Contemplative Bible Reading

Some thoughts about Bible verses

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Keep the Way of the Lord

July 9th, 2017 · No Comments

Genesis 18:19 (New Living Translation)

I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.

God is discussing Abraham, who will become the father of many nations. God selected Abraham from all mankind to keep the way of the Lord. Okay, here it is. Let’s note this one and follow it. How do we keep the way of the Lord?

Let us do what is RIGHT and JUST. Okay, where is the rest of it? Where are all the really big things? There must be more to it, right? I suppose not. God wants us to do two things:

Right

Just

Hmmm. Come to think of it, I’m not doing too good here. There seems to be a lot of WRONG and INJUSTICE about and around me. Back to the drawing board. Please God, help me in my unbelief.

→ No CommentsTags: Genesis · Old Testament

Captured Gold for God

July 8th, 2017 · No Comments

2 Samuel 8:7 (New Living Translation)

David brought the gold shields of Hadadezer’s officers to Jerusalem

David captured gold items from a defeated enemy. He brought to gold to Jerusalem to use for God.

Let’s step through this one. The enemy was evil, no respect for God the creator. God helps David defeat this enemy. David confiscates the gold. David brings the gold to God.

Did God need this gold?

What do we give to God? Does God need what we give? Does God want us to give to create a closer relationship with God? Where do we get the stuff we bring to God? How do we obtain it? Any more questions we’d rather not answer this morning?

I contribute money to a local church that I attend. That money pays for the time of people who can work in the community and in the church for God. I am not alone in this giving as countless persons have done the same for some 20 centuries. I am blessed in that I don’t live in a time a place where I conquer evil enemies each summer and bring captured goods back home. I don’t have to decide what David had to decide.

Still, some questions we can keep in mind.

→ No CommentsTags: 2 Samuel · Old Testament

Learning Treachery from Saul—Choosing Our Teachers

July 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

1 Samuel 18:17 (New Living Translation)

17 One day Saul said to David, “I am ready to give you my older daughter, Merab, as your wife. But first you must prove yourself to be a real warrior by fighting the Lord’s battles.” For Saul thought, “I’ll send him out against the Philistines and let them kill him rather than doing it myself.”

Sound familiar. Saul had an idea. He could indirectly kill David by sending him into battle where no one would suspect…

Years later, David sent Uriah, husband of Bathsheba, into battle where no one would suspect…

Coincidence? Perhaps not. We all  choose our teachers. We all choose persons from whom we will learn things. Are we learning the wrong things from the wrong teachers? We certainly have lots of bad-teacher candidates available.

→ No CommentsTags: 1 Samuel · Old Testament

Looks Like an Angel, but…

July 1st, 2017 · No Comments

Judges 13 (New Living Translation)

6 The woman ran and told her husband, “A man of God appeared to me! He looked like one of God’s angels, terrifying to see.

16 “I will stay,” the angel of the Lord replied, “but I will not eat anything. However, you may prepare a burnt offering as a sacrifice to the Lord.” (Manoah didn’t realize it was the angel of the Lord.)

What do God’s angels look like? How do they differ from “men of God?”

How many angels have you and I met this week? Are we sure the answer is zero? Ever had a person decline a meal or other good? Well?

→ No CommentsTags: Judges · Old Testament

I am Safe (really?)

June 25th, 2017 · No Comments

Deuteronomy 29:19-20 (New Living Translation)

19 “Those who hear the warnings of this curse should not congratulate themselves, thinking, ‘I am safe, even though I am following the desires of my own stubborn heart.’ This would lead to utter ruin! 20 The Lord will never pardon such people. Instead his anger and jealousy will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will come down on them, and the Lord will erase their names from under heaven.

No problems. I got this one. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I’ll be fine.

Really? Do we trust God to do what God says? Well, maybe only when God says something good about me?

I believe that God let’s us choose much of what we do. God gives us some direct statements of “if…then…else” (for us computer programming fans). God has the authority to back out of these. I doubt God will do that often. But for me? God will make special case. Right? Oh, what’s that phrase at the start of verse 20? Oh, yeah, “The Lord will never pardon such people.” Oh, well, so much for the I am safe thought.

