Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 236

The scriptures read are Isaiah 55-57, Psalm 43 and Titus 3.

Isaiah 55. Lots of well known verses in this chapter. A reminder to seek God now while he's near. A reminder that God doesn't think the way we do; his way of thinking is far above ours. More images of fertility and nature.

Isaiah 56. Here we get a breath of fresh air as God extends his blessings to all who follow and obey him, even foreigners and eunuchs, previously barred from being part of the worshiping assembly.

As for Israel's shepherds, they're useless. They are lazy, and therefore poor watchdogs, as well as hungry and concerned about themselves, not the sheep.

Isaiah 57. As a consequence, the good people are neglected. They are carried off by other nations; they die. God will grant them peace but...

God is angry with his people for shopping for other religions. The fertility cults who combine sacred sex and child sacrifice are singled out by him. His harsh language is do to the fact that, since God is like her husband, Israel, by being idolatrous, is being adulterous as well.

Yet God, who is high above us, deigns to dwell with the penitent and lowly. He will not stay angry but will give them peace peace and comfort.

But not to the wicked.

Psalm 43. Couldn't find a decent version of the whole psalm so here are two songs based on different verses. This is actually the last verse but it's so quiet and reflective I think you should listen to it first. Then listen to this, which is based on the 3 verses preceding it and is a bit more upbeat, if somewhat soft-rock.

Titus 3. Paul wraps up our second to last letter from him with a few brief exhortations. Christians should abide by the laws.

We were once unsaved sinners as well. We need to remember that the only reason we are not is God's initiative in Jesus.

Keep to the essentials and don't get lost in the weeds of Bible-nerd rage. Give quarrelsome people a couple of warnings and if they continue to disturb and divide, ask them to take a hike.

Don't neglect the needy.

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