Proverbs 29 – In His Time

Verse one of chapter 29 reads:

He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing

One who stubbornly ignores the rebukes that are intended to correct their wrongful deeds will eventually suffer consequences. This is true in life as you apply it to almost anything from personal relationships to employment to legal issues, and yes, to the evil they do against the Lord.

And in verse 6:

An evil man is ensnared in his transgression,
but a righteous man sings and rejoices

The idea here is that the evil that men do often ends up as their undoing. But how do we reconcile these verses with verse 13, which reads:

The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
the Lord gives light to the eyes of both

According to Bullock, Hitler was an opportunis...

According to Bullock, Hitler was an opportunistic adventurer devoid of principles, beliefs or scruples. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This, of course, is the same thought as in Matthew 5:45, which says “for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good.” The answer is, of course, that many times the evil men do in this life does not fully catch up with them in this life. But they will not escape justice from God in the next life. Still, we should not suppose that God never brings the evil down in this life for their deeds. He just works on His own time-table, and according to His plans.

The Lord predicted the destruction of A.D. 70 (Matthew 24), and there are many more examples in the Old Testament. Just think of the fate of Eli’s house predicted in 1 Samuel 2:27-36, and the words of the prophet Nathan to David in 2 Samuel 12:1-15, among others. One could ponder about Hitler and others as well. But in any event, whether in this life of on the day of judgment, one who “stiffens his neck” will eventually be broken indeed.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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Prayers of Habakkuk

Habakkuk the prophet, Russian icon from first ...

Habakkuk the prophet, Russian icon from first quarter of 18th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not much is known about the prophet, Habakkuk. With most of the prophets, we are given at least some minor biographical information, but we are not even told where he came from. Many scholars, however, have somehow deduced that he was from Jerusalem. And the fact that the third chapter is in fact a song – a psalm, suggests quite reasonably to some that he was from the tribe of Levi. Habakkuk 3:1 reads “a prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.” Shigionth is a reference to a type of music that is sung in times of victory.

The date of the book can only be surmised in approximation. In Habakkuk 1:6, the Lord tells Habakkuk that He is raising up the Chaldeans. The Chaldean rise to power was about 612 B.C., with their first invasion of Judah occurring in 605 B.C.  A date shortly before that is reasonable. This would place this prophet as a contemporary of Zephaniah, and possibly Daniel. Likely, the time was during the reign of Josiah (640 – 609 B.C.) or just after his death. There are some non-inspired writings with Habakkuk in them, but the more interesting one is not considered historically accurate.

Although clearly written for their benefit, Habakkuk does not address the people of Judah. The first two chapters consist of Habakkuk’s prayers (and protestations) to God, as well as God’s responses. Habakkuk is taken aback that God would send those who were even more wicked than the people of Judah to exact His punishment on them. This does not seem to him to be the actions of a just God. God assures him that He has every intention of punishing the evil nations involved – but in His own time. By the end of the book, Habakkuk is resigned to the fate, but more importantly,  he realizes that his faith in God means that he must trust Him to take care of justice.

These words were evidently a comfort to the faithful after the captivity, as they struggled to understand. The key verse is Habakkuk 2:4, which says “but the righteous will live by his faith.” That is the lesson of Habakkuk. As His children, we must trust in God to deal with the evil of this world in His time.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Psalm 103 – Bless the Lord, O My Soul

Though both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom would be sent into exile, God still promised to bring them back. While Joab and the Israelite army were far off attacking Rabbah, David stayed behind in Jerusalem and eventually committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of David's best soldiers.

Though both the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom would be sent into exile, God still promised to bring them back. While Joab and the Israelite army were far off attacking Rabbah, David stayed behind in Jerusalem and eventually committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of David’s best soldiers.

Again the superscription of this psalm assigns the author as David, while many scholars believe that it’s origin was during the time of Babylonian captivity. The reason there are so many psalms which have this ambiguity and controversy is because the time of captivity and exile bears great similarity to the time when David had his ordeal with Absalom – following his sins with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah the Hittite. God’s proclamation through Nathan of the woes to come for David were, as always, utterly fulfilled as was the judgment on his people for their idolatry. It was the shame for their sin, repentance and regret, and utter despair at the consequences of their action that was the common denominator.

