It’s a good news/bad news kind of check-in.
First the good news. The readings this week were enjoyable–Nehemiah, Esther, Job and Psalms. However, my week was a holy chaos (chock full of church activities) so, as of this posting, I am officially one day behind schedule. *sigh* But I already have plans to get yesterday’s and today’s readings done this afternoon after I finish my housework.
Being behind is not the bad news. The bad news is I have misplaced my journal full of notes!! You know, the notes that I had written in order to go back and do a more in-depth Bible study later? EEEKKKK! I’m trying not to freak out about it. Surely it will turn up sooner or later (maybe after I clean house today–LOL!), but I would be SO sad if I can’t find it. Plus, it’s making my daily reading more difficult because I’ve just been taking notes on random sheets of paper and stuffing them into my Bible. Ugh!
Even though I don’t have all my notes from this week (Journal, where ARE you???), here are a few thoughts/questions/observations from week six:
- Last year, I did Beth Moore’s Esther Bible study and, I must admit, that Esther was so much more meaningful as I read it this time. There’s so much more than what beats the eye, especially in the Old Testament!
- Esther 3:8 says that the Jews stood out because “their customs were different from those of all other people…” which made me wonder: do we (as Christians) stand out or blend in? Of course, in full disclosure I must admit that the context is that Haman was trying to get the king to destroy the Jews because, in his opinion, they were a bunch of punks who didn’t follow customs OR obey the law of the land. So…
- Haman had everything–wealth, position, power, honors–yet he let his anger with Mordecai consume him and ultimately ruin him. (Esther 5:13) Haman destruction was his lack of humility (Esther 5:11), anger (Esther 5:13) , pride (Esther 6:6) and jealousy (Esther 6:11).
- Job…Job…Job….Where to begin? Have you noticed that Job’s reponse to the destruction of his household was first grief then worship? (Job 1:20) Weird. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t go right into worship mode.
- You’ve probably heard this verse before: “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10). But reading it this time made me ask the question, “Does trouble come from God?” Hmmmm…. Technically, God didn’t send the trouble–it came from Satan–but God did allow it. Other times in the OT, God sent plagues or drought or whatever, so maybe God does sometimes send trouble as punishment for disobedience or to teach us a lesson. I guess I’ve always mostly considered trouble as either just part of living in a fallen world or stuff that we bring on ourselves by our poor choices. I dunno….
- In Job 3:20-22 Job asks why God allows us to live when we long for death. I’d like to know why God allows people to remain as human “vegetables” or old folks who remember no one and are unable to care for themselves, etc. but this particular passage probably pertains more to those who, like Job, are deeply depressed and feel like death would be a relief. In his case, we see that God lifted him out of his depression and restored his life to a place that was even better than before. Even when it feels as if things can’t get any worse, God has the power to create beauty from ashes.
- I wonder if Job 16:19-21 refers to the Holy Spirit: “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.” I keep stumbling upon verses such as these. I never realized the Holy Spirit was so prevelant in the Old Testament! The Holy Spirit is also mentioned in Psalm 51:11.
- Comic relief in Job: he throws out a little sarcasm in 38:21, he slams his friends and basically tells them to “shut up” (my paraphrase) in 13:5, then there’s a little rant about dumb ostriches in 39:13-18
- I found this Psalm a little comforting: “Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal have vanished from the human race. Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.” (Psalm 12:1-2) I feel that way, don’t you? I guess somethings never change.
- Wow. A picture of the crucifixion in Psalm 22. Everything from the words (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) to pierced hands, gawking crowds, casting of lots for garmets….just WOW.
- Can your soul be restored if you lead a constant crazy, chaotic life, or does everyone need quiet and rest? Psalm 23
- In Psalm 42:5 (..”for I will yet praise him…”), I wonder what the original wording is for “yet.” Does it mean “in the future” or “the present time.” The Psalmist is obviously struggling with sadness/depression (downcast soul). I wonder if he is saying that he will put his hope in God and praise Him now, even in the midst of his sadness, or if he will trust in God knowing that he will be able to return to praise when depression is overcome?
Really good verses:
Job 16:15 “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him..”
Job 26:14 (speaking of God) …”how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers…” Psalm 8:3-4 “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” Yep…it is pretty amazing. Psalm 16:2 “I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” Psalm 37:7 “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.”