Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last night, I thought I would hold my wife until she fell asleep, then do my studying.


I fell right to sleep and woke up a day behind on my Bible study. Today, I was only able to keep pace wih my regular schedule. Tomorow, I will have some time. I will try to make it up then.

Every living thing that moved on the earth perished-birds, livestock, wild animals, creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out-men and animals, and the creatures that move along the ground, and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and He sent a wind on the earth, and the waters receded.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Last night, after snuggling with my wife, I intended to study the scriptures.

That was before I passed out.

That left me waking up today with an hour of reading to do, five verses to memorize, and thirty-five verses to review. Needless to say, I was busy for some time.

But, thanks be to God, I was able to get the work done, and tomorrow I will be back on schedule. In the meantime, I noticed a very interesting writing style in the account of Noah. Take a look at the italicized verses below before reading on.

Did you notice anything...annoying? Like, maybe, that the last four verses are essentially the same sentence written over and over again? I noticed, and in a big way, since I had to try to memorize every subtle little difference between each verse. What could Moses have been trying to accomplish by writing things in this way?

I think I have an idea. The repetitive section begins with the phrase, "For forty days, the floodwaters kept coming..." He then repeats himself over and over again, with each sentence revealing a new fact about this catastrophe. In this way, the description of the flood "keeps coming" as relentlessly as the floodwaters themselves. You begin to feel as Noah probably did, when he sat in the ark and wondered, "Is this rain ever going to stop?" Thus, through the use of this repetition, Moses succeeds in telling history and setting the mood at the same time.

The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.

For forty days, the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased, they lifted the ark high above the earth.

The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.

They increased greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.

The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It is late, and I am tired. All I can say is-I got it done. However hard it is, may God grant me the strength to do what needs to be done anyway.

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month-on that day, the springs of the great dep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On that very day, Noah and his sons-Shem, Ham, and Japheth-together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the grouund according to its kind, and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I finished today's verses a little easier, and a little earlier. am caught up on my reading, as well.

Right now, I am reading about King Solomon and the height of Israel's peace and prosperity. What an amazing spectacle! The temple that Solomon built was easily one of the wonders of the ancient world. And according to the Bible, Solomon had so much success that silver was counted of little value during his reign. And why was silver of little value? Because there was just so much GOLD!

But Solomon's wealth was exceeded by his wisdom and his piety. His devotion to God was great, and he had incredible insight into how to dispense justice. These factors combined to make Solomon's reign the high point of Israel's history.

But even the strongest and wisest of men are vulnerable to pressure, seduction, and time. Solomon married many foreign, idol-worshipping women. After this, the Bible does not say that Solomon's fall from grace happened immediately, but it happened as time passed. When Solomon grew old, he weakened and began serving other gods alongside of the Lord.

One might imagine that Solomon thought of himself as strong and wise, and told himself, that is foreign wives would not be able to sway his faith at all. Doubtless, that was true-for a while. But then, bit by bit, inch by inch, Solomon lost what he was, until his sin had destroyed him. Such is the fate of anyone, no matter how great, when they allow sin to have a foothold in their lives.

In our lives, we must pray that God will give us clear vision and a strong will to bear up under the devil's temptations. We must maintain CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days, the floodwaters came on the earth.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I disappointed myself today. Though I managed to get my memorization done, it was almost 4:30 by the time I finished. As a result, my scripture reading didn't get done today. I will have to make it up tomorrow.

I really, really need to start on this earlier in the day, when I can concentrate.

The Lord then said to Noah, "Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal-a male and its mate-and two of every kind of unclean animal-a male and its mate-and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made." And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thankfully, today's memorizaion was easier than yesterday's. I was suddenly struck, as I read this passage, of what an awesome responsibility God was laying on Noah. He was giving Noah the responsibility of taking care of the sole representatives of all life on this planet while during a disaster more catastrophic than the simultaneous detonation of a thousand nuclear bombs. And without any question or complaint (that is recorded), Noah accept all of God's statements as fact and obeys all of God's commands. Truly he is a role model for the rest of us.

"But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the arkyou and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal, and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them." Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
I don't have much to say today, except that these verses were very difficult to learn. I was at it for hours-probably because I started late at night, and my brain was not working as quickly as it could have been. I am very happy to be finishing at last, but very tired as well. I have no regrets, though. There is great benefit to learning the word of God.

So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is full of violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: the ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top; put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle, and upper decks. I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

It occurs to me that this whole project of memorizing the Bible has other benefits besides knowledge of the scriptures. Even if I were not memorizing the Bible, and was working on "Moby Dick" instead, there would be a considerable benefit that I need.

I'm talking about perseverance and discipline. These are skills I am woefully lacking in, and the constant, daily practice of reading and memorizing the scriptures will have some part in that. This alone makes the project worthwhile.

All the knowledge and wisdom to be gained makes it a thousand times more so.

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Now the earth was corrupt in the Lord's sight, and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Boy, do I feel silly.

