May - Reading 13

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, May 13, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Helen

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    Here you go, Clint...

    Mark 13:14-31 is part of Christ's warnings about the end of the age, parallel to Matthew 24. This section starts with the mention of the abomination that causes desolation, also mentioned in Daniel 8 and 9, and in Revelation 13. Just as it is written that Jerusalem will be a cup of trembling for the nations (which is most certainly is now!), we see Judea holding center stage here, and Christ warns them that when the time comes, to flee to the mountains, "because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now -- and never to be equalled again."

    Some feel this time has already come and gone. I would submit that Hitler and Pol Pot were far worse than anything in the Roman Empire in terms of wholesale slaughter of people, and the prophecy says there will be nothing to equal this time of trial and pain again in the history of the world. I would submit, therefore, that it is still to come.

    Jesus then warns strongly against falling for deception. And yet we see people doing that in greater numbers than ever now, whether it is the Moonies beliving Mr. Moon is the Christ or the Catholics who consider their Pope in place of Christ (Vicar of Christ means that), or the crazy man at the airport that one of my students ran into a number of years ago who was declaring to all who would listen that he was the Christ!

    In verse 23, Jesus tells us WHY He is telling us all this: "So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time."

    He then talks about the astronomical signs that will be seen. These deserve a little time here:

    "the sun will be darkened" -- this probably refers to detritus in the air to such an extent that the sunlight will be much dimmer than now. Massive volcanic eruptions could do this, as could asteroid or meteorite impacts on land, raising vast clouds of dust.

    "and the moon will not give its light" -- This could refer to either us not being able to see the moonlight from the choking dark air that will be here, or it could refer, on an either/and basis, to meteorite hits on the moon as well, raising up clouds of dust there that would make it impossible to reflect the sun's light.

    "the stars will fall from the sky and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." -- This definitely seems to refer to what we call 'falling stars' or meteorite showers. If our entire solar system is to go through some kind of cloud of them, then all the planets and their moons could be impacted, or 'shaken.'

    Jesus says that when this happens, He will be returning with 'great power and glory.'

    Jesus then says that just as when we see the twigs get green and tender on the tree, we know spring is coming, that when these signs occur, we will know He is soon to come. He then says that this generation, or the generation that sees the 'twigs become tender' will not pass away before all these things are accomplished.

    He then closes with the reassurance that "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

    In the 2 Corinthians passage, Paul is "boasting" about his sufferings, turning the tide on those who boast about their accomplishments.

    Psalm 106:24-48

    This is the last half of this Psalm recounting the rebellion of the Israelites in the desert and their desertion of the Lord once they were in the Promised Land. It was so bad that they began to emulate the other people there, sacrificing their sons and daughters to demons. This has two possible meanings, and may mean both. The first involves the sacrificing of infants by placing them on the white hot outstretched arms of metal idols, heated for the purpose of burning infants alive. The second is the dedication of sons and daughters to become temple prostitutes. Verse 38 says "and the land was desecrated by their blood."

    Then we read "Therefore the Lord was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance."

    This is really important to note:

    1. God reacted to their sin; He did not cause it. Although He knew it would happen, in the course of created time, we read that He reacted to it.

    2. The Israelites are "his people." These are the same people (a number of generations later) whom Zechariah referred to as "his people" in Zechariah's song in Luke 1:68-75, and the same "his people" John refers to in John 1:11 -- "He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him."

    3. God considers the Jewish people HIS inheritance whereas, in the New Testament, we see that the church is Christ's bride. These two things should not be confused.

    Psalm 106 ends with the Lord hearing the Israelite's cry for help and answering....again. The last two verses are interesting, as the first of the two relates directly to the passage in Mark for today:

    "Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations,
    that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
    Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everytlasting to everlasting.
    Let all the people say 'Amen"'

    Praise the Lord!"

    AMEN.

    OK, Clint, you get 1 Samuel!
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    1Samuel 1

    Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. That is one of the reasons I love the Old Testament stories. While the New Testament Books are replete with edifying instruction, the Old Testament shows us time and again how imperfect, how human we are. Not just 21st century man, but our species as a whole, From Adam on down with the single exception of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

    It is an error on the part of many to think that we are somehow different than our ancestors, that we are somehow superior intellectually or morally. Though we may have become advanced in the arts of technology, medicine, communication or travel, our basic psychology is no better and, I pray, no worse than those who lived in the Stone Age. Human beings act like human beings because it is how we are, our sinful nature bred from our weak flesh and fragile will.

    Unlike some modern theories of psychology, however, we are not base animals. We are not rats learning the easiest way to the cheese. We have the ability, most so when we turn our troubles to God, to overcome our behavioral matrix. Unlike the beasts, we, humans, God’s noblest creation, have the ability to overcome our nature, be it for evil or for good; whether it be self-serving or for the benefit of all.

    I want to share a story with you today about a woman who overcame the instinctual aspect of motherhood and gave up her child that she had so long wanted. This woman reached out to the Lord in an effort to reach the higher plane of motherhood. This woman demonstrates that we are separate from the beasts because motherhood among our species is more than just biological or adoptive raising of offspring.

