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.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Reflection on One-Year-Bible readings for December 20

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; 
you discern my thoughts from far away.
(Psalm 139:1-2)

Haggai 1:1-2:23
Historical context: Judah's rebellion against the Babylonian empire resulted in an overwhelming defeat. The center of government, Jerusalem, fell, many people were taken into exile, and the Temple, the center of worship, was destroyed. Almost 50 years later, Persia defeated Babylon, and allowed the people to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (from commentary in The Jewish Study Bible.)

The word of the Lord came to the prophet Haggai, "Tell the governor and the high priest and the remnant of the people that are left to remember the greatness of the Temple and to look at the rubble it was turned into."

Being faithful does not mean ignoring pain or defeat.

But, in their case, just looking and grieving was not all that the Lord had in mind for them. "Tell them: take courage, I am with you. I was with you when you came out of Egypt. I am with you now. Things are going to get better for you. Rebuild the temple."

No, the church is not a building, but gathering to worship is essential for the church. So, the building that houses that place is important. Many of the prophets had scorn for the temple and what went on there, but none of the prophets can be interpreted to mean that right worship is anything but right--and since the building is the place, then we who gather there should in all ways think and act as God's people.

Interesting sideline (also from JSB): The Lord promises that gold and silver from all over is going to come to Jerusalem. But, note that this treasure is not intended to enrich individuals; rather, it is the Lord's.

Revelation 11:1-19
The time of judgment.

Psalm 139:1-24
The Lord knows everything that we do, no matter where we are, and has always known all. No hiding is possible. That's the message of the first 18 verses; then, the psalm switches to a plea to God to destroy wicked enemies. The psalm ends with a prayer to God, "Search me, see if I have any wickedness in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Proverbs 30:15-16
The leech has two daughters; "Give, give," they cry. 
Three things are never satisfied: 
four never say, "Enough": 
Sheol, the barren womb, 
the earth ever thirsty for water, 
and the fire that never says, "Enough,"

Prayer for Today: O Lord, remind us today of all we have to be grateful for. And, O Lord, remind us of  how grateful people should behave. Amen.

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