When I wrote yesterday, wondering about the meaning of "the sons of God" marrying the "daughters of men", I had failed to even consider today's verses!

Today's verse concerning the Nephilim tells us a number of things about these "sons of God" and "daughters of men".

First, their children were not ordinary human beings, so we can conclude that "sons of God" is not just an archaic way of referring to men. After all, if ordinary men marry ordinary women, their children are ordinary children, not superhumans. In fact, I think it is safe to say that the term "sons of God" does not actually refer to humans at all.

Second, the Nephilim were "men of renown" and "heroes of old". Based on these observations, I think it safe to say that their non-human fathers were superior to humans in at least some respects. This would explain why they could have children by ordinary human women and, through them, have such extraordinary offspring.

Third, despite the superior qualities of the Nephilim, the Bible seems to ndicate that their prescence on the earth was a bad thing, as was the union of their parents. We can deduce this by observing that the Bible has one verse concerning the Nephilim, and it is located between a divine proclamation that limits mankind's lifespan, on the one hand, and a description of the totally corrupt condition of mankind, on the other. We may be assured that, whoever the "sons of God" were, they shouldn't have been having children with the "daughters of men", and their union, according to Genesis, was just another symptom of the evil times that prevailed back then.

So these "sons of God" were (1) not human, (2) superior to humans in at least some respects, and (3) wicked. I only know of one type of being that fits all three of these descriptions, and that is a demon. So, if my assumptions are correct, demons were having children by human women during this time! This certainly underscores what a wicked place the earth was becoming!

Another point. The children produced in these unions were "heroes of old, men of renown". Does this sound to anyone like the Grecian myth about Hercules? Or Perseus? Or Orpheus? All of these characters were supposedly sons of one "god" or another. Is it possible that these characters from mythology really existed, and that demonic powers have encouraged various cultures to worship them as gods, while simultaneously having children by women from those cultures?

I don't really know the answer to any of this. But ultimately, I must keep in mind that the topic I have addressed yesterday and today is only a footnote to the main point of the passage: MANKIND HAD BECOME UNBEARABLY WICKED-SO MUCH SO THAT GOD FELT IT BEST TO DESTROY THE HUMAN RACE AND START OVER. And that situation was the inevitable consequence of one "tiny" sin in the garden of Eden. Sin destroys everything.

Then the Lord said, "My spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years".

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of he earth-men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air-for I am grieved that I have made them."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Okay, folks, I'm totally stumped.

Today, I memorized the text that is written below, and discovered a very peculiar sentence: "The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, aand they married any of them they chose."

I've read this verse many times, but my reaction to it remains the same to this day: WHAT ON EARTH DOES THIS MEAN???? Were angels marrying human women? Was this the work of demons (who are God's creation and, though evil, are in some sense His disobedient children)?

Or was this a metaphor, used to artfully state that the human race was "increasing in number" because we were breeding with one another after becoming married? If this was the case, then "sons of God" would be an antiquated way of referring to men, because God made Adam directly from the dust. Likewise, "daughters of men" would be an antiquated way of referring to women, since God made Eve from Adam's rib, thereby making Adam, in a sense, Eve's parent.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years, and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.

After Noah had lived 500 years, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Genesis 6

When men began to increase in number on the earth, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Of all the various scary things that you might find in a horror movie, and all the various frightening things that you might see on "Cops", and all the scary things that you see in a 7-11 at one o'cock in the morning, do you know what scares me the most?


No, I'm not kidding.

I've often wondered why zombies disturb me more than anything else. They're slow. They're weak. They're stupid. Most movie monsters are superior to zombies in all of these respects. Most criminals are scarier than zombies in the sense that they actually exist. So why is it that, even when I see a picture of a zombie, I'm messed up for three days?

I think I have a reason for it.

Zombies are motivated and persistent. They want ony one thing: to get you. And until they do, they will never stop trying. You can't bribe them. You can't threaten them. You can't reason with them. They don't need to eat. They never sleep. They never stop. Ever. If you lock our door against a zombie, he may not be able to pick the lock, but you can bet that he will still be banging on your door a month from now. If you shoot them anywhere except the head, they ignore it and keep coming. If they somehow lose their legs, they will drag themselves toward you with their hands. Nothing ever deters them from their goal.

This thought came fluttering by today as I was reflecting on Bible study. The few people who have heard that I was trying to memorize the Bible treated it like it was going to be really hard. But I have discovered that it isn't. The day-to day work of it is relatively easy. The hard thing is to make up your mind to actually do it every day. If you have persistence, then little by little, the work gets done. So, as much as they frighten me, I suppose that the living dead have something to teach me about persistence. And perhaps, if I learn that lesson, the task of memorizing the Bible will go a little more smoothy than it has in recent weeks.

Everything was done on-schedule today. Here are todays' memory verses:

When Methuselah had lived 187 years, he became the father of Lamech. And after he became the father of Lamech, Methuselah ived 782 years, and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.

When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah, and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands, caused by the ground the Lord has cursed."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Well, I'm happy to report a second day of faithful study. I feels so good to be working again.

