Samson’s childhood is completely passed over. He is born at the end of chapter 13, and at the beginning chapter 14, he is looking for a wife. Samson, though he will be used mightily by God, is a lot like the people around him. He is self-centered and cares little for the things of God. He sees a beautiful Philistine woman, and instead of thinking at all about laws against intermarriage and purity, he insists on marrying her. Instead of marrying a woman who is right in God’s eyes, he finds someone who is “right [in his own] eyes”. And yet, the sovereign Lord used it for the good of his people, since the Philistines ruled over the Israelites at this time. It was “from the LORD.”
Samson is a Nazirite, meaning he is barred from coming in contact with dead animals or humans. However, on his journey to his new wife, he becomes hungry and eats wild honey out of the carcass of a lion. Having a laissez fare attitude toward his vow will be a common theme throughout his life.
The other Philistines do not want one of their women to marry Samson, either, so they try to intimidate him. He poses a riddle to them to show how much smarter he is than them. When they can’t figure it out, they ask Samson’s wife to find out and tell them. She cries and cries until he tells her, and of course, she tells the other men. But because they “plowed with [his] heifer,” he has to give them what he promised. Essentially, he’s so mad that he takes his ball and goes home, leaving his wife behind. She ends up marrying his best man in Samson’s absence. Solomon’s character will be one marked by an inability to control his tongue around the wrong kind of women.
In a kind of act of treachery, some of his fellow Judahites cave to the pressures of the Philistines living in the land. The Philistines want Samuel gone, so some 3000 Jews convince Samson to let them bind him with new ropes and deliver him over to the Philistines. When he arrives to Lehi to meet the Philistines, he rips off the ropes, grabbed the jawbone of a donkey (which was another infraction of his Nazirite vow), and killed 1000 Philistines. To strike them “hip and thigh” likely means to be the stronger of the two parties and to completely take them down. Keep in mind that Samson’s strength comes from keeping the Nazirite vow. Though he has broken the prohibition against touching anything dead, he still refuses to drink alcohol or cut his hair…so far.
Enter Delilah. A beautiful woman has blinded Samson to the dangers around him. And again, she is a Philistine, which the Philistines use against Samson. The root of Samson’s strength remains a mystery to the Philistines. But if they can get to Delilah, they can get to Samson.
The whole time, every instance of deception, the Lord was with Samson. His strength did not leave him. Samsons toys with the Philistines, even offering the idea of using the same ropes as the Jews had tried using. He almost gave up the answer when he told her weave his hair into seven webs. But when another component of his Nazirite vow was broken, his hair being cut, his strength was gone. Delilah uses her feminine wares to entice Samson to spill the beans.
Once his hair was cut and his strength was gone, the Philistines bound him and grouped out his eyes. He was a prisoner now, working in the mill.
When the Philistines gather to make a sacrifice to the local deity, they want Samson to be the night’s entertainment. During his time in prison, his hair began to grow, in fulfillment of his vow. As his strength is returning, he prays to God that he might do in his death what he did not do in his life: save Israel. Or at least, he wants to punish the Philistines. He has one of the men help him find a pillar, he reaches out to touch another one, and in his great strength he pushes the pillars down, collapsing the structure. He may have killed thousands of Philistines during his life, but he killed more at the worship of a false god in his death. All in all, he served as a judge for twenty years.
Chapter 17 begins a new section of the book. The whole idea of the final chapters is just how wretched Israel has become. Basically, all imaginable religious corruption was going on, exemplified in a man named Micah. He tempts a priest to essentially be his chaplain, performing all his normal priestly duties for him and his household.
By way of reminder, the Levites did not have tribal lands of their own, as every other tribe did. They had special cities inside those tribal lands so that priests would be around the people to teach them. However, Bethlehem, where Micah lives, is not one of those Levitical cities. It’s unclear as to why the priest is even there.
