Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 265

The scriptures read are Lamentations 3-4, Psalm 68 and 2 Peter 1.

Lamentations 3. Jeremiah is the traditional author of Lamentations (the Hebrew name of which is "Alas"). Is this Jeremiah speaking from experience? Or is this a representative survivor of the fall of Jerusalem? At first what he describes sounds like a beating taken from the Lord.

And then we get to verse 21. What follows is a beautiful poem to God's mercy. He speaks of God's mercies being renewed each morning. Of God not willingly bringing grief to humans. (Did verse 30 about turning one's cheek to the smiter stick in young Jesus' mind when he studied the scriptures at his local synagogue?)

There is also the episode of being thrown in a pit about to drown. Is Jeremiah being poetic about being thrown in the muddy cistern? But then God hears his cries and comes to his rescue, saying "Do not fear." God and his angels say that a lot.

Lamentations 4. We're back in the besieged city of Jerusalem, starving. People are boiling and eating their children. True? Or a rumor?

"The evil guilt of my dear people was worse than the sin of Sodom..." Don't tell the Westboro Baptist Church! It will mess up their theology.

It was the sins of the prophets and priests who brought this about. On their hands was the blood of the just. The writer is horrified that the king, God's anointed, was struck. He can't believe it.

Laugh it up, Edom. You're next!

Psalm 68. You're about to hear a very popular song inspired by this psalm. It's also inspired a lot of creative takes. I've run across a Holy Hands version and a mime version but this tango version takes the cake!

2 Peter 1. We have everything we need to live the Christian life, because God has incorporated us into the divine life itself. So keep adding from what God offers to what you already have: to your faith add goodness, and then knowledge, and then perseverance, and then godliness, and then mutual affection, and then love.

The second half is about not accepting made up stories but eyewitness accounts. And it's not a matter of personal opinion but God speaking through his prophets whose words are captured in scripture.

BTW, just 100 days are left in the Bible Challenge! You're in the home stretch!

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