Showing Mon Aug 7 - Sun Sep 3, 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017: 2 Samuel 18, Psalms 26

2 Sam 18: It’s difficult when you are caught between divided loyalties. David’s rebellious son Absalom is killed and Absalom’s army conquered. David is caught between grief for his son and relief that this battle that threatened his life and his reign is over. Look to our Lord for his guidance through: 1)circumstances, 2)His Word and 3) peace, when you find yourself torn in two directions.

Psalm 26:As one who in a psalm last week acknowledged the baseness of his sin, it’s difficult to hear David speak of his own uprightness before God in this psalm. Nevertheless his affection for God’s house and love for his Lord continues to shine through as he looks for grace and anticipates worshiping Yahweh. May our eyes be as open to God’s grace even in acknowledging our own sin as was David’s.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Tuesday, August 8, 2017: Psalms 40, 58

Psalm 40; Psalm 58

Psalm 40: Like many psalms and like many experiences of life; David encounters those situations and persons who mean him harm and yet in the midst of all this he can rejoice in God’s mercy and kindness to him. What he does that we should do is anticipate the problems and problem makers. It’s a good reminder of the importance of morning prayer that prepares for problems as well as blessings.

Psalm 58: This seems to be such a dark psalm but it in fact expresses the reality that there is evil in the world, that it is aggressive and that we should prepare for it. At SonRise we’ve for the last year prayed in Our Lord’s Prayer : “deliver us from the evil one” for evil is not neutral waiting to see if we will choose it. It’s aggressive. God is greater and it is to Him that David turns in dealing with it.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Wednesday, August 9, 2017: Psalms 61-62

Psalm 61 contains a verse that is a favorite of mine: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. St. Paul saw the rock Moses struck that provided refreshing drink as being Christ in their midst. Has the Holy Spirit led David to a similar thought? The image of dwelling in God’s tent similarly reminds us to simply stay close to God which isn’t hard since He has promised never to leave or forsake us. Lord, you don’t move but I do – keep me close – close to your Rock.

Psalm 62: David offers one his most beautiful and hopeful psalms facing those who “bless with their mouths but inwardly they curse”. All have sinned, Paul tells us so people always have the potential of letting you down. David encourages us to put our final and basic trust not in people but in God, our Rock, our Salvation, our Fortress and our Hope. Keep me focused on You, O Lord, in You do I trust.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Thursday, August 10, 2017: Psalms 64, 2 Samuel 19

Psalms 64: I suspect few of us have had adversaries such as David describes here. Developing an intimate closeness with God is essential and a key is regular reading of His Word as you are doing here. Take refuge in Him as David encourages us here.

2 Samuel 19: One chapter tries to capture all of the emotions of David’s victory at the expense of his rebellious son’s life. One hears a parent’s grief, the political necessity of leadership, the recognition of the fact that division still exists within this one country of 12 tribes, celebrations and rewards and even a little of the future King Solomon’s wisdom in dealing with Saul’s son. Our lives are sometimes filled with mixed emotions. How important to simply trust that God will never ever let us down in terms of what is ultimately in our best interest.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Friday, August 11, 2017: 2 Samuel 20-21

Life that was not easy for David pursued by Saul before becoming king, is not easy now even while he is king. Sheba, by leading a rebellion of the ten northern tribes, reminds us again that the monarchy was made of 12 different tribes and that the ones in the north did not necessarily feel close to those in the south. Sheba is pursued by Joab as far north as one could possibly go in the united Israel. War with neighbors continues as well. It’s not a bad reminder for us to realize life is spiritual with enemies within (our own flesh) and without, (the devil and the world). In the end David’s kingdom holds together.

2 Sam 21: I suspect you are as uncomfortable with this chapter as I am. Saul apparently broke a covenant Israel had made with the Gibeonites and then broke it. A famine is understood by David as God’s retribution for their breaking their word and so 7 descendants of Saul are sacrificed. A touching detail is the care one of Saul’s concubines takes with the bodies of his family members and David then gives the bones of Saul and Jonathon an appropriate burial.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Saturday, August 12, 2017: Psalms 5, 38

Psalm 5: David’s psalms seem as often to focus on the wicked that oppress him as they do on praising the God who offers forgiveness and righteousness. I suspect our prayers similarly tend to look at our problems as we appeal to God for help. This psalm noting that God opposes the evildoers reminds us that our Lord is our best and only resource against the problems we face.