Even at this point, not every tribe had taken possession of their tribal land set out by Moses. One of those tribes is Dan. As a group of Danites are getting a sense of their allotment, they run across Micah and the Levite living with him. But instead of correcting the Levite, they ask him for a word from God about their success. Once that small group returns with their report, 600 Danites go up to take the land. They also come back across Micah and the Levite. This time, you think they’re going to rid Micah’s house of the idolatry going on inside. However, now these 600 men want the Levite to be their priest. We’re then told that after they conquer the people, they set up Micah’s idols and worship them “until the day of the captivity of the land” (18:30). A whole tribe of Israelites would be idolaters until God finally removes them from the land.
But don’t worry, things still get worse. Not only was there a priest willing to practice idolatry for one whole tribe, but there was another Levite wondering around with a concubine. He marries her, they get into a little spat, and she leaves him to go stay with her father for a time. The Levite finally goes to his father-in-law’s to get her. After staying for about a week, the Levite and his wife return home. Dusk is drawing nigh, and they settle for the night in the town square of Gibeah because no one will house them for the night.
One kindly old man welcomes them into his house. What follows is almost a shot-for-shot remake of Lot in Sodom. The men of the town want to have sex with the priest, and the old man who owns the house offers his virgin daughter and the priest’s concubine. The men take the concubine and do wicked things to her. She tries to get back in the house, but the priest and the old man don’t let her in. After all that’s been done to her, she dies at the old man’s front door.
The priest takes her body back home, cuts her body into twelve pieces, and sends the various pieces to the tribes of Israel. This sparks a civil war among the tribes, all against Benjamin (where Gibeah, the site of rape and murder, is located). After a few failed attempts, the men of the tribe of Benjamin are nearly wiped out. This kind of thing had only been commanded against people like the Canaanites. It’s unclear if God commanded the annihilation, but it happened nevertheless. However, annihilation was the same fate promised for Sodom and Gomorrah for similar practices.
The Israelites are somewhat regretful that one whole tribe might cease to exist. Their solution is to bring women from Jabesh-gilead to be wives for the remaining Benjaminites. No one from Jabesh-gilead came to fight against Benjamin, so that is there punishment.
Throughout the last sections of Judges, you find this phrase or some version of it over and over again: “There was no king in Israel, and everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” You read this from the time of Samson forward. Whenever the people, whether ancient or modern, reject the word of the Lord, we will necessarily do what is right in our own eyes. The people do in fact need a king. God was supposed to fill that role, but the people reject him time and time again. There will come a king who will lead his people into all righteousness, but there be a succession of wicked kings before him.
Ruth 1-4 (the entire book)
Ruth is set during the same period of the book of Judges. That whole time period of a series of difficult circumstances for the people, all because of their unfaithfulness. But whenever they seek God’s wisdom and trust in his providence, they take the land and are successful in all they do.
Some Jewish traditions say that Samuel wrote the book of Ruth. That’s possible, but it’s equally unlikely since the author talks about David becoming king, which took place after Samuel died. However, Samuel did anoint David to be a future king, so it’s also possible that Samuel is simply speaking prophetically. Either way, the book comes to us as anonymous.
The book tries to show how Israel is one nation, but there are divisions already stewing. The books seems to be an attempt at unification. A woman has two sons who marry Moabite women. After Naomi’s husband and two sons die, one of the Moabites leaves, and the other, Ruth, stays.
Ruth refuses to leave her helpless mother-in-law. It’s a great act of kindness, and they have a better chance at survival together than apart. When Ruth is introduced to Boaz, he has no obligation to her since she is a Moabite and because there is another man ahead of him who has rights to her dead father-in-law’s property. But in his kindness, she pursues the legal avenues to help both Ruth and Naomi. He will keep the land in the family, and he will give his brother’s family children (even though they actually come through Ruth, not Naomi).
In contrast to the book of Judges, Ruth ends on a positive, hopeful note. Instead of, “There was no king in Israel,” Ruth ends by giving us the genealogy of the first rightful king of Israel. God made promises to Abraham about that ensured there would be kings in his offspring. Ruth is the first real sense that that promise is about to come true.
