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M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 10

Well, I am trying out a new way of taking notes. I am writing them as "user notes" in my Accordance Bible Software. This means I can access them easily in the future.

It also means I make notes for a verse rather than a summary for the entire chapter. I am then copying them into my the blogging app. I may hone the format as I go.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 8

Gen 8

God remembers Noah. Had he forgotten? No, but God's remembrance of his covenant is a sign that he will act on their behalf.

ESVSB points out that God making the "wind" to blow seems to purposely parallel Gen 1:2 when God makes the "spirit" to hover. Spirit and wind are the same word. This points in a direction of seeing Noah as a new creation.

I find it interesting that in v. 21 God reasons that he will never again curse the ground and destroy the animals because of man. His basis is that "the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth." God's change of heart is not a result of a change in man because of Noah's relative righteousness. Instead, it is the sacrifice that Noah offers. One might also get the indea that "the earth has suffered enough because of man"

Ezra 8

Ezra's determination to bring back a full representation of the house of Israel is seen in the recording of the geneology. You can also see his faithfulness in desiring that true sons of Levi be priests.

I suppose there is such a thing as holy shame as Ezra has in v22.

Matt 8

Why did Jesus tell the leper not to tell anyone? At this stage in his ministry he was trying to stay "under the radar" and not draw messianic attention to himself.

You have to love the faith of the centurion. His faith is an occasion to mention us. We are some of those that weill recline at the table with the patriarchs while Jews who reject him will be cast out of the kingdom.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 7

Gen 7

I remember in my Penteteuch class in college being told that because of v3 saying that Noah took seven pairs of clean animals and verses nine and fifteen saying they went in two by two there were two "flood accounts." I now realize that verses nine and fifteen are describing how they went in and not how many were taken. Now I can take this off the passages that make me nervous list. Looking back, it seems silly to have thought otherwise. I suppose the stature of the teacher weighed upon me in my reading.

That fact that every living thing on the "earth" was "blotted out" makes me think of the curse and the curse of the ground. Apparently the sea creature survived.

Ezra 7

It is interesting that v. 10 makes explicit that Ezra not only wants to study and teach God's law, but he also wants to DO IT. Many get two out of three. It is me too often.

The reverence with which Artaxerxes speaks of "the God of Israel" is surprising. It is highly unlikely that he had become a Jew, yet he understood the idea of being respectful and deferential to one greater than himself. It seems he did not doubt that the "God that is in Jerusalem" existed and that he was worthy of worship. While this is not the end of religion, it is refreshing compared to the lack of respect paid anything in our day.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 6

Gen 6

The ark was part of the covenant, God's method of relating and saving his people.

Ezra 6

Don't you love the irony sometimes. God takes care of his people in the face of those who oppose them.

This must have been an incredible celebration. To celebrate the Passover in the land had such significance, it must have really felt like salvation to the Jews there and then.

Matt 5 & 6

I have been reading a good bit in Resident Aliens about the Sermon on the Mount. It flows very well with study in a seminary class regarding this passage. The basic idea is that Jesus is describing what they way God's people are and not so much what each individual should do. The idea is that the community of God's kingdom should, in general, look like this.

In my mind, this takes it from legalism to a real goal for the church. It puts a heavier burden on us to cultivate this kind of life together instead of guilting us into obedience. It also explains Christ's mention of a city on a hill. The light is not my life or yours but our life together.

Acts 6

It is interesting that Stephen, a "deacon" was doing great wonders and signs. He also was able to speak in such a way that he put his opponents to shame. I look forward to reading his last sermon tomorrow.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 5

We are reading the second family reading with the kids, and it was a late, and fun, night tonight so we put them to bed without reading. I'll try to catch up on Matt 5 tomorrow. Meanwhile...

Gen 5

With these people's lives being so long, imagine how much they learned. Just think how quickly knowledge and wisdom could grow in a society. There would have been many generations alive at the same time. It is interesting that Methuselah died the same year as the flood.

It is interesting that Lamech prophesies that Noah will be a deliverer. Indeed he was, and it was in the cov with Noah that God promises the seasonal consistency that becomes part of a sustained agricultural system. Noah is a type of the seed who is to come. His faithful father is still looking for the seed who would bring deliverance.

Ezra 5

The boldness of Zerubbabel is admirable. The did what God was calling them to do, and gave a truthful answer when asked.

