We are back from camp and the electrical issues have been mostly worked out. This week is VBS and we continue with reading from what I would call the less popular books, at this point you may be reading some stories that you have not heard before. If you are, sit with them for a while and ask yourself what do these stories tell you about God, and your relationship with God.
Here is what we are doing each day.
Monday: Salvation History
Tuesday: Historical Criticism
Wednesday: Reader Response
Thursday: Law and Gospel
Friday: Textual Criticism
Saturday: Sabbath—just read and pray
Aug9ThuAugust 9, 2018
[Rev 9:1-21 RSV] 1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key of the shaft of the bottomless pit; 2 he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth; 4 they were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those of mankind who have not the seal of God upon their foreheads; 5 they were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion, when it stings a man. 6 And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death will fly from them. 7 In appearance the locusts were like horses arrayed for battle; on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth; 9 they had scales like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails like scorpions, and stings, and their power of hurting men for five months lies in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abad'don, and in Greek he is called Apol'lyon. 12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come. 13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphra'tes." 15 So the four angels were released, who had been held ready for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the troops of cavalry was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this was how I saw the horses in my vision: the riders wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulphur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulphur issued from their mouths. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulphur issuing from their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; their tails are like serpents, with heads, and by means of them they wound. 20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk; 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts.
[Neh 12:1-47 RSV] 1 These are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerub'babel the son of She-al'ti-el, and Jeshua: Serai'ah, Jeremiah, Ezra, 2 Amari'ah, Malluch, Hattush, 3 Shecani'ah, Rehum, Mer'emoth, 4 Iddo, Gin'nethoi, Abi'jah, 5 Mi'jamin, Ma-adi'ah, Bilgah, 6 Shemai'ah, Joi'arib, Jedai'ah, 7 Sallu, Amok, Hilki'ah, Jedai'ah. These were the chiefs of the priests and of their brethren in the days of Jeshua. 8 And the Levites: Jeshua, Bin'nui, Kad'mi-el, Sherebi'ah, Judah, and Mattani'ah, who with his brethren was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. 9 And Bakbuki'ah and Unno their brethren stood opposite them in the service. 10 And Jeshua was the father of Joi'akim, Joi'akim the father of Eli'ashib, Eli'ashib the father of Joi'ada, 11 Joi'ada the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan the father of Jad'du-a. 12 And in the days of Joi'akim were priests, heads of fathers' houses: of Serai'ah, Merai'ah; of Jeremiah, Hanani'ah; 13 of Ezra, Meshul'lam; of Amari'ah, Jehoha'nan; 14 of Mal'luchi, Jonathan; of Shebani'ah, Joseph; 15 of Harim, Adna; of Merai'oth, Hel'kai; 16 of Iddo, Zechari'ah; of Gin'nethon, Meshul'lam; 17 of Abi'jah, Zichri; of Mini'amin, of Moadi'ah, Pil'tai; 18 of Bilgah, Sham'mu-a; of Shemai'ah, Jehon'athan; 19 of Joi'arib, Matte'nai; of Jedai'ah, Uzzi; 20 of Sal'lai, Kal'lai; of Amok, Eber; 21 of Hilki'ah, Hashabi'ah; of Jedai'ah, Nethan'el. 22 As for the Levites, in the days of Eli'ashib, Joi'ada, Joha'nan, and Jad'du-a, there were recorded the heads of fathers' houses; also the priests until the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 The sons of Levi, heads of fathers' houses, were written in the Book of the Chronicles until the days of Joha'nan the son of Eli'ashib. 24 And the chiefs of the Levites: Hashabi'ah, Sherebi'ah, and Jeshua the son of Kad'mi-el, with their brethren over against them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, watch corresponding to watch. 25 Mattani'ah, Bakbuki'ah, Obadi'ah, Meshul'lam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers standing guard at the storehouses of the gates. 26 These were in the days of Joi'akim the son of Jeshua son of Jo'zadak, and in the days of Nehemi'ah the governor and of Ezra the priest the scribe. 