Assyrian threat, Hezekiah is putting the Assyrian threat before God asking Him for deliverance.

Day 202 (July 21): Hezekiah seeks God’s help with Assyrians, King Sennecherib taunts Hezekiah, Isaiah predicts Judah’s deliverance

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
2 Kings 19:1-19
Isaiah 37:1-20
2 Chronicles 32:9-19
2 Kings 19:20-37
Isaiah 37:21-38
2 Chronicles 32:20-23
(701 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Kings 10-13): This taunting of the Assyrian king reminds me of the devil taunting and tempting Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness.

A. I can see why you might have that type of reading, but I think the events are very different.  Taunting is not the same as tempting, and the devil was tempting Jesus, not taunting Him.  The speaker in this story is mocking the people in order to make them fear the army that is coming.  The devil had particular reasons for tempting Jesus that I really want to save until we read that story, so I look forward to reading that passage (Matthew 4) at some point in the future.

Q. (2 Kings 19:1-19, Isaiah 37:1-20): I take several messages from this text.  Hezekiah is scared, at least he seems that way to me.  But, he takes his fear to God who calms him and lets him know that He can take it from here.  And, He does.  Sometimes I feel bad because even though I am a believer, I still get scared, worried and stressed.  I think that these are feelings that we shouldn’t have as Christians.  But, is God saying in this Scripture that it’s OK to be scared as long as you still believe?

A. Fear is never of God, but it is often something that even the most seasoned Christian must deal with.  God desires for us to bring our fears to Him, that He might help us turn our fears into faith.

O. Sennacherib, king of Assyria, is badly belittling God.  He must not have any idea of God’s power.  And, arrogance gets you nowhere with God!

O. (2 Kings 19:28): Wow, what a visual!

Q. (19:35-36): That’s one way to send fear to an enemy!  Also, I didn’t realize that Ninevah was the capital of Assyria.  I guess Jonah had his work cut out for him!

A. Perhaps you can see why Jonah was not eager to fulfill his mission?  Ninevah was a great enemy, though Jonah’s story takes place many years before this one.

Q. (19:37): Why would Sennacherib’s sons kill him?

A. The Biblical story doesn’t tell us, but my notes indicate that Assyrian history from this period records that it was related to the king’s choice of a successor from among his many sons.  Apparently some of his sons didn’t care for his decision, to put it mildly.

For further interest: Chart of kings and one queen of Israel and Judah, https://www.providenceacademy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Chart-of-the-Kings-of-Israel-and-Judah.pdf

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Tomorrow’s reading
— 2 Kings 19:1-19
— Isaiah 37:1-20
— 2 Chronicles 32:9-19
— 2 Kings 19:20-37
— Isaiah 37:21-38
— 2 Chronicles 32:20-23

 

God cleared the Red Sea for the Israelites to flee Egypt. After they passed, God released the waters, drowning all the Egyptian soldiers, horses and chariots.

Day 190 (July 9): Proclaim God, His creation, and the wonders He has done, Israel in Egypt review, Israelites strayed from God despite His guidance and aid

Moody Publishers / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Psalms 105-106
(979 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

O. (Psalm 105:1-4): I love the beginning of this Psalm.  This was written for the Israelites, but I think we could apply the first two verses to our lives, but more of as a collective charge.  We have talked way back to where we should use discretion when proclaiming God.  If you shout out today how wondrous God is, chances are you’ll get some weird looks. But, if you testify in the right place at the right time, it can work.  Or, if this could be more a collective charge where this first two verses are addressing Christians as a whole to have God on our mind, act godly and proclaim Him whenever possible, we can apply it to today.  Verses 3 and 4 are right on!  The more I search for God and request His thoughts, the easier my life is.

O. (105:8-45): The rest of this Psalm is about how God never faltered on His covenant with Abraham.  Despite all the anger and humiliation God had to endure, He still put up with them.  He kept the covenant.

Q. (106): This Psalm takes us, and the original authors of this passage, way back through lots of generations — 700 or so years worth.  But, they tell it like it just happened yesterday.  And now, we are reading it 2700 years later (I think my estimations are correct).  It’s just amazing how God and the Bible have lasted through all of these years!  Just an off-the-wall curious question: I would assume that the Bible is the oldest book of any religion.  Any idea how far other religions date back?