Acts 5

It is interesting that Peter says the money of the sale was theirs. Their fault was a proud heart that wanted to use the service of God for their own gain. I am thankful that I have not been struck dead. I must admit there are times when I have less than pure motives for teaching or leading. I am a mixed bag. Thank you for your Grace, Lord.

It is always funny to read Gamaliel's words. Little did he know how truthful his words would be.

When do we rejoice to be considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. We are usually incredulous.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections - Jan 4

Gen 4

It is puzzling to think about what Cain did wrong. It is obvious from v6 that he was not "doing well." Something about his offering or the way he offered it was not satisfactory. God's address to Cain seems to indicate that he knew what the problem was. The warning is worth taking to heart. If we are not doing well, and we probably know what that means, watch out. The question is, "How do we get from not doing well to doing well?"

In my OT Class, we talked about how Cain is a symbol for Egypt and Abel for Israel.

Cain/Egypt Abel/Seth/Israel

Agriculture Shepherds

City Builder Simple People

Rejected by God Accepted by God

This story instructs Israel to be wary of Egypt and not desire to return. There is danger there.

It is interesting that God does not exact the death penalty on Cain. Does God purposely allow evil to grow in the line of Cain? Why didn't he put it to a stop instead of letting it grow until Noah's time? Is this God's mercy on Cain because of his plea? This shows that at least for now, God has mercy even on unbelievers. I would say this is true especially with those that are apostate. God always wants those who have been part of his family to return.

Christmas Books

I received some really good books for Christmas from various people, and I am really excited about reading this year. I also bought Courtney a couple of good books.

Here is the list:

I receive a particular satisfaction and joy when I actually do the things I say I think are valuable. Reading is one of those things where I often miss this particular satisfaction. Nevertheless, with this new selection, you should be seeing a particular kind of smile on my face.

Resident Aliens is my first read, and I am already half way through it. I'll reading Parenting Without Perfection next for Courtney. I am not sure what is next.

If you read this and see me in person, ask me about how my books are going if you want to get into a long conversation.

M'Cheyne Reading Reflections for Jan 3

It was bound to happen sometime. I didn't write a reflection for yesterday, but I did read.

Matt 3

I thought it was interesting that John says,"God could raise up children of Abraham from these stones." John did not know that he was speaking prophetically. God did raise up sons of Abraham from about as unlikely of a place, the Gentiles of the Roman Empire.

Gen 3

It is interesting that Eve is so fastidious with the serpent at first, and then sees the benefits of the fruit and ignores God's command. It made me think about how Eve must have doubted that God was actually good. I recently read a review of Twilight in which the reviewer made a lot of connections between the story and the writer's Mormon background. One point he made was that Mormons believe the fall was actually good because it enabled man to be redeemed.

It is tempting to say this as the text itself says, "and their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked." We use the expression of "eyes being opened as a positive expression which reflects that we now understand the true state of affairs. We know, however, that the fall was not good. Rebellion against God is never good. What would God have done with Adam and Eve had they not fallen. We don't know, but we know that his command is always for our good, and this one must have been for Eve.

Acts 1 and Holy Spirit

Reading Acts 1, I can't help but notice Luke's emphasis on the activity of Holy Spirit. I specifically noticed two things. First, he would give power to the disciples when he came. It makes me think of Paul's comment to the Thessalonians that the Gospel came to the in power and the Holy Spirit. It is hard not to ask the questions, "Exactly what kind of power is he talking about?" and "Is that kind of power present today?" and "Is that kind of power to be the norm for Christians today?" I am really interested in BIBLICAL answers to these questions. I know I kind of danced around these specific questions in our small group's study of the Holy Spirit. I do think that people err either on the side of ignoring these questions or focusing on these questions. I'd rather be neither.

My second observation is that in Acts 1:16 Peter claims that the Psalms are a record of what Holy Spirit speaks through the mouth of the writer. I had never noticed this specific attribution of scripture to the Holy Spirit's work.

M'Cheyne Readings

Here is the Bible reading plan that I am going to try to follow this year. Some in my small group are trying to follow it with me so that we can encourage one another both in our reading scripture and with the scripture we are reading.

It has two "family" readings and two "secret" readings per day. The "family" readings to to be read with your family, and the "secret" readings are to be part of your personal devotions. I think they are probably set up to be one of each for the morning and evening.

Our family is going to read the New Testament family reading for the day at night together before the kids go to bed. The rest we are going to read as "secret" readings for now.

I am going to be writing entries with reflections as often as possible.