Psalm 38: David seems torn between his sins on the inside and his tormentors on the outside. Ultimately his only answer for both problems lies with the God to whom he pleas not to forsake him. David a man after God’s own heart here illustrates that characteristic by his openness in acknowledging his sin without any explanation or excuse. His defenselessness reveals his utter trust in his Lord.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Monday, August 14, 2017: Psalms 41-42

Psalms 41: Although anything can happen at any time and God can use anything for His purposes we normally expect one who seeks the Lord to find blessings for which he is grateful to God. This psalm suggests as much in sickness but in a later verse contains a prophecy we later see fulfilled on Maundy Thursday as Judas, friend of Jesus, goes out to betray Him with whom he has just eaten the Lord’s Supper. Renew our confidence in your presence and goodness through the reading of your word, O Lord.

Psalm 42:

I’m not proud to admit it but I seem to be a much better pray-er when things are going badly than when they are going well. Perhaps that is the motivation of this psalmist who acknowledges a cast down soul, but seeks the Lord like a deer thirsting for water. He reminds himself in a memorable refrain in the psalm “Hope in God for I shall again praise Him, my Salvation and my God.” Not bad words to hold onto. ,

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Tuesday, August 15, 2017: 2 Samuel 22-23

2 Samuel 22: These words of David are also found in Psalm 18. While a powerful song of praise of God, some of his words claiming his own uprightness might make one who believes in sin and grace (my sin/ God’s grace) a bit uncomfortable. Nevertheless his exalting of God is a good reminder to us in our prayers to love and praise God for Himself, not just for what we’ve received or hope to receive from Him.

2 Samuel 23: When Israel first sought a king during the era of the last judge Samuel, they in effect were rejecting God as their king or so we are told. Here King David reminds us that what he was and did were possible only because God was there blessing him. He also remembers some mighty help and assistance he had. Some of their exploits seem too fantastic, but the details make them very believable. Remind us again, O Lord that all that we are, and all that we can be and do come from Your gracious hand upon our lives.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Wednesday, August 16, 2017: Psalms 57, 95

Psalm 57: David offers this beautiful hymn of praise to God in the midst of apparent difficulties from those who mean him ill. God’s presence is his protection and he offers his praise to God seeing Him exalted above the heavens with His glory over all the earth. Father, You are the Creator of all that we are and see. Let Your creation remind us daily of Your presence and protection in our lives.

Psalm 95 It’s hard to read this psalm without thinking of the music from our old liturgy – the Venite. Its call to worship and honor God, we are reminded at the end, is precisely what those who wandered in the wilderness but were not permitted to enter the Promised Land had failed to do. Worshiping God during the day is not only what God expects of us, but it’s also how we work best going through the tasks of each day. O come let us sing for joy to the Lord!

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Thursday, August 17, 2017: Psalms 97-98

Psalm 97: Psalms often sing of the majesty of God and this is no exception. But we still await the fulfillment of these words when the worthlessness of all idols will be revealed and all will see the greatness of God alone. I think of Paul’s words in Philippians 2 that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father. Our daily prayer should include –“Even so Come Quickly, Lord Jesus.”

Psalm 98:

Whenever I feel emotional in church it always seems to involve music and singing. Not only is the psalmist anxious to praise God with singing and instruments but he hears the sea resound, the rivers clap, the mountains sing as they await their Creator. Memorizing and singing hymns during the day is a great way to lift one’s spirits above the circumstances of the day

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Friday, August 18, 2017: Psalm 99, 2 Samuel 24

Psalm 99: The Psalmist, long after the fact, remembers the faithful service of giants of his spiritual tradition, Moses, Aaron, and Samuel as a reminder that he is fair and right with Israel. He delights in the Lord reigning over the earth and calls on us to worship Him. Lord, too often might we see you in miniature, as a kindly grandfather. Enable us O Lord to have even a small sense of Your grandeur and majesty for You inhabit the highest of the heavens yet choose to dwell in our midst. Amen

2 Samuel 24: Another example of one of the difficult passages in the Jewish Bible seems to be explained in its opening verse. God inspires David to wickedness, probably pride in the size of his country, in order to punish the wickedness of the people. David’s appeal to God in their behalf is heard and God’s judgment is halted. A serious weakness in American Christianity is our failure to recognize our own sins or the seriousness with which God regards them. The mercy of God can hardly be appreciated if we do not recognize the seriousness of the sins He’s actually willing to forgive when we are penitent.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Saturday, August 19, 2017: 1 Chronicles 21-22

1 Chron 21: The same scene as 2 Sam 24 is now told from the priestly point of view in the first book of Chronicles. Satan is seen as the agent of God who moves David to his rash prideful decision despite Joab’s warnings. His humility and concern for his people win the day as he repents of his prideful act. Many scholars believe that references as in this chapter to

THE angel of the Lord are references to the second person of the Trinity, not yet incarnate through the Virgin Mary. He appears to Abraham in Genesis and in defense of Joshua the high priest in Zechariah.

