Monday, April 29, 2013

Chronic Reading (1 Chronicles 7-10)

Chronicles.  You just don't speak to my soul.  Here we are bouncing back and forth between the lovely, poetic, touching book of Psalms and... 1 Chronicles.  Is anybody's life verse in 1 Chronicles?  Has anyone ever texted a verse from 1 Chronicles to a friend who is going through a challenging time?  Has anyone ever lovingly prayed over their sweet babies the descendants of the tribe of Benjamin?  It's tough to transition between Psalms and Chronicles, but I'm thankful for the back and forth because if I had to read 1 Chronicles straight through I'm afraid there would be a lot of "skimming" going on.  There might be anyway.

I did find a discrepancy in today's chapters, and a section of 2 Samuel.  1 Chronicles 10:4-5 says, "Saul said to his armor-bearer, 'Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and abuse me.' But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died."

So... what's the scoop?  Who's the guy who told David he was the one who killed Saul and consequently died for it?  I misunderstood something somewhere!  Anyway, no offense 1 Chronicles, but I took a sneak peek and we're back in Psalms tomorrow!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Smooth Sailing (Psalm 81, Psalm 88, Psalm 92-93)

So. Much. Rain!  Yesterday was sunny and dry and served as a little reprieve from God, but He opened up the rainclouds again today!  It beats snow, surely, but I'm starting to worry I may have to get the ark out of storage.  Speaking of which, I didn't realize just how many rain and water references there were in the Bible!  Here are a couple examples, just from the few chapters I read today:

Psalm 81:7 "...I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah..."
Psalm 88:17 "All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me."
Psalm 93:3-4 "They have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice;  the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.  Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea- the Lord on high is mighty."

No doubt about it- the Bible is filled with stories, metaphors, and similes about water.  There's no drowning or treading aimlessly and exhaustively in these waters though.  We are completely quenched by and buoyant in the loving, Living Water.


Note: Between today and my last post on Wednesday here is what I've read according to's reading plan:
April 25: 1 Chronicles 3-5
April 26: Psalm 73, Psalm 77-78
April 27: 1 Chronicles 6

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Psalmost The Loveliest Thing I Ever Did Read (Psalm 43-45, 49, 84-85, 87)

I wonder if David were around today what his profession would be.  Politician?  Entrepreneur?  Life coach?  My guess is singer/song-writer.  Just read this beauty out loud.  It begs to be read out loud.

Psalm 45:1-2
My heart is stirred by a noble theme
 as I recite my verses for the king;
 my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men
 and your lips have been anointed with grace,
 since God has blessed you forever.

There isn't a font lovely enough for it, so italics will have to do.  These verses are part of a "maskil."  Apparently there is much debate over what a maskil is exactly.  Some think they are simply songs written in a clever or poetic kind of way; there are some references to rabbis as maskils; some think maskils were written to teach something specific... there is much debate about this word!  I did find this guide that I thought was interesting and informative, if a bit overwhelming.

The only thing I can say for certain about maskils is that while spell-check most definitely does not recognize it, God most definitely does.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Love and Death (2 Sam. 1-4; Psalm 6, 8-10,14, 16, 19, 21; 1 Chronicles 1-2)

My husband is convinced I'm going to drive into a tree one of these days, swerving to miss a squirrel or bird or mole.  Or a leaf that looks like a mole.  I can't help it!  It's just instinct to swerve when something jets in front of my vehicle!  The other day the car in front of me hit a squirrel.  I saw it too late to swerve and well... i finished the first car's work.  I felt bad, but consoled myself knowing my giant SUV put the squirrel out of its misery in a hurry.  We don't like to see the dying suffer, do we?

David?  What's your take?

Oh?  You had a guy killed for putting Saul out of his misery?  Huh.  I'd hate to be a squirrel on my deathbed in front of your chariot (or whatever.  You know what I mean.)

Sadly, that wasn't the only time I got mad at David (and it won't be the last!)  My heart also broke for "the husband."  You know who I mean? Michal's other husband?  I know, David married her first and he was right to ask her to come along, but the other husband loves her!  He's so sad and pitiful: "Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim..." (2 Sam. 3:16)  When I Googled David and Michal's love story I found this interesting blurb on
"1 Samuel 18:20 says that Michal loved David, the only place in the Bible where a woman's love for a man is recorded, according to footnotes in The Jewish Study Bible. However, there is no biblical record of David having loved Michal, and the later story of their marriage seems to indicate that he didn't, even though some rabbinical interpretations dispute this, according to Jewish Women, an online encyclopedia."

