Monday, November 19, 2018

Background On Galatians

I'm back! Again. For the past couple of years the class I teach has been in the New Testament. We went through the Gospel of Mark, the Sermon on the Mount, and John 13-17. After that, we looked at various subjects. In early September, we began a study of Galatians. The first three classes dealt with background information. Here are the notes:

Gal. is the only letter Paul addressed to a group of Churches, not to a particular Church. Galatia was a province in Asia Minor since the 3rd century B.C. with migrants from Gaul. The province included cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystre, and Derbe. Acts contains the historical account of Paul's evangelism in this province.

Antioch- Acts 11:18-30, 13:1-3, 42-52.
Iconium- Acts 14:1-7 (see v.3 on grace, wonders through Paul and Barnabas).
Lystra- Acts 14: 8-18.
Derbe- Acts 14: 19-20.
Back to Antioch- Acts 14:21-28.

Date of Letter- correlates to Paul's visit to Jerusalem, some say correlated with events of Acts 15, the Jerusalem council. Written sometime between 55 and 57 A.D. Probably on his 3rd missionary journey, written from Macedonia or Corinth.

Paul's Opponents- referred to as Judaizers. Say faith in Christ necessary, but not enough. Say Old Testament promises of salvation for Jews only, not Gentiles.Gentiles must be circumcised, add to faith the observance of the Law. Claim Paul is a compromiser, making the Gospel attractive to Gentiles by removing legal demands, say Paul contradicts Peter, James.

Any form of legalism, for the purpose of justification or sanctification, depends on one's personal effort, denies the sufficiency of the Cross. Legalism is the most persistent enemy of the Gospel of grace, contends that certain rules, regulations, religious rites in addition to faith as necessary conditions of Christian maturity.

Paul's Teaching In Galatians- Jesus puts those who have faith in Him (2:16, 3:26) in position of liberty (2:4, 5:1), freeing them from bondage to legalism and license. Main emphasis, crucifixion of Christ as basis for believers deliverance from the curse of sin (1:4, 6:14), self (2:20, see 5:24), and Law (3:12, 4:5). We have a faith union with Christ (2:20), visibly portrayed in baptism (3:27) which relates all believers together as brothers and sisters (3:28). Paul declares Jesus' deity (1:1, 3, 16), humanity (3:16, 4:4). Jesus is the substance of the Gospel (1:7) which He Himself revealed to Paul (1:12).

The Holy Spirit in Galatians- Judaizers wrong about means of justification and sanctification. Key passage- 3:2-3. Galatians would admit they began in the Spirit, so why are they seeking maturity through the Law? 3:5 indicates work of the Holy Spirit beyond initial reception of Spirit. Verb "supplies" indicates a continual supplying in bountiful measure. "Works" indicates that God was continuing to perform miracles in their midst through Holy Spirit filled believers. The word "miracles" refers to charismatic manifestations of Holy Spirit as evidenced by outward signs , see 1Cor. 12-14. The phrase "promise of the Spirit" in 3:14 is used by Peter to explain outpouring of Spirit at Pentecost, Acts 2:33. We receive the Holy Spirit by faith, Holy Spirit manifests His power in us as we walk in faith.
There is a fierce battle between flesh (our lower nature prone to sin) and the indwelling Holy Spirit- 5: 16-25. Submit to control of, and walk with the Holy Spirit will enable us to die to the flesh- 5:16-18, delivers us from the tyranny of the Law- 5:18, and causes the fruit of holiness to grow in our lives- 5: 22-23. 5:16-25 concerns the proper use of Christian liberty. Apart from the controlling, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, liberty will degenerate into license.

Compiled from background notes from the NIV Study Bible and the Spirit Filled Life Bible.

