September 30, 2007

Jer 29-31

(Don’t forget to read the seasonal canticle for September, 1 Chronicles 29:10-13. The most recent post on that canticle, with links to earlier ones, is here.)

A sculpture by an unidentified artist in an unidentified location depicting Jeremiah 31:15’s statement about Rachel weeping for her childrenThings are never so bad that there is no hope. We see a good example of that today in our reading of Jeremiah 29-31. In Jeremiah 31:15, the Lord through Jeremiah describes the sadness over the exile as “Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted”. (The image with this post is a sculpture by an unidentified artist in an unidentified location depicting Jeremiah 31:15’s statement about Rachel weeping for her children; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it.) Then, in verse 16, the Lord immediately tells the people, “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears”. The exiles are going to come back in time. There is hope! The Lord consoles and comforts His people. No matter how great our guilt over our sin, no matter how much we might despair over our circumstances in life, the Lord offers the free forgiveness of sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and He with Christ He gives us all we need and enables us to persevere through our various circumstances. (This idea of weeping but not refusing to be comforted reminds me of St. Paul’s exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 4:13.) You can find my previous comments on all of today’s reading here, and there is a brief folo on Jeremiah 31:22 here.

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Jeremiah 31:29-30 and who suffers for whose sin. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services appoints Jeremiah 29:11-14 as the Old Testament reading on Rogate (the Fifth Sunday after Easter) and Jeremiah 31:23-25 on the Seventh Sunday after Trinity. Hymn #566 in The Lutheran Hymnal is said to refer to Jeremiah 29:7.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make it holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 29, 2007

Ps 113 / Jer 26-28

When the Bible talks about the rising of the sun and its setting, is it talking about place or time? The question is relevant for our reading of Psalm 113 today, especially as one translation of the four I checked (that is, the NIV) specifically interprets the Hebrew as referring to places. To be sure, in other passages places certainly seem to be in view (see Isaiah 24:15; 45:6; 59:19; and Malachi 1:11). Such passages make clear that all the people of the earth are to know the Lord, to believe in Him and to glorify Him, and that the Lord’s renown is to be everywhere. The context makes clear that such passages are using the directions to indicate every place. Psalm 113 is a little different, however, as the preceding verse (v.2) is talking about the length of time that the Lord is to be praised. We might be inclined to take verse as referring to morning and night, but we know that other psalms refer to ’round the clock praise of the Lord. Verse 3’s referring to time would be odd then, and so, even though there’s no other reference to place in the verse, we probably want to understand it as a place reference. Taking the two verses together, one commentator says that the praise and celebration of the Lord’s name “shall finally become that which fills all time and all space.” I was also reminded of the Lord’s statements in Matthew 24:27, but both place and time seem to be in view there, too. I don’t think we can pray too much that that coming comes, so all those who are saved by God’s grace and truly praise Him eternally everywhere. (You can find my other comments on Psalm 113 by following this link.)

Forres Gordon Dingwall’s depiction of Hananiah breaking the yoke Jeremiah was wearing at the Lord’s directionWe’ve been hearing of Jeremiah’s prophecies and prophetic actions spoken and done at the direction of the Lord. Today in Jeremiah 26-28 we hear how a false prophet unsuccessfully tried to turn one of Jeremiah’s prophecies and prophetic actions. Hananiah took and broke a yoke the Lord told Jeremiah to wear in order to depict how the people should submit to Nebuchadnezzar, and Hananiah tried to use the breaking of the yoke to prophecy that the Lord would break the yoke of the Babylonians within two years. (The image with this post is Forres Gordon Dingwall’s turn-of-the-20th-century depiction of that scene; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it.) As with all prophecy, however, Jeremiah’s words were shown to be the true ones when they were fulfilled. Thank God that He has fulfilled all the prophecy about breaking our yoke of slavery through faith in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. (You can read more of my comments about today’s reading here, and you an find a folo on Jeremiah 28:15-17, perhaps more timely last year, here.)

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Jeremiah 26:24 and Gedalia’s family line. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

There are no Old Testament readings in the historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services that draw on Jeremiah 26-28, nor are there any hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal said to refer to verses from Jeremiah 26-28.

Thanks to a reader’s question on Jeremiah 19, there’s a new Q&A posted here. God bless your day, and may you let Him make tomorrow holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 28, 2007

Ps 112 / Jer 23-25

Do you believe that just as the righteous live forever with God so the unrighteous suffer forever in hell? Psalm 112 today might make you think otherwise. Notice the contrast between the righteous being remembered forever (v.6) and the Lord’s righteousness enduring forever (v.9) with the wasting away of the wicked and their longings coming to nothing (v.10). The psalm is not the controlling passage on the length of the suffering of the wicked, of course. We must always be careful both to let Scripture interpret Scripture and to remember the type of literature we are reading. We have clear passages in non-poetic books that tell us of such last things as the eternal suffering of the unrighteous in hell and the eternal dwelling of the righteous with God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (You can read my other comments on Psalm 112 by following this link.)

Frank E. Wright’s 1897 depiction of Jeremiah’s fig visionAre you a big fig fan? I don’t know that I had eaten very many until there was a dish featuring figs at a restaurant where I worked. They are a good fruit, nice and sweet. Figs were native to the area we call the Holy Land, often used as a source of sweetness along with honey, since sugar cane was not introduced into the area until the time between the Testaments. Reading of figs today in Jeremiah 23-25, specifically chapter 24, I was thinking of Jesus’s cursing a barren fig tree in Matthew 21:18-19 and Mark 11:12-14. In that case, the fig tree seems to symbolize the Jewish nation, in some ways as in today’s reading where good figs symbolize Judeans going into exile and bad figs symbolize the Judeans staying in Jerusalem (later in Jeremiah 29:17 bad figs also symbolize the Judeans fleeing to Egypt). Of course, the Judeans regarded as good figs were only good in God’s eyes by grace through faith in the promised deliverance that God would later provide, just as we are regarded as good and saved only by grace through faith in the deliverance God has provided in Jesus Christ. The image with this post is Frank E. Wright’s 1897 depiction of Jeremiah’s fig vision (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). You can find my previous post overviewing more of today’s reading here.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Jeremiah 23-25, and no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to Jeremiah 23-25.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 27, 2007

Ps 111 / Jer 19-22

For what are you best known? We have a habit (don’t we?) of reducing people’s lives down to one particular thing he or she said or did. Someone Tuesday spoke to me of President Nixon and his great diplomatic efforts. When teaching the period between the Old and New Testaments, I usually say at least one or two things about each of the particular Roman leaders of the period. Today in Psalm 111 we hear of a number of the Lord’s works and deeds, of which the most important for us is His providing redemption for His people (v.9). That redemption is freely offered to us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. You can read my previous comments on Psalm 111 by following this link.

Declan McCullagh’s November 2005 photograph of broken pottery in an abandoned granary of a Berber village in the Sahara Desert of TunisiaI think people like the usual idea of the Lord as the potter and people as His clay, but as we see today in our reading of Jeremiah 19-22 the metaphor can take an ugly turn, one even uglier than that we saw yesterday. I don’t think until last year’s reading of Jeremiah that even I appreciated how extensive the lessons from the potter were or how God had Jeremiah break a perfectly good clay jar to depict the Lord’s smashing Judah and Jerusalem. (The image with this post is Declan McCullagh’s November 2005 photograph of broken pottery in an abandoned granary of a Berber village in the Sahara Desert of Tunisia; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it.) There is another key insight about the lesson from the potter, as well as comments on the whole reading, in last year’s post.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

Jeremiah 19-22 is not appointed for any Old Testament readings in the historic 1-year lectionary, nor is it said to be referred to by any hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 26, 2007

Ps 110 / Jer 16-18

Although today there are military personnel who, in keeping with the provisions of their contracts, are kept on active duty longer than originally expected, the United States generally has an all-volunteer military force. The U.S. Government discontinued the draft back in 1973, although it kept the Selective Service System in place, of course. (I had to register when I was 18 and show proof of registration under certain circumstances.) Twice in the present conflict bills have been introduced in Congress to reinstate mandatory conscription into military service, sure at least in some small part because not enough people are willing to serve. Today in Psalm 110 we hear of how the Lord has dedicated and willing warriors on His day of battle (v.3). The Hebrew is said to literally translate as “freewill offerings”, and we are reminded of the Israelites’ freewill offerings for the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 35:29; 36:3) and of Paul’s references to believers’ lives as living sacrifices and offerings (Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 8:5; Philippians 2:17; and 2 Timothy 4:6). When we remember that, before conversion to the faith, we are dead in trespasses and sins, the only way our offering ourselves remotely resembles free will is when the Holy Spirit has converted us and, after forgiving us by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, is bringing about the fruits of faith in our lives. (You can find my other comments on Psalm 110 by following this link.)

