24 July 2010

Jul 24

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we read about Rehoboam's reign and some of his son Abijah's reign.

We start by reading how Shemaiah tells Rehoboam not to fight the people of Israel because they are their relatives. This advice seems to stick for the duration of Rehoboam's reign.

We also read about how, supposedly, all of the priests and Levites and people who wanted to worship the Lord left Israel for Judah. This is interesting for two reasons. First, we know that it is likely that many people did flee Israel for Judah after the fall of Judah to Assyria. This is how the traditions from the northern kingdom got incorporated into documents which were generally composed in the southern kingdom or by exiles from the southern kingdom.

This is also interesting because it seems like an attempt to write off the people of Israel as not much of a loss. It does not matter than 10 of the 12 tribes were lost by the time this work was written because all of the good people had left any way.

Two of Rehoboam's wives were cousins. In particular, Mahalath was the daughter of David's son Jerimoth and Jerimoth's cousin Abihal. I note this mainly because, as far as I can tell, we have never heard of Jerimoth before.

Both Rehoboam and his son Abijah have lots of wives and children. Family tradition, I suppose. Despite all the bad things said about Rehoboam, he does seem to have some wisdom:
Rehoboam also wisely gave responsibilities to his other sons and stationed some of them in the fortified towns throughout the land of Judah and Benjamin. He provided them with generous provisions, and he found many wives for them.
Smart man. Keep the sons out of trouble from the start.

Then, quickly: Rehoboam abandons the way of the Lord, gets defeated in battle but not completely, is declared evil because he did not seek the Lord with all of his heart, and dies what seems to be a natural death. His son Abijah becomes king and with the help of the Lord, defeats Jeroboam of Israel in battle.

New Testament

Okay, Paul back peddles a little today from the implication that believers should already be without sin:
And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.
Although it's not explicit, I certainly see how one could draw from this the conclusion that since the old bodies are still bound to sin, then the full promise of the Holy Spirit is not realized. Glad to see Paul is not completely ignoring reality.

I know I stopped keeping points awhile ago, but today we have another easy point for the predestination crowd.
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
We then see Paul make a leap of logic which could very easily be taken another direction:
Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?
Another way this could be taken: Since he did not spare even his own son but let him be murdered, why would he bother to save anyone else?

I mean really, if I believed that someone had let his child be murdered for some supposedly greater good, I would not be particularly inclined to trust them.

Psalms and Proverbs

I was going to say that there was nothing in today's proverbs that we haven't seen before, until I got to the third one:
Punishment is made for mockers,
and the backs of fools are made to be beaten.
We may have seen this sentiment before, but this particular phrasing is particularly repugnant to one raised in a society which values free speech and generally finds corporal punishment inappropriate.