Monday, November 21, 2016

I Haven't Gone Away

I'm still here. I haven't gone away. I'm still teaching my Wednesday morning class. We are still in Mark. I preached a couple weeks ago. My project for my main blog, redemptivethoughts.com , is coming along just fine. It will be an 18 part series, counting the introduction. The 1st 9 parts have been completed. When it is finished, I will return to regular postings on both blogs.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I'M STILL HERE

This blog is a simple guide to whats been going on in my ministry. I haven't posted for awhile. That doesn't mean that I have been inactive since 12/15/15. I still teach a class at my church on Wednesday morning. Since we finished studying Old Testament characters, we covered four topics before studying the gospel of Mark. We studied Mark before we turned to OT characters, but with a bigger class, only one person is still in the class who was there for the first study of Mark. We spent 3 years on OT characters. Family business and a major project for my main blog, redemptivethoughts.com has taken my time away from this blog. I will start posting regularly again in the immediate future.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

We Finally Finished Old Testament Characters

After nearly  3 years, the Wednesday morning class has finally finished studying characters from the Old Testament. We started with the character of God as revealed in Genesis one and He remained the main character throughout. We covered every major character from Genesis to the book of Esther (We did skip Judges for the sake of time). There is no time limit for each lesson. While I have a planned list of items to be taught, anyone in the class can bring up a matter they want to discuss. That explains why it took 3 years. I stopped typing up my notes after David. I got burned out with the project after typing 62 pages. Sometime in the future, I'll finish typing and publishing my notes.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Old Testament Characters

I am still teaching Old Testament characters on Wednesday morning. Since my last post on this subject, we have covered Solomon, a brief look at 4 Kings of Judah, Elijah, Elisha, and we will probably finish Ezra during the next class. We will conclude with Nehemiah and Esther. I haven't posted my notes since Daniel because, frankly, I got burned out typing them up. So far, I have 62 pages of notes. Someday, I will finish posting them. But not now.

What I've Been Reading

I bought a good deal of books from the Wesley Biblical Seminary library while I was a student. One subject covered by my purchases was death/dying/end of life care/counseling. I have added to these with subsequent purchases. Last December, I undertook the reading of them and I finished last night. The first was a book called "The Loneliness of Man" which was ruined by its existentialist viewpoint, viewing faith as a leap in the dark. Then I read a book on old age which was influenced by the notion that death is to be looked forward to, instead of being viewed as the enemy. Then I read Christopher Hitchen's "Mortality." I thought I might gain an insight on how you deal with those dying of cancer, especially those who don't believe in God. I gained very little insight. Those three were a wash. Then I read Sherwin Nuland's How We Die and Death and Dying by Elizebeth Kubler-Ross. Both were fruitful. Nuland's work took the mystery out of much of what happens at death so readers may not be so surprised as to what is happening to them as they die. Ross demonstrates how to deal with the fears which keep us from dealing with those who have a short time left on earth. Then I read a volume of the writings of Paul Tournier, a Christian doctor and psychologist who was influential during the 50's and 60's. While worth reading, I did have reservations about him. While I was reading Tounier, I read a book which I thought would be about ministering to families which lost an infant. The book was really about making these parents accept Calvinism. Also, I read Nicoloas Woltersdorf's Lament For a Son, a memoir on how he dealt with the death of his son. Then I reread Grief, Transition, and Loss by Wayne Oates. I had read this during my ordination process about three years ago. So, that is what I have been reading for about 3 quarters of a year. I have saved articles from the Internet dealing with the same subjects and will read those as well.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

David, Part 3

This is the last part of the notes on Davidfor the Wed. morn. class. Tomorrow we move on to Solomon.

