Reflections on February’s readings (2)

I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I (try to) post about what I’ve read.

Note 1: This is post #200!

Note 2: I had originally planned to write this post last night, but just as I was eating my dinner, there was a blackout. A blackout in this house not only means no electricity, but also no phone, no hot water and no heating. Hooray for technology.

In part 1, I looked at the books I completed. In this post, I’ll examine those I started and hadn’t completed by month’s end.

Job: I wonder why God didn’t intervene sooner. Job and his companions would have said a lot less, and consequently we’d have a lot less bad theology to read. Why did God wait until chapter 38? Indeed, why does God often seem to delay and/or be silent? Quoting someone who was quoting someone else, with God, “Silence is not absence. Hiddenness is not abandonment.”

Luke: In chapter 1, Luke records for us Mary’s song (1:46-56) and Zechariah’s song (1:68-79).  I’m struck at how they both dwell more on what God has done for His covenant people than on what God had done for them as individuals. This is a welcome reminder for me that even though my own life seems a shambles (like Mary’s life was soon to be perceived), God has already done so much and is still working behind the scenes not only for me but also for all who believe in Him.
Luke 4:16 tells us that it was Jesus’ custom to go to synagogue on the Sabbath. Now, if anyone had a reason to skip worship, it was Jesus. He wrote the Bible, for goodness’ sake.  I wonder if he ever sat through a rabbi’s teaching thinking, Oh dear, he’s messed up that passage. But still He went. And so should we, however inconvenient it may be.
Jesus made time for people. But that may have got others a little concerned. For example, what did the paralytic and his friends think when Jesus stopped to engage in a theological discussion with the Pharisees (5:21-24)? And what did Jairus think as Jesus stopped to engage the woman with the issue of blood (8:40-48), only to be told that his little girl had died? I guess we go back to the question I asked above in the Job section…
Interesting: Jesus gets asked the same question on two different occasions, and gives two very different answers. In Luke 10:25-37, the asker was seeking to justify himself. In Luke 18:18-30, the asker seems to have been a genuine seeker. In both cases, we’re left with a sort of cliffhanger (what did they do next?). The point is that we examine ourselves and act on Jesus’ words.

1 Corinthians: Ever noticed that all Paul’s letters begin with a form of  “grace and peace to you”? Somehow, I don’t think it was just a trite greeting.

One theme I notice running through 1 Corinthians is that of selflessness, of putting the good of others before your own. Take a look at 8:13; 10:24; 10:32-33; 11:33; 12:7; 13; 14:5;  14:12; 14:26. Imagine if we actually lived like this… What a witness to the watching world!

Exodus: Why were the Egyptian magicians so bent on  replicating the signs performed by Moses and Aaron (7:11-12; 7:22; 8:7; 8:19)? Shouldn’t they have been trying to reverse them? They really weren’t helping themselves by creating more frogs and blood…

Still on the magicians, I noticed that they were only able to replicate Aaron’s signs, and even then, up to a certain point. In the first three plagues (blood, frogs and gnats), Aaron stretched out his staff. In the next two (flies, death of livestock), neither Moses nor Aaron did anything, and it is specified that the region of Goshen was spared. The next plague (boils) saw Moses toss some dust. For the following three ( hail, locusts, darkness),  Moses stretched out his hand. The final plague, the death of the firstborn, saw no human initiation. And those who put the blood on the doorframes were spared. See a pattern?

Sources: Covenant Theological Seminary, D.A. Carson, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, myself