God's unfailing love Israelites in Jerusalem for Holy Days. Priest reads God's laws from Torah

Day 135 (May 15): My hope is in God, Harmonious living, God’s unfailing love, He cares for the humble, Wait for God’s plans, God knows all, Rescue me

Child Evangelism Fellowship Europe – www.cefeurope.com / www.teachkids.eu

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 131
Psalm 133
Psalms 138-141
Psalm 143
(~979 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Psalms 131, 134): I missed asking this question yesterday.  Who are the pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem?  David is certainly at peace in these songs.  In 133:3, it seems David is talking about the afterlife again.  He must be looking forward to it after all the turmoil in his earthly life.

A. No, he’s not talking about the afterlife, at least not directly: there would have been three different times of the year that faithful Jews would have made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the holy days there.  These songs were envisioned to be songs that these men and women would sing on the steep climb to the holy city.

Q. (138:6): This verse brings to light a dichotomy of desires.  Our culture — and I would think that most cultures now or in the past — pushes people toward striving to do their best, climb the ladder, achieve financial prosperity, etc.  However, that “success” is often accompanied by pride.  I was wondering what God’s take is on striving to do your best.  Many years ago, I was discussing the math curriculum with my daughter’s teacher: that school’s curriculum starts math one year early.  So, my daughter did First Grade math in Kindergarten and Second Grade math in First Grade.  I thought it was a little too much, too soon.  They said that if they start it when it’s supposed to start, the students are bored with it.  The school says on its answering machine that it’s rigorous — and, it is.  It is a wonderful school, don’t get me wrong.  Anyway, the teacher said God wants us Christians to be leaders.  Rob, can you address this?

A. I believe that God has created each of us for a purpose, and in some cases, that purpose is to be leaders — of nations, of Fortune 500 companies, of major universities — but ALSO leaders of families, leaders who care for the poor and needy, and leaders in ministry.  Can you see how you would take a very (very very!) different path to get to be a leader of some verses others, and yet, they are all leaders — all important in God’s sight.  So I would agree with your school’s assessment, to a point: I think God desires leaders who are willing to follow after HIM, and not be led by their ego or paycheck.

But I think I could also argue that God desires non-working parents, laborers, followers, helpers, servants, and assistants.  The janitor who is passionate about a clean floor is honoring God through what he has been given, just as a God-honoring CEO is.  Even if the janitor does not feel that he wants to be a janitor all his life, he can still choose to honor God in his work, whether as a leader or servant.  That, I think is what it comes down to: honoring God through whatever He has given you to do as your task in life, even one moment at a time.

Q. (138:7): There’s that right-hand reference again.

A. Yes.  That was the “power side” where a warrior kept his spear or sword, or a king kept his closest advisor.

Q. (139:23-24): I find it interesting that David asks God to test his faith.

A. Yes he does.  As we discussed a few days ago — when I pointed out in our discussion of Psalm 19 and seeing our faults (Day 127/May 7) — one of the best ways to make changes in our lives is to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the process.

Q. (141:7): This is quite a visual.  I was just wondering where the practice of burying bones came from.  My family is from rural Kansas where most everyone has a family plot at the cemetery.  Now that I’m more worldly, I know of cremation.  Does God care if we are buried or cremated?  I have always liked burial because then your family can visit it, read the headstones, place flowers on it and just reflect.  But, in our conservation-minded society, it seems to be more savvy to choose cremation.

A. It is Jewish tradition (as well as other societies such as the ancient Greeks) that they bury their dead, as opposed to those who consumed the bodies in funeral pyres, which would naturally connect more with cremation.  But the REQUIREMENT to bury a body is not found in the Bible, so there is a great amount of leeway there.  I do not think it matters to God one bit.

O. (143:8-10): This would be a great passage to read every morning!

For further reading: More on David asking God to examine his heart, https://thebiblesays.com/commentary/ps/ps-139/psalm-13923-24/

Shop: Put your own heart to the test with God’s two rules, https://livinlight.org/product/love-rules-t-shirt/

Tomorrow’s reading
— Psalms 144-145
— Psalms 88-89

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

David Psalms When David died he was buried in Jerusalem (also known as the city of David).

