes.  In fact, I would say it’s more than half.  Pastor Charles Swindoll is quoted as saying that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.  I think that puts it nicely.

Q. (15:23): It’s hard to wait for wisdom.  With so many of my encounters with people, I am trying to think before I speak, mostly, what would God want me to say or what would the loving Jesus do?  But, what happens when I don’t know what they would say and God is not providing me with the words?

A. Sometimes you have to guess, and if you are wrong, ask for forgiveness later.  If we know that we have — intentionally or not — wronged another person, we should in humility make the first step towards reconciliation and apologize.  Forgiveness covers a multitude of sins.

O. (15:24): Comforting thought.

O. (16:1): This is humbling!  And also, rewarding to know that God has a life plan for each one of us.

Q. (16:2): This is also comforting in the way that sometimes I feel like people try to show each other up, even with good things they do.  If the heart is not engaged or they boast about their charity work, then who is it for?  Not God or those you helped.

A. Remember what God told Samuel when he anointed David: we humans look at outside appearance, but God looks at the heart.

Q. (16:4): Can you explain this one?

A. This verse is touching upon a complex theology of predestination, which basically states that all humans were created to fulfill their purposes that God made them for.  So in this case, the verse is saying that the wicked could be raised up and destroyed in order to be an example, or perhaps I should say a non-example, to others.  I have mixed feelings about such ideas, but they are clearly a part of scripture, and one of the things that God desires to teach us is that even in verses that we may not agree with, we must trust that He is sovereign and we are not.

Q. (16:7): No enemies?  Another reason to be godly!  We all have run across people like this who are super sweet, never have a bad thing to say and never seem to have enemies.

A.  Be careful here.  This is another example of general wisdom that may not work itself out in the way you think.  Jesus clearly pleased His Father more than any other human being who has ever lived, but that did not stop Him from having many enemies, who eventually got Him killed.

Q. (16:22): Can you explain this one?

A. It actually fits with all these questions you’ve had about speaking verses not speaking.  If you are discrete, and know when to talk and when to be silent, it will be a fountain of life to you.

Q. (16:26): And, what does this mean?

A. I guess generally it means we tend to work harder with some sort of incentive.  Food is one of the best incentives.

Q. (16:31): Ditto.

A. Though it is difficult for us to understand in a society where only things which are young are valued, this verse is saying that growing old and getting the gray hair that comes with it are something to be respected and admired, like a crown.

Q. (16:33): Love it.  Great saying.  I wonder when dice were invented though.  Is it likely “cast lots” like the footnote says?

A. The lots were like dice, and served the same purpose.