Chapter 21 is another retelling of the Olivet discourse, or the teaching concerning the end of the age and Christ’s return. All of the same components are there: foretelling of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, wars and rumors of wars, the coming of the Son of Man, and a call to be spiritually alert. To read more about this, see the posts on Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13.
The plot to kill Jesus thickens. The Passover is close, and the religious leaders know that this is their chance. They have to move quickly and quietly, because the crowds still like Jesus as a teacher.
Judas prepares his betrayal. Luke notes that “Satan entered into Judas” (22:3). Judas had a pattern of disbelief. He resented Jesus’ behavior toward money. He disagreed with Jesus’ methods. So, much in the same way that Pharaoh hardened his own heart before God hardened his heart, Judas has hardened his own heart long before Satan entered his heart.
During the final Passover, there are a couple of differences between Matthew and Mark, both of which are explained by the author’s intent. Luke has arranged much of his gospel by topic instead of on a thorough timeline. The final Passover meal is no different.
Some have said that there are two cups of wine in this telling of the Lord’s Supper (a true Passover Seder had several cups of wine, each with its own significance). At a close reading, however, all Jesus does is have the disciples divide the wine before having them drink it after the bread. He does not tell them to drink it before giving them the bread. The order of the Passover is the same as Matthew and Mark.
The Passover symbolizes the exodus from Egypt, which included a sacrificial lamb whose blood was spread on the doorposts and lintel with a branch of hyssop. By Jesus saying “This is by body” and “This cup…is the new covenant in my blood”, he is looking back at the sacrificial lamb and saying that he is the fulfillment of those sacrifices. And when he tells us to do it to remember him, there is no sense in which the bread and the wine change into anything else. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial meal. Of course, Christ is spiritually present, which he promises at the Great Commission in Matthew 28.
After their meal, the disciples argue about who will be the greatest in the kingdom. Jesus confronts this misguided idea head on. If you want to be great, run as fast as you can to the nearest place you can serve. Don’t trust anyone who demands titles, exceptions, and recognition. That’s the way the Gentiles run their lives; God’s people are to stand out and in contrast to the world.
Jesus then tells Peter that although Satan wanted Peter in the same way he wanted Judas, Jesus prayed for him. And the Son of God’s prayers never fail to be heard by the Father. With such a glorious truth, Peter responds that he will never fail Jesus, either. It’s a lovely sentiment, but our faith is frail. Jesus will not lose us, but if it were possible, we would lose him. Before morning, Peter will do exactly that three different times.
As they leave the meal and go to the Mount of Olives, Jesus prays. Luke records that an angel came to Jesus and strengthened him. The cup that Jesus mentions is an Old Testament image of God’s wrath. That cup is filled with God’s righteous anger at our unrighteousness and rebellion. But instead of that cup eventually being poured out on us, Jesus is going to have that cup poured out on himself, instead.
Jesus warns the disciples about the temptations coming their way. They will be tempted to reject Jesus as the crowds turn against him. Instead of sleeping, they should be in ardent prayer. In prayer, God gives us strength to overcome trials and temptations. We make our faces like stone, ready to approach anything that comes out way. We all know the temptations we will face; therefore, we should prepare ourselves in prayer beforehand. We do not wait to buy a spare tire when we are broken down on the side of the road. We make sure our spare tire is inflated and in the trunk.
Judas brings his mob with him to arrest Jesus. Jesus says the first words, calling out the betrayal. Jesus has never done any violence to anyone, but here he is being approached and arrested as if he’s a murderer.
Jesus’s word comes true, and Peter runs and denies knowing him. As he is being tried, the crowds mock Jesus. Luke makes it clear that while Jesus will be charged with blasphemy, the blasphemy is coming from the crowd.
