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Nov 20, 2010

Biblical Reflections

There are a few links in this post. Firstly, items like Wisdom Books, the Gospels, etc are linked to the NAB website where you can learn more about those sections. Secondly, links are provided to the chapters listed in this post, you just need to click on the chapter number. Enjoy this post!

Wisdom Books, Job, Chapter 3. This is the first speech in the book. In it Job wonders why he was born, why couldn't he have been like those who are still born or buried like the untimely births. Job isn't blaming God, just desperately wishing to have not been.

Psalm 3. David is responding to taunts from others, "God will not save that one." David is sure of God's protection and presence in his life. He closes with petition for God's continued care over him.

Proverbs 3. By doing what is right in God's eyes, you will find good esteem before men. Health and vigor comes from following God. "Honor the Lord with your wealth" refers to not just material possessions, but mental ones too. Use your talents for God. God cares enough about us to stop us from  hurting ourselves, whether with simple words or pulling us forcibly out of traffic. Wisdom is again feminized. Don't stir up trouble with your neighbors when all are at peace. The Lord is our confidence. To the humble, God shows kindness.

Prophecy, Isaiah 3. God makes the leaders striplings, v4. We want our leaders to be strong, mighty oaks, and able to defy storms that come and go. Back in Proverbs 3, we are encouraged to stay peaceful with our neighbors. In v5, Isaiah warns that "the people shall oppress one another, yes, every man his neighbor." In v10, Isaiah addresses the faith vs. works debate, (wonder if that debate's been going on forever?). Isaiah states in v10, "happy the just ... the fruit of their works they will eat." It's not just about faith. Isaiah rebukes those who crush God's people and grind down the poor when they ask for help in v15. God cares about the poor.

Gospels, Matthew 3. V3 is a quote from Isaiah 40, v3. Acknowledging our sins and being baptized are not new ideas. John recognizes that the Pharisees and Sadducees are curious but not repentant, so he refuses to baptize them. Jesus insists that John baptize him to fulfill all righteousness, according to the study notes Jesus is fulfilling God's plan is what that means and Jesus is linking himself to sinners through being baptized with them.

Acts 3. Peter and John are on their way to pray in the temple. They are still following the customs of their ancestors. They meet a beggar, whom most prolly ignore. Instead of giving alms, they heal him. From his reaction, he is healed not just physically, but also spiritually, through faith in Jesus. Peter exhorts the temple goers to have faith in Jesus, the author of life. I like that reference/name for Jesus.

New Testament Letters, Romans 3. Paul addresses the debate over circumcision in the early church. He also touches on how our infidelity does not nullify God's fidelity. He says it's silly to say to do evil that good may come of it, therefore, the ends do not justify the means. He also writes of the universality of sin. He quotes from Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Isaiah in describing the wickedness/sinfulness of people. We cannot be justified through the Law; we can only become aware of our sins through the Law. But, we "are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, ... through faith." v28 and v31 speak to faith vs. works debate. v28 "For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law." v31 "Are we then annulling the law by this faith? Of course not! On the contrary, we are supporting the law.: Good works come out of faith. Faith saves, but faith sans works is dead. See James 2:17.

Catholic Letters, James 3. For everyone, Catholic in this usage refers to Universal letters, ie. not to a specific early church. Practical advice starts this chapter: not many should be teachers as they are judged more strictly. The tongue is a small member with great pretensions. No human can tame the tongue, James has a sense of humor, :) Also, wonder if this might have influenced Shakespear's taming of the shrew? Anyways, I like how this chapter ends. "The wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace."

Anyways, what are your thoughts on these reflections?