In tonight“s study, we continue to explore the meaning of spiritual adultery as expressed in James 4:4 by examining sections of the prophets Hosea and Jeremiah as well as several New Testament scriptures. We also raise and answer a question about divorce and remarriage.
In the short first half of tonight's study, we address the question, "do we have to suffer to learn to love God?"
In the second half, we begin our introduction to the book of Psalms including structure, origin, editing, challenges in translation, and, very importantly, what does it mean when we say the Bible is the Word of God.
We finish our exploration of Psalm 95 tonight focusing on verse 11 and what it means to enter God's rest. Tangential topics examined include different degrees of sin, the Sabbath, the Millennium rest, and evaluating truth.
In the first half of tonight's study, we examine the historical and cultural setting of God's promise to gather and prosper Israel in Jer 31:10-14. We chose this particular section of scripture because it is the second psalm in the Morning Office of the first Thursday of the four week Psalter. The first half concludes with a discussion of sections of scripture that can make us uncomfortable about God such as killing 185,000 Assyrians as they are getting ready to attack Jerusalem.
The second half continues this discussion and branches into questions about who are Christians and the necessity of the organized Church.
We began tonight's study with an outline of the rankings of liturgical days: Solemnities, Feasts, and Obligatory and Optional Memorials.
We continued with the burst of praise that is Psalm 113. We explained the meaning of the word Hallelujah and the reasons behind the different spellings and pronunciations. We looked at its cultural context amidst the return from the Babylonian exile and its praise of a God who is both transcendent and immanent. Finally, we discussed how a Jewish and Christian understanding of the reference the barren woman bringing forth children might be different.
We conclude with another explosion of praise — Psalm 147:12-20. We explain why the Divine Office starts in the middle of the psalm and its context around the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem with several references to the Book of Nehemiah. We end in appreciation of how what God is doing in Christianity is different than any other religion and how that is a source of our praise.