Apparently a screen-capture from the Oxygen Network showing a potter with clayHaving just said that we really don’t have freewill in spiritual matters before conversion, today’s reading of Jeremiah 16-18 and its beginning in chapter 18 the prophecy from the potter’s house may or may not be helpful. We are not to understand that God controls all things fatalistically, in other words, that He has formed some people only in order to destroy them (double predestination). Rather, we should understand that God wants all people to be saved but that when some are unwilling and do not repent then God can reshape the pot He was originally forming for one purpose to serve another purpose. You can find more comments on Jeremiah 16-18 here. (The image with this post is apparently a screen-capture from the Oxygen Network showing a potter with clay; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it, although it seems to be from here originally.)

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Jeremiah 18:21-23 and reacting to Jeremiah’s prayer. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

Although no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to verses from Jeremiah 16-18, the historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services appoints three Old Testament readings from today’s section of Jeremiah: Jeremiah 16:14-21 on the Fifth Sunday after Trinity; Jeremiah 17:5-10 on the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany; and Jeremiah 17:13-14 on the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 25, 2007

Ps 109 / Jer 13-15

News today that the housing market in the Austin area is slowing down can evoke concerns that the mortgage and foreclosure problems the nation has been experiencing may finally, if you will pardon the play on words, hit home in our area. Foreclosures are also current in today’s reading. In Psalm 109 we hear the psalmist ask that creditors seize all his enemy has, which would deprive the enemy of his property and his children of any inheritance. To better understand this “imprecatory” psalm, follow this link.

An unidentified photographer’s extreme close-up of the after-effects of a drought“The ground is cracked because there is no rain in the land,” we read today in Jeremiah 13-15 (specifically Jeremiah 14:4). Texas this year certainly didn’t know the kind of extreme drought brought to mind by the image with this post by an unidentified photographer (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). Other parts of the country did, however, and Texas has known such drought in the past and will likely know it again in the future. When we do, we should not necessarily think the drought is the kind of specific punishment from God that we read of in Jeremiah today, although it certainly could be. We continue to suffer the temporal consequences of our forbearers’ disobedience as well as our own disobedience. So, we should live every day in sorrow over our sin and with faith in God for the forgiveness of that sin through Jesus Christ our Lord. You can read my previous post overviewing all of today’s reading here, and there is a brief folo on Jeremiah 15:1 here.

The following verses and topics are addressed in previously posted questions and answers, the links for which may be repeated in this space from day to day, as the answers may also refer to preceding or following verses:

You are most certainly welcome to ask a question of your own this way.

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services appoints Jeremiah 15:19-21 for the Old Testament reading on the Eighth Sunday after Trinity, but no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to verses from Jeremiah 13-15.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 24, 2007

Ps 108 / Jer 10-12

Does anyone like being awakened? Maybe it depends on for what we are being awakened. Today in our reading of Psalm 108 we hear the psalmist direct the harp and lyre to wake up, presumably so the psalmist in turn can awaken the dawn (v.2). The context is all about believing in God and praising Him for His great love. Because of God’s great love for us in Christ we can rise every day with faith in Him and with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts, even if our circumstances are otherwise less than ideal. (You can read my previous comments on Psalm 108 by following this link.)

Zatorski & Zatorski’s photograph titled “Cordero”Like a lamb led to the slaughter, that’s how Jeremiah describes himself in our reading of Jeremiah 10-12 today (11:19). The lamb led to slaughter imagery is also used of the Babylonians in Jeremiah 51:40 and of the Suffering Servant, Christ, in Isaiah 53:7. Ideally we would be like Christ and quietly face whatever God permits us to face or sends our way. Boy, though, that’s hard! Being quiet about where we are going would be easier if we were like Jeremiah and didn’t know. Yet, as we seek the grace to be as silent as lambs led to the slaughter no matter what we face, God, Who has worked faith in our heart and thereby is transforming us, gives us the grace to be conformed to His Son and go without complaint. Reflecting on Christ as the silent Lamb makes me think of this hymn, even though it isn’t based on any verses from our reading. You can find more about the reading here. The image with today’s post is a photograph by Zatorski & Zatorski (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it, and you can read more about the picture interspersed here).

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Jeremiah 10:23 and free will. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

Jeremiah 10-12 is not used by the historic 1-year lectionary for any Old Testament readings, nor do any hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal apparently refer to Jeremiah 10-12.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 23, 2007

Ps 107 / Jer 7-9

“Whoever is wise, let him heed these things and consider the great love of the Lord.” That 43rd verse concludes Psalm 107. While I apologize for, in Hollywood parlance, “cutting to the chase”, the verse is said to well-restate the theme of verses 4-32, namely, the love of the Lord. And, the verse is also said to well-restate the theme of verses 33-42, namely, the things the Lord has graciously done for the faithful and done in judgment for the unfaithful. What does how well we heed the Lord’s deeds and consider His great love say about how wise we are? (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 107 by following this link.)

A marketing picture by an unidentified photographer of modern-day Balm of GileadI heard a story on the news recently about how more men are buying women’s facial products. (I couldn’t locate the specific story I heard, but it had roughly the same information as this one.) I’ll admit that secretly I’ve been wanting to buy a dual eye-care product to lift my sagging eyelids and get rid of the dark bags under my eyes, but I’ve been a little too embarrassed to walk up to a women’s beauty counter and buy it. I was reminded of those things today as I read Jeremiah 7-9, with its mention in 8:22 of the “balm of Gilead”. (You can find my previous comments overviewing the whole reading here.) God used the herbs and spices from that region as a means of healing, and, as the image with this post bears out, you can still get the Balm of Gilead in modern times: $5.50 for the small size shown, $10.50 for a large, and $15 for an extra-large (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). More than physical healing, however, the reference in Jeremiah centers on spiritual healing. God had means of grace for healing the people’s spiritual wounds then, just as He has means of grace for healing our spiritual wounds today. By faith we can receive the forgiveness of sins with water in Holy Baptism, with the words of a sinful man in Holy Absolution, and with bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper. Are we too embarrassed to make use of such wonderful means of spiritual healing?

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Jeremiah 9:26 and the meaning of an obscure Hebrew phrase. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services appoints Jeremiah 7:1-7 for the Old Testament reading on the Tenth Sunday after Trinity, but no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to verses from Jeremiah 7-9.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make it holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 22, 2007

Ps 106 / Jer 4-6

Do you and I know every single thing God has done for us? We may know that we cannot repay God for what He has done, but can we even fully thank or praise God for what He has done? Our reading today of Psalm 106, particularly verse 2, would seem to suggest the answer “No” for both questions. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 106 by following this link.) God’s chief blessing to us is salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but there is so much more He has done, is doing, and will do! For all of it, we give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever!

A depiction of an Ash Wednesday cross made with ashesDo we repent as we should? How sorrowful are we over our sins? Sorrowful enough to put on sackcloth and ashes? Those are the signs of repentance of which we read in Jeremiah 4-6 today, especially Jeremiah 4:8 and 6:26. We might better know the sign of repentance pictured with this post, an Ash Wednesday cross made with ashes (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). Of course, the outward sign alone is not true repentance but the sorrowful heart, and when it also trusts in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins then it is comforted with the Good News that we are saved by grace alone through faith in Him. (You can read my previous post overviewing the whole reading here.)

