10 May 2010

May 10

Reference links:
Old Testament

Remember how Eli's sons brought ruin upon themselves by being bad people and taking the Ark of the Covenant into battle? Apparently Samuel's sons, while not that bad, are not so great themselves:
As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.
Because Samuel's sons were corrupted, the elders of Israel demanded a king. God claimed that this meant that they were rejecting him:
Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”
However, we saw time and time again in Judges that the Israelites get trampled by their enemies when they do not show strong leadership. With Samuel getting old and his sons obviously corrupt, of course the Israelites worry about what will happen next.

Samuel warns the people that a king will be terrible for them, but the people say they want a king any way. Again, they are probably thinking that the alternative is another round of slavery under some of the other locals.

God sends Saul to Samuel. Samuel tells Saul that God has sent Saul a special message. Saul does not learn what the surprise is today, but we readers all know that he will be made king. Despite the fact that Samuel and God think that giving the Israelites a king is a terrible idea, Samuel still does his proper duty and treats Saul well.

New Testament

The morning after the bread miracle and water walking, the crowd asks Jesus when he got to the other side the lake. He replies,
I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.
That is something of a non sequitur.  Luke was a much better writer than the author of John. He, at least, made sense most of the time.

The crowd demands a miraculous sign from Jesus, and he talks about how he is the bread of life and they do not believe in him despite what he has already shown him,

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.
If those that God has given to Jesus will come to him (thus implying that believing in Jesus is not a choice and so he is wasting his breath berating those who do not believe in him), why did God only choose to have some people believe in Jesus? Since God is doing the giving, he has either preprogrammed them to choose to believe or overridden their free will to do so. Under either scenario, God's apparent picking and choosing is disturbing.

Psalms and Proverbs

More history review: the Israelites were terrible. And that's the end of that psalm.