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Psalm 55 July 27, 2019

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Psalm 55.

Summary: In this passage, David is deeply perturbed, since:

  • his enemies plan to effect his demise
  • their malicious thoughts and deeds have marred Jerusalem
  • a close friend has betrayed him by covertly joining their ranks.

Thus, he desires to flee from Jerusalem to an outpost.

Yet he resolves to call on God, asking Him to:

  • thwart the plans of his enemies
  • destroy them.

Indeed, he is confident that God will answer his prayer, as his enemies fail to acknowledge His authority.

He concludes by exhorting the people of God to emulate him by calling on God when they are deeply perturbed, since they acknowledge His authority.

Thoughts: During my stroll through the Psalms, I had only skimmed the title notes for each passage. For this passage, though, I was struck by the phrase, “For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil of David.” This caused me to ponder questions such as:

  • Who was “the director of music” when David composed this psalm?
  • The instruction “With stringed instruments” is vague to a modern-day reader; did David intend that only certain stringed instruments accompany this psalm?
  • Would the director of music – and the ensemble under his direction – have known which notes to play on their instruments?
  • What was their conception of dynamics, meter, pitch, and tempo?
  • What is the precise meaning of the word “maskil”?

In verse 15, David prays that his enemies would suffer an untimely demise. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point:

Not thus would Jesus pray, but the rough soldier David so poured out the anguish of his spirit, under treachery and malice altogether unprovoked. The soldier desires the overthrow of his foes; for this very end he fights; David was waging a just, defensive war against men utterly regardless of truth and justice. Read the words as a warrior’s imprecation.

This verse caused me to ponder the following conjecture: God is not necessarily pleased by every word in the Scriptures. Since I find the concept of eternal punishment to be rather unpleasant, I refuse to pray that God would slay those who clearly oppose Him and His kingdom (I believe that they could not be saved after their passing). Even in the face of long odds, I pray that God would, in His timing, compel them to repent of their sins, allowing them to experience the joy of eternal life. Indeed, I wonder if David revisited this psalm in his declining years and regretted his imprecation in this verse.

In this passage, David is appalled by the disloyalty of a close friend. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 20:

The psalmist cannot forget the traitor’s conduct, and returns again to consider it…He smites those to whom he had given the hand of friendship, he breaks the bonds of alliance, he is perfidious to those who dwell at ease because of his friendly professions…The most solemn league he has profaned; he is regardless of oaths and promises.

One of the sidebar notes for this passage in my NIV Study Bible mentions that this psalm may have been written during the rebellion of Absalom; moreover, the close friend who is referenced here may have been Ahithophel. Thus, I anticipate meeting David in the next life and probing him on this point. What was the nature of his relationship with Ahithophel before Absalom rebelled against him? What were his thoughts and feelings when he learned that his trusted counselor had abandoned him, casting his lot with his favored son? How did he respond to the news that Ahithophel had committed suicide? Did he employ any counselors after Ahithophel’s death, and if so, did he harbor any doubts concerning their loyalty to him?

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus September 28, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 26:14-16.

Summary: In this passage, Judas (from the region of Kerioth) goes to the chief priests and sets up his betrayal of Jesus. After bargaining for thirty pieces of silver, he spends a week planning his heinous act.

Thoughts: This passage sharpens the contrast between the righteousness of Jesus and the unrighteousness of all others. Here, Judas reveals his unrighteousness by willingly betraying his Lord. Indeed, Judas had spent the last three years with Jesus – observing His miracles, hearing His sermons, and sharing in his private teachings. Essentially, he learned how to live righteously before God during that wonderful period. Yet he grew disillusioned with Jesus and eventually betrayed Him. As modern-day believers, we are tempted to view Judas with an air of superiority – yet we must not fall into this trap. Indeed, we are also in danger of growing disillusioned with our Savior, and so we need His grace on a daily basis.

Jesus Again Predicts His Death July 15, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 20:17-19.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus begins His long ascent from Jericho to Jerusalem. He tells His disciples that He will:

  • be betrayed to the Jewish hereditary aristocracy and the scribes
  • be condemned to death
  • be placed in the hands of the Romans to be humiliated, scourged and crucified
  • conquer death after three days.

Thoughts: Here, Jesus repeats – and elaborates – His prediction of His death. I anticipate meeting His disciples in the next life and learning about their reactions to His statements in this passage. Did they comprehend any facet of His prediction? Was their judgment clouded by their vision of Him as their political Messiah? Did they attempt to refute His prediction, asserting that no tragedy would befall him? How did Judas Iscariot react when Jesus referenced betrayal in this passage? Did the other disciples believe that they could betray their Master? Did they recall any of His previous miracles when He referenced His resurrection?