27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres. 28 And the sons of the singers gathered together from the circuit round Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netoph'athites; 29 also from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Az'maveth; for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem. 30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves; and they purified the people and the gates and the wall. 31 Then I brought up the princes of Judah upon the wall, and appointed two great companies which gave thanks and went in procession. One went to the right upon the wall to the Dung Gate; 32 and after them went Hoshai'ah and half of the princes of Judah, 33 and Azari'ah, Ezra, Meshul'lam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemai'ah, and Jeremiah, 35 and certain of the priests' sons with trumpets: Zechari'ah the son of Jonathan, son of Shemai'ah, son of Mattani'ah, son of Micai'ah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph; 36 and his kinsmen, Shemai'ah, Az'arel, Mil'alai, Gil'alai, Ma'ai, Nethan'el, Judah, and Hana'ni, with the musical instruments of David the man of God; and Ezra the scribe went before them. 37 At the Fountain Gate they went up straight before them by the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, to the Water Gate on the east. 38 The other company of those who gave thanks went to the left, and I followed them with half of the people, upon the wall, above the Tower of the Ovens, to the Broad Wall, 39 and above the Gate of E'phraim, and by the Old Gate, and by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hanan'el and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate; and they came to a halt at the Gate of the Guard. 40 So both companies of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God, and I and half of the officials with me; 41 and the priests Eli'akim, Ma-asei'ah, Mini'amin, Micai'ah, Eli-o-e'nai, Zechari'ah, and Hanani'ah, with trumpets; 42 and Ma-asei'ah, Shemai'ah, Elea'zar, Uzzi, Jehoha'nan, Malchi'jah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahi'ah as their leader. 43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard afar off. 44 On that day men were appointed over the chambers for the stores, the contributions, the first fruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns; for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered. 45 And they performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, according to the command of David and his son Solomon. 46 For in the days of David and Asaph of old there was a chief of the singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 And all Israel in the days of Zerub'babel and in the days of Nehemi'ah gave the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; and they set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron.
[Psa 104:1-23 RSV] 1 Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, thou art very great! Thou art clothed with honor and majesty, 2 who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent, 3 who hast laid the beams of thy chambers on the waters, who makest the clouds thy chariot, who ridest on the wings of the wind, 4 who makest the winds thy messengers, fire and flame thy ministers. 5 Thou didst set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be shaken. 6 Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the sound of thy thunder they took to flight. 8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place which thou didst appoint for them. 9 Thou didst set a bound which they should not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. 10 Thou makest springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills, 11 they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst. 12 By them the birds of the air have their habitation; they sing among the branches. 13 From thy lofty abode thou waterest the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy work. 14 Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth, 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man's heart. 16 The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon which he planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the badgers. 19 Thou hast made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. 20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep forth. 21 The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. 22 When the sun rises, they get them away and lie down in their dens. 23 Man goes forth to his work and to his labor until the evening.
From Pastor Tim
Law and Gospel
Revelation is both Law and Gospel. When people read the book of Revelation there tend to be two major reactions: 1) How can a loving God do that? Or 2) Finally God sets it right. I really depends on if you read yourself as someone in power whose world will be tossed upside down and will have to suffer greatly because of God’s action, or conversely if you imagine you are the powerless who are being saved by God’s miraculous power. Just think back to the 10 plagues—they were awful if you were Egyptian, however if you were Hebrew they were salvation. I think that is why the book of revelation is so controversial, it can either be great judgment and damnation or a great justice as the lowly are picked up. That is the problem with talking about God upending the world order; those who benefit from that order don’t hear that as good news! Yet when we step back and think about all of the sin and brokenness in the world, I can see both sides easily. Sure the violence and destruction are great and make me cringe, but if that is what it takes to destroy sin and evil then surly it is good news.
We are reading through the Bible in order to celebrate the anniversary of the reformation, we would invite you to join us where ever we are, or you could just start reading daily. Remember Luther wanted to get Scripture into the hand of everyone so they would grow to know God better. Join us!