Day 126 (May 6): David’s last words to Solomon, stands against sin, pleads for redemption, marvels at God’s creation, heralds God, David dies, God judges

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 2:1-9
2 Samuel 23:1-7
1 Kings 2:10-12
1 Chronicles 29:26-30
Psalms 4-6
Psalms 8-9
Psalm 11
(970-979 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

We are getting heavy into the Psalms of David.  For background information on Psalms, check out http://biblesummary.org/psalms/1.htm

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Kings 2:5): So, we finally see that King David has a bit more punishment for Joab.  Maybe since David is honoring God in the previous verses, David has God’s blessing to order Solomon to punish Joab?

A. Joab has continuously lived by the sword (in assassinating rivals to further his own career), and because of that, he will die by it.

Q. (2:8-9): So David promised not to kill Shimei, but he’s almost ordering his son to, and it sounds like he wants him to brutally murder him.

A. It is not David’s best moment, but cursing a ruler (as Shimei did) was against the Law (Exodus 22:28) and such behavior was rightly punished by death.  In his wisdom, Solomon will not take his father’s advice, and will offer Shimei a way out similar to the city of refuge.  You’ll see what happens whenever the reading picks up in Kings again.

Q. (2 Samuel 23:2-4): I am confused here if the verses are describing David or the Lord.  If it’s David, he’s getting a little arrogant on his deathbed.  Am I reading this wrong?

A. Actually, its neither David, strictly speaking, or God.  These verses are about the idealized king of Israel, which will be seen as Jesus Christ, who rules through the righteousness of God.  David is not speaking of himself here, but rather casting a vision of what those who follow after him — beginning with his son Solomon — should seek to match.

Q. (Psalm 4:2): Do you have any idea of whom David is saying is ruining his reputation?

A. No one specific, just his enemies, of which David has plenty all of his life.

Q. (Psalm 4:6-8): This is an interesting set of verses.  From our readings thus far, I don’t think we have seen where God has shown his anger and caused hard times unless the people were disobeying/dishonoring God, except for Job and even then, Job had to battle with his ego a bit.  I think it’s safe to say that humans cause their own bad times.  But, what I get from this verse is that, regardless if you are in good or bad times, the only peace you can find is in God.

A. I think that is a very fair reading of the verses.

Q. (Psalm 5:1-6): To me in 1-3, David is telling God to “wake up and look at me.”  This sounds selfish and disrespectful to me.  Of course, God is listening.  In verses 4-6, David is telling God what he is like.  I think God would know himself pretty well.  Verses 7-8 sound to me like they would be more pleasing to God.  In verses 9-10, David sounds like he is judging and asking God for his blessing.  Verses 11-12 are awesome.  So, why does David change his delivery so much?  This was an earlier Psalm, maybe he’ll become more reverent as we go?

A. Don’t count on reverence as we go.  The Psalms jump through all kinds of emotions all over the place.  Also, the poems are compiled into five different books (something that frankly will be difficult for us to see in this particular breakdown, obviously), and we don’t know exactly who did the editing or why.  So, there is no reason to assume that they are assembled chronologically: we cannot assume that just because the Psalms are listed 8, 9, 10, that this was the order they were written in.  Do not assume that the order the Psalms are placed in has any bearing on their “age.”

As to the irreverent content of the Psalm, all people go through frustrating periods where we feel that things are not going well, and it is human nature to blame God when things are not necessarily going right.  So when the writer says, “why aren’t you watching,” perhaps he really means, “why aren’t you doing what I asked you to, God?”  As I said, don’t expect that to stop here.  The Psalms are filled with human emotion at its most raw, and in places like that, God is rarely treated with the full reverence he deserves.