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Jeremiah 4-6, nor are there any hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal said to refer to Jeremiah 4-6.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make tomorrow holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 21, 2007

Ps 105 / Jer 1-3 / Song of Songs wrap-up / Folo

The Lord remembers! The Lord remembers His promises, we read today in Psalm 105, even as we might forget the things He has done for us in the past. The Lord remembers His promises and continues to offer freely the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. With our sins forgiven, we stand to inherit the portion assigned for us in the Promised Land of the new heaven and earth. For more on the psalm, follow this link to my comments in previous posts.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel depiction of the prophet JeremiahWe’ve finished reading the three books usually ascribed to Solomon, perhaps even in or representing three different stages of his life (Proverbs and his childhood, Song of Songs his youth, and Ecclesiastes his old age), and with Jeremiah 1-3 we return to the time of the kingdom of Judah’s final years before its exile in Babylon. You can find introductory comments to the book of Jeremiah and an overview of the chapters we read today here. The image with this post is Michelangelo’s painting of Jeremiah for the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it).

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Jeremiah 3:16-17. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services appoints Jeremiah 1:4-10 for the Old Testament reading on Septuagesima Sunday (the Sunday that falls in the seventh period of ten days before Easter), but no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to Jeremiah 1-3.

Today I have a Song of Songs wrap-up. Such a summary of a recently completed book was requested in our survey at the end of Year 1 of our Daily Lectionary reading.

Who was the author? The Book known as “Song of Songs”, “Song of Solomon”, or “Canticles” is usually thought to have been written by Solomon, in part on the basis of 1:1, although that verse can be understood as saying that the book is about him.
What is the book? Another of the Old Testament’s wisdom writings, the book is made up of a series of linked scenes of dialog between a lover and his beloved, with comments from their friends interspersed.
Where was it written? If Solomon is indeed the author, the book was most likely written in Jerusalem, or at least in Judah.
When was it written? If Solomon wrote the book, the book can be dated to his reign in the tenth century B.C.
Why? The book is usually taken as a way of emphasizing God’s love for His people, giving us an Old Testament picture of the Church as the Bride of Christ, while endorsing all the beauty of marital love in the process.
How? Using indirection, analogy, and foregrounding nature’s sensuousness, the Divinely-inspired author evokes intense sensuous awareness without descending to crude titillation.

If you are interested in further reading on the book of Song of Songs, you may make use of the following:
  • Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume VI: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, translated by M. G. Easton and published as three volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted August 1984. (There are some 176 pages on Song of Songs.)
  • Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 11 pages on Song of Songs.)

Our webmaster is making the short summaries like this one a part of the Daily Lectionary - Biblical Index page for each book, which you can find linked here.

Today’s Biblog folo continues the pelican discussion from yesterday’s post in regards to Psalm 102:6. A reader sent in other references to pelicans and wilderness in Isaiah 14:23; 34:11; Zephaniah 2:14; and Revelation 18:2, depending on your translation. Another email brought all sorts of information both about white pelicans settling in Wisconsin with a need for isolation from humans in order to nest properly and about the pelicans’ habits for feeding their young, which reminded me of the dog and his vomit from a week ago. Finally, a reader clarified an earlier reader comment about solitary sparrows, saying, “it was a very good way to picture loneliness; it’s a comfort that God is aware of us ‘single sparrows’ as He was aware of the psalmist.”

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:08 AM

September 20, 2007

Ps 104 / SS 5-8 / Folos

As I read Psalm 104 today, I was reminded that we do not look to the poetical works of Psalms for a historical record of creation, any more than we look to the symbolic book of Revelation for straightforward teaching about the end times. Instead, we look to Genesis for the record of creation and to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s teaching about the last things. Another thought I had in reading Psalm 104 today had to do with verses 29-30 and the Lord’s wonderful work of re-creation and renewal that He carries out in us through Word and Sacrament and ultimately will also carry out for all of creation. (You can find my previous comments on other aspects of the psalm by following this link.)

A depiction of the Church as the Bride of Christ, done by an unknown illustrator of Petrus Comestor’s 1372 French work “Bible Historiale”In talking with a friend yesterday, I made what in retrospect was a pretty progressive comment (for me, at least) about how certain conventions about marriage do not apply, such as the husband being the primary breadwinner and the wife doing the grocery shopping and such. What is more important is that the husband and wife in this case are both comfortable with their roles. Such roles are not so much the topic of our reading of Song of Songs 5-8 as is love between husband and wife. Societal roles may differ as couples agree to change them, but the ultimate headship God has given to men is not to be changed, any more than the Church, the Bride of Christ, can usurp authority over Christ, Her Groom. The image with this post, by the way, is a depiction of the Church as the Bride of Christ, done by an unknown illustrator of Petrus Comestor’s 1372 French work Bible Historiale (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). You can see my previous post on all of today’s reading here.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1 year lectionary does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Song of Songs 5-8, but The Lutheran Hymnal contains one hymn said to refer or allude to verses from Song of Songs 5-8.

Tuesday’s post on Psalm 102 and Ecclesiastes 10-12 prompted some emails that give us today’s Biblog folos. First, a reader asked what I meant about my study Bible’s admission about the NIV translation of Psalm 102:6. The Hebrew seems to refer to two different birds, as I pointed out, but the NIV translates as if the verse only refers to one, and I simply meant to indicate that the notes in my study Bible point out that there are two different Hebrew words used. Another email noted the translation of that first bird as a “pelican” and commented about Isaiah’s mention of the bird and what seems to be an odd association of the bird with wilderness instead of water. Apparently the precise type of bird is unknown. The King James translates the Hebrew word qa’ath with “pelican” three times and with “cormorant” twice. The precise bird may now be extinct, but we know it was unclean (Leviticus 11:18 and Deuteronomy 14:17, both which have shalak or “cormorant” in the immediate context). Finally regarding the birds, I took a little “blogistic license” and moved from the lonely bird on the roof to the value that God gives to sparrows, even though sparrows were not specifically mentioned in the psalm. A reader called me out, however, asking me when one ever sees a single sparrow.

Regarding Ecclesiastes 12, a reader sent the Contemporary English Version of the chapter and asked whether the paraphrase explained the chapter accurately. “Not quite”, I think. In the first part of the chapter, verses 1-8, the exhortation to believe in the Lord before it is too late seems lost (compare, for example, v.6 in the NIV and NASB, although the repeated “Remember Him” is not in the Hebrew). I might also note that something being “meaningless” or “vanity” is different from it not “making sense” Finally, in the second part of the chapter, verses 9-14, the original third-person speech about the teacher is changed to first-person in the CEV, and I prefer “fear” to “respect” (v.13), although I suppose both can be rightly understood as “believe”.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 19, 2007

Ps 103 / SS 1-4 / Ecclesiastes wrap-up

You and I might forget that we human beings are dust, here today and gone tomorrow, as it were, but the Lord remembers, and He finds ways of reminding us all! The good news in Psalm 103 is that the Lord not only remembers we are dust, but His love is always with those who believe in Him (vv.13-18). No matter what God sends our way or permits to happen to us, His love and mercy for us in Christ is sure. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 103 by following this link.)

Darlene Slavujac’s 1994 oil on canvas depiction of Solomon and his beloved shepherdessWhen someone says the Bible doesn’t speak much about human love between a husband and a wife, we can direct them to the new book we begin today. Song of Songs 1-4 takes us through half of the book, and you can find my comments introducing the book and overviewing today’s reading in this post. The image with today’s post is Darlene Slavujac’s 1994 oil on canvas depiction of Solomon and his beloved shepherdess (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). At the original location of the image there are some comments describing the image, but, in addition to those, remember that the union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony is also to be a reflection of Christ’s union with the Church, and His love for her and cleansing her by way of water and the Word.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1 year lectionary does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Song of Songs 1-4, but three hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer or allude to verses from Song of Songs 1-4.

Today I have an Ecclesiastes wrap-up. Such a summary of a recently completed book was requested in our survey at the end of Year 1 of our Daily Lectionary reading.