1 Chron 22: The beginnings of a great temple to honor God are begun by David even though he has been informed by God that he may not build God’s house. Solomon will do it. It’s interesting to see Solomon’s humble prayer of dedication when the house is completed on the one hand and on the other the much greater preparation that goes into building his own palace. One suspects that David would have had it the other way around.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Monday, August 21, 2017: Psalms 30, 108

Psalms 30: It may seem strange to hear David refer to the pit and Sheol as he is in the midst of dedicating the temple (it must have been materials he prepared rather than the temple itself since Solomon built that) but several times he refers to the blessing God has given him after his hardship: Weeping at night, but joy in the morning; his anger for a moment but His favor for a lifetime; turned my mourning into dancing, loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

Psalm, 108: The unusual association of this magnificent song of praise (made into a praise song I have particularly enjoyed in recent years) with the realization God has not been with his army lately perhaps suggests this is David’s plea for God to be with them now. There are those times when you just can’t help praising God and David seems duly inspired here.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Tuesday, August 22, 2017: Psalms 109-110

Psalm 109: In our church body we say the Bible is the Word of God, not contains the word of God. The book of psalms in general and this and psalm 137 in particular reflect thoughts which clearly conflict with our Lord’s message of forgiving and loving our enemies. But these psalms and others do reflect honest human emotions. If we understand that the Bible is the Word of God in the sense that it contains everything He wants us to read, rather than everything He himself intends, then we can admire, I believe, His understanding of how we all feel sometimes.

Psalm 110: It’s a little thing but notice the print in your Bible in the first verse and the uppercase letters for the first LORD and the lower case for the second Lord. This psalm is quoted several times in the NT most famously as Jesus challenges his critics: If David as King refers to LORD as God, then who is my Lord – the second person of the Trinity perhaps? He also offers us one of those rare references to Melchizedek. Do you know where the other references are? (check your concordance)

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Wednesday, August 23, 2017: 1 Chronicles 23-24

1 Chron 23: I find it difficult to have much to say about this. As you read the Bible more and more genealogies and listings of families can become more interesting . Of the 12 sons of Jacob only Levi was not given land in Israel but charged with temple service in Jerusalem as David claimed here that the tabernacle would no longer be carried about. They were also to offer spiritual direction throughout the tribes of Israel. The sons of Joseph were given two tribes Manasseh and Ephraim so there would still be twelve.

1 Chron 24: If you’ve ever wondered what was the difference between priests and Levites. The Levites were the descendants of Levi, one of Jacob’s 12 sons, and the priests were the descendants of Aaron, Moses brother, who was a Levite. In other words only some of the Levites were priests, but all the priests were Levites.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Thursday, August 24, 2017: 1 Chronicles 25, Ps. 131

1 Chro 25: And you thought you could only use an organ in church? David organizes a praise band for worship. According to Google, the Bible lists among others, harp, lyre, reed, pipe, organ, cymbals, flute, rattles, shakers, ugay, melodic drum, timbrel, tambourine, shofar, trumpet, cornet, horn, organ, pipe, silver trumpets, and the double oboe. This is not intended to be either a criticism or endorsement of contemporary worship, but I do enjoy variety and apparently so did David.

Ps. 131: Apparently this particular psalmist just wanted some quiet time with God calming his soul.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Friday, August 25, 2017: Psalms 138-139

Psalm 138: There certainly are times when things go as well as David is experiencing as he praises God for his blessings. As a people compared to others, living in this time compared with other generations we have been a blessed people so with David give thanks for particular blessings that come to mind today.

Psalm 139: JB Phillips, an Anglican theologian, wrote a book a half century ago entitled Your God is Too Small. Every believer’s God is too small when one thinks that He who inhabits the highest heavens knows each individual’s innermost thoughts – that there is nowhere in creation one could go to avoid Him. The psalmist introduces a greater thought – that He is with us even as we are formed inside our mother’s womb, planning out the days of our lives if we will but walk in them. How Great is our God!

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Saturday, August 26, 2017: Psalms 143-144

Psalm 143: Times seem to have gotten harder for David as we know from other parts of the Bible. but with faith as strong as when he was thankful for his blessings; he reaches out to God. Too often our prayers are like yo-yo’s – shot up to God but we keep holding the string and bringing back our worries. David looks to God’s spirit to lead him in new obedience to God’s will.

