Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 199

The scriptures read are Proverbs 10-12, Psalm 13 and Ephesians 3.

Proverbs 10-12. We are finally, with these aphorisms attributed to Solomon, getting into some actual proverbs. Needless to say, I can't summarize or comment on each. I'm just going to pick up on general themes or particularly good proverbs.

Wisdom, diligence and honesty are good. Their opposites aren't. Also talking too much is bad. (I'm doomed!) Sins of the tongue (lying, slander, gossip) get a lot more attention here than you hear in the pulpit today.

The fear of God (we might say, healthy respect for God) pops up. Also "God hates cheating in the marketplace." Wall Street, you have been put on notice!

Humility, integrity and generosity are getting a lot of love here. Materialism, violence and exploitation are not.

Random verses (not numbered in The Message) that I like from chapter 11:
"When you're kind to others, you help yourself; when you're cruel to others, you hurt yourself."
"Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful face on an empty head."
"The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller."

And from chapter 12:
"Good people are good to their animals; the 'good-hearted' bad people kick and abuse them."
"Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly; the prudent quietly shrug off insults."
"Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise."
"Worry weighs us down; a cheerful word picks us up."

Psalm 13. There are a lot of contemporary songs that are named for individual psalms but they are usually just "based on" the psalm in question or just a few verses and otherwise deviate so much I can't in good conscience use them for this part of my blog. (Why does "blog" have a wavy red line under it? You guys didn't put it in the spellcheck dictionary? Seriously?) But here is a a catchy version of Psalm 13 that manages to get the whole psalm in even though it adds a refrain. Enjoy it here.

Ephesians 3. Paul is writing from prison (probably Rome). When he speaks of the mystery of Christ he is probably tweaking the Gnostics and people who are in mystery cults, where salvation is only for the initiates, the elites, who get secret knowledge to go through the various spiritual levels to reach God. But what Paul is talking about is a kind of open secret. Through Paul and the other apostles God is broadcasting his plan, the gospel, the good news. It is for everyone, not just spiritual snobs.

Paul encourages us to get deeply into what Jesus offers, which is a lot more than we imagine or can imagine.

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