Thoughts from reading the Bible

Besides the daily Bible reading in the NT, I’m following, when I can, the ESV Bible Daily Reading. Here are a couple thoughts from that reading today.

Joy of his presence, Psa. 21

For you make him most blessed forever;
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.

It’s the king’s psalm, David in his relationship to God. Instead of finding pleasure in his power, his kingdom, his riches, his rise from obscurity to being a household name, David revels in having the Lord near him. Sure, God’s presence for David meant he had all the other stuff. But David knew better, most of the time, than to swap out the Giver for the gifts. Would that I would always find my joy in God!

Jealousy spoils the party, Gen. 21

And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son, for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.”

What was to be a time of joy at this mark of progress in the boy’s life was soured by Sarah’s jealousy at his half-brother’s proximity. How often do we spoil the good moments and celebrations in life by small-minded thoughts?

Being set apart gave opportunity, 1 Chr. 25

David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was: Of the sons of Asaph: Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah, and Asharelah, sons of Asaph, under the direction of Asaph, who prophesied under the direction of the king.

Men were set apart to the worship of God in the temple. Among their number were the sons of Asaph, under the direction of the father. Twelve psalms are recorded as being by Asaph (50, 73-83). Might we surmise that the setting apart, or dedication, of Asaph and sons to this work provided him the opportunity to compose these psalms? Though we don’t have temple worship today, nor use the instruments they used (nor make the animal sacrifices they made), there may be a principle here. Richard Mansel has lamented that we don’t have writers who have been set apart by the church to provide written materials. Maybe he’s on to something.

Jesus puts us right, Lk 13

She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue [was] indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, …

Jesus makes us straight, puts us right, and because of it we glorify God, as did this woman with a disabling spirit. There will always be someone, however, to object and find fault. Jesus shuts them up, too. But they are there and make themselves heard. But they will never remove from us the joy of being free from what cripples us.

You’re welcome to add other perspectives and applications in the comments section below. And do you think I’m off on the Asaph conclusion?

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?