2Sam. 13:1- 2 years after David’s sin with Bathsheba. David is 53, Amnon is 22, Absalom is 20, Tamar is 15, Solomon is 2.
Amnon is the crown prince born of a different mother than Absalom and Tamar. Their mother is Maccha of Geshur (A Pagan?) Problem with multiplying wives. Would Amnon raped his own sister?
v.3- Jonadab, David’s cousin, seeking favor from crown prince.
v. 12- Tamar not just concerned for own self, but for holiness in Israel.
v. 13- Is Tamar willing to marry as well as stop attack? To prevent consequences to her and Amnon? Perhaps not. Such a marriage is prohibited by God’s Law- Lev. 18: 9, 20:17, Dt. 27:22.
v. 15- hate greater than love, she was just a temporary object, Amnon like Esau, seeking immediate gratification.
v. 16- Her virginity stolen, she had nothing to offer to a potential husband. He refused to marry her, violating God’s Law. See Dt. 22:29.
v. 17-18- Amnon leaves impression Tamar tried to seduce him, though she was wearing the symbol of being the king’s virgin daughter (Sign of king’s favor, like Joseph). Treated shamefully. Just as David acted, so did Amnon. He acted as if he could do what he wanted without regard for God and His Law. He coveted after Tamar, seized her, bore false witness.
v.19- ashes on head- sign of great mourning. Torn robe is sign of lost virginity.
v. 20- Absalom doesn’t want Tamar to cause a scandal.
v. 21- David doesn’t carry out Law. Incest punishable by death.He loved his 1st born, daughters were not as important.
v. 22- spoke not at all= bided time
v.23- sheep shearing a festival with food, drink.
v. 25- king’s mighty men would have to accompany him.
v. 26- Amnon would be king’s representative, David had misgivings because of their strained relationship.
v. 28- violation of Eastern hospitality, God’s Law against vengeance. David violated 4 of 10 commandments with Bathsheba, Uriah. Absalom, Amnon together guilty of coveting , bearing false witness, murder.
Absalom makes self successor to the throne.
v. 29- fear for their lives, didn’t want to be associated with this.
v. 32- same one who had given Amnon idea of seducing Tamar.
v. 37- where his mother’s people were from.
v. 38-39- David longed for his son.

2Sam. 14: 7- Law against blood vengeance, Num. 35: 9-21.
v. 2- Joab concerned about instability this situation could cause.
v. 7- God’s Law prevents families from being wiped out. Dt. 25: 5-6, Ruth 2: 20.
Try to convince David of coming disaster over fight over succession.
v. 9- blame for unpunished crime. Wiping out family line as serious as murder.
v. 13- Implies David guilty of blood murder for not forgiving Absalom.
v. 14- woman distorting God’s justice, Gen. 9:6. Emphasize God’s mercy. David’s own crimes adds weight to arguments.
v. 25-26- hair weighed 3 pounds.
v. 32- no sign of repentance.
v. 33- David sidesteps repentance, justice. Helps fulfill Nathan’s prophecy.

2Sam. 15:1-9_ Absalom steals the devotion of the people due to his father.
v.1 Absalom looked like a king in the people’s eyes.
Heir to the throne violated the Law- 1st Israelite leader to have many horses and chariots.  Acquired 50 men. Appeal to the masses who like to follow those who look like a winner.  Remember what David did with horses and chariots- 2nd Sam. 8:4    
v. 3-4- No inquiry into justness of complaints. Absalom bears false witness against David. Deputy=listener. David always acted for the vulnerable, the oppressed (except in the case of Uriah, Tamar) . Kingdom knew about Amnon and Tamar. When Absalom says there is no justice in the land, the people would remember what happened to his sister. Absalom took matters into own hands, exploit David’s weakness, the love for his eldest son.
v.7- four years, or 40 years after David’s anointing, David is about 56.
Hebron was considered the capital of Israel before David made Jerusalem capital. Where David was proclaimed king, where Absalom was born. Local resentment for losing capital?
v. 11- 200 innocent men. There when rebellion started. Looked like they were supporting Absalom, look like Absalom has many supporters. Look of success results in many followers.
v. 12- Ahitophel- Bathsheba’s grandfather. Is he resentful of David’s conduct with Bathsheba, Uriah? David writes of this betrayal in Ps. 41:9, 55: 12-14.
v. 18- King’s mighty men.
v.19- concerned for the weak, oppressed, foreigners in the land, a Philistine.
v. 14- spare Jerusalem a blood bath.
v. 16- David unknowingly arranging fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy.
v. 25- ark not a magical thing.
v. 26- David knows he has no exclusive claim on the throne.