Psalm 103 is another hymn of praise, declaring the love of the Lord for His people despite the punishment he had brought to pass on them. The recognition in verse 6 of the Lord’s justice for the righteous and the oppressed applies equally to David’s situation as it does to Uriah in his death, as well as to the poor and unfortunate that the people had abandoned in their selfishness, greed, and idolatry before exile. The text speaks of the brevity of life on earth for man contrasted with the everlasting and steadfast love that the Lord has for His people.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

Job 24 – Against the Light

There is a lot of confusion, debate, and disagreement about some of the text of chapter 24.  Much of the verbiage in verse 18 and following seems so counter to what Job has been arguing that some translations insert an “implied” beginning to verse 18 of the words “you say.”  This actually seems right to the flow of the text upon careful reflection.  In any event, the complaining point Job begins the chapter with is one of wonder at why God does not punish the wicked in judgment for their deeds now – for all the world to see.

wicked_003He then lists the more despicable acts that the wicked regularly commit with impunity, making the point that swift justice against them is certainly warranted.  Then in verses 18-20, Job states the viewpoint of the way things work against the wicked that his friends have expressed.  Yet he returns to a condemnation of the acts of the wicked in verse 21, followed by the somewhat startling observation that it appears that God actually prolongs their lives, gives them security, and even helps them to “rise up” at times when they are in despair of life.

It is the opinion of this blogger that the meat of Job’s viewpoint lies in verse 24, where he makes the case that the wicked are often exalted for a while in this life, but when they are gone, that is when they are “brought low and gathered up like all others;they are cut off like the heads of grain.”

Job is certain of his position and flatly challenges his friends to refute him in verse 25: “If it is not so, who will prove me a liar and show that there is nothing in what I say?”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 58 – God Who Judges the Earth

There is considerable dispute over both the translation and meaning of verse one: “Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?”  Some translations have the last word replaced with “mighty lords.”  Others insist that it is “silent ones,” implying those accustomed to running things from afar.  In any case, David (for we have no reason to doubt the superscription’s claim that it is another of David’s “Psalms of the Golden Secret” – a Miktam) would certainly not speak of false gods as entities that actually did anything.

snake charmerAs one of the so-called imprecatory psalms, it speaks with sarcastic irony of the rulers and judges that are corrupt and wicked as being like deaf adders who cannot be charmed.  The psalm declares that the righteous will rejoice when God has his vengeance upon such evil men (verse 10).  It is a mistake to believe that righteous people will not do so when evil is defeated.  even the souls of those in heaven who have been slain by such men will rejoice when evil is crushed by the Lord (Revelation 6:9-10).  It is God who judges the earth!

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Proverbs 21 – Refusing Justice

Charles Manson

Charles Manson

This chapter is laden with proverbs concerning righteousness, justice, and evil.  Consider verses 7 and 10:

The violence of the wicked will sweep them away,
because they refuse to do what is just.

The soul of the wicked desires evil;
his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes.

That there are people in this world that are simply evil is demonstrated to us at various times in our lives, but it often takes by surprise nonetheless.  We want to believe in the inherent good of man for the most part, and are sometimes shocked at how easily some can do evil – from the fearless and brazen thief to the cold calculating killer, our faith in humanity sometimes gets shaken as we learn of someone who has behaved with depravity, sometimes for years on end.

Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden

The truth is that there are wicked people who do horrible things not because they just cannot help themselves, but instead they do so eagerly and without remorse.  They have no mercy on their fellow man because they are ruthless.  But such evil will not escape punishment forever.  Eventually, their evil and violence will destroy them.  God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).  But not everyone will be.  And so, there is no shame for us in the truth of verse 15:

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Psalm 10 – Why Do You Hide Yourself?

A drawing of balances, or scales, of Bible times. A standard weight was placed on one side, and the object or objects to be weighed were placed on the other side.

A drawing of balances, or scales, of Bible times. A standard weight was placed on one side, and the object or objects to be weighed were placed on the other side.

Psalm 10 is often considered to be an acrostic continuation of Psalm 9, and differences aside there is some merit in that view beginning with the fact that the psalmist in chapter 10 recounts the deeds of the wicked and speaks of his denial of God (verse 4) in the third person.  And he reminds us that the wicked who oppress the poor will “be caught in the schemes that they have devised”. – always an abomination to the Lord.  God has always cared deeply about the poor (Micah 6:9-11, Leviticus 19:9-11).

It is not the psalmist himself that believes the wicked will continue to prosper forever, nor that God himself does not know , for he says of their attitude in verse 11 “He says in his heart, ‘God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.'”.

But God does see and he will mete out his vengeance one day, just as HE has before in His own time”

 “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.