Q. All of these psalms tell what instruments are supposed to accompany them.  I guess this gives us a picture of the Levites who were assigned to music?  So, these songs would be sung/performed in the temple for a congregation to hear?

A. They were probably used for worship of some sort, but it is hard to tell exactly what these poems were used for in the ancient world.  It seems likely to me that David and other kings had these songs/poems performed in his court as part of his public acts of worship.

Q. (Psalm 6): This describes how David’s faith in the Lord is strong.  But David is sorrowful because he doesn’t feel God’s involvement in his life.  Rob, can you talk about this?  Why do we feel such a strong pull toward God at times or like he is giving us clear direction and other times he seems so far?

A. We all go through periods of life when God feels closer or more distant.  Some of that, frankly, has to do with how we are choosing God over our sins, and walking closely with Him, but having a good handle in the sin in our lives (hahahaha) is no guarantee that God will feel close.

In his book The Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis has a very insightful passage about God feeling close or distant.  He notes that the ultimate goal of God’s relationship with human beings is to have them as faithful children, not infants.  If you know anything about the process of helping an infant or toddler grow into being a child, there are a number of often-painful steps in the process.  A toddler must learn how to walk, and the only way for that to happen is for the parent to withdraw their hand.  Many times the toddler will fall at first, but if the parent never lets go, the child never learns to walk on his own.  Our spiritual walk, Lewis says, can be seen in the same way.  When we first commit to God, we often feel very close to God, but eventually, that emotional relationship must change, as all relationships do.  And God must begin to “withdraw His hand,” if you will, in order for us to “walk.”  It is the ultimate test of a believer in Christ to be getting radio silence from God, to not feel Him at all, and still obey what God commands.  That is the surest sign of a faithful follower.  I hope that helps.

O. (Psalm 8): It is amazing that God cares for humans so much.  There are so many more things that seem much more majestic than us: mountains, stars, oceans, baby animals (!).  And, yet, he chose us to share his kingdom with.

Q. (Psalm 9:8): We have talked of fairness before.  In many of the Bible stories thus far, it seems to me that God’s wrath was not always fair.  The more I read, the more I  understand — or accept — God’s actions.  But, to say He is fair.  I don’t think God ever said He was fair.  I thought we talked about fairness being something of a modern term.  I guess they did have judges back then to hear cases.  But, would you consider God fair?  I’m not saying He has to be, He’s God.  He can do whatever He wants.  I envision when our judgment day happens, we will be judged with fairness.

A. To be judged fairly was one of the earliest questions of God by a man (Abraham to be specific, see Genesis 18), and Abraham’s conclusion is that we will be judged rightly by the ultimate Judge.  Is God fair?  That depends on whom you ask, I suppose.  It is perfectly reasonable to expect God to be fair to us, but ultimately, God does not answer to us, we answer to Him.

Q. (Psalm 10:18): The American version of “poor.”  We are definitely not poor.  We have food, shelter, some savings.  What we don’t have much of is disposable income.  So, every month we go through our small budget fast and have to shift some money around and pray for some work — we do that a lot and yes, the work comes!  I pray for enough money so we don’t have to scramble and we can focus on other things, like this blog and having the time — not working, relying solely on my husband’s job — to develop it into something more, what God is telling me to do with it.  And, I think when we past the lottery billboards — the last one I saw said it was up to $191 million — that if I won that, we could give a huge chunk of money to our kid’s school, enough for them to build a new school and give money for more scholarships.  Then, I would pay for all the mortgages of my family and close friends and totally give, give, give to charities.  But, God hasn’t given me the winning six numbers.  When He does, I’m making a bee-line to buy a ticket.  But, as I have seen on TV, big sums of money are often the root of huge sorrow.  So, I guess we’ll just keep on asking God for guidance.  Then, when I see all the starving nations, it makes me feel super selfish!  Like our pastor recently said, God gives you what you need when you need it.