A. When it comes to monotheism, you would be correct, the OT is the “oldest” major religious text.  But there’s a reason: both of the other major monotheistic religions both spring from Judaism — Christianity (circa 30 AD) and Islam (622 AD).  But the oldest still practiced religion is Hinduism, which is a polytheistic (many gods) and pantheistic (everything is god) religion, the primary faith of the Indian sub-continent.  Though there is no official “founder” for Hinduism as Judaism associates with Abraham, an ancient form of the religion in the Indus river valley can be basically traced back nearly 5000 years (to circa 3000 BC), so it gets the title of “oldest still practiced religion.”  Among their sacred texts are what are called the Four Vedas (truths), and though it is generally accepted that their final composition/editing occurred around 600 BC, they are much older than that, and probably date to an older period than the OT.

Now you can make the argument that forms of spirit worship, the worship of nature, and other such forms of what we would call “paganism” can go back many more thousands of years to primitive mankind even tens of thousands of years ago, but there is no “direct” line from these religious positions to a modern form.

Major Monotheistic Religions
Judaism: circa 2000 BC
Zoroastrianism: circa 600 BC
Christianity: circa 30 AD
Islam: 622 AD
Sikhism: 1469 AD
Mormonism: 1820s AD
Baha’i: 1844 AD

Major Polytheistic Religions
Hinduism: circa 3000 BC
For further reading: All about Hinduism, https://www.history.com/topics/religion/hinduism
Shintoism: 800 AD

Major Agnostic Religions/Philosophies
Jainism: circa 900 BC
Buddhism: circa 500 BC
Daoism: also spelled Taoism, 400 BC
Confucianism: circa 400 BC

For further reading: an interesting article on a defender of Christianity being the oldest religion, (I don’t know who this blogger is, but He is definitely a believer and is resourceful) https://iamtymaximus.wordpress.com/2011/09/12/why-should-i-believe-christianity-when-hinduism-is-the-worlds-oldest-religion/

Spread the Word! Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— Psalm 107
— Psalms 111-114

 

Solomon dedicates the temple to the Lord.

Day 143 (May 23): Ark moved to temple, Solomon’s amazing prayer, dedicates Temple to God, asks God to uphold ‘throne’ vow to David

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Kings 8:1-11
2 Chronicles 5:1-14
1 Kings 8:12-21
2 Chronicles 6:1-11
1 Kings 8:22-53
2 Chronicles 6:12-42
(966-959 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 8:1): OK, Jerusalem and the City of David are the same, right?  Sorry, I’m a little foggy on this.  Did the City of David get renamed Jerusalem.  If so, why?  So they didn’t have to move the Ark too far?  And, it still has all of it’s belongings from the Tabernacle in the desert?

A. Bethlehem is the city of David, not Jerusalem, but it’s a journey of only a few miles, so it isn’t that far.  The text does say that it was the items from the desert, though perhaps it means the versions of the ones they are using such as the new tent David had designed.  I’m not exactly sure.

Q. (2 Chronicles 5:1-14): How nice to hear such reverence for the Lord again!  The Israelites have been like a yo-yo with their loyalty to God.  After all of the work and years put into the Ark, I’m sure opening the Temple was the pinnacle of the decade … or century.  It is amazing that the Israelites have managed to carry on the stories of God throughout the centuries and retain their faith (though not all of the time!)  On that note, it’s also miraculous that the Israelites still have the Ark.

A. The Temple dedication is one of the high points of the entire nation’s history, no mistake about it.  I think they only had the Ark because of — what else but — God’s mercy upon His people.

O. (1 Kings 8:22-53): Nice prayer! Solomon sounds like he is great ruler material!  I also noticed how much Solomon gives tribute to his father, David.  He reminds God of his love for David and asks that He remember the oath he had with David to have his line on the throne forever.  The relationship between Solomon and his father seems strong.  David obviously spent time with Solomon teaching him about God’s ways and all of the miracles He performed for their ancestors.  This shows how the stories were handed down.  It’s just amazing that they weren’t lost in those long years when Israel strayed from God.  Then again, God probably deserves a lot of the credit for giving Solomon wisdom, a virtue that he requested.

