Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10

OT: I Chron. 9:1-10:14

Today, the chronicler finishes up his genealogy and gets started with some stories.

The last of the genealogy tells of the people who came back from Babylonian captivity. As usual, I was totally lost through this section. The first verse says that "all Israel was listed in the genealogies" (9:1). And yet, apparently the author decided to just give us a small excerpt of them (thank goodness). For instance, he traces a line through Judah in verses 3-6, but concludes by saying that their were 690 people from Judah returning from captivity. The author, however, only lists three people in particular (Uthai, Asaiah, and Jeuel). He does the same thing with Benjamin, the priests, the Levites, and the gatekeepers.

Speaking of which, when did it become "the priests and the Levites"? I thought it was, the priests were the Levites. Perhaps the tribe has expanded so much that there are simply too many Levites to be priests. Well, then what do the other Levites do? Do they still not have an inheritance? Are they connected at all with the tabernacle/Temple?

Also today, we got the introduction to the gatekeepers, a division of men created by David to guard the entrance to the tabernacle. Later, they would guard the entrance to the Temple. It is practical and all, but it does mark a bit of a sad shift to me when God's house has to be guarded. It makes sense b/c of all the valuables in there, but for some reason, it still makes me a bit sad.

In chapter 10, the narrative picks up with Saul's death.

NT: Acts 27: 21-44

Before the ship launched, Paul had a bad premonition and had pictured the loss of life while at sea. However, in today's reading, an angel appears to him and assures him that no life will be lost. He uses this vision to encourage his fellow shipmates. There's no word on how they take the news, but on the fourteenth night, Paul addresses the people again and urges them to eat. When he himself starts to eat after blessing the food, the others are encouraged and join him. The next day, they all jump ship and make it ashore to an unknown island.

Thankfully, the centurion keeps the soldiers from killing all the prisoners beforehand.

I really have nothing insightful to write about this section. I have enjoyed reading it very much, but it is all pretty straightforward. All I can say is that Paul definitely led an interesting life!

Psalm 8:1-9

I loved reading this psalm, but I was pretty sure that my thoughts were about the same as the last time I wrote about it. I looked it up, and sure enough, they were. I want to go back and compare the entries on the other psalms, but I haven't made the time yet.

Prov. 18:23-24

Verse 23 gives a little further insight into the first Beatitude ("Blessed are the poor in spirit"), or even Luke's version ("Blessed are the poor"). Today's first proverb states how the poor plead for mercy, while the rich answer harshly. Basically, poor people tend to be humble, and rich people tend to be proud. This is not always the case, of course (proverbs are just general rules), but it helps me to see the link between poverty of spirit and much-needed humility.

I love the image in verse 24 of the "friend who sticks closer than a brother." Those are nice to have, and I'm thankful to have a few!

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