12 July 2010

Jul 12

Reference links:
Old Testament

I want to take the time to look back at the books of Samuel and the books of Kings and compare them to the accounts in Chronicles but, realistically, I'm probably not going to. So I'll start off on the right foot (wrong foot?) by not looking back today.

We read about all the men who joined David at Hebron. The main point of this list, at least from my point of view, is to show that he had support from all of the tribes.

After describing how these men joined David at Hebron because they wanted to see him become king, the chronicler (thanks to Kim for the name) jumps to a time after David has become king and is bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

As before, this story makes God sound like a pouting toddler. After being neglected by Saul, the Ark is regaining its place of honor. When it almost tips over, a man, Uzzah, reaches out and steadies it (probably reflexively). This pisses God off and so he kills Uzzah. David, understandably, is a little put off at this, and abandons the Ark for awhile, as before.

We also read more about David's ever growing family and his battles against the Philistines.

New Testament

So apparently we finished Acts without my noticing. It just ends there with Paul still under house arrest in Rome.

Today we start the first of the epistles of Paul, Romans. Romans is believed to have been written by the apostle Paul and is, apparently, the longest of the epistles. It was probably written in the mid-50s. According to the Wikipedia article,
The main theme of this letter is the Salvation offered through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul argues that all persons are guilty of sin and therefore accountable to God. It is only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that sinners can attain salvation. Therefore, God is both just and the one who justifies. In response to God's free, sovereign and graceful action of salvation, humanity can be justified by faith. Paul uses the example of Abraham to demonstrate that it is by faith that humanity can be seen as righteous before God.
Onward to today's reading!

In my translation, Paul describes himself slave to Jesus rather than the more traditional servant. According to some translation notes, the most accurate translation is probably "bondservant", indicating that he voluntarily entered into slavery, but that word is considered archaic. The point being, however, that Paul considers himself to be the property of Jesus, his only purpose being to do what Jesus wants him to do. 

Paul then lays out his purpose: to spread the good news of Jesus. He emphasizes that Jesus has a connection to the Jewish people through his Davidic ancestry but also that Jesus came to save the gentiles.

Having announced himself and his purpose, Paul then presents his reason for not having visited already. In short, he has been busy, but he really does want to see them. If Acts is to be believed, he wanted to see them so much that it took an arrest to finally get him to Rome.

Today's reading finished by Paul's emphasizing the importance of faith.


Psalms and Proverbs

Unlike some proverbs, which seem like they just comment on how things are, others declare how things ought to be:
A false witness will not go unpunished,
nor will a liar escape.
If only it were true.