→ No CommentsTags: Deuteronomy · Old Testament

Slow of Heart

June 24th, 2017 · No Comments

Luke 24:25 (English Standard Version)

And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

What does it mean to be “slow of heart?” How can you make your heart go faster? How do you make yourself believe faster?

No, I don’t have answers. Sometimes it takes me a while to come around to an idea. Especially an idea like that fellow from Nazareth actually did rise from the dead and is walking along the road talking to me. Oh, that idea. Yeah, that might take me a while to, uh, er, come around to it or something.

→ No CommentsTags: Luke · New Testament

Whom do You Worship?

June 18th, 2017 · No Comments

Ezekiel 20:5 (New Living Translation)

Give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: When I chose Israel—when I revealed myself to the descendants of Jacob in Egypt—I took a solemn oath that I, the Lord, would be their God.

The last part of this verse is quite simple and yet profound. All the people’s in the surrounding world at this time had gods, i.e., something they worshiped. Here, we have YHWH (Hebrew) or Jehovah (English), the Creator declares to be the god of the Hebrews and later the Christians.

This is the god I worship—Jehovah the Creator.

This implies the question, “Whom do you worship?”

The answer for many today is, “I worship the god of choice. I worship the god of indecision. I choose this weekend whom I worship and well, uh, next weekend, maybe some other god.”

In an agricultural ancient world, sometimes the farmer paid homage to the god of rain (we’re having a dry year and the crops are suffering) and sometimes to the god of the sun (have to bring in the hay for the winter feed and we need a few dry days).

In our amazing post post post modern world, we have the god of white powder, gold liquid, climbing the mountains, sailing the seas, and all sorts of other things that in the right context are fine, but gosh we never seem to keep them in the right context and they consume our lives in the end and become like gods and how did we ever get here.

Whom do I worship? The Creator or some other thing? The question hasn’t changed in a few thousand years.

→ No CommentsTags: Ezekiel · Old Testament

Turn and Live

June 17th, 2017 · No Comments

Ezekiel 18:23 (New Living Translation)

Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.

In our (post post post whatever) modern world, many see God as the big punisher. God is the ultimate big brother who watches when we trip and smacks us. This, as many say, is especially true about that God in the Old Testament—the one encouraging all the invasion, imperialism, and other bad words that begin with the letter “i.”

How did this verse slip in here? The same goes for most of this chapter. The Creator wants persons to shun evil and live happily.

“But,” the post whatever modern person says, “I am happy when I consume vast quantities of pain deadening stuff and engage in vast quantities of pleasure like fill-in-the-blank.”

So, we have an opioid epidemic and several generations of persons in one-parent families. Lots of persons hurt by other persons and all that.

Evil. Happy life. Judgement. Times haven’t changed much in a three thousand years.

→ No CommentsTags: Ezekiel · Old Testament

Life Without God—No Compassion

June 11th, 2017 · No Comments

Deuteronomy 28:54 (New Living Translation)

The most tenderhearted man among you will have no compassion for his own brother, his beloved wife, and his surviving children.

God describes to His people life without God. The most tender, loving person among us will care nothing about his family—even his own children.

“I’m first. Give me the last bit of food. The rest of you go away and die somewhere.”

When was the last time we heard someone say that? Oh, I’ve never heard anyone in my family or in my church say that. That is because I have been blessed with a family and with fellow followers of Christ in my life who keep God in our lives. Lest we forget, it is pretty darn important to keep God in our lives.

Thank you God.

→ No CommentsTags: Deuteronomy · Old Testament

What Things?

June 10th, 2017 · No Comments

Luke 24:19 (New Living Translation)

“What things?” Jesus asked.

“The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.

This is a great, two-word opening to a sermon.

What things?

Please, tell me what things are amazing you at this time? What things are important in your life today? What things puzzle you? What things do you seek in your life?

What things?

And new, let’s discuss the good news that God brings to us. Perhaps this good news relates to the things in our lives.

→ No CommentsTags: Luke · New Testament