The Sanhedrin convenes a couple of time to charge Jesus with blasphemy. That’s a charge worthy of death to the Jews, but Rome has not permitted anyone to carry out a capital punishment except Roman officials. Pilate is their only hope in killing Jesus. Since Jesus is from Galilee, Pilate doesn’t want bothered with him and sends him to Herod, who has Galilee in his jurisdiction. As a joke, Herod dresses Jesus up as a king and sends him back to Herod. Pilate is fed up, and he finally decides to have Jesus get roughed up a little and released.
The only outcome good enough for the people is Jesus’ death. They demand Pilate release another man, Barabbas. Jesus must be crucified, or there will be an even bigger mob. Pilate is still accountable to Rome, and he can’t have a revolution on his hands. In fear, Pilate permits the Roman soldiers to crucify Jesus. Luke even remarks how the crowd was perfectly content to release someone justly imprisoned for murder and insurrection but couldn’t stand the sight of Jesus living another day.
He is led to the site of his crucifixion. There are some women, presumably disciples, who are mourning his death. He tells them that they haven’t seen anything yet. If Rome will kill a sinless man, what will they do to you? He is then crucified with two other men, both criminals. One mocks Jesus as most others have so far. However, only because of divine providence, the second criminal asks Jesus to remember him, recognizing his kingship. And of course, Jesus turns away none who come to him in faith. Jesus will remember this man.
From noon to 3:00pm, the sky went dark. The curtain of the temple was torn in two. There were two curtains in the temple, but the most likely candidate was the temple blocking access to the Holy of Holies. After the curtain was torn, Jesus yelled, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”, quoting Psalm 31:5. While Luke only records a couple of the sayings of Jesus while on the cross, when combing all of the other gospels, we find that Jesus quoted many Psalms during his crucifixion.
At his death, the people realize what they have done. Regret and repentance are two different things. Only the centurion praised God. The crowd considered his death a “spectacle”, and they regretted what they had done. Regret does not repentance make.
Joseph of Arimathea was noted to be a good, wealthy man who did not vote to send Jesus to Pilate. He asked Pilate if he could bury Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. His tomb was freshly cut. This fulfills Isaiah 53:9, which says that the suffering servant would be buried with or by a rich man. When the women found out where the tomb was, they went home and prepared the burial spices. They would now have to wait until the end of the Sabbath to do their final act of adoration. Or so they think.
Psalm 86: There is no one like our gracious, merciful God.
Psalm 87: One day, every nation will recognize your greatness, God.
Psalm 88: People may reject me, but the Lord never leaves me.
Psalm 89: Creation will sing of your greatness forever.
Psalm 90: God has always been our help in ages past.
Israel has entered the time of the judges, the time between Joshua and Samuel. Judges will be a combination of civil and military leaders. Judges came and went, depending on the needs of the people. The judges usually were a response to apostasy, or turning from the covenant and worshiping false gods. When the people repent, God sends a rescuer.
The first judge is Othniel in Judges 3. He’s called the younger brother of Caleb, a contemporary of Joshua. That means that the turn to apostasy did not take more a generation. Othniel rescued the people under God’s rule, and there comes a common refrain: “And the land had rest for forty years.” That phrase will come up a few times, showing that the problem is that of the human heart. If one generation does not teach the next, the next generation will not naturally follow the Lord.
When the people turn from the Lord, the next judge is Ehud. He has an interesting story about stabbing quite the rotund king named Eglan in the gut. Some judges, such as Shamgar, basically get an honorable mention. But the sheer number of judges shows us how little the people of Israel care about keeping the covenant.
However, the fourth judge, Deborah, gets quite the amount of space dedicated to her time as a judge. Israel has been under the rule of King Jabin of Canaan for thirty years when God raises up Deborah. Jabin’s army general, Sisera, is more important to the story than Jabin.
God speaks through Deborah to a man named Barak, and he is told to muster 10,000 soldiers to fight Sisera. Barak says that he will only go if Deborah goes with him. For this reason, some have argued that God raised up Deborah, the only female judge, as a response to the effeminacy and weak will of the Israelite men. There might be some truth to that, but it should be held with charity since the text does not explain why God chose most of the individual judges. The fact is that we’re not told why God chose Deborah, so even if we imagine some biblical reasons, we should not make more of it than it is. There is no mention of anyone being offended that the current judge was a woman, and Barak would only go if she went with him. Before we start to make connections between the time of apostasy in Israel and the church, we must clearly place each body in its appropriate place in redemptive history.