For further reading: Solomon’s prayer connects the Israelites’ past with the temple. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/solomons-prayer-of-dedication

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s Reading
— 1 Kings 8:54-66
— 2 Chronicles 7:1-10
— 1 Kings 9:1-9
— 2 Chronicles 7:11-22
— 1 Kings 9:10-14

Lord's temple The temple Solomon built for the Lord was lavish inside and out.

Day 142 (May 22): Solomon builds his palace, Great and grand is the interior and furnishings for the Lord’s temple

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org.

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Kings 7
2 Chronicles 3:15-4:22
(966 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 7:1-12): It sounds like Solomon is building his ego with a palace larger than the temple he’s building for God.  It took him almost twice as long to build his palace than the Lord’s temple.

A. Yes, I would say so.  This is not Solomon’s, uh, wisest move, is it?

Q. (7:13-51): This description of the Lord’s temple is so detailed that it sounds as if it came from God himself.  I think Solomon has certainly honored God with such a lavish place!  Does God comment on the temple later?  I wonder if it’s pleasing to Him.

A. You will find out very soon.  The next step will be to dedicate it.

Q. Is there any of these designer details of the Temple that we should take note of?

A. Other than the objects in question are absolutely massive.  I would say that’s the only thing that needs to be made clear.  This is a massive building — even by modern standards — in every way recognizing, but being superior to, the design of the Wilderness Tabernacle.  Solomon intended his Temple to be eternal (1 Kings 9:13), so he used his father’s fortune in resources to do the best that he could to make it that way.

For the intriguing mind: See the top religious towns in the United States: https://www.worldatlas.com/cities/america-s-10-most-religious-cities.html

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Kings 8:1-11
— 2 Chronicles 5:1-14
— 1 Kings 8:12-21
— 2 Chronicles 6:1-11
— 1 Kings 8:22-53
— 2 Chronicles 6:12-42

 

God judges

Day 138 (May 18): God alone judges, Wicked will suffer, Incomparable God, God, where are you? Learn from ancestors’ mistakes, Teach God’s ways to children

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Psalms 75-78
(~979 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalm 75): We have talked about deterrents — punishments that happen to people who “misbehave.”  The thought of being judged for all the things I have done is a big deterrent for staying on the path to righteousness.  It also helps me cope with seeing someone making unholy choices, yet living a lifestyle I may be envious of.  I may not feel rewards now, but I will later.  On the flip side, it is easy to think, “na nanny boo boo, I know better than you do” that those who are acting out will get their punishment.  But then, a stronger feeling comes over to help them so they can also enjoy the afterlife.  Is there any scripture that gives advice on how to turn people toward God without turning them away because they perceive us as “preaching,” “crazy” or a “know-it-all?”

A. There are, and I would say that they primarily come from one of Solomon’s contributions to the OT: Proverbs, the book that imparts the wisdom of the ages.  Since that book is coming up soon on our little list, why don’t we hold on to this one and re-examine it down the road.

Q. (Psalm 76): The psalms have talked about God’s anger, like this one in verse 76:7.  Can you explain this when we usually think that God is loving?  Is it fair to compare God’s anger to a parent’s?  It seems like today’s society tries to foster peaceful relationships.  To children, we say use your gentle hands and nice words.  Lawyers try to settle disputes in mediation.  Yet — I’m not being sarcastic, just saying what I think the Bible says — our role model gets angry.  Personally, I would get angry too … if I were God.  Of course, I’m not and maybe that’s the answer.  God can be angry, but we should try to be more loving.  Maybe it’s the OT vs. the NT?  Doesn’t God’s anger calm down immensely in the NT?

A. It only appears that way if you focus on Scripture from a certain perspective.  Unfortunately, that perspective has become the dominant one in modern Western society: the view that God is ONLY love, and therefore would “never” be angry or judgmental about sin.  But this perspective tends to gloss over — at great expense frankly — the idea that God is holy — set apart — and just, and He is in charge of what goes on and what does not.  When you have a “God” who allows you to do whatever you want with the understanding that they will ALWAYS love you (how does that sound in the parent metaphor?), you can see how things can get pretty messed up pretty fast.  Much of our tolerance of sin in the public eye in society today is, frankly, due to our abandoning the idea that there is an external source of justice and right and wrong — God — and when we do that, anything becomes permissible.  It is certainly something that Christians should be aware of and speaking out against.

