Tag Archives: Psalms

Stuck in Mitzrayim looking at an exodus out of slavery

Today’s guest-speaker looking at Psalm 37 knows that there are times in our lives when we are called to speak up and let our voices be heard, but also times to be silent.

The psalms of David may sound great in our ears and get us carried away in service showing our love for God with exuberance. There may be deep darkness in our world, but we lightening candles hear that music that has the power to awaken the light.

“I will praise Thee, O Lord, among the people; I will sing unto Thee among the nations.” (Psalms 57:9 KJ21)

Today’s rabbi writes

Music has the power to bring people together, singing in harmony, but the music of much of the Middle East these days is not an inviting melody.

Thomas Fuller

17th century British scholar, preacher Thomas Fuller

An old proverb of uncertain origin goes, it’s always darkest before the dawn. A version of this first appeared in print in 1640 in a travelogue by the English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller entitled, A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof.

How sad that he wrote this when traveling through Israel; and that more than 370 years later, the dark clouds still loom over much of the region. {Psalm 57}

Therefore in these darker days of the time coming closer to the end times, we should shed the light and show others which great event and which hope we are remembering the coming days.

Now we have come to a time to thank God and to sing for Him. A time to show our thankfulness that he liberated His chosen people and was willing to provide a marvellous future, a Kingdom to come, with a Holy Land where there shall be no slavery any more to whatsoever and where there shall be peace.

Today’s guest-speaker knows

A Seder table setting

A Seder table setting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

that there are Jews who do not have a Seder or celebrate Passover by putting away the bread and cereal and other leavened grain products for eight days in favor of matza. No matter what you do for Passover, I encourage you to take the holiday experience, especially the Seder, seriously. {Divre Harav/Words from the Rabbi – April, 2015}

It is a period we may not let pass unnoticed. The Divine Creator demanded it to be a special time until the eternity.

The critical element of the Passover Experience is not the elaborate food eaten for dinner at the Seder, but rather the thought that goes into preparing food without leavening and the symbolism behind it. One common take on hametz, leavening, is that it symbolizes the ego. The opposite of hametz, matza, symbolizes humility. Passover can be seen as an exercise in reducing the ego and developing a humble attitude towards caring for others.

The critical element of the Seder is not the brisket or the matza ball soup, but rather the retelling of the story of the Exodus, with the focus on how that story moves us to see and address oppression in the world around us. {Divre Harav/Words from the Rabbi – April, 2015}

Now has the time come to stand still by those old stories of men and women who had to work hard and did not see any way out of slavery. Time to wonder how are relation with God is and if there are no sins hindering or to impede a good relationship. Today there are still many forms of slavery going on. But we should know that the Elohim promised a Messiah and that always all promises of god become a reality.

We should trust the Most High and study the Torah, letting us inspire and build up our personality.

Perhaps at the proper candle-lighting time, before candle-lighting doing the 4 questions and 4 children and singing songs, you too may tell the story of Pesah in a very abbreviated way.

In keeping with the mishnah’s instructions to tell the story from degradation to redemption, we basically tell the story by reading the key passages of the Hagaddah from Deuteronomy 26:5-8, reciting the plagues, the teaching of Rabban Gamliel and the beginning of Hallel. {Divre Harav/Words from the Rabbi – April, 2015}

It is a moment to be humble and to share the many goods we have with others. Time to put ourselves aside, to think about God’s people and to give praise to the Most High.

When we do feel lonely and blocked in this material world, where we see so many slave to material goods and to money delivering jobs, we can think of the capital Mitzrayim.

