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Psalm 34:1-10

David opens with three verses for a call to praise God. Why?

It would have been very easy for David to take credit for the idea of pretending insanity before Abimelech.

Instead David credits God:

I sought...
God delivered me from all my fears.
I called...
and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.

David called on God with trust, humility, submission (I cannot solve this problem), and reverance/awe - God answered.
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7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Another reason why I believe "the angel of the Lord" is the pre-incarnate Christ. Angels are not to be given reverence/awe (fear) - that is reserved for God. The Hebrew word for fear here (yare') is the same word when the command is given to "Fear the Lord" that is be in reverence and awe of God.

[email protected]
2008

Proverbs 9:7-8

"The way in which a man receives rebuke is an index of his character. A scoffer hates you, whereas a wise man will thank you. How do you react when parent, teacher, employer, or friend corrects you?"

MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

Matt 27:52-53

"The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

Many people are skeptical of these verses. However they are not in isolation. This event was written about in later years by an early church writer and several of the apocryphal works.

It is not so much the later writings that interests me, but the silence from the Sanhedrin and Roman officials. One think they would be eager to squash any such story. If this was false - one would think they would raise a large hue and cry denying it ever happened. Nothing but silence. It is as if 'if we just keep quiet it will go away' type idea.
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So why just in Matthew? What was idea behind the verses?

Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience. The verses have three Jewish implications:

1) Those priests who believed in the bodily ressurection of OT Jewish saints taught it would occur at the revealing of the Messiah...uh, look up on Golgotha guys. Perhaps this was a major reason for "many priests" becoming believers during first Pentecost.

2) Its connection with the messianic ministry of Jesus (of primary concern to Matthew) is also seen: This scene is an example of the first fruits of Christ's death and ressurection. It is not the universal final ressurection, but a foreshadowing (the same way the OT foreshadowed Christ).

3) Connection with OT prophecy in Ezekiel 37, and Isaiah 26.

These points would have been of interest to a Jewish audience , but would have meant little to Mark's Roman audience, or Luke's Greek audience. Hence it is presented only here in Matthew.

Link here:
http://www.christian-thinktank.com/oddrise.html

[email protected]
2008

Conversely, have you ever been rebuked by someone else? Have you ultimately loved that person for the rebuke? Even if the rebuke stung at the time, were you ultimately appreciative of receiving the rebuke?

I have been rebuked lovingly a few times by my husband. I am a relatively new Christian and as I have grown there have been times when he has had to warn me about saying/doing certain things. Each time it has felt like a slap on the cheek but ultimately I have realised that he does it to help me grow not to put me down. I still find it hard to take but I definitely love him more for being a "spiritual guide" through my journey with Christ.

Sometimes we dont listen to Gods voice but God will use someone around you to put you on the right path.

Psalm 34 Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt his name together.
I am very encouraged by knowing that thousands of people across the world are reading God's word together with me.

Mike provides the definition of rebuke -- it is: "an act or expression of criticism and censure." We need to be careful about HOW we rebuke someone. I contend that it should only be done lovingly (as Jesus did). Moreover, I believe rebuking and censuring are a means of communications that should only be used very infrequently. However, we often do this far too frequently in our relationships, especially with our children. Shouldn't we rather be looking for and observing others' praiseworthy actions and providing positive reinforcement (praise) more frequently? and negative commentary (rebuking and censuring) far less frequently?

In that vein, kudos to Mike for this wonderful ministry of his!!

Exodus 35:10-36:38

The Body of Christ.

I am a relatively new Christian as of March 2004. I came to Christ late in life at 48. Have been on the blog off and on since 2006.

One of the biggest questions heard in 2006, not so much last year, was what is up with the body of Christ? How come we are not working together to do God's Work and experiancing peace, joy, and happiness from the Spirit? What am I missing?

Please realize that this is not a universal complaint. there are some great churches where the body of Christ (believers) pull together, and there is an amazing building up and edifying of believers. The questions came from certain people who were not experiancing it in THEIR assemblies.
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The question of what an individual can do is better addressed in Galatians. However in today's reading of Exodus, there is at least a partial picture of what a group of people working together under the inspiration of God looks like in a group setting.

EX 35:21
"and everyone who was willing and whose heart moved him came and brought an offering to the LORD for the work on the Tent of Meeting, for all its service, and for the sacred garments." NIV

EX 35:2 "Then Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab and every skilled person to whom the LORD had given ability and who was willing to come and do the work." NIV

Ex 35:7 "because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work."

Some things to notice:

1) God gives people different abilities.

2) The work of God is done by the willing.

3) At least in the intangible case of giving - they were also moved in the heart.

4) Sometimes we have to step back, and await another opportunity. If the Body of Christ is functioning properly the offers to work or give should be overflowing. In the interim there should be prayer and praise (my comment).

Somewhere along the way - faith got hijacked by "religion" in too many regions or denominations. The Body of Christ went from assemblies of people/believers to buildings and pulpits. The assembly went from being active in sharing and building one another up to being a passive audience willing to be fed God's Word, but expecting the professional staff to handle all that other stuff. On top of that people got too busy with their persoanl lives and family to get invovled in any meaningful way. As long as they got their Sunday time - it was all good!
======================================================
The key:
Where there is a problem in the body of Christ - people first have to be WILLING to do something. this willingness is not just a willy-nilly spur of the moment sounds good type thing - but one where the Body is moved in their heart and listens to the Spirit to do the things God predestined to us from before time.

How do we get that feeling in the heart? I suggest you go back to Psalm 25 and revisit the first twelve verses. David had a heart for God and four characteristics show up in this Psalm.
-Trust in God
-humble yourself before God
-submit your will to God
-be in reverence and awe of God.
These characteristics are noted before David's confession, but in truth it is where we should be all the time regarding the Creator. To me - this is the heart for God.

Easy to say - hard to do? Perhaps. There is no formula at getting there (that would be legalistic). just know this is where you should be - pray about it - ask God to develop these areas (that is praying in the Will of God and will be answered). Pursue this "heart" with discipline as Paul talks about in running the "race". Be persistent, and love God the whole time you are thinking about these issues and praying about them.

If a particular church has even a fourth of their congregation develop a heart for God, on top of those who already have a heart for God - some amazing things will occur in that church. (my opinion)

Not that it really matters, and maybe I missed it in the reading of Exodus, but I wonder how long it took Bezalel to construct the tabernacle? The description sounds like it was a lot of work and some of it quite intricate.

Yours in Christ
Skip

As a teacher, I hold students accountable.

The verse in Proverbs helps me to understand the diversity of responses I get to helping students mature into adulthood by holding them responsible for their behavior and performance.

It is because I love them and I have a stake in their future that I have to be firm. LOVE IS TOUGH!

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