One other quick note: we all have our biases when it comes to reading Scripture: there is simply no way to avoid it.  We tend to read — and mentally focus on — our favorite stories at the expense of other Scriptures that are a bit harder to reconcile with our belief system.  So I am not simply attacking those who want to focus on God’s love at the expense of all else: many others can and do read scripture and see no evidence of love, but only of a wrathful God waiting to strike down sinners.  If that’s what you want to see, it’s there.  The trick, I think, is to not allow yourself to be closed-minded to the possibility that there is always more that God desires to teach us about Himself.  If we have that mentality, I believe that we will be much less likely to fall into the trap of Biblical “bias.”

Q. (77): I completely understand that I’m not supposed to understand all of God’s reasons.  It’s not my place, nor anyone else’s.  I think it’s hard for humans to have patience with God, especially when we have read about his great rescuing miracles, like the parting of the Red Sea as is stated here, and wonder why he can’t grant our one simple request.  I know … He has His reasons!

A. I suppose it would depend upon what the request was and why, deep down, you wanted it.  Keep in mind, the nation of Israel was chosen by God not only to be His people, but to bring about salvation to the entire world through the Jewish God/man Jesus.  So that, in my mind, creates a necessity for some of the places where God clearly intervenes in history: if there is no nation — because they’re wiped out by Pharaoh’s armies — then there is no salvation for the world.  I think always keeping the salvation of the entire world in the back of our minds as we read through the OT is a great way to see why certain events unfold the way that they do.  That certainly gives weight to some of the things God does, doesn’t it?  (From Leigh An: This makes me also weave in one of Jesus’ comments when he says things have to be a certain way for the Scripture to be true.)

Q. (78:2): Why does Asaph want to teach in parables and why did Jesus?

A. Parables are a way of presenting truth in story on levels that can reach very different people in different ways.  You can hear the “surface” truth and just get a good story, or if you desire, you can dig into the words and often discover greater “pearls” that the author intended to be found but not everyone will seek.  That, by the way, is probably why they make such great sermons — you can attack them at multiple levels and lay the “inner” parable out for everyone to share.  Jesus will address this issue in his earthly ministry in Matthew 13.

Having said that, what Asaph is doing here is using Israel’s history as instruction on what the people SHOULD be doing, and not truly disguising ideas within the words.  He is not really using the “parable” concept in the same way that Jesus does.  He is using it more like Stephen will do in Acts chapter 7: convict the people of their present sin by looking at sins of the past.

O. (78:40-55): This is an amazing image: God causing all of this terror to the stubborn pharaoh and his people with frogs, gnats, blood, locusts, hail, death, YET he peacefully walks the Israelites out of this plague-ridden land and protects them, like a shield.

Q. (78:65): I don’t think comparing God to a warrior waking from a drunken stupor is very respectful.

A. I agree, but it’s an interesting image, no?

Q. (78:67-68): Can you tell us again why God chose Judah’s descendants for the throne instead of Joseph, who appeared to be the chosen line?

A. I do not have a good answer to that question.  From Jacob’s deathbed blessing (Genesis 48), we have seen the power of Judah grow the further we have come.  The best reason I can see for the move is that Joseph’s descendants (Ephraim) were not very good leaders (they were the ones responsible for losing the Ark when it was in Shiloh), so God rejected them as the prominent tribe and selected Judah instead out of His own purposes.  This will continue with Jesus, whom Revelation will call the Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5).

For further reading: Where did evil come from? https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-qa/what-the-bible-says-about-the-origin-of-evil/

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading: Psalms 79-82

Lean on God David hid from King Saul in a cave

Day 134 (May 14): Lean on God, Praise God for all He is, God give us victory, God will fight battles, May Jerusalem have peace, Thanks for God’s protection

Moody Publishers / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Psalm 103
Psalm 108-110
Psalm 122
Psalm 124
(~979 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

O. (Psalm 103:1-6): Beautiful!!!

O. (103:12) From Rob: 103:12 is one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture.  I think it speaks great volumes of the grace God has for His children that long predates Jesus entering the world.

