Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Davidic Psalms

There is no King in Israel that is exalted by the Jews like David. Solomon had much more wealth, wisdom, and spent almost all of his life in peace and calm yet David is the favourite King.

So it is very interesting that the same king, by the ancestors of the same people, was treated in a way that he had to fear his life all the time and take his complaint about his enemies to the Lord. These enemies cannot be just Saul and his son, Absalom - since these people not necessarily after his life. They mock him! Yeah, they mock David, the man after Lord's heart.

I suppose not much changes in the history. The most celebrated people of Israel were actually mocked, hated, attacked, chained and even killed at their time.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


This book is long. Going through it is not easy and I always had difficulty following it. Now after 5th time I am going through it, it has started to unfold in front of my eyes.

The "reluctant prophet" has to deal with a lot, including endangering his life in order to deliver Lord's message. It is interesting that initially Lord told them to repent and kept repeating it. But after a while he told the Israelites to surrender - yes surrender and be taken into captivity. And also with the good fig/bad fig example, the people of exile will be the real remnant of Israel. We will see this later in Ezra and Nehemiah that this actually gets fulfilled but the real point is, the time to avert the fall of Israel was gone at the time of Zedekiah.

Really interesting stuff.

Friday, 26 September 2014

2 Corinthians

I really feel for Paul - for him as a man, made of flesh - when I read the second half of his second letter to Corinthians (and actually his 3rd), and the fact that he had to deal with so much. This is *the man* who has got "his authority from the Lord himself and not from men" (like the rest of Apostles) and has gone through so much beating, shipwreck, persecution, etc and yet his authority being questioned here. He is  seen secondary to these "Super Apostles" and his eloquence and command of doctrine is not sufficient for the people of Corinth. And aside this, he has got a "thorn in the flesh" from the Lord: prayed three times to the Lord to take it away and yet God's grace was sufficient for him.

I love how the personality of the authors of the Bible do come across the word of God and travels thousands of years in time in such a way that we feel as if we had known these people intimately like a brother. Whether it is David, Job, Peter, Paul or Solomon, we feel all alike and this is because this stuff ain't made up. These people lived, went through the joys and sorrows of life like the rest of us, had hopes and dreams, fell deep halfway and yet stood up again with the power of grace.

When comes to Paul, honestly, you cannot "not like" this guy. He was an intellectual, a thought leader of his time, perfected in following the Jewish tradition and understanding the Law. And his eyes get opened, quite literally, and then he spends two years in the desert to try to make a sense of all this dichotomy of Law and Grace, New and Old covenant, Promise and Fulfilment. And it ain't rocket science to us is it, yet so many Jews stumbled?

Well, it is the power of Holy Spirit. This Bible is the same one that I read or rather scanned through 2 years before giving up my life to Christ and it all sounded completely irrelevant both to me and also for our time and problems. The same Holy Spirit helped him to get a grasp of this all and explain it to us so well in his letters.

And this man of such stature is being questioned here. It seems, Paul, as solid and eloquent as we see him in his letters, in personal presence he is meek, loving and humble - like the Lord Jesus - and this is being taken advantage of.

And perhaps it is a lesson to us, for we have come a long way but the road to salvation is not paved with the glory but with the meekness, gentleness, humility and many sacrifices.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Isaiah 8

As I said, Isaiah's the prophecy is very unusual. There are many unclear points and it is difficult to get a grasp of it all. In the midst of the Immanuel's prophecy, we have the prophecy of the Isaiah's own son, conceived by the prophetess, and not "the virgin" or "servant girl". So it seems to me that we have two prophecies and Hash-Shahs-Bazaar is completely separate from Immanuel.

What makes it difficult for me to take this as a prophecy of the birth of Jesus is that by the time Immanuel is a prepubescent age, the two kindoms mentioned become desolate. So there is a sense of immediacy (in number of tens of years and not hundreds - note 65 years mentioned about the Ephraim) to these prophecies. Yet, we sometimes see a pattern of recurrence (an immediate promise and a prophecy of its occurence in the far future - perhaps even multiple times). This pattern happens in the book of revelation. In fact, it is possible that this prophecy is one of these types. Israel falls around 30 years after Pekah, so desolation within 65 years completely makes sense.

As we said last time, the curd and honey is a sign of abundance:

"because of the abundance of milk that they give, he will eat curds, for everyone who is left in the land will eat curds and honey" - which refers to the prosperity of the Israel.

Now could this refer to Hezekiah's reign? Don't know. In any case, all I can say is that I cannot be sure this refers to the "Virgin Birth".

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Isaiah 7

"The virgin shall be with child"

In Christian tradition this refers to the virgin birth of Jesus and frequently read in Christmas services. The context of this is the conversation between Isaiah and Ahaz, Jerusalem's king at the time of the Arameans and son of Remaliah's attack to Jerusalem's. Ahaz is asking for sign that he will be protected and this is given as sign.

Much has been discussed on this throughout the history, I am sure, and I have not read any of it. So I am not sure whether I should comment about it but as a Christian, I am being held accountable to God and my conscience and I personally have a problem with this.

On one hand, the word virgin in is the same as maid girl in Aramaic, and apparently was more common to be used as the maid girl. On the other hand, the context is completely different. And the talk about eating butter and honey (perhaps reference to the abundance in the land of Israel), and desolation of the lands of the kings attacking which is supposed to happen during the time the boy is prepubescent.

On the other hand, it is strange that such a boy is not referred to later in the text which is bizarre too.

More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

There is no one who does good - Psalm 53

Now Psalm 53 is another epic one. "There is no one who does good" appears here but also on Psalm 14. Until now, I did not know these two Psalms are very similar, in fact the only difference I can spot is on the verse 5 and 6. And above all, this was referenced by Jesus himself in Mark 10:18 and Luke 18:19.

2 Corinthians 10-11

And this is another of today's reading that stuck with me. Paul's authority is being challenged here. In fact the authority in world's view and apostolic view are very different: "did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted" That is certainly a problem that most of us have experienced. 

The world does not value meekness, it expects authority to be established by a certain way of conduct and swagger which is not a Christian virtue: "Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge".  And to counteract his eloquent writings: "His letters are weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account".

And then he defends himself by listing his sufferings. You cannot help but feel compassion for him; he has been under so much pressure, leaving him no choice but to brag about his qualifications and suffering: "I am talking like a madman". No matter what you think about Paul, you must give him real credit for his integrity, steadfastness, and perhaps his sense of humour :)

Monday, 8 September 2014

Davidic Psalm - Psalm 51

Psalms have been a favourite of many - while not me. Only after continuous reading I have started to get a grasp of how deep they are, and I do not necessarily mean in the meaning but in capturing human heart.

Now this psalm is very special. This has been written at the time Nathan the prophet has admonished David and made him see what he really has done. This was probably an epic moment marking the darkest moment in his life, as such the words are really important.


"I was sinful when my mother conceived me."

"Surely you desire integrity in the inner self" - David had got it! He knew the law has an inner layer which he set himself to discover by meditating on it.

"Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean". That is interesting. Hyssop was used at the day of passover. So it refers to being cleaned by blood!

"Save me from the sin of bloodshed" Is it a reference to Uriah?

All around very beautiful.