An Historical Survey of the Old Testament by Eugene H. Merrill -- finished the book and wanted to post just a few notes.
On Job ...
After his questioning God about why he, a righteous man, should be afflicted, "Finally, God broke His silence and explained that the gulf which separates Deity and humanity is so great that Job not only should not question his suffering, but should not even try to understand it. (40:2). ... The story ends with the basic question yet unanswered; yet the message of God that He is absolute and does as He will without regard to man's comprehension of His mysteries must constitute the real theme and provide the fullest measure of hope." (pg. 234)
Honestly this did not fill me with hope when I first read it. I've been a bit sad about someone in my family this week and am running a bit thin on the goodness-of-God category.
I did read this as well about the theme of another book: "'...sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness of God in all the circumstances of our lives.' If the god we worship isn't possessed of these attributes, then the sin of discontent is sure to invade our hearts." (Beacon Beam pg. 8, August 2010)
And I remembered that God is good. Is perfect love, in fact. He doesn't play games with us, does He? Why do I sometimes find it hard to trust Him?
On Ecclesiastes ...
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth" -- key to the book
"The Preacher exhorts that man should know God while he is young so that life will have a proper orientation and meaning. If he fails to do this, life will be nothing but emptiness, an experience devoid of purpose and direction and satisfaction. Far from being a pessimistic book, it is a stirring, almost evangelistic sermon which shows the way out of the morass of a godless life into the brilliant radiance of His presence." (pg. 238)
Excellent advice! I wish more people would follow God when they were young so they could find the joy and peace that God offers.
On Jonah ...
"There is the important idea here of internationalism. Contrary to the notion popularly propounded that Yahweh was, to the prophets of early times, a local Deity of Israel alone, we see in Jonah that Yahweh was God of Assyria as well, though Assyria might not recognize that fact. She was not only God's 'rod' of chastisement, but the object of His tender love." (pg. 270)
As a full-fledged non-Jewish person I am over-the-top thrilled with God loving all types of people! :-)
On Isaiah ...
"In ancient Israel there was no distinction between the secular and sacred; a weakness in any part of the Theocratic body was a blight upon the whole corpus." (pg. 282)
No separation of Temple and State for them, huh?
On Ezra ...
"It is certainly overstating the matter to say that Ezra was the founder of Judaism, for Judaism is simply the post-exilic expression of the ancient Old Testament faith. But that it was a different expression greatly influenced by Ezra cannot be challenged. The reemphasis on the Law and ceremony, the rise of the synagogue movement with its careful attention to the study of Torah, and the final shaping of the Old Testament canon -- all these were largely affected by Ezra and his spiritual heirs." (pg. 322)
I just found that interesting.
On Judges ...
A reminder what anarchy looks like as gross sins are reported especially in the last few chapters. Key phrase: everyone did what was good in his own eyes. That ain't good.
Leaving God out of our lives never is.
I actually got a few pictures of four deer that were in my yard this morning - two mothers and two babies. You can see them here if you want. My sister and my brother in law are on a white-water rafting trip so Michael is staying with us this weekend. He and Andrew are in the living room watching a Sponge Bob movie now. I think I'll go join them. Nothing like watching adventures from under the sea to get you ready for bed, right? :-)