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Archives of Previous Studies

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August 22, 2019

Psalm 142: Sharing Our Worries With God

In our study of Psalm 142 tonight, we begin by noting how the Hebrew of the psalm is much later than David even though it claims to be a psalm of David and how the psalmist sees his present distress in the life of David.  We then do the same and discuss honestly sharing our complaints, difficulties, and pain with God.  We see how the psalmist, Jeremiah, and even Jesus Himself does this all the while completely trusting in God.  We also note some of the messianic overtones of the psalm, explore how our suffering and deliverance can be important to others, and conclude by considering the bounty of God toward us and our great hope in Him.

August 8, 2019

Phili 2:6-11: The Self-Emptying and Exaltation of Jesus

Tonight's study completed our tour of the Office of the Dead with the Evening Office and a study on the canticle for the Office from Philippians 2:6-11 — one of the most theologically and morally profound passages in the Bible.  We discussed its origin as a hymn and its context in the church and epistle of Philippi.  We examined the stark contrasts of the hymn, e.g., God to slave and abasement to lordship.  We considered Jesus' letting go and pondered its relevance for our lives.  We digressed into impossibility by definition, i.e., that some things are impossible for God not because of a shortcoming of God but because impossibility is part of the definition, e.g., something cannot be and not be at the same time, and applied this to God not being able to die until He took on humanity.  We spent considerable time on the obedience, voluntary submission, and voluntary humility of Jesus and the implications for our lives.  We explored just how highly the Father has exalted Jesus, noticed a disagreement among scholars on interpreting one of the verses, and returned to the voluntary submission of Jesus along with our submission to Him in order to fully do the same.

July 25, 2019

Ps 130: Hope In God’s Forgiveness & Ps 141: Resisting Evil Within

We covered Psalm 141 and dealing with evil within the Church as well as Psalm 130 about hoping in God's forgiveness.

The first half study of Psalm 130 examines the importance of recognizing the depth of our sin, addresses prayer and reparation for the sins of others, explores perspectives on hope, and discusses the meaning of redemption.

The second half on Psalm 141 looks at the dangerous and difficult situation where those within the Church are doing wrong.  We discuss the image of the Evening Sacrifice as well as the bodily expression of worship.  We look at the challenges to our speech in environments when surrounded by wrong both for compromise and retaliation.  We examine some ways we can unwittingly participate in the ways of the wrongdoers around us.  We discuss the dangers on both sides — the danger of falling into compromise with wrong and the danger of falling into excessive judgment of others.  We explore the image of pouring oil on one's head in the Israelite culture and some of the difficulties in the text of this psalm.  We conclude with a brief look at how we will indeed reap what we sow.

July 11, 2019

Psalm 86: Trusting God Who Delivers and Sustains Us

Our study of Psalm 86 returns us repeatedly to the idea of recognizing our neediness and God's loving willingness to always sustain us.  We discuss Mary's need for a Savior even though she did not sin and our complete dependence on God for our very existence as well as our spiritual perfection.  We touch briefly on consecration to God and the difference between sin as a way of life and individual sins.  We focus on Bible Study as a means rather than an end and some of the messianic inferences in this psalm.

June 27, 2019

Psalm 146 - Part 3: Praise God Who Keeps Faith Forever

In this conclusion of our study of Psalm 146, we begin again with some comments on the Flame of Love devotion and how they relate to a question asked previously about this psalm.  We continue to explore the psalmist's praise of God for His fidelity and providence but also examine how this providence does not imply a faultless world without suffering.  Rather, we can expect the contrary.  We cross reference Psalm 107 to see some of the good effects of this suffering.  We examine God's giving of sight to the blind and His defense of the vulnerable which results in a concluding burst of praise.

May 23, 2019

Psalm 146: Praise God With Every Breath

After some comments on the Flame of Love devotion, our study of Psalm 146 starts with the psalmist's exuberant burst of praise which we explore in two directions, viz., in liturgy as the eternal loving work of God's people and the need to make use of the time we have on Earth according to Paul's admonition to "redeem the time."  The latter led to a lengthy discussion about why our spiritual lives seem to become more arduous as we grow close to God.

We go on to examine the psalmist's comparison of relying upon man to relying upon God and dwell on how God is not only all powerful and eternal but faithful.

