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July 2020

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Books for the Journey:

« May 6th readings | Main | May 8th readings »


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I'm a little confused as to if I'm posting on the 6th readings or the 7th. The wording seemed to imply on the 6th....but my comments are directed to OT readings of 7th. I didn't see "comment" box by readings on 7th. (1st time to post for me so bear with me. ha!)

I Samuel 1:3 - "... The priests of the Lord at that time were the two sons of Eli - Hophni and Phinehas"
Comment: Strikes me that we need to accept as this family that even when there are problems and problem-clergy...that such does not negate our need to go to church and worship God.

I Sam 1:7 - "Year after year it was the same..."
Comment: God gives us strength to endure misfortune and mistreat with His gift patience. We CAN endure whatever it is that we're going through...for as long as needed. (Even when we're "reduced to tears" as Hannah was.)

I Samuel 1:18 - "Oh,Thank you, Sir!...then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad."
Comment: Hannah believed the Word that God had spoken through Eli. When we BELIEVE in God's promises we are released from the source of our unhappiness and released to a state of joyfulness, and ability to enjoy this life. Let us seek to accept the Word He has spoken to us...and live full and joyful lives in trusting Him to care for us as He has said.

I Samuel 1:19 "....the Lord remembered her request."
COMMENT: God is currently aware of your/my requests. He will not forget. We can rest in knowing He has heard us.

I Samuel 1:20 "...IN DUE TIME she gave birth to a son."
COMMENT: Timing is important. Our time is not necessarily God's timing. He has a time and it will come to pass as He knows best. Let us learn to rest in His care and His timing."

Eli’s comin’, hide your heart girl!

While these are more times of spiritual and moral decline, Hannah is one godly woman that still has a strong faith. She is at a low point in her life when she is ridiculed by her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, for being childless (likely taken specifically due to her failure to produce) on an annual pilgrimage to the tabernacle in Shiloh (about 20 miles north of Jerusalem) – as Peninnah does regularly. In her despairing prayer, she vows if only God would give her a son that she would dedicate him to serve God as a Nazarite (just like Samson). Her prayer is first misunderstood by the old priest Eli, and then blessed. She does have a son, Samuel, and he is weaned from his mother at the age of two or three (the age Israelites used to wean their children) to live forever at the tabernacle (Hannah visited once a year with a new jacket for him). The corrupt times are made clear by Eli’s assumption that any woman outside the tabernacle would likely be drunk as well as by his corrupt sons who as priests seduce the women even at the door of this worship site (I think the sin of "fornication" specifically refers to cultic prostitution). While Ramathaim is not one of the 48 cities designated in Numbers 35:6 as being one of the “Levitical cities” assigned a Levite, it is assumed that Samuel’s father was a Levite (1 Chronicles 6:16-26) living in the tribal territory of Ephraim (just five miles north of Jerusalem and where Samuel was born, labored, died, and was buried) – he seems to be a pious man who returned each year to worship and offer sacrifice.

In an agrarian culture like ancient Israel, children were critically important in helping with feeding the family. Today, we no longer see children as society’s best investment and we abort 1 in 4 pregnancies to instead minimize their costs (Note: The real problem for Social Security is that it is increasingly difficult to feed the elderly when we no longer desire children. What's more, there’s not a single industrialized nation that has a positive population rate since the introduction of legalized abortion as you need 2.3 kids per woman when all industrialized nations only produce 1.2 to 1.8. 100% of the population problem, 3 billion people, over the past 40 years has come from third world countries and the primary reason that Islam has grown over Christianity is simply that they don’t kill their unborn. In addition, there used to be no greater source of pride to any American family than to have a priest as brother, son, or cousin – but the Vatican’s Pontifical Yearbook shows a 45% increase in the number of baptized American Catholics over the past 25 years while other estimates show the number of priests to have dropped by more than half in the same period (even with 1 in 6 priests today coming from overseas). The church can no longer afford to be selective in accepting only the best for its religious leaders (something to remember as we read about what happens to a country that doesn’t respect human life or provide for righteous leadership).

Eli’s coming, come on and blow your horn!