A. Feel free to ask God for whatever you like.  Nothing wrong with that.  Just be careful about what God might expect of you in return!  While we are free to seek out financial peace via the lottery or other wishful thinking (sorry!), it is ultimately our responsibility to be faithful to WHATEVER God gives to us.  This means being generous to everyone, especially those who need it — whether they are poor or not — supporting ministries and churches that you feel God leading you to support, and being a good steward of what God has provided.  That, ultimately, is what God desires of us when it comes to spending: Be a good steward, and to trust Him to take care of the rest.

Q. (Psalm 11): These first verses remind me of my questions about when David fled from enemies.  I was wondering why God wouldn’t protect him and defeat the enemies at all times.  But, I guess we just need to keep in tune with God and do what he tells us.  If he tells us to hold down, stay, if he tells us to flee, run.

A. Sometimes there is great wisdom in fleeing as we saw with David. And sometimes, we must act on what we believe is God’s order to stand our ground.  As with all of these issues we’ve been looking at today, we must trust that God will make the matter clear enough for us to act wisely, but I would say if God tells you to run, get going!

For more interest: How do you know if God is at work in your life? https://p2c.com/students/articles/how-to-know-if-god-is-working-in-your-life/

Shop: With God at your wheel, you will have a Good Life indeed! https://livinlight.org/product/overflow-t-shirt-2/

Tomorrow’s reading
— Psalms 12-17
— Psalms 19-21

Day 113 (April 23): Ark on the move, Michal upset at David’s behavior, Ark rests in tent, David’s Song of Praise, Michal punished for attitude

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 Samuel 6:12
1 Chronicles 15:1-28
2 Samuel 6:12-16
1 Chronicles 15:29
2 Samuel 6:17-19
1 Chronicles 16
2 Samuel 6:19-23
(1000-998 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (1 Chronicles 15:1): Are we seeing David getting egotistical here, building his empire?

A. I would say he is, but he has earned it.  He will realize his mistake and honor God in our subsequent story.

Q. (2 Samuel 6:14): David is praising God with dancing and orchestrating music.  Is this appropriate since God didn’t order this kind of celebrating?

A. I suspect God was greatly pleased with this display.  His people were celebrating victory that He had given them.

Q. (6:16): Why was Michal filled with contempt?  Maybe she is having an emotional struggle with seeing her husband who left her and married others and her feelings for her father?

A. Because David was dancing and celebrating in a way that she deemed not worthy of a king.  She thought he should be too good for such a “vulgar” display.

Q. (16:37): The Ark was so central to the Israelites from Moses’ all through Joshua’s reign.  How or why did the Israelites let it fall from their priority?

A. It was no longer the focus of the story, but it clearly remained a part of the religious ritual of the people.  It was still manned by the priesthood, but it does appear that the writers focused on it less as the people settled into the various parts of the Promised Land.  I’m honestly not sure why that is.

Q. (16:39): I thought the Ark always had a place inside the Tabernacle, but here it sounds as if they have been separated.

A. The old tent was probably discarded, as it probably fell apart after so many years of use — several hundred.  The story mentioned that David created a new tent for its resting place, so that it was properly housed in the way we saw described by Moses.  It will come into play under David’s son Solomon’s plans, so watch for that.

Q. (2 Samuel 6:22-23): David is showing off here, talking about girls noticing him to his wife.  And, Michal is to remain childless.  This could be because she is so disgusted with David that she keeps her distance from him?

A. The implication of the story is that God is not pleased with her rebuke of David, who was worshipping Him with all of his heart, and renders her barren as punishment.

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

Tomorrow’s reading
— 2 Samuel 7:1-17
— 1 Chronicles 17:1-15
— 2 Samuel 7:18-29
— 1 Chronicles 17:16-27
— 2 Samuel 8:1-14
— 1 Chronicles 18:1-13
— Psalm 60

David Ark Jerusalem The Ark of the Covenant is on the move

Day 112 (April 22): David is Israel’s king, conquers Philistines, takes Jerusalem, builds palace, tries to move Ark, Israel punished for Ark treatment

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 Samuel 5:1-3
1 Chronicles 11:1-3
1 Chronicles 12:23-40
2 Samuel 5:17-25
1 Chronicles 14:8-17
2 Samuel 5:6-10
1 Chronicles 11:4-9
1 Chronicles 3:4b
2 Samuel 5:13
2 Samuel 5:4-5
2 Samuel 5:11-12
1 Chronicles 14:1-2
1 Chronicles 13:1-5
2 Samuel 6:1-11
1 Chronicles 13:6-14
(1003-1000 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Samuel 5:3): We have seen “the elders of Israel” many times, but who are they?

