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Psalm 5 January 14, 2019

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Psalm 5.

Summary: In this passage, David lifts up a prayer to God – while drawing a sharp contrast between two parties.

The first party consists of those – including David – who are in a right relationship with God. God invites them into His presence; moreover, His favor is upon them. David prays that He would always show His favor to them.

The second party consists of those who are not in a right relationship with God. God banishes them from His presence, as He abhors their sinful deeds. David prays that they would be punished for their actions.

Thoughts: In verse 3, David states that he prays in the morning. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point:

This is the fittest time for conversation with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.

I should note that in the morning, I read a passage from Scripture (usually with the aid of a commentary); I also pray, albeit briefly. Now I do pray for an extended period in the evening before I go to sleep, as I believe that it allows me to review the events of each day with God. On a related note, one of my friends from a previous church shared that he actually prays for an hour in the morning after he wakes up. Currently, I lack the discipline to wake up early and pray for an extended period in the morning, so I believe that I will adhere to my current approach for the time being.

In verse 9, David makes the following assertion concerning the wicked: “their throat is an open grave.” Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point:

A sepulchre is full of loathsomeness, pestilence and death, and an open sepulchre has all its evil gases issuing to spread death and destruction all around. So with the throat of the wicked, it would be a great mercy if it could always be closed. All the wickedness of their heart exhales.

As believers, we must wrestle with this question: how can we maintain meaningful relationships with nonbelievers – while still honoring God with our thoughts, words and deeds? If our non-believing friend expresses an opinion on a topic that is incompatible with our Christian worldview, should we debate them on that point? Is it ever appropriate to sacrifice a relationship with a nonbeliever to maintain our holiness? How can we recognize unholy influences and minimize their negative impact on our walk with God? These are challenging questions, but we must not shy away from them.


Strolling Through the Book of Second Peter July 15, 2014

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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I’ve recently started reading through the Second Epistle of Peter with the aid of a commentary by Griffith Thomas. I should note that I’ve previously read through 2 Peter. As in my recent stroll through the book of 1 Peter, I hope to comprehend 2 Peter as a whole. In particular, I would like to compare 2 Peter with 1 Peter and Jude.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both the epistle and Thomas’ commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on 2 Peter 1:1-2.

Summary: Peter begins by referencing his life before and after discipleship to Christ; he also references the general and special aspects of his relationship to Christ. He addresses his readers by highlighting their spiritual privilege and describing its foundation – Christ Himself.

Peter concludes by greeting his readers and wishing that they would receive God’s divine favor and its attendant blessings – which will flow from their mature knowledge of God.

Thoughts: In verse 2, Peter wishes that his readers would receive God’s blessings through their knowledge of Him. Thomas offers some insights on this point:

The reference to knowledge as the source of grace and peace at once brings into prominence the keyword of the letter. The Greek is epignosis, full or mature knowledge. It is found fifteen times in St. Paul, once in Hebrews, four times in 2 Peter, and nowhere else. All spiritual grace comes from our personal knowledge and experience of God (see verse 3). Those who “know their God” will be strong…

As I stroll through this letter, I will determine if it is based on epignosis. I am definitely curious as to how this apparent focus on the knowledge of God compares/contrasts with Peter’s focus in his previous letter:

  • God has called his readers from a life of futility to a life of eternal blessings
  • their lives should reflect this calling – even in the face of persecution.

Now perhaps the “experience of God” that Thomas notes above is a critical aspect of living a holy life – enabling a believer to maintain their standing in Him despite the attacks of unbelievers. Once a believer has come to know God on an intellectual level and an experiential level, they cannot depart from Him, as their understanding and emotions are inextricably tied to Him. I certainly hope to make progress in this regard, especially in terms of the experiential aspect of mature knowledge…