The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, a word that connotes narrow places  (probably taking its name from the fact that the fertile part of Egypt is a narrow strip of land on either side of the Nile).  In a metaphorical sense, when we are stuck in Mitzrayim, we are living our lives in a constricted place. We are stuck inside a narrow box.  Pesah is the time to look at the narrow box in which we are living, look at those behaviors which keep us stuck in a rut, and free ourselves. {Stuck in a Rut? Pesah Tells You to Get Unstuck!}

+

Preceding articles

Seven lights or basic emotions

How to Live Beyond the Ordinary

Psalm 37 Humble inheriting the earth

Thoughts on Passover

+++

Related articles

  1. Shabbat HaChodesh: Parshiyot Vayakhel & Pekudei 5777–Shabbat Torah Study–Happy New Year!
  2. Shabbat HaHodesh: Say His Name
  3. Gut Chodesh
  4. Seven Things to Do to Make Your First Passover Seder a Success via CoffeeShop Rabbi
  5. Maggid
  6. Heschel for Passover (or Any Time)
  7. Fill In The Blanks Haggadah
  8. Passover is a week away!
  9. Ladino Songs for the Seder 2016
  10. Who Are We? – Pesah 5776
  11. Your Passover Relevance is Killing My Seder
  12. The Pesach (Passover) Binder
  13. Are There Sins Separating Me From God?
  14. Our Life, a Journey to God
  15. Moses for President

+++

2 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Peter Forbes comments:

4:2      In questioning Abraham’s righteousness Paul develops the point that he made in Rom 2:13 showing that the law does not bring righteousness.

4:3Abraham believed God …‘ the quotation is from Gen. 15:6. Righteousness is imputed by God on the basis of faith, not works of the law. Gen. 15 predates the giving of the law. This is the thrust of the argument in verses 4:4,5 and circumcision – the implications of this are developed in Rom.4:9-13.

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusa...

Man reading Psalms at the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel/Palestine, March 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4:6-8 The appeal to Psalm 32:1-2 which is a Psalm that David wrote after Nathan had spoken of God’s forgiveness for David’s adultery [2 Sam.12:13] continues the theme of forgiveness from ch. 3:4 We should take great comfort from the fact that God was willing to forgive the repentant David.

4:7  Notice the subtle but important difference between the language of  Psa 32:1 – and Paul’s words here. Whilst the Psalm has ‘he’ whereas Paul here says ‘they’. Paul generalises from the Psalm. The Psalm has specific relevance to David’s situation. Paul says that specific application of forgiveness actually extends to all who follow David’s example of repentance.

4:11 Whilst Israel seemed to see circumcision as the ultimate test of Jewishness Paul clearly says here that it is a sign of what has already been seen in Abraham – that is his faith in God which was counted for righteousness.

4:18against hope believed in hope‘ tells us that Abraham had to have faith in the promise of the seed as it was humanly speaking impossible.

4:23 The implication from ‘now it was not written for his sake alone …‘ is that Abraham had a written copy of the promise.

Cliff York comments

Romans 4 To meet the views of the Jews, the apostle first refers to the example of Abraham, in whom the Jews gloried as their most renowned forefather. However exalted in various respects, he had nothing to boast in the presence of God, for he too was saved by grace, through faith, even as others. Without noticing the years which passed before his call, and the failures at times in his obedience, and even in his faith, it was expressly stated in the Scripture that “he believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness,” Genesis 15:6. From this example it is observed, that if any man could work the full measure required by the law, the reward must then be reckoned as a debt, which evidently was not the case even of Abraham, seeing faith was reckoned to him for righteousness.

It is clear from the Scripture, that Abraham was justified several years before his circumcision. This then is Paul’s point to those who prided themselves on their pedigree and/or on the very private mark they received in their flesh whilst they were too young to effectively protest otherwise. It is, therefore, plain that this circumcision was not necessary in order to that justification which is by faith.

+

It is truly fascinating to reflect on the great wisdom of the Father as one reads the 3 portions of Scripture each day, and often there runs a “Golden Thread” through them all. For example, one of the Golden Threads evident today, is the concept, that we can only be Justified by the Grace of God. Paul deals in great detail with the subject, of course, in Romans, Joseph in his life revealed how great a force faith in God is the life of each of His saints – Genesis 47:12, and the Psalmist captured the same beautifully in the closing verse of Psalm 50Whoso offers praise glorifies me: and to him that orders his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”

John Wilson comments

Prayer of David, psalm 51

Prayer of David, psalm 51 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rom 4:7  As we read from Psa 32 the other day, and as we read from Psa 51 tomorrow, we can clearly see, and appreciate that the confession of sin is not seeking forgiveness, it acknowledges the righteousness of our Heavenly Father. We must also be aware of the fact, that our failings can not be forgiven unless we are prepared to acknowledge them.