A. They would be the leaders of each of the thirteen tribes (including the Levites and two half tribes).  They most likely were the heads of each of the major families, and most likely the most powerful men from each region of Israel.

O. (1 Chronicles 12:38-40): These verses provide a wonderful picture of all of Israel pouring in to Hebron to see David become king.  They brought provisions to share with all their kin.  This must have been the largest family reunion ever — a wonderful sight, especially after all the years of unrest because of the conflict between David and Saul (mostly brought on by Saul).

Q. (2 Samuel 5:21): I see a problem on the rise here.  David and his men confiscated the Philistines idols.  But, in 1 Chronicles 14:12, David gave orders to burn the Philistine gods.

A. It is probably both (they were taken and then later burned).  The Samuel story tells us that the Philistines brought images of their gods into battle in hopes of assuring victory — in the same way we saw Israel lose the Ark in 1 Samuel 4.  The story tells us that when defeated, they left the idols, so part of the process of spoiling the battlefield would be to collect them.  When in doubt, the Chronicler ALWAYS tries to show David in a better light (that’s the nature of Chronicles, written later as a way to memorialize Israel’s great leaders).  So it is unsurprising to me that Samuel would tell us that they collected the idols — without implying they burned them later, though they may have — while Chronicles tells us that David had them destroyed.

Q. (1 Chronicles 11:6): I thought Joab and his family were struck with leprosy as a punishment for killing Abner.  How could he be David’s army commander if he had this disease?

A. He was (Joab is David’s nephew by the way).  Don’t forget that leprosy would have meant a variety of skin diseases, and it was spread over an entire family, and not necessarily lethal.  Joab apparently did not suffer much under this curse, because he will play a huge role in the rest of the story.

Q. (1 Chronicles 3:4b, 2 Samuel 5:13): Why did David move to Jerusalem?

A. Jerusalem was the central point for that area of Israel — it was at a high elevation and very useful strategically.  It was also along the border of Judah, David’s tribe, and Benjamin’s territory, so making that his capital would allow David to smooth over relations with the “rogue” nation.

Q. (2 Samuel 6:6-7, 9-11, 1 Chronicles 13:9-10, 12-14): So, I guess Uzzah was supposed to have power over his natural reflexes of catching something that is falling?  Maybe David and the Israelites were singing and dancing too much, and not showing God reverence?  So, this mishap may have been a reminder to get them in the right frame of mind?  Do I have this right?  And, can you explain verses 9-11?  I find it strange that the Ark would reside in someone’s house.

A. OK, the deal here is that David is cheating by using a cart to move the Ark.  Remember the way it was supposed to be moved: by having the priests carry it on poles?  Uzzah died because of his lack of reverence for the Ark, but mostly because David was being irresponsible in his movement of it.  David will correct this mistake in our next reading.  My notes indicate that the Ark resided at the home of a priest, and “house” is probably a loose term for property.  The Ark was secured on the property of a proper guardian to await God and David’s next move.  The blessing on Obed-Edom’s house is an indication that the anger of God had subsided.

For further study: God’s presence and the Ark, https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/ark-covenant-and-gods-presence-us

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

Tomorrow’s reading
— 2 Samuel 6:12a
— 1 Chronicles 15:1-28
— 2 Samuel 6:12b-16
— 1 Chronicles 15:29
— 2 Samuel 6:17-19a
— 1 Chronicles 16
— 2 Samuel 6:19b-23