Today, my reading took me to a most famous portion of the Bible-the story of David and Goliath. It comes on the heels of a different kind of story-the very short tale of Saul's ascension to the Kingship and his subsequent fall from grace.

Nearly everyone-even the unchurched-knows this story. The Israelites are about to make war with the evil Phlistines who live to the West of them. But just when the battle is about to begin, a Philistine champion named Goliath steps out and proposes that the entire war be decided in single combat. The Israelite's best man would fight Goliath, and the loser's army would become the slaves of the winner's army. Fair enough-except that Goliath is over nine feet tall and strong enough to bench press my house! So no one is willing to take the Philistine up on his offer, until a young boy named David (who would probably be in the fifth grade, if he lived in modern America) steps forward. He accepts the Philisine's challenge, and does not even put on armor or take a sword in order to slay the giant. His reasoning? That the Lord has always taken care of him in the past, and He will give him the help he needs to slay Goliath. Armed only with a slingshot, David then kills Goliath with a single blow and uses the giant's own sword to cut off hs head.

I think people try too hard to make something profound out of this story. They analyze every line of dialogue, and even find some significance in the number of stones David picked out of the river to load into his slingshot! What they tend to miss is the main point of the passage, which God is making as obvious as possible. A FIFTH-GRADER, ARMED WITH A SLINGSHOT, KILLED A FULLY-ARMED, NINE-FOOT-TALL, EXPERIENCED SOLDIER! OW IS THIS HUMANLY POSSIBLE???!!! It isn't-and that is the point. It happened because God made it so. And it didn't matter how unevenly matched these two were; God determined the outcome. his is the way it is with the entire universe: God is in total command of everything; He decides that a thing will happen, and it does. The wise warrior will make certain that he is fighting on God's side.

Here are today's verses:

Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years, and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.
I owe an apology to many people.

I have neglected my commitment to Bible memorization over the past week and a half. I am now too far behind to catch up, and have let my former, noble-sounding commitments go by the wayside.

First, I have sinned against God by ignoring a commitment I made to Him.

Second, I have disrespected all of you by making a big show about "memorizing the Bible", and then quitting a few weeks in.

Finally, I have dishonored myself by choosing mediocre things, like video games, over truly valuabe things, like the knowledge of scripture.

So, confessions having been said, it is time to start back. I can only hope that in the future, God will hep me to remember that this task cannot be accomplished through some monumental effort, or by a few midnight cram sessions (as many of my tasks in grad school were). Rather, tis task can only be done by steady, persistent and unflagging effort over a very, very long time.

Here are today's memory verses:

When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. And after he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.

When Jared was 162 years old, he became the father of Enoch. And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Well, folks, it has been some time since I have written on the blog. But I have kept up the same pace of scripture memorization as before. The italicized section below was written in one sitting, without needing to look at the text. I am enthralled at the progress.

Now that I am getting into the process of memorization, I think I see one major impediment that has kept people (including me) from memorizing the scriptures over the years. I'm talking about multiple translations of the scriptures.

Don't get me wrong. I think there are many good translations of the Bible, and I believe that it is necessary to retranslate the Bible every so often, so as to have it available in modern English. In this way, I have little common ground with those who see the King James Version as the only true translation of the scriptures. But those who do see the KJV in this way have one keen advantage when it comes to scripture memorization: They never expose themselves to other translations, so they only hear the Bible spoken in one particular way. So it is easy for them to almost unconsciously pick up verses in their memories, as they hear them spoken over and over again.

In the past, I have not had this advantage. I have indiscriminately read the KJV, the NIV, the NRSV, the RSV, the ESV, the NEB, the NASB, and the HCSB. While I was at it, I'm pretty sure I read the SUV, the KGB, the PTA, the NYPD, the CSI and the JFK. While these were all legitimate versions (except for the ones in that last sentence), they all phrased things a little differently, and the result was confusion in my mind about what exactly the Bible said. As I have been working to memorize the Bible, I have found that many of my mistakes would have been correct if I had been using a different version.

To eliminate this problem, I have tried not to study any translation of the Bible except for the one I am memorzing-the NIV. The result has been very helpful so far.

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it."

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field". And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother, Abel?"

"I don't know", he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground! Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."

Cain said to the Lord, "My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence. I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."

But the Lord said to Cain, "Not so. If anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who found him would kill him.

So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain lay with his wife and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son, Enoch. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech. Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain's sister was Naamah.

Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, listen to me. Wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me; a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times!"

Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, "God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him."

Seth also had a son and named him Enosh. At that time, men began to call on the name of the Lord.

This is the written account of Adam's line: When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them, "man".

When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image, and he named him Seth. After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years, and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.

When Seth had lived 105 years, he became the father of Enosh. And after he became the father of Enosh, Seth lived 807 years, and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Seth lived 912 years, and then he died.

When Enosh had lived 90 years, he became the father of Kenan. And after he became the father of Kenan, Enosh lived 815 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enosh lived 905 years, and then he died.

When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.