Who was the author? The Holy Spirit inspired the book of Ecclesiastes through a wisdom teacher who is usually thought to be Solomon.
What is the book? The book appears to be a mature and seasoned wisdom teacher’s reflections on life and its value only through faith in God (referred to as fear of the Lord).
Where was it written? If Solomon was truly the author, the book was most likely written in Jerusalem.
When was it written? Again, if Solomon was the author, the book was probably written near the end of his reign, or shortly before 930 A.D.
Why? Earthly wisdom has a certain lure and attraction, but in the end only taking things as they seem can leave one without the peace and contentment that comes from knowing what God reveals to us by His Holy Spirit working through the Word.
How? The “teacher” first assesses things as they appear to demonstrate the limits of earthly wisdom, and then he proceeds to discuss what God reveals about His ordering all things to His purposes. There are a number of literary devices used in the book, which includes some of the finest “literature” of the Old Testament.

If you are interested in further reading on the book of Ecclesiastes, you may make use of the following:
  • Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume VI: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, translated by M. G. Easton and published as three volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted August 1984. (There are some 263 pages on Ecclesiastes.)
  • Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 17 pages on Ecclesiastes.)

Our webmaster is making the short summaries like this one a part of the Daily Lectionary - Biblical Index page for each book, which you can find linked here.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 18, 2007

Ps 102 / Ecc 10-12 / Folo

Okay, I’ll admit it up front: today’s post is “for the birds”. Perhaps anticipating my comments below on Ecclesiastes, when I read Psalm 102 I was struck by the bird metaphors in verses 6 and 7. (You can read my previous comments on more of the psalm by following this link.) In verse 6, all but one of the Bible translations I checked refer to two birds: a pelican and a desert owl (the NIV translates as if the psalmist refers to only one bird, which the notes in my study Bible at least admit). Both birds are said to be unclean and “fond of the loneliness of the desert and ruined places.” The psalmist apparently likens himself to them because he has been unwillingly taken away to exile, where he does not sleep. That lack of sleep is the subject of the bird metaphor in verse 7, with which the psalmist likens himself to a lonely bird sitting upon the roof of a house in which everyone else is asleep. Although probably none of us have been carried away into exile, we might still identify with the psalmist in these verses as we consider the state of our church body. Fewer and fewer people seem to be concerned about the ruins, and, of those, even fewer are willing to do anything about the situation. In some ways, like the great 19th-century theologian Hermann Sasse, we can consider ourselves “lonely Lutherans”. Yet, we should not despair, for the sparrows have a place near the Lord’s altar (Psalm 84:3) and we are of more value than they (Matthew 6:26). We have greater value, despite our sinfulness, because Jesus Christ shed His blood for us and redeemed us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. When we are part of His Church, we know nothing can harm us. The question is whether our confession of faith puts us outside or inside of His Church!

Contemporary American artist Kyle Cummings’s drawing of a little bird revealing a secretI don’t know anyone who actually has been told anything by a little bird, of course, but many nevertheless use the expression “A little bird told me”, which may well originate in today’s reading of Ecclesiastes 10-12. When I was looking for an image for today’s post, I came across the image I’ve used, and I couldn’t stop laughing (the image is by contemporary American artist Kyle Cummings; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). Of course, to appreciate the image one must be at least somewhat familiar with the board game Clue. There probably are other familiar verses in our reading today, and you can find my previous comments on the chapters here. Don’t take the ending of the book too much as law, since in the fear of the Lord Jesus Christ (that is, faith), comes the forgiveness of all evil things thought, said, and done; the keeping of His commandments; and judgment on the basis of Christ’s perfect righteousness!

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Ecclesiastes 11:1 and the bread cast upon the water. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

Ecclesiastes 10-12 is neither used by the historic 1-year lectionary for any Old Testament readings nor specifically referred to by any hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal.

The Biblog Folo today begins with a reader’s reaction to Sunday’s reading of Ecclesiastes 4-6 and its discussion of the meaninglessness of wealth, primarily in 5:8 and verses following. The reader sent this link about the downfall of a lottery winner, asking whether the money was to blame for the man’s downfall. I think any one of us could have trouble managing that amount of money, and the temptations to the types of things the man fell into must be incredibly hard to resist. Whether more wealth, or better health, or something else, I think God would have us all be content with what He has given or permitted us to suffer. Related to that is another email drawing particular attention to 5:19-20 and commenting that when we are grateful for what God has given and content the other things for which we might be ungrateful seem to disappear from our minds. I always go to Philippians 4:4, 6-7 and see how by thanking God in all circumstances and by turning our petitions over to God we have the peace in Christ Jesus that passes all understanding.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 17, 2007

Ps 101 / Ecc 7-9

Today as I was reading Psalm 101 I stopped and thought a little about verse 5’s mention of slandering someone in secret. At first I was thinking one couldn’t possibly slander in secret, but then I realized I was thinking about libel, which is publishing information that damages someone’s reputation. Slander, or spoken false statements that injure someone’s reputation, can be private or public. As a former student of media law, I’m surprised I got the two mixed up! The word “libel” comes from the Latin word for “book”, and the word “slander” ultimately comes from the Latin word for “cause of offense”, from which we also get our English word “scandal”. Although the definitions I’ve paraphrased above do not make the distinction, libel and slander, strictly speaking, both deal with false statements. Truth is an absolute defense, as far as the judicial system is concerned. When it comes to sins against the Eighth Commandment and putting the best construction on things, truth is not always a defense. Regular sins that are committed relatively privately are not to be broadcast beyond the “public” that witnessed the sin unless the person being told has an office that requires them to know (for example, parent, government official, or pastor). Sins of false teaching, however, that are committed publicly are to be condemned publicly. One might try to limit the condemnation to the “public” that witnessed the sin, but circumstances may require making the sin and the condemnation more widely known. In all cases, of course, repentance and forgiveness by grace through faith in Jesus Christ are the primary concern, in addition to keeping other people from committing the sin or falling into the false teaching’s trap. (You can find my other comments on Psalm 101 by following this link.)

An illustration of the Lord’s Supper for W. A. Spicer’s 1917 “Our Day: In the Light of Prophecy”“Nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad”, the teacher says in our reading today of Ecclesiastes 7-9 (8:15), following up that statement with the following encouragement, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart” (9:7, confer 5:19). If there is food and beverage that we can be sure will change us for the better, such food is bread that is Christ’s body and the beverage is wine that is Christ’s blood, as in the Sacrament of the Altar, which give us the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. (The depiction of the Lord’s Supper with this post is from W. A. Spicer’s 1917 Our Day: In the Light of Prophecy; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it.) Be sure to notice how the teacher makes his statements gratefully (in keeping with Deuteronomy 8), and compare how the statements in Luke 12:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 15:32 are said arrogantly. You can find my previous comments on Ecclesiastes 7-9 here.

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 and determinism. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint Ecclesiastes 7-9 for any Old Testament readings, nor do any hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal apparently refer to Ecclesiastes 7-9.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 16, 2007

Ps 100 / Ecc 4-6

“Shall the work say of him that made it, ‘He made me not!’?” Isaiah 29:16 asks rhetorically. I was reflecting on that verse as I read Psalm 100 today, for the psalm talks about people knowing that God made us and that we are His, and yet there are many today who not only deny that God made us but even deny whether God exists. In such a way people want to be their own gods, but even we, who believe God does exist and did create us, can sin against the First Commandment by placing our hope and trust in other things. What a good reminder that we need to live every day with sorrow over our sin and faith in Jesus Christ unto the forgiveness of our sin. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 100 by following this link.)

Contemporary British artist Simon Bull’s work titled “Contentment”What would it take to may you content? A little more wealth? A little better health? As indicated in my previous post on the chapters, contentment is a central focus of Ecclesiastes 4-6. We might imagine circumstances under which we might be most content, such as sitting on the beach watching the sun set, as suggested by the image with this post (by contemporary British artist Simon Bull’s work titled “Contentment”; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). We may be content on the beach for a time, while we are on the beach, but our goal is to be content more of the time if not all of the time. How do we do that, especially knowing that we often sin against the commandments, especially the Ninth and Tenth, by not being content? Knowing our sins are forgiven by grace through faith in Jesus Christ helps, and, as the “teacher” says, God enables us to enjoy what He gives us, to accept our lot in life, and to be happy in our work (5:19).

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

Ecclesiastes 4-6 does not provide any Old Testament readings for the historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services, but hymn #622 in The Lutheran Hymnal is said to refer to Ecclesiastes 4:12 (that's a nice hymn text, too).