O. (103:20-22): I am way excited to someday see heaven and all the angels.  It must be a wonderful sight!

Q. (Psalm 103): I was just thinking of the many faces of David when I read this verse.  When we first met David, he was a shepherd and could play the harp really well.  Then, we see him battle Saul and other kings victoriously over and over again.  But, in many of these psalms, he seems to hunker down, hiding from the enemy, deep in prayer.

A. Life was surely full of spiritual mountains and valleys for David.  It is no surprise to me that his recorded prayer life reflects this.

Shop: Believe in God or not, but those who do are at peace, https://livinlight.org/product/live-for-the-lord/

Tomorrow’s reading
— Psalm 131
— Psalm 133
— Psalms 138-141
— Psalm 143

Good King David Psalm 7

Day 120 (April 30): Barzillai honors David, argument over king, Sheba’s revolt, Sheba’s head, song against evil, Gibeonites satisfied, giant wars

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
2 Samuel 19:31-20:26
Psalm 7
2 Samuel 21
1 Chronicles 20:4-8
(972-970 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 20:10): So, Amasa was stabbed because he took more than 3 days to notify Judah?  What’s the big deal?  His slowness stalled their plans or they may think he was up to something besides notifying Judah?

A. No, David had no knowledge about Joab’s plans: Joab killed Amasa to ensure that he remained commander of David’s army.

Q. (20:16-22): What?  This woman’s actions do not follow protocol.  This is quite a little story.  She is quite wise and how did she get Sheba’s head?

A. It is quite a story.  She was apparently a town elder who had great influence.  Sheba and his men were likely under the protection of the city (they probably agreed to terms before Sheba’s men came into the city).  This woman apparently was able to convince the townspeople that they had gotten a bad deal — there was no way Sheba was going to stop Joab — and they turned on him.

Q. (21:1-14): I don’t see a correlation between Saul and his family murdering the Gibeonites and a famine.  I thought God had little concern for Saul and the Gibeonites are not Israelites.  So, why a focus on this conflict?  This story is confusing to me.  I thought a while back, David had asked if any of Saul’s descendants were still living.  I thought Mephibosheth was the only one.  And, he came to live with David … or eat at his table anyway.  So, where did all of these other children come from?  So, Saul had both a son and a grandson with the name Mephibosheth?

A. Let’s untangle this: we do not know about where these other sons of Saul came from — the Chronicler doesn’t mention any other descendants — so I don’t have a good answer for that.  They may have been more distant relatives of his or the children of slaves/concubines and therefore “lesser” children (I know that sounds horrible).  Regarding the famine, back in Joshua 9 (from Day 83), the Gibeonites were the clever tribe who tricked the Israelites into signing a treaty of protection, which the people swore in God’s name.  Saul’s efforts to eliminate them violated this vow, and God was apparently not pleased.

Q. (21:15-22): Why are the giants important?  Are the four that were killed here the last of them?  It’s interesting that the Israelites would battle with Goliath’s brother.

A. The significance of their story is really about their defeat by David’s men.  The writer is saying, like their king who killed Goliath, David’s men were so fearsome in battle that they could kill giants too.

For further reflection: God chose David because his heart was in the right place, https://realchristianity.com/the-faithfulness-of-king-david/

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
2 Samuel 22
Psalm 18

David kills Goliath David, the shepherd kills Goliath the Philistine with a slingshot and stone

Day 104 (April 14): David proclaims God, David kills Goliath, marries Saul’s daughter, Saul jealous of David, tries to kill him, wife protects him, trusts God

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 17:32-58
1 Samuel 18:17-19:17
Psalm 59
1 Samuel 19:18-24
(1024, 1015, 1013, 1014 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 17:45): I find it so hard to let go of control like David and give it all over to God.  We are surely trying to raise our children like this, but letting God guide me — and most Christians, I would think — was not something I was taught growing up.  I was raised in the church and definitely taught the major Bible stories.  But, I don’t recall talking about asking for God’s guidance in everything I did.  Now, I am doing that more and more, but I feel like I am a long way off from giving up control of my life to God.  Reading the Bible has definitely shown me that I need Him in all realms of life and my life will be more fulfilling if I let Him in.  Rob, any tips on letting God take control of my (and others) life, as David did?

