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Showing posts from October, 2019

Psalm 65

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Psalm 65 

Some scholars think that our psalm might have been a psalm sung during a harvest festival. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for the things God has done, and the benefits the people enjoy as a result of God’s actions. Here we see a compassionate God who works to make life flourish. As in other psalms, there is a strong connection between joy and gratitude.

The psalm begins with a description of God’s kindness (v1-4).
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed. 2 O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. 3 When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. 4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! God is described as one who hears prayers. Thinking about God as hearing prayer might not seem that astonishing or surprising, but when was the last time you stopped to consider your …

Psalm 119- God's guidance for your life

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Psalm 119:97-104
This morning we are continuing with our series looking at the Psalms. Our Psalm this morning is a portion of Psalm 119. We are only looking at a portion of it because it is 176 verses long. It is famous for being very long. 
 It is an acrostic poem, so each line begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. For example, if it was in English the first section would be made up of lines that start with A. The next section would be made up of lines that start with B and so on. Today’s section starts with the letter ‘mem’. So all the lines we will be dealing with start with the same letter. (It's a bit of a Sesame Street vibe.)

Even though Psalm 119 is very long it does have a consistent theme: God’s Torah. We usually translate the word “torah” as “law”, but the word is a bit more full than that. It doesn’t just mean ‘legal rules’. It can also refer to the first 5 books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In its most full definition, …

Psalm 100- Thanksgiving

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Psalm 100
A.J. Jacob’s wrote a book called “A Year of Living Biblically”. The book is about an experiment he did over the course of a year. What he tried to do was to live according the Bible for a year, as literally as possible. Specifically, the Old Testament. He did things like grew a long beard, and refused to wear clothing made of mixed fibers. … He describes some interesting encounters with people. He described what he was doing to one man, who then responded “Well, I’m an adulterer. Are you going to stone me?” to which Jacobs responded, “That would be great!” He then pulled out some small pebbles from his pocket and began throwing them at the man. Apparently, the Bible didn’t say the size of the stones that were to be used. …. He made it very much about following the rules and prohibitions- the 613 mitzvot.

Jacobs was an agnostic, though he was Jewish by family background, but he grew up in a very secular family. He says one reason for the project was to poke fun at “fundamental…

Psalm 137- How can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Psalm 137
Today we are looking at Psalm 137. If you were here a few weeks ago, we were dealing with the Imprecatory Psalms and we mentioned the last line of today’s psalm as an example. “Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” For those who weren’t here, it might help to give a brief overview of what we said that day. The Imprecatory Psalms are a group of psalms that invoke judgement, or curses on enemies. They are really uncomfortable parts of the Bible.

We have been taught to be polite in our speech. We have been taught to love our enemies. We have been taught to at least not say nasty things about our enemies. We have especially been taught not to threaten our enemies with violence. … We also think as individuals, not in terms of tribes, so we would never threaten the children of an enemy.

So, these parts of the Bible are very uncomfortable and difficult to deal with.

First, we will look at the historical context that this prayer is comin…

Psalm 91- God's protection

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Psalm 91
Psalm 91 is one of the more famous Psalms. It is one of the recommended Psalms to use for the Compline service in the Book of Common Prayer, which is the service prayed just before bed. Going to sleep at night in the Book of Common Prayer is a bit like practicing for death. It is a time to trust yourself to God in the midst of darkness and the loss of consciousness. Psalm 91 is a call to trust in God as your protector- “I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’. For he will deliver you…”.The Psalm goes on to describe this protection- “3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence”. These are both hidden dangers. A fowler is someone who catches birds. The fowler’s snare is a trap that is hidden to the birds that are caught by it. Likewise, you don’t see a disease coming until people start getting sick.

There are a lot of images used- “4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings …