Preparation

Triad Christian Fellowship is currently doing a Christmas series that peers at Christ through the Psalms. This coming Sunday I have the opportunity to open up scripture in Psalm 89. I’ve been reading through the text in the English Standard Version, The Message, and The New Living Translation. A few supplementary books that I’ve been reading are The Messiah and the Psalms (pp. 139-142) by Richard Belcher Jr. and The Epic of Eden by Sandra Richter. Richter’s unpacking of the OT is simply splendid and her chapter on the “Concept of Covenants”  is worth the whole book. I’m still mashing up the content of chapter 89 with other passages of scripture and look forward to how this message will come together.

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Failure to Notice

“The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do to change
Until we notice how failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.”

Laing

Biscuit Maker

Lately I’ve enjoyed a frozen biscuit with honey each morning for breakfast. A hot biscuit, drizzled in honey, with a hot cup of black coffee makes for a tasty breakfast. This morning my taste for biscuits brought back a memory of mine with my grandmother. Gee Gee was my dad’s mom who lived on the far eastern side of VA in a small town called Suffolk, but it’s not so small now.

My fond memory is related to watching Gee Gee make her delicious homemade biscuits. She was a a stellar biscuit maker, so says a young boy who loved breakfast then and now.

I remember Gee Gee inside her kitchen, with her flour covered apron draped over her clothes, prepping biscuits for those who were still asleep. She was great with the roller, knowing just how far to stretch the dough and just how much flour to add. She always let me use the round template to cut out each round biscuit. Some were big for dad and granddaddy, while others were small for the rest of us. She would place the biscuits on the pan, while I mashed the dough back together in preparation for the roller to make additional biscuits. Gee Gee’s homemade biscuits with some strawberry jam was all that was needed for this young boy to be ready to attack daily life with fun and festivity (e.g. climbing trees, catching crickets, shucking corn, peeling snap peas, riding bicycles, etc.).

I’m grateful to the Lord for memory and the ability to reflect back on lives who influenced mine.

Job 1-3

Beginning to read the book of Job was not necessarily a heart warming moment. The book describes some horrible tragedies that can be painful to read through. Nevertheless, I’ve been working my way through the Bible in one year using Read Scripture’s reading plan.

Fortunately, this first three chapters captured my imagination and were a joy to read through as I saw things in the text that I personally had never seen.

Job 1

  • vs 1 & 8 – Job’s incredible Twitter length testimony “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (vs 1, 8)
  • vs 5 – Job “rises early” to sacrifice and pray on behalf of his children “continually”
    • Insert conviction—am I praying for my children continually every morning
  • vs 10 – Satan challenges God by suggesting that Job’s loyalty stems from his possessions
  • vs 14, 17 – Satan is able conduct his authority through the Sabeans/Chaldeans who raid Job’s family (war)
  • vs 16, 19 – Satan is able to conduct his authority through the weather “fire of God fell from heaven” and “a great wind came across the wilderness” (weather)
  • vs 20-22 – Job worshiped – Job’s response was worship, because he was so prone to worship.
    • Insert conviction—am I prone to worship…when that which is good or bad occurs am I prone to worship?

Job 2

  • vs 4 – Satan challenges God again suggesting that Job’s loyalty stems from his good health
  • vs 7 – Satan is able to conduct his authority through Job’s health (health)
  • vs 9 – Job’s devout integrity to God creates marital strife
    • Satan can use miserable suffering to attempt to stymie our relationship with each other and with God
  • vs 11-13 – friendship is present to sympathizes, comforts, and say nothing

Job 3

  • vs 13-19 – A description of the grave
    • All sleep in the grave (kings, counselors, princes, masters, slaves, stillborn children, etc.)
    • “the wicked cease”
    • “the weary rest”
    • “the prisoners are at ease”
    • “small and great are there”

The reading this morning caught me by surprise, since I was not expecting much. However, Job’s testimony is both mesmerizing, thought provoking, and convicting simultaneously. Job’s willingness to live upright and his ability to defy evil stems from worship and devotion to God. I was also surprised by Satan’s authority to use violence, weather, and health to disrupt Job’s loyalty to God. I’ve read Job numerous times, but failed to recognize Satan’s authority to use these items to interrupt one’s worship of God.

Habakkuk

An oracle of a prophet desperate for God’s deliverance from utter destruction.

1:1-4

  • The prophet feels hopeless, because God seems to do nothing about iniquity and wrongdoing
    • destruction
    • violence
    • strife
    • contention
  • “So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.”
    • What an intriguing verse–the law was paralyzed (ineffective), because justice failed to exist.

1:11

  • What type of culture is the law stale and ineffective? A culture “who own might is their god!”

3:18-19

  • Rejoice in the LORD
    • the God of my salvation
    • God who is my strength
    • God who
      • “makes my feet like the deer’s”
      • “makes me tread on my high places”

Ultimately, salvation rests in LORD, the God of my salvation. Injustice and lawlessness may be “paralyzed,” but my deliverance is in Christ.

Nahum

The prophesy of an expansive powerful city, Nineveh, that is spiraling out of control into  destruction, because of God’s justice.

Here were a few key verses that caught my attention as I read.

Nahum 1:2-3

  • YHWH is jealous, avenging, and full of wrath for his enemies
  • YHWH is slow to anger and great in power

The verses seem contradictory, but it makes you ponder what must it take to stir up God’s anger if he is slow to it?

Nahm 1:7

  • “YHWH is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.”

Nahum 1:15

  • “Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!”

Nahum 2:2

  • Why is this happening to Nineveh? “YHWH is restoring the majesty of Jacob”

Nahum 3:1-4

  • Why is this happening to Nineveh?
    • full of lies
    • murder
    • countless whorings of the prostitute

Nahum 3:19

  • Applause from Nineveh’s enemies “There is no easing your hurt; your wound is grievous. All who hea the news about you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil?

I just read Jonah a few days ago for my devotions and God was rescuing Nineveh, but now in Nahum God promises utter destruction to Nineveh.

Micah

Some verses that stuck out to me while reading the Bible in the Old Testament from the prophet Micah this morning.

Micah 2:1-3

  • those who devise wickedness and evil on their beds are doomed
    • covet fields and seize them
    • oppress others and their homes
  • God’s plan will be disastrous and those who devise these plans “shall not walk haughtily.”

Micah 3:4

  • because of their evil deeds when they cried to the LORD he did not answer them

Micah 3:8, 11

  • the Spirit of the LORD is full of justice and might
    • Leaders give judgment for bribes
    • Priests teach for price
    • Prophets prophesy for money
  • The leaders, priests, and prophets fail to realize that the LORD is not in their midst.

Micah 4:2

  • Let us go up to the mountain to be taught his ways and to walk in his paths
    • The Law and the word of the LORD come from the mountain

Micah 6:2, 8

  • The LORD’s indictment
    • I brought you up from Egypt from slavery
    • I gave you Moses, Aaron, & Miriam
    • I gave you Balaam to overcome Balak
    • “to know the righteous acts of the LORD”
  • The LORD’s requirement
    • Do justice
    • Love kindness
    • Walk humbly

Micah 7:2, 7-9, 18-20

  • The state of the culture
    • godly had perished from the earth
    • none walk rightly
    • all lie in wait for blood, each hunting the other with a net
      • “the best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge.”
  • What to do?
    • “look to the LORD and wait”
    • “when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me”
  • Who is like the LORD?
    • pardon iniquity
    • passing over transgresion
    • not retaining anger forever
    • delights in steadfast love
    • casting sins into the depths of the sea
    • faithfulness to Jacob
    • steadfast love to Abraham