    When it came down to the reality that I would be standing in this spot this day, I immediately fled to the Holy Spirit for guidance on what the subject would be this Mother’s Day of 2012. I searched the Scriptural rolodex in my head and I kept coming back to 1Samuel, the first chapter. Hannah and the dedication of Samuel - It’s such a cliché Mother’s day theme. So “been there done that,” I thought. I desire to share with you themes that are fresh and alive. I want to inspire you with new revelation and new thought. I want to promote growth. How tired is poor Hannah on Mother’s Day. How previously stated. How stale.

    But, my mind would not let go of Hannah and so I read the first chapter of 1st Samuel. Brothers and sisters, this is a good story and I come before you eager to try to share my vision of the Elkanah household. The Biblical author who wrote the Books of Samuel captured an amazing amount of human drama in an absolute bare minimum of words. While this is a mother’s day address centered around an ancient woman named Hannah, I gained a great deal of empathy for my counterpart in the story, her husband, Elkanah.

    Let’s turn to the Lord for prayer.

    Prayer

    As the curtain opens it is 1050BC . In your Bible a four chapter interlude of the story of Ruth is the only buffer between the Book of Judges and 1Samuel. This was the time in Hebrew history after the conquest of Palestine under Joshua and before the establishment of the Israelite Kingdom. This is a time we are told when men did as they saw fit in their own minds. Corruption has spread through the religious system, hostile neighbors are gaining power. Against this backdrop we enter the house of Elkanah.

    1Samuel 1:1-2

    In those days, there were no laws prohibiting polygamy. And Elkanah had two wives. The Scriptures preserve the ancient names of Hannah and Penniniah but the modern equivalents are “Grace” and “Pearl”. Pearl was a fruitful woman, a mother. Hannah, or Grace, was barren.

    As most of you know, in the Old Testament children were a sign of blessing or favor from the Lord. This puts Hannah at a major disadvantage to Pearl. She offered no heirs to the family. There would be no one to care for her after her husband’s death. Hannah was a dead twig on the family tree.

    1Samuel 1:3-7

    We see that this was a religiously pious and probably well off family with Elkanah observing the annual pilgrimage for sacrifice that was the norm during the time of the later judges. Elkanah would load the wives and kids into whatever mini-van they had and off they went to Shiloh to worship. That the temple officials, Hophni and Phinehas we find later were corrupt was inconsequential. Like Joshua, Elkanah had made the choice that his house would serve the Lord. Part of that service required fulfilling the Law as best they could.

    There were two types of sacrifice under this post-tabernacle, pre-temple scenario. In one, the entire sacrifice was given to God and the entire offering was consumed by fire upon the altar. The other type of sacrifice that we witness in this story required a communal participation in which portions of the offering were allotted among those for whom the sacrifice was made, similar to the way we view that aspect of the Lord’s Supper. Pearl and her brood, sticking together as a clan, each received a portion. Poor infertile Hannah received a double portion, because her husband loved her. But it was just a sad reminder of her state.

    But the portion distribution was just the silent reminder. Pearl would take the opportunity to taunt her marital rival. For Pearl, this was a contest and she was winning! She was favored, she reasoned, by God and would be favored by Elkanah. She gave him heirs and security. She was the superior woman! A breeder! A mother! … A bully.

    Hannah grieved at her lot, suffering cruelty not from men or God, but from her rival wife. For three millennium the conflict between these women have been preserved. The barren woman, the jealous rival, the benevolent husband – in seven verses we have tasted the drama of the story. Polygamy, an institution not ordained but tolerated by God at that time, carried its own consequences. Thank goodness we no longer practice polygamy so women can stop rivaling each other! (That was a joke, if any of you care to laugh.)

     
  4. Clint Kritzer

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    1Samuel 1:8

    Good old Brother Elkanah! I once again present to you an example of how little people have changed. Hannah had a problem, a deep, heartfelt problem. And Elkanah, being a man, wanted to offer solution leading to resolution. He consoled her with male logic. “You’ve got me. Isn’t that enough? Can’t you see how much I love you? Do you not see that it is YOU I love and not your breeding abilities?”

    Well, I and the other experts on women in the audience will tell you, that was just the wrong thing to say. He should have just smiled and nodded. He would have been a lot better for it. He wanted his loved wife to feel better but it was beyond his power. He could not offer her the peace she desired. It is a difficult thing for a man who loves a woman to come to terms with the fact that his love is not enough sometimes for all of her emotional needs.

    Elkanah, in the eight verses in which he is mentioned, is described as a religious, sincere, decent, understanding man. And I’ll bet Elkanah really thought about this situation a lot. He could offer no solution. He was doing what he could, I’m sure, regarding the whole making a baby thing, but the brunt of the frustration of what Hannah and her culture viewed as a curse was born by Hannah. While Hannah carried the despondency of not feeling whole, Elkanah certainly carried the angst of a caring but helpless husband.