God bless your day, and may you let Him make it holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 15, 2007

Ps 99 / Ecc 1-3 / Proverbs wrap-up

God is chiefly characterized by love and mercy that leads Him to forgive our sins. Yet, as we are reminded today with our reading of Psalm 99, God punishes our misdeeds, as He punished Israel’s (v.8), but even in that He has done what is just and right (v.4). Notice the role of the priestly intercessors of verse 6 in connection with God’s forgiveness, and let us join in praising Him, not only for His holiness (vv.3, 9), but also that He makes us holy by forgiving our sins through faith in Jesus Christ. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 99 by following this link.)

British artist William Dyce’s depiction of Ecclesiastes’ refrain that everything is meaninglessDeath has a way of putting things in perspective. Maybe that’s why Shakespeare’s Hamlet holds a skull in his famous soliloquy and why the figure with this post is leaning on a skull as she reflects on the meaningless of life. The meaningless of life is a refrain of Ecclesiastes that is introduced in our reading of Ecclesiastes 1-3 today. The image with this post is of an oil on canvas by British artist William Dyce (1806-1864) titled “Omnia Vanitas”, or “Everything is vanity” (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). You can read more about the refrain from Ecclesiastes and all of today’s reading here.

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Ecclesiastes 1:15 and free will. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Ecclesiastes 1-3, nor are any hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal said to refer to Ecclesiastes 1-3.

Today I have a Proverbs wrap-up. Such a summary of a recently completed book was requested in our survey at the end of Year 1 of our Daily Lectionary reading.

Who was the author? The book of Proverbs contains writings that are likely from several authors: King Solomon, Agur son of Jakeh, the non-Israelite King Lemuel (which could be a penname for Solomon), and other wise men.
What is the book? One of the books classified as “Writings” in the Old Testament, Proverbs also is part of the Old Testament’s wisdom literature, writings which, at least on the surface, seem to concentrate more on practical and philosophical matters, although they are not devoid of spiritual content.
Where was it written? Most of the book was probably written in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, although some of the work could originate outside of Israel and be included by the later editors in Jerusalem.
When was it written? If genuinely Solomon’s work, then most of Proverbs probably dates from the 10th century B.C., although the reference to compiling and editing under King Hezekiah suggests that the book did not come to exist as we know it until Hezekiah’s reign, about 715-686 B.C.
Why? Salvation is by grace through faith, but a person with faith undergoes a change of life, and Proverbs can be seen as mostly instruction for those who would be wise in the way of the Lord and not only show their faith in the way they live their lives but strive to keep the way they live their lives from luring them out of the faith.
How? The book of Proverbs contrasts well the wise who believe in God with the fools who do not believe in God. The way of wisdom is shown to be better than the way of folly, and both are personified as inviting people to follow them.

If you are interested in further reading on the book of Proverbs, you may make use of the following:
  • Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume VI: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, translated by M. G. Easton and published as three volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted August 1984. (There are more than 700 pages on Proverbs.)
  • Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 47 pages on Proverbs.)

Our webmaster is making the short summaries like this one a part of the Daily Lectionary - Biblical Index page for each book, which you can find linked here.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make tomorrow holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 14, 2007

Ps 98 / Pr 29-31 / Folos

Is the God of the Old Testament mean and judgmental but the God of the New Testament loving and merciful? No! The God of the Old Testament is the same God as the God of the New Testament. God speaks words of judgment in the Old Testament and the New Testament, just as He speaks words of mercy in both the Old and New Testament. If the God of the Old Testament were mean and judgmental the way the question presupposes, why would the faithful people rejoice and sing the way Psalm 98 today describes? We who believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins can sing and rejoice because God shows us His love and mercy in the same action that brings wrath and judgment upon those who refuse to believe and accept the salvation God freely offers. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 98 by following this link.)

A depiction of a virtuous wife by an unidentified illustrator of Henry Davenport Northrop’s 1894 “treasures of the Bible”Reading Proverbs 29-31 today and my previous comments on the chapters, I especially appreciated how the book ended with praise of a virtuous wife, providing sharp contrast to the less-than-virtuous female characters earlier in the book. We single men may learn to be content in the state we find ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we stop missing the blessings such a wife would bring to our homes. Of course, with the forgiveness of sins, we all have all we need in Christ.
(The image with this post is an unidentified illustrator’s depiction of a virtuous wife for Henry Davenport Northrop’s 1894 Treasures of the Bible; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). You can find Biblog Folos to both Proverbs 30:8-9 and 31:10-31 here.

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Proverbs 30:26 and the hyrax. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not make use of Proverbs 29-31 for any Old Testament readings, and no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to Proverbs 29-31.

Recent reader emails provide three Biblog folos today. First, posts about Psalm 96 discussing music in the Divine Service prompted a reader to comment, “Good discussion, taken altogether, of what songs of worship should be.”

Second, the image in Wednesday’s post said to be of coals on a person’s head brought an objection from a reader with Asian experience.

The child is an Asian and the hand is the hand of a Caucasian; an Asian would not touch him on his head. That is most disrespectful to the child (or adult, for that matter). In Thailand it is considered courteous to have one’s head lower than anyone who outranks you, although this is not strictly observed by tall Westerners after initial apologies. But, among Asians, I saw servants moving in and out of a room on their knees to avoid offending people sitting there. If you have a picture of the King, and most Thai do, it hangs higher on the wall than any other picture in the house, so that his head is always above all others.

I appreciate learning more about Asian culture, and I had my own questions about the image, mostly because I didn’t see any coals!

The third and final Biblog folo has to do with the image in yesterday’s post that was said to be of a dog vomiting in a toilet, which would have made it difficult for the dog to re-eat it, to which the Proverb we read referred. A reader who had more success with an internet search sent the following comment.

Somebody has a vivid imagination. The dog is drinking out of the toilet bowl, which they will do, even if you keep a water bowl full. I’ve seen a dog throw up; I’ve never seen him go to the toilet to do it! I found the following on a British veterinarian's web site: “All dogs will occasionally vomit. In the wild they feed their young with regurgitated food and so vomiting is physiologically almost normal under certain circumstances. Because humans hate to vomit we assume that the same applies to our pets. The concern is not the act of vomiting but the frequency and the potential cause.”

While it grosses me out just a little, I appreciated that information, too, and I agree that the picture is surely of a dog drinking water out of the bowl.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 13, 2007

Ps 97 / Pr 26-28

Who rejoices at the Lord’s judgments? Psalm 97 today says at least that the villages of Judah are glad because of them, and the psalm possibly also says that Zion (that is Jerusalem) hears about the Lord’s judgments and rejoices. In the context of the pslam, the Lord’s judgments certainly include His saving acts in the affairs of humankind, especially those on behalf of Israel. For us, the Lord’s judgments also include His sending His Son Jesus to suffer and die for our sins, and that sending is certainly reason for us to rejoice. At the same time, the Lord’s judgments also include condemnation of sin and unbelief. Those things are harder for us to rejoice about, because they, respectively, indict us and people that we know and about whom we care. Perhaps we should thus be sure that we live every day in repentance and reach out with the Gospel to those who do not yet believe in Jesus. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 97 by following this link.)

A picture, by an unidentified photographer, that is said to show a dog throwing-upYou would think with the proliferation of web pages on the internet these days that there might be a website that talked about whether dogs really return to their vomit the way the proverb we hear today in Proverbs 26-28 says they do (Proverbs 26:11). (There may well be such a site, but my quick perusal of about 50 of the top Google hits didn’t find one.) I’m sorry to be a little indelicate, but apparently “returning” to the vomit is a delicate way of saying the dog re-ingests that which has been thrown up. (The unidentified photographer’s image with this post is said to show a dog vomiting, and, if so, I would think that vomit would be hard to re-ingest; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it.) Why a dog would re-ingest that which has been thrown up, I don’t really know, and that’s not the point. The point is that just as a dog comes back to what has been thrown up, so a foolish person repeats his or her folly. I would hope I would never re-ingest my vomit, but I know I too frequently return to the same sins, over and over again. I would think that if you are honest, you would have to admit you do so, too. Thank God there is forgiveness for all of our sins by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. (You can find more on this particular proverb and the rest of the reading for today here.)

