It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Reflection on readings for July 6

Answer me when I call,
O God, of my right!
You gave me room 
when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me, 
and hear my prayer.
(Psalm 4:1)

1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4
Today's passage is a continuation of the Davidic line. As will be all of 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles too. Completed around 400, these books compile the past for people facing the future.

Acts 24:1-27
Paul is on trial before the governor Felix at Caesarea. The case against him: he's an impious agitator. Paul replied that the charges against him were false. He asserted that he worships the same God that his accusers do, ascribes to the same scriptures, and like them, believes in the resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

Same scripture; different beliefs.

Without calling any more witnesses, Felix adjourns the hearing. Later along with his Jewish wife Drusilla, he sent for Paul and listened to his words about Christ Jesus. Hoping that Paul would give him money, he would often send for him for more conversation. After two years, Felix retired. Wanting to grant a favor to the Jews who opposed Paul, Felix left him in prison.

Psalm 4:1-8
This psalm begins with a direct address to God:
Imperative--what the psalmist wants God to do.
Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
Reminder--what God has already done.
You gave me room when I was in distress.
Imperative--an echo of what the psalmist wants.
Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

Then God speaks to us and we respond:
Accusation--How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame? How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies?
But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself.
the Lord hears when I call to him.
When you are disturbed, do not sin; ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Offer right sacrifices,and put your trust in the Lord.

Then the psalm returns to an address to God:
There are many who say, "O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!"

Psalm 4 is a traditional choice for night prayer. The next time you are kept awake from anxiety, try praying it yourself.

Proverbs 18:16-18
A gift opens doors;
it gives access to the great.
The one who first states a case
    seems right,
until the other comes and 
Casting the lot puts an end
    to disputes
and decides between
    powerful contenders.

Prayer for Today: Pray Psalm 4.

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