Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14

OT: Isaiah 15:1-18:7

Doom and gloom, doom and gloom. We are in a series of oracles against various nations. None of them contain good news. And I have no background info on them, such as why Isaiah is talking about all these nations, when these events are believed to have come to pass, or how all the nations relate to each other politically. Thus, I feel quite limited on what to say about them.

I did think it was interesting that Isaiah sympathized so much with Moab (16:7, 9, 11). Aren't they, like, enemies of Judah? I don't know. All I remember is that Ruth was a Moabitess, right?

Anyhow, for the sake of recording what happened in the reading, today Moab and Damascus receive bad news.

Oh, and lastly, who are the tall and smooth-skinned people he keeps talking about (18:2,7)? And why am I even asking that when I have about three hundred other questions about the bigger picture of these messages?

NT: Galatians 1:1-24

Yay, a new book! In my head, I have a list of the churches that Paul was unhappy with. Actually, it is a pretty short list: Corinth and Galatia. (At least, I think that's it.) And I'm also pretty sure that Paul's letter to the Galatians is unique in that he totally dispenses with the opening niceties and just lays right into them. Today's reading does not record what Paul's specific beef is, only that the Galatians are "deserting the one who called [them] by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel--which is really no gospel at all" (6-7a). We will hear tomorrow more about what their digression from the gospel looks like.

Paul spends the rest of today's reading establishing the credentials of the gospel he preaches. It is especially important to him that he relays that his gospel is from God, and not from men. To reinforce that point, he gives a little bit of his personal testimony, taking pains to highlight that his conversion and ministry were the result of God's intervention, and God's intervention only (13-23). One verse that encompasses Paul's stance here is verse 10: "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ." This verse particularly resonated with me as a teenager, when I was most definitely trying to get the approval of others--mainly my peers. And even though I have definitely been freed from those high-school-level shackles, I know that I am still susceptible to caring too much about what others think of me. It is always a good reminder to remember that pleasing God is by far our most important goal.

Psalm 58:1-11

Reading this psalm made me remember several points I brought up last time. I won't bring them up again, but this was one of the few times so far that I remembered specifically what jumped out at me earlier this year.

Prov. 23:12

"Apply your heart to instruction
and your ears to words of knowledge."

As a perpetual student, I love this line. I love to be taught:). I guess the caution is in who to take as one's teachers.

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