2Sam. 16: 1- Ziba, the servant who David contacted about Saul’s family in 2Sam. 9. Waiting for David.
v.3-4- son of master can refer to Saul or Jonathan. Son/grandson=Mephibosheth.
Ziba lies. Makes David think Mephibosheth disloyal, ungrateful, delusional. David does not seek Mephibosheth’s life. He still was true to his covenant with Jonathan. He just took all the property he gave to Mephibosheth and gave it to Ziba.
v.7-8- David isn’t responsible for the death of any in Saul’s family. Saul’s family ungrateful, no respect for God’s anointing of David.
v.9- Abisai- David’s cousin, son of his sister Zuriah. Wanted to kill Saul.
v.10- David not of the same nature as Joab/Abishai.
v. 11-12- Shimei cursing David because God making him? Perhaps God will see and vindicate David. Or has God chosen to terminate David’s kingship? David accepts God’s judgment.  Will not kill Shimei; David, a picture of Christ as merciful to the undeserving.
v. 15-19- Hushai tricking Absalom
v. 21-22- fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy (see 2Sam. 12: 11-12). Taking concubines was the same as taking the throne. Act also signified a complete break with his father.
v. 23- A sign of how respected Ahithophel was, why his defection so gauled David

2Sam. 17: 14- God was working to defeat rebellion against his anointed in answer to David’s prayer in 2Sam. 15:31.
v. 17- grandsons of priests Zadok and Abiathar.
v. 23- knew after adice rejected that David would win the struggle.
v. 25- Joab loyal to cousin David.
Not the same Abigail that was David’s wife. Through another wife of David’s father Jesse.
v. 27- chieftain, tributaries of David. Shows the support of wealthy, influencial persons for David.

2Sam. 18: 1-4- entire fighting force divided so the whole would not be taken.
Itti- see 2Sam. 15:19.
Men don’t want to be pursued, so don’t want David with them. Also, David is now older, not as strong. See 2Sam.17:2 . David does not object. He is humble, even as king.
v. 5- David knew Joab, son of Zuriah. Hoped to keep him from killing Absalom. Love of son almost a fatal weakness.
v. 12-13- loyal to David, soldier spares own life, would not touch the son of God’s anointed.
v. 16- spared people because Absalom was dead.
v.17- not the way royalty is buried, buried like Achan and sons. Contrast to Absalom’s own memorial.
v. 20-21- Joab doesn’t know how David will react.
v. 22- had not seen Absalom’s death.
v. 33- David knew his sin with Bathsheba brought about the deaths of Amnon, Absalom.   

2Sam. 19: 1-4- victory celebration turned into mourning.
v.5- the army put their lives on the line for David
v. 6- Absalom responsible for the slaughter.
7. king must go out and review the troops, or will be abandoned.
v. 9-12- rebellion started in Jerusalem. David wanted to recement ties of Judah with himself, kingdom. Bring king back into Jerusalem in triumph.
Why is Judah, my own people, the last the king back into Jerusalem?
v.13- punishment for Joab? David hopes to cement his followers loyalty.
v. 15-20-  seeking David’s forgiveness. By now it was understood that David was a forgiving king.
House of Joseph- a phrase representing all those who had opposed Judah.
v. 21-22- Abishai- Joab’s brother, son of Zuriah. Wanted to kill Saul. Again David says “What have I to do with you, son of Zuriah?” David not of same nature as Joab, Abishai, David’s cousins. No one dies on day king restored to throne.
v.24- Mephibosheth shows signs of mourning, loyalty for David from very beginning of rebellion.   
v. 26-28- Mephibsheth loyal, Ziba lied. Knows David is merciful, see 2Sam. 9: 1-8.
v.29- punish Ziba, through division of land. At this point, David doesn’t know who is telling the truth. David keeps covenant, even though he knows someone is deceiving him, like Israel kept covenant with Gibeonites.
v. 30-Mephibosheth shows his unselfish loyalty to David.
v. 40-43- other tribes fear Judah will dominate other tribes. Tension comes out during rebellion. David careful not to show favoritism to own tribe. Precursor of rift which will divide kingdom after Solomon’s death.