A. Well, I would say you’re off to a good start.  One of the best ways to give control over to God is to KNOW what the Bible teaches about Him and His will.  This can only come by reading the scriptures.  Once you have become more immersed into the will and desires that God has for your life and the lives of those around you — especially your children — you will find it easier to follow these desires, or at least be aware when you are making a mistake.  Giving more of yourself over to God is one of the roles that the Holy Spirit plays in your life, if that makes sense: He is the one who convicts the hearts of believers to do the will of God the Father and follow Him more closely.  Being focused on the words of God in reading and prayer, or even prayerful reading, is a great way to give control over to God.

One other note might be worth mentioning here: many Christians seem willing to put their faith in God and trust Him with their eternal destiny, but somehow think He is wrong when He attempts to instruct us on how to live RIGHT NOW.  I think that’s a pretty foolish notion if you think about it.  Part of our proclamation as Christians is not just that Jesus/God is our savior, but also that He is our LORD.  If we are unwilling to listen to what God desires to teach us as our sovereign Lord, we have little chance of giving God more control over our life.  Let’s touch on this again way down the road, when we look at the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew 5-7.

Q. (18:14-16): Saul was selfish and disobeyed one time.  Is there anything he could have done to redeem himself?  From this passage, he may as well hand David the crown.  Also, Saul’s jealousy of David is obvious.  Can we draw a parallel from David and Saul to Jesus and the Pharisees?

A. Well, he keeps making actions that are selfish and prideful, so stopping that would be a good start. (But, he won’t.  In fact he makes it worse, if you can believe it).  David still has a long way to go, however to get the crown, for reasons that we will continue to see.  While the Pharisees were certainly jealous of Jesus, I think the circumstances are quite different in the two scenarios, so I wouldn’t draw too many parallels from the two.

Q. (18:26): I wish I could read a book — fiction or nonfiction — that would tell about the life and times of the Bible years.  There are so many customs I don’t understand, like this foreskin request.  I’m sure there isn’t any literature describing customs, because it would be just like the Bible, translated from ancient scrolls.

A. The foreskin request is for “trophies,” like the thumb/toe effort we read about earlier.  There are two reasons Saul requests it: first, only the Israelites would have been circumcised, so the Philistines would not have been marked in this way, ensuring that David really did kill the number requested or fake it in some way.  The other thing Saul is requesting David to do is to humiliate the surviving Philistines, by making the bodies “join Israel” in death.  Lovely, isn’t it?

Q. (Psalm 59:4): David is asking God to “wake up?”

A. We will see this referred to sometimes in the Psalms.  The writer is ascribing human qualities (in this case the need for sleep) to God as a way of saying, “if You were paying attention to my circumstances, You would be doing something.”  Since God is not responding in the way that the writer requests, he is accusing God of sleeping on the job.  We will see some very heartfelt pleas in the Psalms that, frankly, I love reading.  It tells me about the cries that these people made to God for the injustices they see in the world, and they really bear raw emotion in the writings: joy, pain, anguish, depression, etc.  So it is little surprise that the Psalmist is accusing God of sleeping on the job, he is pouring out his heart, and God is not, in his mind, responding.

Q. (Psalm 59): David’s song tells about evil lurking around the Israelites and the enemy surrounds them. But, when David — or anyone — trusts in the Lord, He will protect them from the evil.  I am eager to read more of Psalms.  This chapter just brings calm to my heart.  Is there anything else to glean from this passage?

A. I think you’ve got it.  Oppression and being surrounded by enemies are common themes of certain Psalms, so you’ll get some more chances to look at the way the writer expresses his apprehension at the circumstances God has placed them in.

O. (19:18-24): God provides the humor.

For further reading: Ways I can do all things, through Jesus — even confronting the Goliath of problems, https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/explore-the-bible/3-surprising-ways-i-can-do-all-things-through-christ-who-strengthens-me.html

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Samuel 20-21
— Psalm 34

David in Saul's court David plays harp in King Saul's court to calm him.