    Man and wife are one flesh, yes. No stronger bond between two human beings in creation. My wife is the most important individual on this planet to me; I’ll make no secret of it. But there is a void in most women that a marital relationship will not fill. A marital relationship is temporal. It is for the here and now. Jesus told the Saducees that death is the termination clause. Marriage is good, Biblically good, for the now – but motherhood – motherhood is a status aimed towards the future.

    1Samuel 1:9-11

    Hannah, in her seemingly compulsive desperation and depression, turns to God. The God to Whom her husband offered the prescribed annual sacrifice, the God with whom she had partaken of the communal offering and she makes a deal. She made a commitment. She made a vow. She made a covenant. IF God would see fit to open her womb even if just once, and IF God saw fit to make that child a son, he would be a Nazarite, the most consecrated of a consecrated people. Hannah was willing to waive for her son the expected obligations of a family heir. The Nazarite would not provide for her in her old age. The Nazarite would not be an heir to carry on the father’s business or property. He would belong to God and would spend his life serving God.

    Hannah was not looking for a child to fulfill any need of her own. Hannah was looking to the future, a time, unbeknownst to her, when the instability of the rule of the Judges would come to an end.

    1Samuel 1:12-18

    Hannah, at this point in the story, has transcended the physical, earthy demands of her weak flesh and fragile will. One may think that the motivation or the inspiration for motherhood rests solely on earthly ambition or security. A woman may have a child for many reasons. It may be to show love for, or perhaps even capture, her husband. It may be to have an heir to earthly property, to carry on a legacy. It may be to have physical and financial security in her old age. A woman may even have a child by accident, I’ve heard of such things. But Hannah wanted a child to influence people to good. Hannah wanted a child that served a higher purpose for man by serving God. Hannah’s ambition shifted from her own need to the needs of God’s people.

    The blessing of the priest, Eli, gives her hope and God gives her the peace that her husband could not, the peace that surpasses all understanding.

    Hannah has transcended her flesh driven instinct. She recognizes, like Mary would in another thousand years, that the Godly 21st century woman recognizes today, that she is a maidservant, a slave, of a God most holy. She serves in a House higher than this earth can provide. We remember Hannah three millennia later this Mother’s Day because Hannah grasped through prayer what motherhood is really all about: Motherhood is about tomorrow and Hannah has committed herself to influence the future for good.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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    1Samuel 1:19-20

    Hannah will sing a song of praise in chapter 2 and then the Scriptures speak no more of her except to say that she had five children in all.

    We don’t know much of anything about Elkanah before or after this story. The description in verse 1 is full of confusion for scholars. But man do we end up knowing about their oldest boy!

    Samuel grew to be the Tribal coalition of Israel’s last and one of its most influential judges; he was one of Israel’s first and major prophets; he became the sole instrument of God in the selection and anointing of the Israeli Kingdom’s first two monarchs. He is described as a youth in 2:26 of 1Samuel as one who “continued to grow in favor with the Lord and men.” The exact phrase is borrowed in Luke 2:52 to describe the Lord Himself after the story of the boy Jesus left at the Temple.

    Hannah pursued motherhood for the noblest of all reasons. Hannah wanted a child who would bump the seemingly chaotic and inevitable events in time and history - that would lead to good for me and you and all of those ancient people’s descendants. Hannah didn’t become a mother to HAVE a family: she did it FOR the family. This is the righteous ambition of the Godly woman seeking motherhood.

    1Samuel 1:21-23

    Okay, Elk’s words are preserved in the text, but let me tell you what was going through his mind: First, you’re all outdone because you didn’t have a baby, then you came to grips with it and took it in stride, then you got pregnant, and now you will only be happy when you get rid of the baby?

    Hannah, I love you as my very own flesh, but you may be the most confusing, emotionally erratic, illogical creature I have ever met in my life!

    But, friends, Brother Elk’s caught on! He’s smiling and nodding. He’ll be a lot better for it.

    1Samuel 1:24-28

    Sarah wanted a baby because there was a future promised to her husband Abraham. Bathsheba wanted her son, Solomon, to be the future king, despite the position of his elder siblings. Eunice trained Timothy because the morality of their faith would be essential for the future. Even Lot’s daughters schemed under the motivation of not letting Lot’s house vanish from the earth.

    Parenting is hard a lot of times, that’s no revelation. None of us parents are perfect. None of us kids are perfect. Not all the kids can be Samuels. Sometimes there is disappointment and I think mothers carry the burden of responsibility for the child heavier than fathers, or at the very least, they carry it in that way that women do. That Hannah logic thing, that rivalrous, emotionally erratic, hopelessly committed, singularly driven way that women do.

    Christian mother’s - past future and present - I thank you on behalf of the rest of the family for looking forward, to having vision, to influencing the future for good. Through the ups and downs I counsel you to have faith, pray fervently, find the peace that surpasses understanding and remember that the Scriptures tell us:

    Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    A bullied, barren, emotionally distraught Hebrew sister of yours 3000 years ago showed us just how far that kind of faith can take us into the future.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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