2Sam. 20: 1- saw the division between Judah, rest of tribes, saw opportunity to exploit, a Benjamite, loyal to Saul, hope to regain throne for tribe, self. Many felt that David favored his tribe above others.
Rebel=Son of Belial- used for all trouble makers like Eli’s sons.
v. 2- division foreshadows division of kingdom.
v. 3- defiled, David remains aloof sexually. His actions were a kindness, could have expelled or killed concubines. Also, a reassertion of royal power.
v. 4-6- David bypasses Joab twice.
v. 7- David relies on small, elite force, the Mighty Men, mainly non-Israelite. Joab still recognized as leader.
v. 9- still a common practice among Arab countries today.
v. 10- 2nd time Joab commits murder to secure his position, takes command without permission.
v. 11- Joab demonstrates loyalty to David.
v. 12- men had respect for the dead. Maybe didn’t want contact with the dead, be unclean? Amasa’s body treated with contempt.
v. 18- Abel considered a place of wise counsel, old woman one of the counselors, faithful Israelites.
v. 19- “mother in Israel”=a city of influence, respect.
v. 22- Joab returns with public testimony of defeating David’s enemies, position entrenched. David can’t remove him.

2Sam. 21.
v. 1-14- Between the time of David’s kindness to Mephibosheth and Absalom’s rebellion. Historical Chronology not always important to ancient writers, whether biblical writers or non-biblical.
v.1- This campaign against the Gibeonites not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. Gibeonites not Israelite by descent, but occupied a portion of the territory of Benjamin, Saul’s tribe.
v. 2- Gibeonites were Canaanites who tricked Joshua and Israel into covenant of protection, which Saul and family violated.  A covenant in God’s name, no matter the circumstances as to how it came about, has to be honored. God’s reputation is at stake.
“bless”- Gibeonites could rightly call a curse down on the land.
v. 4- Gibeonites forbidden from legal redress against an Israelite? Against God’s Law- Ex. 22:21, Lev. 19:34, 24:22, Dt. 1: 16-17, 24: 17, 27:19.  Did Saul make up a law in opposition to God’s Law?
6. Gibeah- Saul’s home.
Gibeonites refer to Saul’s anointing as king by God.
v. 7- David spares Mephibosheth and his son (s) because of of his covenant with Jonathan.
v. 8- sons of a concubine and sons of Saul’s 1st daughter that had been originally been promised to David for killing Goliath.
v. 9- they were probably part of Saul’s persecution, because son’s not supposed to be punished for father’s crimes.
v. 10- to allow bodies to be ravaged by birds or wild animals was considered the greatest insult or degradation of the dead.
Rain signaled the lifting of the curse, Saul’s sins atoned for.
v. 10-14- David saw Ritzpah’s kindness, remembered kindness of Jabesh Gilead in risking lives to take Saul and son’s bodies from the Philistines, decides to perform one last act of kindness to Saul’s family.
v. 17- David getting old, Israel knows David’s importance as the Lord’s anointed, the covenants made by God concerning him, a member of the family always on the throne.

As stated before, ancient writers, biblical or pagan, were more concerned with theme than with chronology. So, we consider the last days of David and the struggle for succession before we finish 2Sam.

1Kings 1:1- David about 70, old for the time, battle weary.
v. 2- a young woman who would also remain a virgin so not to complicate succession.
v. 5- Adonijah younger brother of Absalom, Tamar. 35 years old. Result of violating Dt. 17:17. Also, mother may not have been an Israelite. Just as Absalom did, disobeyed Dt. 17:16.
No rule of succession in the Law. David could choose whom he wanted to follow him on the throne. He had promised it to Solomon, 1Chron. 22: 6-10, 28: 1-7. All Israel knew this, including Adonijah.
v. 6- David hasn’t learned lesson, will not reign in sons.
v. 7- Abiathar- only priest to escape Saul when Saul murdered the priests- 1Sam. 22- for helping David. Descendant of Eli, whose priestly family was under a curse from God.
v. 8- Benaiah- commander of David’s mighty men, rival to Joab, commander of David’s army. Reason Joab sided with Adonijah.
v. 9- victory celebration, look like a winner.
v. 17- oath taken in the Lord’s name, not voidable.
v. 24- Nathan doesn’t really know if David has sidede with Adonijah. After all, David had history of indulging sons.
v. 33- for Solomon to ride David’s mule was a sign that David favored Solomon as king.
v. 34- only God’s anointed could sit on the throne, throne not for the taking.
v. 42- son of Abiathar, spied on Absalom for David.
v. 49- When Adonijah’s supporters heard this, they abandoned him.
v. 51- those in fear for their life often sought asylum at the altar.
v. 52- Solomon as forgiving as David. Picture of Christ. Adonijah not responsible for slaughter like Absalom. Forgiveness is not trust. Adonijah had to prove himself.

