Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Day Seven (7)

Genesis 18-20
Another sequence of stories loaded with interesting stuff. We have the mysterious appearing of Yahweh and two angels in the form of humans. Abraham intercedes on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah - we often view God as reluctant in this story and Abraham sort of twists God's arm. But I think it is just the opposite. Abraham's prayer is about God's utmost willingness to save the city. In fact, God spares the sole innocent person, Lot, from destruction because He had heard Abraham and was merciful (19:16, 29). God goes further than Abraham's request in a sense (Abraham asked to spare for 10, God spared the 1, although he did not spare the whole city because of its stench).

I'm also intrigued by Lot here. He is so resistant to leave! The angels tell him to run to the mountains, but he persists on staying in Zoar, a small village. And then, ironically, Lot leaves Zoar in fear and heads to the mountains with his daughters. God allows us to have our own way when we will it, yet it seems God knew what would happen in Zoar.

19:30 - 20:18 are curious stories. Many people assume, "It's in the Bible! It must be what God wants." Well, the Bible is VERY clear that incest is absolutely wrong and so the actions of Lot's daughters are certainly not to be perceived as 'correct' or 'right'.

Psalm 7
We have a hard time with God's justice in our incredible tolerant culture. Tolerance is many respects is a wonderful thing, but nevertheless, we do face the judgment of God. And it is absolutely fair (11) and just (17). For this we can be thankful.

Matthew 4:1-11
The temptations of Jesus...I don't know if there is any value in trying to categorize each temptation as "archetypal" of a kind of temptation we face. We see here how Scriptures can be used for both good and evil!

Acts 4:23-37
Peter and John report back to the rest of the group what happened [yesterday]. I have been curious about how the New Testament uses the Old as of late - from a historical/grammatical perspective many scholars would say it is "bad hermeneutics" (bad interpretation). But since it is in the NT we 'let it go'. But perhaps we are missing something in how we interpret the Bible? Nevertheless, the believers affirm the Scriptures to be inspired by the Holy Spirit (v. 25). Their prayer is not for safety from the authorities, but rather more boldness to preach the Gospel!!

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