Just one of many scandalous love stories in the Bible.  No wonder it's the world's bestseller year after year!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saul Psy-kicks The Bucket (1 Sam. 28-31; Psalm 18, 121, 123-125, 128-130)

The truth is, I've been to a psychic more than once.  I was completely intrigued by the claims of psychics and I knew people who had some bizarre experiences with them.  When we moved next door to Cassadaga, FL, the "Psychic Capital of the World" it seemed crazy not to go check things out.  Long story short, the clairvoyant I saw was right about some stuff and wrong about some stuff.  Shocker.  I went back to him one more time and then to another lady.  It's always an entertaining experience, but I doubt I'll ever be back and here's why:

~ I'm not totally sold on the whole thing.  I think most psychics are just good at reading people.  Not their palms- more like their nonverbal cues. (I know, I know, the Long Island Medium lady does seem legit!)
~ I have a much stronger faith these days.  I'm confident communication with God will give me all the spiritual connectivity I'll ever need.
~ One may rouse a spirit who tells me I'm going to die the next day.

Saul!  Wouldn't you have rather not known you and your sons were all going to die the next day?  Maybe if you hadn't visited the medium that you had outlawed, you would still be alive today!  (Just kidding, but maybe he would have lived a bit longer at least!)  I don't much believe in psychics anymore, but I do believe in self-fulfilling prophecies.  Saul believed what he heard and it became so. 

It is good news for Israel though.  We're on to 2 Samuel!  The man of God's own heart is going to finally be crowned.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Singing Praises (Psalm 17, 35, 54, 63)

April has been a lousy month.  Between the rain and floods, bombings, explosions, threats, flu-bugs... I'm so over this month.  Just like I'm sure David was so over running for his life and hiding in caves.  I've been less than joyful these days, but trying to find silver lines.  When I can't find one my friends help, making points like, "At least you and the girls didn't have the flu at the same time!"  True!

Every day I have so much to thank God for, but my prayers these days are a bit grumbly, I admit.  Thankful, yes; but worshipful?  No.  Can anybody worship like David?  Even in this dark hour, when he was dealing with more than just a few hours of stomach flu, the guy is worshipping with a passion I reserve for something like my childrens' births!  Psalm 63 is great: "Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands." (63:3-4).  Or how about verses 7 and 8?  "Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.  I cling to you; your right hand upholds me."

As I beg God for mercy and justice, or thank Him for keeping our basement dry, or comfort for friends I know need it, or whatever big and little prayers I have, I hope I can remember to sing His praises too.  Worship is so much fun!  Why just reserve it for church?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Good Wife (1 Samuel 25-27)

Let's hear it for Abigail!  What a... gal!  She is brave and honest and wise; there are tons of lovely adjectives for this lady.  When I Googled Abigail, most of the things that popped up were about how this ordinary woman did a remarkable thing and made a huge difference (oo! oo! I can't wait until we get to Esther!) and God wants us to do the same.  Which is true!  We can all be remarkable and change the world with God's help.  We may not get to marry a king for it, but bravery like that does not go unnoticed by God.

Here is what I thought was interesting about Abigail though.  She knew her spouse's weakness and stepped in, if not to spare him, then for the rest of the household.  I am married to the anti-Nabal, so I can't even try to make some kind of comparison.  But!  My husband pulls an "Abigail" on a regular basis.  He knows my limitations and my weaknesses and steps up to bat so our household doesn't go to ruin.  He does our taxes, for instance.  We both know it would be crazy for me to do any kind of math, so he does them and consequently, we aren't thrown in jail.  I affectionately call him the "garbage fairy" because he just makes the bags of garbage disappear! (I forget Monday is garbage day every week). I could rattle off a bajillion things he does because I simply can't (or won't- like empty mouse traps.  Lord, have mercy.)

There is a lot to be learned by dear Abigail; she left a great legacy.  I just want to throw one more log on her character fire: Abigail was a good wife.

It's A Breeze! (Psalm 56, 120, 140-142)

The Psalms are so lovely. I wish I could memorize every last one of them. This is where reading the Bible in chronological order is really interesting too. These Psalms are so much more meaningful when we know they were prayed by a fearful, desperate David- hiding in a cave, knowing his very head is being hunted. Aren't the best prayers prayers of desperation?

I have to share this great book with you.  Just Sunday we were teaching our Sunday school kids about  Thomas and his doubting ways. We tried to explain to the kiddos God is like the wind; we can't see Him, but we can see His work and feel Him too. Serendipitously, my daughter grabbed this book at the library the next day.