Day 103 (April 13): Saul out of God’s favor, Samuel kills king, Samuel anoints David, David in Saul’s court, Goliath on scene, David inqures about reward

Moody Publishers / FreeBibleimages.org.

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 15-17:31
(1028 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 15:2): What does Heaven’s Armies mean?  I know this isn’t important.  The important note here is that God is commanding Saul.  I just always wonder who is all in heaven.  Do we get a glimpse of it later in the Bible?

A. It appears to refer to the angelic warriors that serve God.  We only get glimpses of them, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to wonder.  We are rarely given more than a glimpse at angelic beings.  There’s an important reason why: the Bible desires that God alone should be our focus!

Q. (15:4): Why list Judah separately?

A. Because the city where the armies are mustered is in Judah’s territory.  It is telling us how many “home team” members are serving Saul.

O. (15:7-23): This is such a great lesson for even today.  Go with what you are told, not what your brain tells you would be a better idea.  When you think that the little things don’t matter — sparing some livestock when God told you to destroy everything — they turn into big things.

Q. (15:33): What is this custom of cutting up beings into pieces?  We saw it with the Levite cutting his concubine, Saul cutting up his oxen, and now, Samuel cuts up the king of Agag.

A. It appears to be an act of emphasis, and may have involved a “display” of the parts in some form.  Other than that, I’m not entirely sure.

Q. (15:35): I think we have talked about this before, but why not again?  I have always thought the Lord was sure of everything He did.  But, after reading the Bible a while, it seems that He isn’t always so sure.  Here, He is sorry that he made Saul king.  Moses often talked God out of taking revenge on the Israelites.  But, there are many other things that He has been positive of: Moses, Job, Jacob over Esau, Ephraim over Manasseh, etc.  And, I feel like He already knows the big picture and outcome, so how could He not know the little things like Saul was a bad choice for king?  Looking around, I have no doubt in my mind how amazing our Creator is.  I just think it’s wonderful that we can see some human-like traits in Him.  It makes me feel closer to Him.

A. As a big believer in free will and human choice, my answer to your question is a little complicated, but basically it boils down to this: if we believe that God is ultimately sovereign over all things BUT allows for human choice, then He is certainly capable of being grieved or upset when human beings such as Saul do not follow in the path He desires.  I think this is what the story is attempting to tell us.  Just because God knows the path we will walk in an eternal sense does not mean He regrets any less the poor decisions we make.

If I can be metaphysical for just a moment, let’s examine an idea here.  In our story, we know that 1) God makes Saul king, 2) Saul turns away from God out of fear and a pattern of rash decisions, 3) on this basis, God rejects Saul as king.  But, if God had never made Saul king, He could not have had foreknowledge of what Saul would do.  God’s ability to see our paths is dependent upon the possibilities of our choices, not the other way around, at least in my Biblical worldview.  So, if I am never elected President of the United States (fat chance), God would not have foreknowledge of my administration or mistakes as President, or my re-election strategy, because there would be no administration, and that foreknowledge REQUIRES me to be President in the scenario.  I hope that sort of “big idea” makes sense and can help put passages such as this one and others where God is surprised, disappointed, etc. into proper perspesective.

Q. (16:14-23): So, Saul was no longer king of Israel according to God, but he still was to the people.  Why?  Why wasn’t David automatically king after he was anointed?

A. Well, for one thing, David was a young man when he is chosen, and not yet ready to rule.  For another, well actually, the next few chapters, I think, will make this pretty clear why not (and I don’t want to spoil it).  But if it’s not clear in the next couple of chapters, ask me again.

O. (16:4-7): I don’t recall ever reading this passage except for the children’s versions.  It’s humorous how the description in the “adult” Bible perfectly matches the pictures of Goliath in children’s Bibles.  The description paints a real clear picture of him except how tall he actually was — 9.75 feet or 6.75 feet.

Q. (17:16): Here we have a “40.”  Is it notifying us of a cleansing period, when you mentioned the meaning of “40” in Day 3’s reading?

A. It can also refer to a time of trial, and this certainly is a trying period for Israel.  Daily, Goliath is taunting the people and testing their faith in God, which is revealed to be quite poor.  But all that’s going to change when a certain shepherd shows up.