Hannah began her poetic song of prayer with “my horn is exalted,” which represents that Hannah’s power and strength (horn – the wicked are even told not to lift up their own horn in Psalms 75:4-5) was in God just as David will later speak of God as his “horn of salvation” in 2 Samuel 22:3. She reminds all who would boast, not just Peninnah (the phrase wicked woman literally “daughter of Belial” or “daughter of Satan” – see 2 Cor 6:15), that God in holiness, knowledge, power, and judgment often reverses human strength, wealth, and fertility to humble the proud and exalt the lowly (Mary made the same point in her song in Luke 1:46-55). She also contrasted how the Lord would keep his saints from stumbling (and even raise them from the dead) and trip up His adversaries (the word Sheol is translated here to grave) and points to the work of God in granting her a child as part of the fulfillment of His promise to the mothers of Israel that through them He would one day provide the ultimate king, before whom every knee will bow (see Philippians 2:10). How sad were the priests who as teachers knew so much about the things of God and yet did not know Him personally and took so lightly their duties (such as those for sacrifice). Eli had warned his sons but never really rebuked them and so was slain by God when he no longer had opportunity after his sons died in battle. Those who allow poor behavior from their children without restraint and punishment, in effect, honor them more than God. Eli was a good man but a poor parent who raised his children to fail (their failure was not his sin, but his poor efforts at correction).

Jesus asks the man unable to quickly get into the healing pool while it bubbled, “Do you want to get well?” Many do not really want to see their situation change, no matter how bad it is. The crippled man, for example, made his living begging and would be responsible to start working. Unlike the slow healing of the pool, however, Christ’s healing was immediate. Eternal life isn’t something we have to wait for, but something we possess now. In addition, it is more than endless as it is infused with His vitality and links us with other believers. Christ claims The Son can do nothing by Himself, but gives life (because He possesses life) and takes the responsibility for all judgment. This sick man was healed without knowing Jesus (but Christ caught up with him later to warn him to sin no more or that something even worse would happen to him). The first miracle (converting water into wine) suggests that salvation is through the Word, the second (saving the nobleman’s son) illustrates that it is by faith, and this one shows that it is by grace. The “great number of disable people” pictures the sad spiritual condition of the unsaved: without power as in Rom 5:6, unable to walk correctly as in Eph 2:1-3, and waiting for something to happen as in Eph 2:14. The invalid did not have the power to save himself in the same way it is impossible for mankind to keep God’s perfect law.

The Law of Moses taught to honor the Sabbath and Jeremiah had prohibited carrying burdens or working (Jer. 17:21-22) and over the years Jewish law had identified 39 different classifications of work including carrying furniture (which the man violated by carrying his bedding) and providing medical treatment (Christ’s healing). Even my grandfather was once jailed in Baltimore for painting his house on Sunday and yet it is possible that none of the city officials knew why Christians go to church on the Sunday, the first day of the week, instead of Saturday like Seventh Day Adventists – even First Century Christian worshiped on Sunday as a weekly mini-Easter celebration for Christ’s resurrection and perhaps for the church’s birthday from the only Jewish holiday on a Sunday, 50 days after Passover, of Pentecost. Most churches today have many written and unwritten creeds that have been added to God’s desires (such as provisions against theistic biology and evolution) while happily being unfruitful for the Great Commission. Christians have routinely over the centuries tried to kill who they saw as the Anti-Christ even though Revelation says such assassination would fail and predicted to the day and hour of Christ’s return despite scripture clearly stating such knowledge not being possible.

Back in Luke 22, Christ got the apostles to admit that when he told them to carry nothing with them that they, in fact, purchased two swords. When did they likely buy those swords? This is the first time when people persecuted Jesus and display open hostility. Was it fear of this exact persecution that motivated the apostles to doubt and sin so? Jesus then adds fuel to the fires by publicly equating Himself with God the Father (again I must ask how so many can suggest the Jesus never claimed to be God – His enemies here were angered by what He was claiming – more than just disregarding the traditional rabbinic interpretation of scripture, He claims to be deity) and He goes on at some length to support His claim not only with the miracle by the Scriptures themselves – so, to reject Him meant to also reject their holiest of books as well. The NIV omits the verse about the angel stirring the water because no manuscripts before the 4th century has it and many believed it was just superstition added long after John wrote it. Others call the NIV “Satan’s Bible” specifically for its omissions (including the last lines of the Lord’s Prayer).

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