Psalm 144: David’s focus in seeking God’s deliverance isn’t from within his nation but from without. His psalms often seem to focus on Saul’s efforts to prevent him from becoming king, but here it’s foreigners he fears and turns again to God. When he praises, thanks, worries; the answer for David is the same which again may be why he was called a man after God’s own heart.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Monday, August 28, 2017: Psalms 145, 1 Chron. 26

Psalms 145: These final psalms are known and appreciated for the praise they offer God. This particular one contains one of the most common prayers used by Christians as a table grace. The reminder of the importance of each generation speaking to the next the gracious acts of the Lord may not have been appreciated in more recent years contributing to the frightening disinterest among so many of our young people in worshiping and seeking a close relationship with their Lord.

1 Chron. 26: I can’t speak for others but these are the chapters over which I begin to glaze. I suspect they hold little interest for the general Bible reader, but they reveal the detail with which the Hebrews preserved their records. When one considers that the Hebrew nation was now completing nearly 8 decades of monarchy, it shows the lingering loyalty to tribal regions. This becomes significant later when the prophets speak of Messiah and mention specific tribal geography, even though the tribes as political systems had long ceased to exist.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Tuesday, August 29, 2017: 1 Chronicles 27-28

1 Chron 27: While this chapter contains still more of the same, and one might think of the officials as rather anal, vs. 23-24 take time to reflect upon God’s promise of fruitfulness for the nation and the need to leave those of child bearing age free to produce and the strange matter of the census that brought God’s plague upon the people.

1 Chron 28: Chronicles is of course a priestly view of the history of Israel and so it is natural to see the responsibility for the building of the temple being given attention as David turns this responsibility over to Solomon under our Lord’s guidance. Verse 20, David’s admonition to Solomon, leaves us all with a timeless encouragement of faithfulness in our own walk with God

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Wednesday, August 30, 2017: 1 Chronicles 29, Psalm 127

1 Chron 29: First Chronicles concludes with generous preparation for the temple which they recognize comes from God in the first place, and then a beautiful prayer honoring God and calling upon the people to bless their Lord. David, not of the priestly line, nevertheless in this priestly oriented history of Israel sounds like the leader in Israel’s worship of their Lord.

Psalm 127: When we were building our home in the Adirondacks, my wife, Dottie, made sure this sign was prominent on one of the trees – ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” I’m not sure if the builders appreciated it, but I hope they did – it’s a fine home. And a beautiful psalm reminding us that without God’s creating (builds) or protecting (guards) or preserving (giving offspring) (Luther’s 3 aspects in his explanation to the First Article of the Creed about God creating us) we as humans labor in vain. All is in his hands.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Thursday, August 31, 2017: Psalms 111-114

Psalms 111: The psalmist begins a series in which each of these three psalms begins with “Hallelujah!”, a word that occurs exclusively in the book of Psalms and Revelation. In this psalm the “Hallelujah” is an appropriate response to the works of the Lord. He proudly goes on to recall these works before encouraging readers to fear the Lord for this is the beginning of wisdom.

Psalm 112: The life of one who praises the Lord is examined with its many blessings . The psalm sounds a bit like the proverbs which so often offer good reward for good behavior.

Psalm 113: This last of three “Hallelujah Psalms” delights in the strength and blessing of God who although exalted Himself, cares for and blesses the disadvantaged.

Psalm 114: This imaginative brief psalm looks at nature’s reaction to its Creator and delights in Israel’s unique relation to God. .

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Friday, September 1, 2017: Psalms 115-118

Psalms 115: This delightful psalm is the basis for one of our new hymns (LSB 558).The psalmist pokes fun at the idols who having eyes and ears see and hear nothing, before encouraging Israel to trust and have confidence in the Lord.

Psalm 116: The danger and trouble the psalmist experiences are countered by the Lord’s deliverance with the latter half providing the words we use in the offertory of one of our liturgies “What shall I render to the Lord”

Psalm 117: If this isn’t the shortest psalm I don’t know what is. It provides the refrain that will become common in the next psalm

Psalm118: Words frequently used as our table prayer introduce and conclude this psalm. Between them the anonymous author, whom some believe was David, recounts God’s rescue and hHs assurance as he goes forth in the Lord’s name to victory.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)


Saturday, September 2, 2017: 1 Kings 1-2

1 Kings 1: The conclusion of King David’s reign is at hand and intrigue is rampant in the royal palace as to who his successor is to be from among his sons. The third monarch wisest and wealthiest, but less devout than his father, is enthroned before the chapter ends.

1 Kings 2: This second chapter of Kings notes revenge by both David and Solomon against their enemies and rivals. It’s a sad reminder of the humanness of men who in other ways were godly and a reminder that the Scriptures, particularly the Hebrew Scriptures, reveal the saints with all their sins as well. I hope you find that comforting as I do.

—Bruce Rudolf (SonRise, Pottersville)