Q. (17:26): Why does David refer to God as the Living God?

A. Living God is one of the most common titles used to refer to God throughout Scripture.  It refers to the fact that the God it refers to is not an idol, a dead object made of wood, stone, or precious metal.  The God of the Bible is a living being and all things find their life in Him.

O. (13:31): That last paragraph makes me want to read on!

For further insight: What insight does the Bible give us about being a good leader? https://pureflix.com/insider/bible-verses-about-good-leadership

Shop: With Jesus as our leader, we don’t need to worry about His integrity. https://livinlight.org/product/teacher-t-shirt-womens/

Tomorrow’s reading
— 1 Samuel 17:32-19:17
— Psalm 59
—1 Samuel 19:18-24

 

Quest for king The Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant

Day 100 (April 10): Eli dies from shock, Philistines cursed, return Ark, God hears Samuel, Israelite victory, Samuel’s greedy sons, Samuel warns quest for king

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org.

Day 100!  Can you believe it?  Just three more weeks and will be one-third of the way through the Bible.

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
1 Samuel 4:12-8:22
(1070 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Samuel 4): Just as a scene setter, the Israelites were warring with the Philistines who were in the land of Canaan, which God had given to the Israelites.  When the Israelites were taking over the land conquering cities in the time of Joshua, some of the tribes were not destroyed.  This is because the Israelites were not fully acknowledging God.  And, as you said in earlier readings, this would come back to plague the Israelites.  Since then, the Philistines had grown in strength and worshipped idols and the Israelites had weakened because of straying from God.  The Philistines had enslaved the Israelites (Hebrews) and the Israelites were revolting.  Is this accurate?

A. I don’t think the Israelites were actively being enslaved, but rather the Philistines were taxing them and controlling certain areas of Canaan, and that is what the people were revolting against.  Other then that, I think you’ve told it correctly.

Q. (5:1-12): I remember when the Tabernacle was set up that it was so sacred that only certain ones who had become ceremonially clean could view it.  And, several died trying. Here the Philistines have it.  Has it lost some of its sacredness with the weakening of the Israelites?  How come the Philistines were not struck down as they approached it, let alone touched it?  In the subsequent verses, we learn that they were plagued.  This just seems a weaker curse for mistreating the Ark than in Moses’ time.

A. The curse in some ways represents a form of God’s mercy: the Philistines were not aware of the Israelite requirements to not approach the Ark, so God spared them, but He clearly let them know that He was displeased (the curses are certainly a similar story to the plagues of Egypt).  There is no indication that the Philistines touched the Ark, which would result in their death.  They carried the Ark on a cart to avoid touching it directly.  This was obviously not what God instructed: He wanted the priests to carry it.  So, I would say that the “weaker” curse, as you see it, is God having compassion upon a people who don’t know what they are getting themselves into.  They certainly learned fast that you don’t mess with the Ark.

Q. (6:1-2): The Philistines obviously should have realized the power of God.  I’m just wondering why they didn’t convert to worshipping God.  Were they ever invited?  Or, was it understood that they all had their own idols?  The Philistine priests did a good job of making arrangements for the Ark to be returned.  And, they saw what the Ark did to Dagon.  So, why don’t they turn to God?

A. Hmm, that’s a good question.  I don’t really know.  It was probably because they considered this to be “Israel’s god” which they had offended, and not necessarily that Israel’s god was more “powerful,” simply that they had angered Him.

Q. (8:1-3): Samuel’s sons are falling in the footsteps of Eli’s.  What’s up with these priests parenting skills?

A. We aren’t told, so I don’t really have anything to base an answer off of.  Sorry!

Q. (8:21): Why didn’t God encourage Samuel to keep urging the Israelites that God was their king and that they don’t need to be like their neighbor countries?  Is this a “wait and see” question?

A. Again, this is a good question, but I don’t have a great answer.  We know from the Law that God had already made provision for a human king (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20, from our reading on Day 76).  God was not threatened by the request for a human king — though it appears He was a bit insulted — but He does warn the people that they will regret giving themselves over to a human leader. Boy will they.

For further study
— All about kings and those of today, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King
— Why did the Israelites want an earthly king when they already had God as their leader? https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/why-did-israel-want-an-earthly-king-when-they-had-god.html

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading: 1 Samuel 9-12