Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The One Year Bible- May 17, 2006

With the school year winding down and vacations on the horizon it is easy to get out of the routines and habits of daily life. It will be very easy for some of us to neglect our time in the Word because of changes in our schedules and the busyness of life. I have already found myself searching for a time to read my Bible since the semester is over. Don’t let this get you down. Maybe it is time to find a new time and or place to read. This would also be the time to make sure you have a buddy reading with you. The two of you can work together to find time and to keep each other accountable. Remember, summer is right around the corner so take your Bible to the beach; don’t forget to take it on vacation and most importantly, remember that God loves you, even when you are a few days behind in your reading. On to the study….

Where We Have Been

The Old Testament
This weeks readings focused on the beginnings of the monarchy in Israel. God had finally allowed an earthy king but He said that it would be filled with some unexpected problems. The people still insisted and there were troubles. Saul was a man who had no equal. He was a head taller than the others and was good looking too.. Samuel reminds the people of what will happen to them under a king and gives them this warning, “But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.” (1 Samuel 12:25 NLT) For those of you who remember the story this is exactly what happened. Many generations later the people were taken into exile and swept away. Only a remnant survived. Chapter thirteen begins a regular pattern that we will see when the Kings are discussed. “Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty-two years.” (1 Samuel 13:1). We will see this same pattern when each King is introduced. “X was Y years old when he became king, and he reigned for Z years." Saul seems to be doing OK until he gets a bit impatient. Saul ended up sacrificing a burnt offering himself without Samuel or a priest there; big mistake. Samuel tells Saul how foolish a thing he has done and then he drops the bomb, “But now your kingdom must end, for the LORD has sought our a man after his own heart.” Wasn’t it just a few verses ago that Saul was anointed king? The kingdom talk is about his line or family. And a few chapters later, “So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” God has decided to have the monarchy go to a different family, because of Saul’s sin. Now Saul will still be king for a while and God will use him but the days of his kingdom are numbered. This will be different (and I am getting ahead of myself a bit) with David’s kingdom. God will promise that the kingdom of David will last forever. This will come to pass because Jesus will come from the line of David and fulfill this promise as he is a king today and forever. After Samuel anoints David as the new king, a strange turn of events puts the old king and the new king in close quarters. A tormenting spirit filled Saul with depression and fear and he needed some comfort. David ends up being the one to play his harp in the kings presence and to be his armor bearer. This is no coincidence. Saul and David will have a long a tension filled relationship. The best word for it is “DRAMA”. Those of you with teenagers or remember those days know what I mean. Saul acts rather childish and the rest of his life is filled with drama. After the familiar story of David and Goliath we read that Saul and David return victoriously to Israel and the people chant, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This really gets Saul’s feathers ruffled. “So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.” (1 Samuel 18:9 NLT) This was the beginning of some violent interactions between David and Saul. I think Saul goes a bit nuts in his obsession with David and even lies on the ground naked all day. One other great storyline is that of David and Jonathan. They became the closest of friends. They watched out for each other and I believe that their relationship can be a model for us today.

The New Testament
John has an amazing way with words, even after it is translated into English. This week we read the account in chapter eight that is not in many of the Greek manuscripts. Why was it not there? It is hard to be certain, but I love the story that the section contains. The woman who was caught in adultery is guilty. By the law she is condemned to die. It is a powerful scene. Mel Gibson uses this scene in The Passion of the Christ and it is amazing. I wonder what Jesus was writing in dirt. Could it be that he was writing the sins of each of the people who had rocks in their hands? Whatever it was, the people left. I wonder how they felt? Were they convicted of their own sins or were they mad that they did not get to do what they wanted. At any rate it is a great story. Did you notice the “I Am” statements this week? I am reading the New Living Translation this year and the translators capitalized the “I Am” statements in 8:24 & 28. That was cool. Both of these statements occur in a section where people were trying to figure out who Jesus was. “Listen Up People!!! He is telling YOU!!” When he says “I Am” that is your clue. He says it again in verse 58. I guess I would have to put myself in their position. Would I be able to figure it out? I don’t know. I might be one of those who thought Jesus was a crazy guy. We also read on of the “I Am” metaphors. In chapter 8 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that least to life.” (John 8:12 NLT) He uses the same metaphor again in chapter 9:5. These statements are found only in John. He uses them to give an analogy for the reader; to help us understand who Jesus is. They are wonderful statements that I am convinced Jesus said. Some believe that John was putting words into Jesus’ mouth in order to make a literary point. I disagree. I think Jesus knew what he was doing when John remembered these statements as he wrote his Gospel. Wow, I could talk for a while about this so I will stop myself here.

Where We are Going

The Old Testament
We will continue to read about the drama that unfolds between David and Saul. This story gets very interesting. I think their relationship is a bit co-dependant. They seem like they will get along then Saul wants to kill David. It is all a bit nuts.

The New Testament
We will read another wonderful “I Am” statement this week; Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We will also get the story of the death of Lazarus. There is the great story of the woman who anoints Jesus with perfume and we will read the story of the triumphant entry. Next Tuesday, we will read one of my favorite passages. It is the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet. I will have much more to say about that next week.

Key Verses

John 6:68-69
Psalm 108:4
John 8:12
John 8:24
John 8:28
John 8:34-36 (John 8 is pretty amazing)
Proverbs 15:16


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