Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7

OT: I Samuel 1:1-2:21

Biblical marriage is not glamorous. Even today, I sometimes hear sermons on the "Biblical purpose" of marriage, which usually boils down to having babies and keeping oneself from sexual temptation and sin. And....that's just not why I got married.

That's why it is always refreshing to see love in Biblical marriages. I love Elkanah's words to Hannah: "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" Wow. In a world where marriage was a business transaction and wives were property, it is refreshing to hear a man actually love his wife for who she was and not for her son-bearing capabilities. It is great to see a man value the relationship as an end in itself, and not simply as a means to having children.

I also liked Eli's encouraging words to Hannah (after he groundlessly berated her, granted), and the fact that after pouring out her heart to God and eating something, "her face was no longer downcast" (18). Those are both good strategies for feeling better to me:).

I also think it is just fascinating that Hannah decided on her own to give up her first born son to God. We read in the Law that husbands could override their wife's vows to God, but Elkanah was like, "Yeah, why not? Do what you think is best!" Really? I don't spend over $30 without running it by Greg (and vice versa, actually), and here she is deciding to give their kid away! That's crazy!

I love Hannah's song. I like the phrase, "for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed" (3b). I like the idea of a "God who knows." And I especially like verses 4-8, which seem like an apt prediction of the kingdom of God. Many writers have referred to the kingdom of God (brought by Jesus) as "the upside-down kingdom." I believe there is even a book by that name. Such thinkers maintain that Jesus' kingdom is essentially a flipped world where the weak are strong and the poor are rich, and vice versa. I can see how these words would fit in well with that picture.

NT: John 5:1-23

Two small things today:

Jesus' statement in verse 14 seems a bit abrupt, but it just conveys yet again that His deepest concern is the spiritual well-being of people. Physical healing is just a prelude, a means, to this deeper truth.

In verses 19-20, Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these." These words form the backbone of Henry Blackaby's thoughts in his famous book, Experiencing God. One of Blackaby's more salient points based on these verses is his idea about how we serve God. We do not start with ourselves, saying, "What am I good at?" or "What makes me happy?" Rather, we look at the world around us and see where God is working. When we see God's work in a clear way, that is our invitation to join Him in that work. I like that version better b/c it seems that the other version is distorted a bit by self-centeredness. Blackaby says that we don't ask, "What is God's will for my life?" We ask, "What is God's will?" It's not about us; it is about "what [we see our] Father doing."

Psalm 105: 37-45

The psalmist continues his walk through Israel's history, leading up to the manna and quail.

Proverbs 14:28-29

A random proverb about kings' populations, followed by one equating patience with wisdom, and quick-temperedness with folly.


  1. OT: Yes, I do like the sweetness of their relationship, though it kind of kills it for me that he is married to the other lady too. I don't think I ever noticed before that Hannah was blessed with other children later. That makes me feel better about making sacrifices for God.

    Oh, and I liked the song too. Again, I wonder if she just randomly broke out in song or if maybe it was an artistic touch that the writer of the story threw in later. All of these women end up sining (Hannah, Mary, Deborah, Miriam(?), etc.) Is that just a literary device of sorts, or did the women really sing those songs? I am charmed by the thought of a musical-esque society in which singing randomly breaks out, but something makes me think it wasn't really that way.

    NT: Hmmm, interesting thought from that book (which I have not read). It makes sense that God's will should trump our own. It is Biblical that we should become less so that He becomes more. However (and I have no idea what all the author has said on the subject; I just want to throw my own opinion out there), I also think it is Biblical to take our own talents and abilities into consideration. We are called to use the gifts we are given, and each of us is a different part of the body which is meant to fit into the body in a unique way. Still, we should not feel limited by our talents (or lack thereof). Moses didn't think he had the talent to do what God called him to do, but he had to do it anyway. Sometimes immediate needs are more important than making sure that the people doing the jobs are the best suited for them. (Sorry, slighty off topic.)

    I am interested in verse 17: "But Jesus replied, "My Father never stops working, so why should I?" Um, I thought the whole Sabbath thing had to do with God resting on the seventh day. Am I wrong? I mean, I know that the Sabbath was for the people, not the people for the Sabbath, but still. That seems an odd thing for Jesus to say.

    Psalms: I like how this version of the story is so succint and has the "big picture" perspective. Too bad we couldn't just have read this Psalm and skipped Exodus. :)

    Proverbs: That bit about anger causing mistakes is SO TRUE.

  2. (Whoops, that should be "women end up singing.")