Rom 4:17  “I have made thee a father of many nations.” Paul is quoting from Gen 17:5  Sarah was still barren at this time, but we see that this is written in the past tense. This was foreordained. There is a difference between pre-existence and being foreordained. The seed of Abraham, both Isaac and Christ were foreordained.

4:21 All promises that have been made by God, he is able to perform, certainly different from promises made by man. God never forgets a promise, while man frequently forgets, God’s promises are priceless, while promises of man are often times useless, God’s promises are always right, while mans are often wrong.

Michael Parry comments

Paul; the writer to the Hebrews; James; and Peter all talk about Abraham. He was the patriarch of the physical Jewish nation and also father of the faithful (4:16).
He was given the promises before the Law (Gen 17:5-8) – even before his circumcision (Gen 17:24).  The particular seed of his promise was Christ who fulfilled the Law (Matt 5:17, Gal 3:16).  However, God still has a covenant with the Jewish nation and the land of Israel even though they have not (yet) accepted Christ.  It is a mistake to believe, as some groups do, that any prophetical reference or future application concerning the Land and people of Israel is purely spiritual and not physical.

Rob de Jongh comments

For many of us the intricate arguments of scripture are too much to grasp. That’s why we’re given Abraham as an example. All we need to do is read about his life, emulate what we see, and we will obtain the same promises as him. Rom 4:3, 11-12, 16, 20-25.

 

 +

Preceding articles

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

++

Additional reading

  1. Written down in God’s Name for righteousness
  2. Testimonies to observe, inspired by God
  3. Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
  4. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  5. The Right One to follow and to worship
  6. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  7. A secret to be reveiled
  8. Gone astray, away from God
  9. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  10. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  11. Two states of existence before God
  12. The God of hope filling us with all joy and peace
  13. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  14. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  15. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  16. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  17. Atonement and the race been bought
  18. A race not to swift, nor a battle to the strong
  19. Fixing our attentionSelf inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Gaining Christ, trusting Jehovah
  21. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  22. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  23. Hope by faith and free gift
  24. God’s love – Equal and unconditional for all believers
  25. True richesBeing Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  26. If you have integrity
  27. Honor your own words as if they were an important contract
  28. All Positive Energy People Are Acceptable
  29. Our openness to being approachable
  30. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  31. Is your mind thirsty?
  32. The Dress Code for Women in the Quran

+++

Further readings

  1. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:1-12
  2. Daily Devotional – Romans 4:12-25
  3. Romans 4 and the Sacraments
  4. Faith-full Father Abraham
  5. Paul’s Scriptural Argument
  6. Paul’s Argument of Maturity
  7. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  8. Background to Romans 9-11: key teaching from Romans 1:16-4:25
  9. Structure of Romans 1:16-4:25
  10. May 23 2 Chronicles 6,7; Psalms 135; Romans 4
  11. Devotional # 90. Galatians 3:15-29
  12. A Promise
  13. God is righteous and just (God is good 4)
  14. “It’s something only God can do, and you trust him to do it.” ~Apostle Paul
  15. The relevance of  God’s Word today
  16. Righteousness of Faith
  17. Could Abraham have remained childless?
  18. Would Your Faith Save You?
  19. It’s not about you
  20. The Best Way to “Stand Up” For Jesus: Revisiting Romans
  21. What works was Paul talking about in Romans?
  22. Nullify the Torah?
  23. Apart From The Law Of Righteousness
  24. Under The Law
  25. Scriptures on Righteousness- Joseph Prince
  26. Righteous and Right-ness
  27. Greater Love Hath No Man
  28. Jesus Christ has done enough
  29. Verse of the day – Righteousness of the Law
  30. Grace words for today Devotional
  31. It is in difficult times that we choose to continue to do what is right while everything else seems wrong that we grow
  32. Getting wisdom
  33. Moral Image
  34. Incredible Peace
  35. It Is God’s Presence in Us
  36. Strength In Your Hair Or Your Faith?
  37. Daily Inspiration, January 28th
  38. You Have on Different Clothing Now
  39. Christ: A Place In God
  40. The Privilege
  41. The Sermon on the Mount is not a Guide to Christian Salvation
  42. Experiencing Revival Part 3: Obedience
  43. Righteousness Pt 10
  44. Kingdom Come
  45. You Christian, shouldn’t carry guilt, or seek ongoing forgiveness to stay “right” with God.
  46. Exodus 4-6 Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son
  47. The Myths and Facts of Circumcision
  48. The Question of Circumcision II
  49. God confronted even Moses for not keeping the covenant
  50. What is so important about this Commandment?
  51. Experience the change in status from “Children of the flesh,” and of the world : to “Children by promise,” and in the World -Guy#2:03
  52. Surrender: Circumcision of the Heart
  53. Is your heart circumcised today?
  54. Only Jesus Christ – no if’s, no but’s (1)
  55. Yes’s and No’s
  56. entering in…as chosen ones