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

There are no Old Testament readings from Proverbs 26-28 in the historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services, and no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to Proverbs 26-28.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 12, 2007

Ps 96 / Pr 23-25

Our true praise of God starts with His saving action towards us in Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection to save us from our sins. And, our praise of God most-properly returns to God’s saving action, in that His saving action towards us in Jesus Christ is rightly the central content of our praise. We hear that truth today in Psalm 96, and, in part on the basis of that psalm, we might ask about songs that do not proclaim the Lord’s salvation. Now, such a question can be taken to an extreme: the occasional song that does not proclaim the Lord’s salvation is not the end of the world, but a steady diet of such songs is a problem. There is more in my previous comments on Psalm 96 on how our songs are to be confessions of the faith; you can find those comments by following this link.

An image said to be of burning coals on the headRecently I was speaking to someone about the statement we read today in Proverbs 23-25 about heaping burning coals on someone’s head. Taking the reference as literal is a little hard to imagine, although the image with today’s post is said to be a picture of burning coals on someone’s head, not that I think the picture really is of that (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). The proverb about burning coals in Proverbs 25:21-22 is quoted by Paul in Romans 12:20, but, oddly enough, my most-extensive comments about it come in comments on Psalm 140, with a passing reference to it in comments on Psalm 41. Commentators apparently agree that burning pain is a figure of speech for burning shame, but a bigger question is why the coals are on top of the head and not on something like the cheeks, where we experience the burning of shame in such things as blushing. Some church fathers refer to passages such as Psalm 140 and others where punishment is said to be laid on the heads of those who are to experience and bear it. Of course, punishing an enemy is not be our motive for doing good to someone, so we might better understand the burning to be the person’s coming to repentance (perhaps like the burning of Luke 24:32). And, we know that we do good to our enemies both because such love of our neighbor (even an enemy) is brought about by God’s transforming love alive in us and in order to help bring about the person’s awareness of his or her injustice towards us. My extremely brief post on Proverbs 23-25 is here.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Proverbs 23-25, nor does The Lutheran Hymnal have any hymns said to refer to Proverbs 23-25.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 11, 2007

Ps 95 / Pr 20-22

“Today if you hear His voice,” the psalmist warns in our reading of Psalm 95, “do not harden your heart!” God’s call to faith through Word and Sacrament is made with the same all-powerful voice that in the beginning created the world as we know it from nothing, but that all-powerful voice calling to faith through Word and Sacrament can be resisted. Some of my New Testament students recently had some trouble with matter on their first exam. God genuinely wants all people to come to faith, but He allows them to resist His call, as the psalmist says, to harden their hearts. And, we know from the example of Pharaoh, that the heart someone has hardened by himself or herself might be further hardened by God. With God’s help we can be those who do not harden their hearts to that point but instead live every day in repentance, with sorrow over our sin and trust in God to forgive our sin for Jesus’s sake. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 95 by following this link, and, on the topic of shepherding, you may find this Memorial Moment from yesterday interesting.)

An image by an unidentified artist that depicts overindulgence of alcoholOn the bus home from UT yesterday, I overheard a young woman behind me tell a friend that she wasn’t going out this coming Thursday night because she had an exam early the next morning (never mind that she also said she had barely been to that class since the term started). Well, good for her, as going out and over-indulging in alcohol the night before is not likely to lead to success on the exam. (The image with this post is from a campaign against such abuse of alcohol by those college-aged; for the highest quality image see from where we got it.) That’s the kind of truth we find right at the beginning of today’s reading of Proverbs 20-22. People who over-indulge in wine and beer are likely to become mockers and brawlers (confer Hosea 7:5), be led astray by them, and end up being unwise. Proverbs is said also to associate drunkenness with poverty (Proverbs 23:20-21), strife (23:29-30), and injustice (31:4-5). Of course, faithful Christians can and will use alcohol in moderation, not least of all in the Sacrament of the Altar, where we receive the forgiveness of sins in its most-concrete form of bread that is Christ’s Body and wine that is Christ’s blood, given and shed for you and for me for the forgiveness of our sins. (You can find my previous comments on Proverbs 20-22 here.)

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

You won’t find Proverbs 20-22 used by the historic 1-year lectionary for any Old Testament readings or by The Lutheran Hymnal for any hymn references.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 10, 2007

Ps 94 / Pr 17-19

A friend and I were talking Sunday afternoon about how much we long for Jesus to return, bring this age to a close, and begin the age that will never end. I suppose we long for that so much because at some level we do not want to continue under the various crosses God has allowed us to experience as discipline. As I read Psalm 94 today, then I echoed the psalmist’s question in verse 3, “How long, O Lord?” And, I was comforted by the psalm’s assurance that the Lord will support, console, and ultimately vindicate those forgiven and made righteous by grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. (You can find my previous posts on Psalm 94 by following this link.)

What apparently is a British sign warning of deep water“Still waters run deep”, the saying goes about how people who say very little often may have something interesting and profound to say. Apparently the saying comes from deep streams having smooth surfaces, although the precise origin of the phrase is debated. (When I hear the phrase, I usually think of these lyrics from a song by The Who.) Our reading of Proverbs 17-19 today brings the phrase to mind, specifically Proverbs 18:4, but, like the phrase itself, there apparently is more to the proverb than meets the eye. For example, what is the relationship between the two halves of the verse? The KJV joins them with “and”, the ASV and NASB join them with a semi-colon, but the NIV contrasts them with “but”. There is no conjunction in the Hebrew, but then the Hebrew also does not have a verb in either half of the verse, which means one commentator’s translation could be valid: “Deep waters are the words from a man’s mouth, / A bubbling brook, a fountain of wisdom.” Thus, the proverb can be taken to say three things of a person’s words: that they are deep waters (their meaning does not lie on the surface but can only be perceived by penetrating the motives of goals of the person who speaks), that they are a bubbling brook (freshly and powerfully gushing living water to the person who feels the flow of words), that they are a fountain or well of wisdom from which wisdom flows and can be drawn. The commentator encourages the hearers to consider the depths of thought, riches of contents, and power of spiritual and moral advancement that may lie in a person’s words. I would go further and encourage us to consider the depths, riches, and power of the words of Jesus Christ! When we receive His words in faith we have living water that forgives sins! (The image with this post is apparently a British sign warning of deep waters; to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it.) You can find my previous post on Proverbs 17-19 here.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Proverbs 17-19, nor does The Lutheran Hymnal apparently contain any hymns said to refer to Proverbs 17-19.

Thanks to a reader’s email few days ago, there’s now a new Q&A on Proverbs 8 posted here. God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 09, 2007

Ps 93 / Pr 14-16 / Job Suite

We say that the Bible accommodates itself to the idiom of the people, for example describing the sun as moving across the sky instead of describing the earth revolving around the sun. I don’t think the statement that the world “cannot be moved” in Psalm 93 is such an accommodation, however. Rather, the world as the Lord’s kingdom will not give way to opposing powers (see also 1 Chronicles 16:30 and Psalm 96:10). The world’s enduring opposing powers does not mean that the Lord cannot bring the world to an end or recreate it on the last day, of course, and we can draw comfort from the Lord’s Church being able to withstand all the attacks and assaults of the devil (Matthew 16:18). When we are forgiven by grace through faith in Jesus Christ we come into His Church and are under His protection, as unassailable as the Church! (You can find my previous comments on the psalm by following this link.)

Contemporary American digital artist Duncan Long’s depiction of the way that seems right to peopleWe can hear over and over again the Gospel that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, but our fallen human nature wants to think that we must do something to save ourselves, that the way of salvation is the way of the law. A usual verse in this matter is found twice in today’s reading of Proverbs 14-16, specifically Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25. The way of the law seems right to us, but the way of the law leads to death. The image with this post is contemporary American digital artist Duncan Long’s depiction of that way that seems right to people (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it [I think you have to go to #225 of the 241]). Thank God that the Holy Spirit teaches us to know the Gospel despite our natural tendency to the law. (You can read my previous post on more of Proverbs 14-16 here, and a folo to that post and Proverbs 14:1 here.)