It is a children's book, technically, but speaks to people of all ages about faith. I love it, and couldn't wait to pass it on to you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Perfect Words, The Perfect Friend (1 Sam. 18-24; Psalm 7, 27, 31, 34, 52)

My plan was to talk about friendship today, but I can’t say a word about it without first mentioning the bombing in Boston today.  But what is there to say?  And then I opened my Bible for today’s reading and, as always, God (via David) had the perfect words, right off the bat: “Lord my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me...” (Psalm 7:1); “Arise, Lord, in your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies.  Awake, my God; decree justice.” (7: 6).  Verse after verse was exactly what we need after such a tragedy.  Let us just know, God will vindicate us.

God’s timing is so perfect to insert those chapters of Psalms into 1 Samuel just when we need them.  But before the Psalms, there was quite the exciting chase going on between Saul and David!  My favorite part of that story is Jonathan and David’s friendship.  Social media, as much as I love it (hey! Follow me on Twitter!) has really watered down the word “friend.”  I’m “friends” with people I haven’t actually had a conversation with in ten plus years.  I’m happy to stay kinda, sorta in touch with them, but come on.  I count at least three times in seven chapters that Jonathan loved David as himself.  They swore their friendship before God.  They were more than friends, they were blood brothers.
My cup runneth over with wonderful friends.  I can’t sing or cook, I’m not a genius, I’ll never win a gold medal, and I was in line for big thighs when God was handing out patience.  But at every stage of my life God has brought the perfect people to sustain me.  I’m certainly no David, but God has given me more than one Jonathan.  Jonathans who I know would help me escape the rage of an insane king, and for whom I would happily do the same.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Oh, Honey! (1 Samuel 13-17)

Bomjour!  I noticed there are several people in France reading Face In The Bible, which thrills me to no end!  Sadly, I've forgotten beacoup of what I learned in my four years of high school French.  Maybe I can visit my new French friends and brush up a bit?! :)

I'm so pumped we're getting into David's story now.  I'm quite certain if I were a little Israelite village girl, I would have had quite the crush on David.  Jonathan too, for that matter.  Such nice, handsome gentlemen (that is, I imagine Jonathan was, the Bible doesn't specify that.  But aren't all young princes handsome?  I believe so.)  There is so much to say about David, but I've just got to note a couple other things first.

First, let's talk about Jonathan's honey tasting fiasco.  1 Samuel 14:27 tells us "Jonathan had not heard that his father had bound the people with the oath..." so he ate the honey.  Later, his dad determines his son sinned and was ready to kill him.  I have to believe God does not work this way.  Wouldn't that be a dream come true for Satan?  If he could swoop in and claim us every time we screwed up even when we didn't know we screwed up?  Instead Jesus acts as the Israelite men did for Jonathan (14:45).  He speaks up for us and rescues us so we are not put to death.  Such a Savior.

The other verse that struck me was 15:22.  Samuel points out our offerings mean nothing if we aren't obedient.  Darn it.  That makes things a little trickier, doesn't it?  It means there can't be any of this, "I can behave however I want, because I give so much money/time/whatever to the church."  God doesn't buy it.  And we can't buy Him.  Let's be honest, he doesn't need our sacrifices, he needs our obedience. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Heart and Saul (1 Sam. 9-12)

I know, I know, I’m skipping big, important chunks of 1 Samuel here.  Hannah prayed, Samuel was born, worked for Eli, heard God, became prophet.  All caught up!  It’s Saul time.
The beginning of this story is great, Saul starts out as a stand-up guy (in fact, he stood a little too tall when he was trying to hide in the supplies!)  Things take a turn for the worse later, but when Samuel first meets him, Saul seems like as good a king as the next guy.  He's humble (“Am I not a Benjamite… and is not my clan the least of all the clans….?” 9:21), hard-working (“Just then Saul was returning from the fields, behind his oxen…” 11:5), and a team player (“’This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel’…” 11:7).  All this and he’s tall?  Long live the King!
A little poem, in honor of Israel’s first king:
Saul, Saul, this Benjamite was tall!
He saved some people from becoming Cyclops
And they decided he was tops!
"Be our king!" the Israelites cry,
"Without you to protect us, we'll surely die!"
But oh, how the mighty fall.
Their king went crazy and that was (s)all.