+++

30 Comments

Filed under Lifestyle, Religious affairs

The Need to Understand Genre

When we look at the Book of books, the Bible, as we said in the previous article, it is important to take the words and genres as they are written down and passed on from one generation unto the next.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God is a God of order and did not give His Words in such a form that ordinary people would not be able to understand it. It is written so that every person can get wisdom out of it.
It is true it is not directly written for us in this time, but has to be looked at writings for those times when those people were living in total different conditions than we now.

God has communicated His message to special individuals over thousands of years. But he wrote first for them, in their time and in their culture. He preserved the message for us, but it was first written to another people in another time. {The Bible is simple… right?}

In the knowledge that they had a  different cultural background to us, we should look at those writings from that standpoint.

The original audience was an ancient one. They knew nothing of the science, technology, medicine, and other things that define our modern world. They knew little of democracy, and literacy was not widespread. It is only in the modern era, from perhaps the 18th century onwards, that literacy has been common. Even today literacy is not as widespread as it should be. Consider then that the original audience most commonly would have heard rather than read the text! {The Bible is simple… right?}

As such the text often was intended to be of a format that people could easily remember. For this reason stories instead of literal or scientific reviews of happenings were a good way. Most important for the Biblical writers was to bring over the message of God. To convey His message and to bring it in such a way people at that time could understand it. Therefore we also should look for the intentions of the writing and for what is being emphasised in the passages.

One of the most important aspects of the human side of the Bible is that, in order to communicate his word to all human conditions, God chose to use almost every available kind of communication: narrative history, genealogies, chronicles, laws of all kinds, poetry of all kinds, proverbs, prophetic oracles, riddles, drama, biographical sketches, parables, letters, sermons, and apocalypses.

To interpret properly the “then and there” of the biblical texts, one must not only know some general rules that apply to all the words of the Bible, but one also needs to learn the special rules that apply to each of these literary forms (genres). The way God communicates the divine word to us in the “here and now” will often differ from one form to another. For example, we need to know how a psalm, a form often addressed to God, functions as God’s word to us, and how certain psalms differ from others, and how all of them differ from “the laws,” which were often addressed to people in cultural situations no longer in existence. How do such “laws” speak to us, and how do they differ from the moral “laws,” which are always valid in all circumstances? Such are the questions the dual nature of the Bible forces on us.

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth (Fourth Edition.; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 26–27.

+

Preceding articles:

Genre – Playing by the Rules

Summerholiday season time to read the Bible

Holiday making and dreaming

Home-stayers and their to do list

++

Additional reading:

  1. Looking for something or for the Truth and what it might be and self-awareness
  2. The faithful God
  3. Have you also been deceived
  4. Increased in wisdom in favour with God
  5. The very very beginning 2 The Word and words
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 2 Organisation of a system of things
  7. Necessity of a revelation of creation 3 Getting understanding by Word of God 1
  8. Creator and Blogger God 11 Old and New Blog 1 Aimed at one man
  9. The Metaphorical language of the Bible
  10. Background to look at things

+++

14 Comments

Filed under Religious affairs