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Proverbs 16:9 and free will. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any Old Testament readings from Proverbs 14-16, and there are no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal said to refer to Proverbs 14-16.

A while back I posted the lyrics to Michael Card’s “Job Suite” and said we’d try to link the audio. We’ve finally been able to do that in that original post. I encourage you to enjoy the music, but please do not use our posting as an opportunity to violate the artist’s copyright.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make it holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 08, 2007

Ps 92 / Pr 11-13

I heard a wonderful organ recital last night at UT, played by Jonathan D. Eifert, a Doctor of Musical Arts student at UT and music teacher at Concordia. Some of the pieces he played were written for liturgical use. We do usually associate organ music with psalms and liturgy, although in the psalms we usually hear of other instruments, as today in Psalm 92. (The organ likely was not yet invented at the time the psalms were collected.) You can read my other comments on Psalm 92 by following this link.

A cartoon by an unidentified artist depicting corporal punishmentYou may have seen in the news recently that there has been a controversy in India over corporal punishment. I don’t know about you, but, when I was in grade school, the principal carrying around a big paddle sure helped keep us all in line. As discussed in my previous post, Proverbs 11-13 gives us a well-quoted expression regarding corporal punishment, depicted in the image with this post by an unidentified artist (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it).

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

Proverbs 11-13 is tapped by neither the historic 1-year lectionary for Old Testament readings nor by The Lutheran Hymnal for any hymns.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make tomorrow holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 07, 2007

Pr 8-10

Psalm 91 is appointed for us to read today, and you can find my previous posts on the psalm by following this link, and you can find a previously posted Q&A here.

Hannah Tompkins’s depiction of Shakespeare’s character “Touchstone”As we see again today by reading Proverbs 8-10, the contrast between wisdom and folly permeates Proverbs. The theme is also a commonplace throughout history. I usually think of German writers and artists around the time of the Lutheran Reformation, but the contrast is also epitomized by the character “Touchstone” in William Shakespeare’s play As you like it. The image with this post is 20th-century artist Hannah Tompkins’s depiction of Touchstone (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). You can read more about the depiction of Touchstone here, about touchstones in general here, and about Proverbs 8-10 here.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not use any verses from Proverbs 8-10 for Old Testament readings, but hymn #425 in The Lutheran Hymnal is said to refer to Proverbs 10:22.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 06, 2007

Ps 90 / Pr 4-7 / Folo

When we have a deadline, we usually try to do what we can to get the work done on time. Verse 12 in Psalm 90 today in some ways is related to that idea, although the problem in Psalm 90:12 is that we don’t know what the deadline (if you will pardon the pun) is. That is why we want to live every day in repentance, with sorrow over our sin and faith in Jesus for its forgiveness. (Verse 12 seems to have been somewhat overlooked in my previous posts on Psalm 90, which you can find by following this link.)

American born contemporary artist Darlene Slavujac’s 1992 oil on canvas painting depicting Proverbs 5:15-23Today in Proverbs 4-7 we hear more about how beneficial wisdom is and how harmful its opposite, folly, often related to adultery, is. The Divinely-inspired author of Proverbs gives a good pithy-proverb as an illustration warning against adultery in 5:15. I’ve discussed the verse before (see the linked Q&A below), and in preparing for today’s post I came across Darlene Slavujac’s 1992 painting based on the verse (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). The description on the artist’s website follows.

As his wife and children anxiously await his return home, a man stops for a licentious liaison. The beckoning seductress reflected in her water well casts a dark shadow across the man and his spiritual life. The resultant harm is symbolized by the rift between the man and his family in the distance and by the necklace charms of tears, a broken heart and death. Even the camel gazes disapprovingly at his master. (Read Proverbs 5:15-23)

You can read more of my comments on Proverbs 4-7 in this post, and there are folos to that post and Proverbs 4-7 here and here.

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Proverbs 5:16 and one’s “fountain”. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

Proverbs 4-7 is not used for any Old Testament readings by the historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services, and no hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to Proverbs 4-7.

A reader’s response to a Q&A linked in Tuesday’s post is today’s Biblog folo. In the answer, I said “Their beauty seems to be the reason that they are named, and their mother’s moral deficiency is perhaps the reason why she is not named.” The reader emailed the following:

That is making two assumptions: (1) that we know who their mother was (although if Job took up with the maids, his wife would be “mother” nominally [interesting custom!]); and (2) that Job’s wife was more “morally deficient” than he was (ok, the CEV of Job 2:6-10 makes it sound like she was).

I guess the usual explanation is based on the assumptions that Job’s wife and, presumably, mother of his first set of children, was the mother of the second set of children (but see the comment in the folo in this post) and that she was in some way “morally deficient” based on her earlier comments to Job.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 05, 2007

Ps 89 / Pr 1-3 / Job wrap-up

As I read Psalm 89 today I reflected on God’s faithfulness and our own. God is totally dependable, in his words and works. We, on the other hand, are not so dependable. We are not always faithful to God, and we are not always faithful to our fellow human beings. With faith in Christ we find forgiveness, however, and as God establishes and renews us, He brings about faithfulness in us. (You can find my previous comments on Psalm 89 by following this link.)

An unidentified illustrator for a 1896 Bible Card’s depiction of instruction in wisdomAs I watched the news last night, I was struck by a story on the 50th anniversary of a black teenager’s trying to go to a white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. The contrast between her experience and those of black students in the very same halls today was remarkable. I think most of us take very much for granted the opportunity to receive an education. Obviously, in many ways, that opportunity for a secular education has not always been there for everyone. Today in Proverbs 1-3 we hear about spiritual education that brings about fear (or faith) in the Lord. This education, as I note in my previous post on these chapters (which also introduces the book), is intended for people of all ages and both genders, not to mention of all races. The image with this post, by an unidentified illustrator of a 1896 Bible Card, helps convey that same idea (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). God truly does want all to come to hear His Word and come to faith in Jesus Christ unto the forgiveness of their sins.

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Proverbs 1:7 and biblical fools. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any Old Testament reading from Proverbs 1-3, but hymn #654 in The Lutheran Hymnal is said to refer to Proverbs 3:24.

Today I have a Job wrap-up. Such a summary of a recently completed book was requested in our survey at the end of Year 1 of our Daily Lectionary reading.

Who was the author? The book of Job does not specifically identify its author. Some speculate that a wisdom teacher, the real Job, or possibly even Moses wrote the book, but the best answer may be that the Holy Spirit worked through one or several people.
What is the book? One of the wisdom writings, the book of Job is the Divinely-inspired and revealed account of God’s permitting Satan to test Job’s faith and how Job’s four friends tried to comfort him, until at last God spoke to Job directly.
Where was it written? The book was most-likely written in Israel.
When was it written? Although the events may have occurred as early as the period of the patriarchs or during the time of the Judges, they were likely not written down until later, perhaps during the time of Solomon.
Why? The book of Job does not advance the narrative of salvation history, but, like Ruth and Esther, it gives us an episode in the life of one of God’s people that anticipates God’s salvation in Jesus Christ and provides insights into otherwise hidden aspects of our lives under the cross.
How? In a series of dialogues, or speeches, with his friends, Job’s confession of faith, despite his affliction, speaks of God’s promised Mediator, Advocate, Atoner, and Redeemer. The surrounding narrative reports activities in God’s heavenly throne room, where initially Satan intrudes into the relationship between God and His people, but in the end Satan, Job’s friends, and Job Himself are silenced as God’s final Word, of righteousness by grace through faith increased by suffering, perseveres.

If you are interested in further reading on the book of Job, you may make use of the following:
  • Keil, C.F. and F. Delitzsch. Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume IV: Job, translated by Francis Bolton and published as two volumes in one. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprinted August 1985. (This volume has a total of 915 pages.)
  • Kretzmann, Paul E. Popular Commentary of the Bible: The Old Testament, Volume II, The Poetical and the Prophetical Books. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1924. (This volume, one that is in our Grace library, has 59 pages on Job.)