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Call Me Orpah (Ruth 1- Sam. 8)

Oh my!  We’re zipping through the Old Testament now!  Since my last post, we finished the whole book of Ruth and are knee-deep in 1 Samuel! 
The summer before last, I did a Bible study on the book of Ruth with a couple friends.  It was written by the adorable Kelly Minter and was entitled Ruth: Loss, Love and Legacy.  And that about sums up the book of Ruth!  On to Samuel!
Just kidding.  One of the things that struck me most about this story is Orpah’s decision to stay in Moab, while Ruth left with Naomi.  Because she did what I am (sadly) sure I would do too.  I would try once or twice to do the right thing, but cave when someone assures me I have their blessing to do otherwise.  For instance, Orpah tries to tell Naomi she is going back to Judah with her.  Naomi insists she should stay in Moab with her people, so finally Orpah relents and “…kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her” (Ruth 1:14).  Obviously Ruth made the right choice since she’s the one with a book of the Bible named after her. 
Just call me Orpah.  I might be able to resist a second piece of pie once or twice, but eventually I break down.  If I have to make an uncomfortable call and the person doesn’t answer?  Well, I tried!  So many times I am guilty of trying juuuuust hard enough that God can see I made an effort, but then not following the path He clearly wants me to take.  And that?  Is why Ruth gets to be a descendant of Jesus and Orpah is never heard from again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hey there Delilah (Judges 16-18)

Hey there Delilah, you little twerp!  The saga concludes today with Samson finally giving the glory to God and not keeping it for himself.  Sadly, the lesson was too little, too late.  Did you just want to scream when you were reading it?  Samson knows that telling Dirty D his hairy secret means certain doom, but he does it anyway!  Talk about frustrating!

Then there's Micah.  After a bit of brief Google research, it looks like this is a different Micah than the prophet who wrote the book bearing his name.  So, I have to say I was a little confused about why this Micah's story made its way into our Bible.  My first thought was that it served to remind readers about the lawlessness of the time- these couple chapters mention more than once the lack of leadership in Israel.  Then, in my super scientific, theological studies (Googling), I learned the Levite priest was a descendant of Moses!  Aha!  I'm not sure yet what that has to do with anything, but it seems noteworthy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Wouldn't Want To Arm Wrestle... (Judges 13-15)

Samson.  Don’t we just love a story with some muscle?  Hercules, He-Man, Superman, Popeye, the Incredible Hulk... the freakishly stronger, the better!  When I was in high school I had a tiny little beta fish named Samson- I do love me some irony!
Until recently, I thought Samson was this great hero, and he was… in a roundabout kind of way.  It seems like his heroic acts overshadow his mistakes when we normally hear his story.  I mean, let’s be honest here.  Samson did every single thing he was not supposed to do!  Really, up until maybe a year ago when my pastor did a series on Judges, I didn't realize how naughty our Samson was with his drinking wine (like a fish- ha!) and eating honey out of a lion carcass (ew.) 
Even so, God stayed with him and was determined that Samson was the guy to carry out this particular job.  So cool.  Even when we wander off course, God makes sure we find our way in his plan for us.  Hopefully his plans for us have a happier ending than Samson’s.   Samson did lead the Israelites for twenty years, which I also didn’t know.  I rather thought the riddle fiasco and the Delilah fiasco all happened in one fell swoop.  But it looks like that is a story for another day.  Tomorrow, for instance!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

From Egypt to China to Israel (Judges 1-12)

I admit it!  My face has not been in the Bible much lately!  Shame on me.  The good news is, I'm all caught up now.  And I just got back from our Spring Break vacation to tropical Indianapolis so I'm feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready to blog!

We went to the Children's Museum while we were in Indy, and it was fantastic. They had an exhibit on Egypt that was very cool and informative, and included a replica of a mummy. Kids could slide this x-ray thing over the mummy to determine whether or not it was a regular Egyptian or a Pharaoh (it was a Pharaoh because its arms were crossed and it had an amulet on two fingers, among other clues). I wondered if Moses' nemesis was resting peacefully with his amulet. There was also a section on the first emperor of China. He wanted to rule even after his death, so he was buried with a complete army of clay soldiers. (There seem to be a lot flaws in this logic, but what do I know?!). All of these things just made me so thankful our eternity is secure and doesn't require spending this life making an immobile army.

Our God leads us to do amazing things in this life!  Just ask Deborah.  Or Gideon!  I love Gideon's story (far more than Ehud's or Jepthath's, which are important, but have some very disturbing parts).  G is the least of the least and so sweet with God, who he respectfully implies is crazy for choosing him as a leader: "Pardon me, my Lord, but...." (Judges 6 13 and 15).  Here's one of the verses I love most in his story: "If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah" (Judges 7:10). God knows us so well.  He didn't even wait for Gideon to voice his fears. I've said it before and I'll say it again: God gets humans!  He who has never felt fear, gets that we are scared.  Even though we're supposed to trust him and He's offended by our fear, he addresses it and just... gets us. And no number of amulets or fake soldiers can give us that.