Friday, 27 January 2012

Psalm 2

Psalm 2 along with Psalm 1 is often described as the introduction to the whole book of Psalm. There is even some tradition of treating them together. There is a continued treatment of the person who is blessed, moving from the Psalm 1 analysis of the personal action to the Psalm 2 passage where persons play a part in community.

The rebellion of the people in verse 1 and 2 is clear. The leaders in these verses are representative of their nations, their communities. However these very leaders are also targeted for their desire to break out from the way of the Lord. The sin is rebellion, not giving God the honour he deserves, not submitting their life to God's counsel and plans and refusing to be moulded by God.

The actions of these people are rightly ridiculed, they are trying to defy the King of kings, the Ruler of everything, the Counsellor, the Potter and Creator. They are his subjects, his servants, those who without his wisdom will bring upon themselves ruin, the clay and the created.

One of the main difficulties a reader might have is the theme of God's wrath, fury or anger. How can our God who loves be as angry as this Psalm seems to portray him? Many would say that their image of God is one of a smiling paternal figure who looks down on us with compassion and grace. Others would say that this Psalm vindicates there image of a frowning, angry God who just wants to throw lightening bolts down at us. When he doesn't rain down lightening then we assume he is either the smiling paternal figure or he is incapable of doing so or both.
When we see a government or organisation where the leader says and does one thing and the people under him say and do another, we call it corruption or bad management. A company cannot continue profitably with that level of conflict. A government is corrupt when the people inside it no longer work together with purpose to manage the country well. A good leader would naturally be angry at the failings in his government or organisation. A secure leader would naturally laugh at and deride the actions of powerless individuals working against his good leadership. I recognise that many people will look at the previous two images and question the goodness or the ability of the leader, however if you assume his goodness and ability, the leader has every right to be angry and would be furious at the actions of those under his jurisdiction. Our image of God gives him human form and characteristics (the Bible is full of God expressing emotion and he created us in his likeness, he is similar to us), so therefore the smiling paternal figure must also be angry with the state of affairs.
The frowning, angry God is also the God who in this very chapter, coronates and anoints his son who willingly suffered and died for humanity and for you specifically. He obviously loves all of humanity if he can be angry towards them and still be willing to die for them. This very coronation is the very act of intervention that shows his power, love and anger. God is angry with the rebellious nations, loves them and has already shown that he is far more capable than just raining down a few lightening bolts, he can be incarnated, live, die and conquer death.

This affects our lives very tangibly. In verses 10-12, the leaders and people (in other words, us) are instructed to serve the LORD (YHWH) understanding our position in relation to his power. To praise God and be joyful at the awe-inspiring work of God through Jesus Christ. To submit to God's plans and counsel in the purity of our lives and submit to the King Jesus Christ. Blessed are we who do so with reverence.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Deuteronomy 6
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength. God is giving you abundance so obey him. Teach the law to your children.

Application: Love God, teach your children the teaching of God.

Deuteronomy 7
You are a holy people, do not intermarry, destroy their idols, God will bless you. God will give you victory.

Application: Do not intermarry with the world around us, be set apart from the peoples in worship of God and dedication to him.

Deuteronomy 8
Obey, God disciplines his people and teaches them and did so in the 40 years in the desert. God is giving them a good land. Followed by a reminder of what God has done for them.

Application:God trains us, live by God's Word alone.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Numbers 24
Balaam makes two more prophesies, one blessing Israel and the other foretelling what they are going to do to the peoples in and around the land of Canaan. Balak becomes angry after the first and orders Balaam to return home immediately, but Balaam replies about not being able to speak anything but what God wants him to say.

Application: Do only what God wants even when it makes others angry. Be in tune with God about what he wants. God blesses his people.

Numbers 27
Addition to the inheritance laws of women if there are no sons. Joshua is commissioned. Moses is going to die soon so Joshua is given a public leadership position. Shepherding is mentioned and also that Joshua has God's spirit in him.

Application: Leaders need commissioning, need to have God's spirit and they act like shepherds (what do shepherds do?)

Numbers 28
Guidelines for daily offerings, Sabbath offerings, Monthly offerings, the Passover and the feast of weeks.

Application: Feasting, holidays and celebrations are important in the sight of the Lord, so we should also take days off..

Numbers 29
Feast of trumpets and the day of atonement. The day (week) of atonement is massive, big offerings made over several days.

Application: Being right with God is important and holidays are important.

Numbers 31
Attack against the Midianites, and a great victory. Non-virgins are killed. Division of the spoils, some being given to God.

Application: Everything we receive should be tithed.

Monday, 27 June 2011


Genesis 10
A list of names, most of them identifiable people groups as descendants of Noah. Particular focus is on the peoples that would have a big influence on Israel later on in the OT.

Application: No idea.

Genesis 13
Coming from Egypt Lot and Abram are together, they separate, Abram giving Lot the choice of land. Lot goes to the region of Sodom and Gomorrah (is there a link with the attractive land and the sin?). Abram is then promised great blessing.

Application: Something that is humanly attractive (the fertile land) when linked with sin is not always the best option. God can make seemingly hard situations blessed.

Genesis 14
Lot is captured by invading, ruling kings and Abram successfully rescues him, gaining significantly in the process. Tithing the proceeds to Melchizedek.

Faithful dependence on God and then returning a tenth to the priest of God. After success, God is the one who should receive the glory.

Genesis 15
God makes a covenant with Abram. “I am your shield, your reward shall be very great.” Abram still is worried that he has no children. He then receives a vision of the coming time related to the land that God is giving him.

Having given up material riches, God gives blessing, faith brings righteousness.

Genesis 16
Sarai offers Hagar to Abraham to provide an heir. Hagar runs away when mistreated by Sarai, but an angel meets her and tells her to return and call her son Ishmael (God hears).

A warning about trying to fulfil God's promise by human methods, but even then, God cares for the result of the sin. God sees our hardship.

Genesis 17
Abram and Sarai are renamed Abraham and Sarah