Our webmaster is making the short summaries like this one a part of the Daily Lectionary - Biblical Index page for each book, which you can find linked here.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:08 AM

September 04, 2007

Ps 88 / Job 40-42 / Folo

That Scripture interprets Scripture is a fundamental principle for interpreting the Bible. There is contention over 1 Peter 3:18-20 and the nature of Christ’s descent into hell, whether He was giving the people there another chance to believe or simply declaring victory. In Psalm 88 today, the psalmist’s rhetorical questions in verses 10-12 help make it clear that what Christ did was a proclamation of victory and not a second chance for the dead to believe. All who are living on earth have the opportunity to believe in Christ or to reject Him before they die (or Christ returns). Forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation are freely offered by grace through faith in Christ. The psalmist recognizes that, and that’s why he boldly calls to God as His Savior (v.1). You can find my first post on Psalm 88 here, and my subsequent somewhat-tangential post on the psalm is here.

Salvador Dali’s depiction of Job and Leviathan for “Die heilige Bibel” (1964-1967)There are some earthly creatures that we cannot deal with, and so far less, God tells Job today in Job 40-42, can we on our own contend with Him. Leviathan is one of those creatures, and God in 41:1-10 uses a series of rhetorical questions to make His point. The image with this post is Salvador Dali’s depiction of Job and Leviathan for Die heilige Bibel (1964-1967) (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). By God’s grace and mercy we do not have to contend with God on our own, Jesus Christ has done all we need for life and salvation and freely offers it to us by grace through faith. You can find my previous post on Job 40-42 here, along with some final thoughts about what Job says about our suffering.

The following verses and topics are addressed in previously posted questions and answers, the links for which may be repeated in this space from day to day, as the answers may also refer to preceding or following verses:

You are most certainly welcome to ask a question of your own this way.

Neither the historic 1-year lectionary’s Old Testament readings for Sunday and festival services nor the hymns of The Lutheran Hymnal make use of Job 40-42.

The image in yesterday’s post gives us today’s Biblog folo, which is a folo on Sunday’s folo to Saturday’s image. A reader emailed, “Whether Job’s wife is in the other Blake picture is probably answered today, when she is obviously beside him as he faces God in the storm.” As in my comments in the previous folo, I agree that the other figure is likely Job’s wife.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 03, 2007

Ps 87 / Job 37-39

From Wisconsin, to Illinois, to Connecticut, to Colorado, to Indiana, to Ontario, to British Columbia, to Texas, I’ve lived in just a few places, and I’m frequently asked, of all the places I’ve lived, which one I like the best. I’ve liked them all, for different reasons, but today in Psalm 87 we hear the psalmist tell us that the Lord loves Jerusalem more than all of the other towns of Israel, and the psalmist tells us why: the Lord has laid the foundation of the city and His Temple in it. Of course, the Lord’s Presence to forgive sins sacramentally in our time is not limited to any one place as it was limited to Jerusalem sacrificially in Old Testament times, but the New Jerusalem as it points to our eternal dwelling with God, by grace through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, still matters to us. For more on Psalm 87 and Jerusalem’s pointing us to the Church, see my previous comments by following this link.

English artist William Blake’s depiction of the Lord answering JobMost people know better than to look directly at the sun on a clear day for any extended period of time. Today in Job 37-39 Elihu uses that as a figure of speech for our inability to stand before God in His glory and power. Thanks be to God that God does not come to us sinners in His glory and power before which we cannot stand. Instead, God comes to us seemingly without glory and weak, as a Man beaten and crucified on a cross, in water and simple words, in ordinary bread and wine. These are the ways God comes to us now in order to save us from our sins, so that when He does come in glory and power we will be able to stand before Him. God used different means, a voice from a storm, to answer Job in our reading today. The image with this post is English artist William Blake’s depiction of God answering Job from the storm (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). You can read more of my comments on Job 37-39 here.

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any verses from Job 37-39 for any Old Testament readings, but two hymns, #35 and hymn #255, from The Lutheran Hymnal are said to refer to Job 38:7.

God bless your day!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 02, 2007

Ps 86 / Job 34-36 / Folo

Today as I read Psalm 86 and its prayers for deliverance, I reflected on the Christian life under the cross. We know that God is for us and at the same time ordains that our earthly lives should be characterized by lowliness and thus conformed to the image of Christ. Strictly speaking, our crosses consist of what we as Christians suffer as Christians living the Christian faith in the world, although the sin that remains in us is also a part of our individual cross. To carry the cross likely means to deny ourselves, forsake our own wisdom in spiritual matters, our own peace and tranquility, etc., perhaps even our own lives. Carrying the cross is so closely connected to being a Christian that to refuse to carry the cross is to give up being a Christian. When afflicted, we do not think God is forgetting us but we recognize that the cross reveals His love toward us and marks us as His children. So, we bear our crosses patiently as examples to others around us, recognizing by them God is purifying our faith and leading us to eternal life. We can so carry our crosses, knowing our sins are forgiven by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and receiving that forgiveness through Word and Sacrament. (You can find my previous comments more-specific to Psalm 86 by following this link.)

Raphael's depiction of St. Michael the ArchangelPerhaps providentially related to the foregoing discussion of the cross is at least one verse from today’s reading of Job 34-36. Job 36:15 assures us that God delivers those who suffer and speaks to them in their affliction. St. Michael the Archangel is often associated with helping God’s chosen people, for example protecting individuals from the devil. The image with this post is Raphael’s depiction of St. Michael (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). Some Lutheran calendars appropriately give a day to St. Michael and all angels, but we do not want to go so far that we think St. Michael or any other angel gives us the victory over the devil (as the image might be taken to suggest) or that we are only protected from the devil because of St. Michael or some other angel. I’ve read an interesting argument that the “Holy Angel” in Martin Luther’s morning and evening prayer is a reference to Christ, through Whom alone we have forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. (You can find my previous post more-specific to today’s reading here.)

There are no previously posted questions and answers on these chapters, but, if you’ve got one, you are certainly welcome to ask it! Your question will be posted anonymously when it is answered.

You won’t find any verses from Job 34-36 used for Old Testament readings in the historic 1-year lectionary or referred to by hymns in The Lutheran Hymnal.

Today's Biblog Folo is a reader's reaction to the image in yesterday's post.

If that's Job's wife in a huddle next to him, in Blake's picture, it's the first time anyone has included her, that I remember. Job had a great deal to say to his friends; his wife probably heard a great deal more! People seem to think that because she got impatient she was disloyal. Everything but the boils happened to her, too. And, when he got ten more kids, she probably didn't. If she did, she got the hard part of it. Certainly she wouldn't have stopped missing the first ones.

I figured that was Job's wife, too, and I agree that she no doubt suffered in many ways as Job did. Satan certainly used her to tempt Job, perhaps as Satan used Eve to tempt Adam. We are not told that Job took another wife (or wives), but it might be a safe assumption given the ages of the first set of children. I don't imagine that any parent who loses a child ever stops missing the child.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make it holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM

September 01, 2007

1 Ch 29:10-13 / Job 31-33

Today as I read 1 Chronicles 29:10-13, the seasonal canticle for September, I was reminded of the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer, just as I was when I commented on the canticle a year ago. Since then, I’ve noted the lectionary and hymn uses of the Chronicles verses here. For our salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, we can and should join David’s glory-giving to God in the words of Chronicles and the Lord’s Prayer!

English artist William Blake’s depiction of Job’s fourth friend, Elihu“Little children are to be seen and not heard.” “Children do not speak until spoken to.” Not too likely to happen in too many places today. What happened to those social conventions for better or for worse? A young person waiting until his or her elders are finished speaking before saying his or her piece? That’s what we hear Elihu do today in Job 31-33. The image with this post is English artist William Blake’s depiction of Elihu speaking (to see a larger version of the image click it, but for the largest and highest quality image see from where we got it). You can find my previous post on these chapters here.

The only previously posted question specifically connected to today’s reading has to do with Job 33:4 and Who created. What isn’t clear to you? Please ask about it!

The historic 1-year lectionary we use at Grace for Sunday and festival services does not appoint any verses from Job 31-33 for any Old Testament readings, nor does The Lutheran Hymnal have any hymns said to refer to Job 31-33.

God bless your day, and may you let Him make tomorrow holy for you by using His Word and Sacraments!

Posted by Pastor Galler at 12:00 AM