May 9, 2019

Is 38:10-20:Deliverance From Certain Death and Ps 85: Promise of Hope and a Way Forward

The first half of tonight's study explores Hezekiah's canticle of thanksgiving in Is 38:10-20.  We examine the context, the interesting side bar that God left him to himself after his illness so that he could see and repent of his pride, several linguistic nuances sometimes lost in the English translation, and various verses that appear corrupt.  We also briefly review Sheol, discuss the idea of death at the completion of God's work in us and the challenges we often face for our own welfare.

The second half expounds Psalm 85.  We briefly review who the Sons of Korah were and posit a couple of reasons why there is both a statement that God's anger has turned away and a plea the He turn His anger away.  We look at some significant variations in translation, briefly touch upon the relationship between righteousness and the health of a nation, but spend most of our time discussing the differences between the Jewish and Christian perspectives on the promises in this psalm.  This leads us to examine the importance of Jesus as fully human and fully divine and the source of our righteousness.

April 25, 2019

Psalm 51: New Hearts, Our Gravest Peril, Opened Lips, and Renewed Sacrifices

We continue and conclude our study of Psalm 51 by showing how it is God's mercy to show us our sins and how this psalm appeals to both parts of the New Covenant.  We examine the grave danger of being cast away by God and losing the Holy Spirit as well as consider why God may not call some people now.

We move on to how recognizing our own sinfulness makes us capable of instructing others in righteousness without judgment and the need to pursue holiness in order to be able to proclaim holiness without hypocrisy.  We look at the idea and an example of a constructively broken spirit and how having a right heart allows us to offer pleasing sacrifices to God.

April 11, 2019

Psalm 51: Sin, Practicality of Condemnation, Perfection, Original Sin, and Conscience

This poignant psalm reaches so deeply into our humanity and our relationship with God that it provokes a wide range of discussion on core doctrinal issues.  In tonight's study, we touch on the nature of sin and how God is justified and entirely practical to condemn us even if sin is the way we are.  We discuss how important it is to keep our sins in mind especially as we grow toward perfection and how God's willingness to extend grace at every moment to support our perfection inspires us to see the magnitude of His love in every moment of our lives.  We follow with a discussion of original sin and sanctifying grace pointing out that, if we do not understand these doctrines, we do not understand salvation.

In our second half, we discuss the inviolability of conscience but also its need to be formed and to admit that our consciences may not be right.

March 28, 2019

Psalm 51: Background, Consequences of Sin, and Mercy

In this study of the great penitential psalm, we review the account of David, Bathsheba, and Uriah. We spend a great deal of time discussing sin, its progression, and its consequences both eternal and temporal and our sometimes distorted view of sin and punishment.  We then launch into the first few verses of the psalm itself with topics such as God's graciousness and its potential abuse through presumption, dealing with both sin and its causes, and our being aware of our sins.

March 14, 2019

Psalm 42: Thirsting for God

We begin our exploration of Psalm 42 by learning about the sons of Korah and examining the theme of God as the source of living water in both the Old and New Testament.  We then discuss several dimensions of our relationship with God including our love and desire for Him, our honesty with Him, and how our hearts and heads can get out of sync in our relationship with Him.

February 28, 2019

Psalm 40:2-14,17-18: Many Shall See and Trust

We cover quite a number of topics in this involved Psalm.  We discuss its background, why certain imprecatory verses are omitted in the Breviary, and how to view those imprecatory verses and psalms.  We examine possible contexts and how new and alive God's presence was to David and should be to us.  We examine evangelization through our example in difficulties and how this is a reason for embracing trials with joy.  We point out the important differences between the Masoretic Text and Septuagint in this psalm and its messianic nature.  We digress into the account of Saul and the Amalekites and the subject of loving obedience being more important than sacrifice.  We spend considerable time looking at the reference to this psalm in Hebrews 10 and its relationship to the New Covenant.  We touch on sharing our faith but also doing so discretely.  We look at examples of how sin can blind us and conclude with the importance of seeing our neediness before God can do great things in us.

February 14, 2019

Psalm 91: God Protects Through All Trials

In this study, God seems to draw us repeatedly to the theme that He does not save us FROM trials but rather saves us IN trials both in the sense of saving us in the trial itself and saving us by means of the trial as we explore Psalm 91.  We discuss much of the imagery — fowlers, pinions, eagles, bucklers — as well as possible ties to the Exodus.  We take a brief look at the role of angels and our need to not only be protected from evil but to be given the strength to battle against evil.  We look at what it means to cleave to God in love but we keep returning to the theme that, to love Him as He loves us, we must learn love through experience, not just knowledge and that experience is often given to us as the way to salvation by means of trials.

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