1Kings2: 2-3- walk according to the Law of Moses, under a covenant.
v. 4- promise to David conditional, based on obedience to Mosaic Law, Mosaic covenant.
v. 5-6- Joab killed in violation of the Law, didn’t kill in battle. Violated covenant David made with Abner, killed him in city of refuge. Amasa’s killing unlawful as well. Joab’s treachery, by siding with Adonijah, gives David an opportunity to bring judgment on Joab.
v. 7- Barzillai loyal to David during Absalom’s rebellion.

Now we return to 2Sam. We will examine the last 3 chapters, working backwards. The author (s) chose to end 2Sam. with an event which shows the two sides of David, the sinner, and the repentant one. David’s portrayal is not airbrushed, but we see the consequences when one follows God and when a follower chooses sin.

2Sam. 1: Did God cause David to sin? See 1Chron. 21:1. God allowed Satan to influence David, see James 1:13. Like when God hardened Pharaoh’s already hardened heart, when God sent an evil spirit to enter Saul, and when a demon entered Judas, compel them to do evil when they allowed it in their own heart. David was probably trusting in his own strength. David told Goliath the battle is the Lord’s, but here David shows a lack of trust. Also, God angry with whole nation, scripture doesn’t say why. Also, David violated God’s Law concerning the census, see Ex. 30: 11-16. A census was to be an act of worship, a way to raise a tax given in faith as an atonement for sins, to support the Tabernacle. Not done here, but used to number troops for battle, rely on numbers for strength when they were to rely on God, violation of rules for kings, see Dt. 17: 14-20. Stated punishment, plagues. David knew this when God gave him the 3 choices. David chose what was in the Law, even though it may have been the most severe to the people. David in anguish when he sees his people punished.  David took responsibility, Saul always had an excuse.
v. 18-25- God commands David to build an altar, located on Mt. Moriah, where Abraham offered up Isaac (Gen 22: 2), the location of Solomon’s temple.
Araunah’s offer refused. David treated the people justly, according to God’s Law. Will not use position to gain unfair advantage. Animals not paid for not an acceptable sacrifice. To sacrifice them would offend God. The site of Israel’s future worship would not be compromised in such a way. David’s conduct, his faith and repentance, ended the plague.

2Sam23- Not necessarily David’s last words on his death bed, but his last poetic statement.
v. 1- David acknowledges humble origins, and how it was God who anointed him king.
The God of history, the same God who increased Jacob preserved David and made an everlasting covenant with him.
Sweet psalmist wrote Israel’s hymnbook, Jesus’ prayer book.
2. Spirit spoke through David while David responded to circumstances, as explanations at beginning of many Psalms attest.
v. 3-4- kings who rule righteously are like those described in Ps. 1: 2-3 and Dt. 17: 18-20. Righteous rule stems from meditation upon and obedience to God’s Law.
v. 5- God made everlasting covenant with David who thinks this refers only to throne in Jerusalem. But his family will rule forever in Jesus Christ.
v. 6-7- Those who don’t follow God’s Laws will be destroyed , like David’s own sons.   

2Sam. 22: 1- This chapter is almost the same as Ps. 18. Probably written between the time when David subdued his enemies and his sin with Bathsheba.
v. 2- The Lord is a rock, deliverer, not like idols. Only God can protect.
v. 3- David trusts in God, not himself, a public confession to his people and his enemies. 
A personal God v. impersonal idols.
v. 5-18- A personal God who cares for each of those who trust and obey Him, one who is angry when His followers are oppressed. David was God’s anointed, see v. 8-9.
v. 21-25- written before David’s sin.
David had clean hands because he obeyed God’s Law which is the essence of pleasing God. If faithful, God will be faithful.
v. 26-28- God’s relationship with David can be had by anyone who trusts and obeys Him.
v. 50- David will praise God’s name to the Gentiles. For what purpose? So that the Gentiles would also follow His Laws.

v. 51- Repeat the promise, David’s family will always be on the throne forever, fulfilled through Jesus.