As Sisera is fleeing the battlefield, he arrives at the home (tent) of a man named Heber. Heber’s wife, Jael, is at home when Sisera arrives. She invites him in, and she lets him take a nap. He wants her to guard the door, but instead, as this doofus is sawing logs, she pins his head to the ground with a tent peg and a hammer. Jael is another instance of a strong woman taking action and being rewarded for it.
Barak’s army is successful. All of chapter 5 is a song sung by Deborah and Barak about the goodness of God in successfully expelling the Canaanites from the land.
Again, forty years later (5:31), the people apostatize again. For seven years, the people are ruled by Midian. Gideon’s story begins somewhat like Barak’s. He’s a nervous leader. An angel appears to Gideon, essentially commissioning him as a judge. Gideon is fearful of taking up the charge because he sees himself as a weakling, though the angel has already called him a man of valor. Gideon is told to take his father’s idols, turn them into an altar, and sacrifice two bulls. He is to show the people the only proper way to sacrifice.
Gideon asks twice for evidence that his charge is from God. It simply is not clear why God answered Gideon’s testing. The angel of the Lord had already told Gideon what his job was. What is clear is that Gideon’s faith is quite weak. But notice that what mattered most was that Gideon’s faith was in God, even if it was weak. It is the object of our faith that matters, not the quantity.
Gideon gathers an army, but God said that it was too many. It would be tempting to argue that the army was strong, not God, leading the people into deeper apostasy. Gideon asked if anyone was suddenly too afraid to fight, and 12,000 men went home. The next test was if when the men drank water from a river they lapped like a dog or knelt to drink and brought the water to their mouth. Presumably, those who lapped like a dog had their face in the water and could not seen an enemy approaching, whereas those who knelt down were still ready to fight. From 10,000, now only 300 remained.
God sends Gideon into the Midianite camp for some recon. Gideon is still fearful, even after God’s clear promises, and takes his servant with him. But finally, when Gideon overhears one of the Midianite soldiers talking about a dream he had, he believes that God will be true to his word. He gathers the Israelite soldiers together and are successful in destroying the Midianites.
Gideon’s success turns the people into thinking that he should be their king. They even want a dynasty. In Gideon’s defense, he rejects that offer and reminds the people that God is their only king. From the spoils of war, Gideon makes an ephod, something that only the high priest wore. Gideon will not make himself a king, but he seems to want to make himself a priest. No man declares himself either of those roles; only God raises up kings, and Old Testament priests were from the tribe of Levi, not Manasseh as Gideon is.
As is keeping with tradition, as soon as Gideon died, the people rebelled and turned against the Lord again. Gideon rejected the Israelite offer of kingship, but one of his sons, Abimelech, wants to take them up on it. He’s a horrible, wretched man. He kills all of his brothers so that there no chance of an uprising. One brother, the youngest, escapes and hides.
The people accepted Abimelech’s kingship for three years. Eventually the tribal leaders turned against him because God sent an “evil spirit” on them. This is also accurately translated as “harmful” or “ill” spirit. This definitely is not the Holy Spirit of God. It’s a euphemism for ill will or antagonism between parties. God has alienated them from each other; God has not done evil. The Scripture says it is retribution for him killing his brothers.
A black hat rides into town named Gaal. He doesn’t like that someone else has named himself king over these people. But Abimelech catches wind of the treachery and overtakes Gaal and his men. As Abimelech enters the city of Thebez, many people rush to the top of one of their main buildings. He decides to burn it down. But from the roof, a woman pushes off a stone and crushed his skull. It doesn’t kill him immediately, so he tells his armor-bearer to run his sword through him. He doesn’t want anyone to think that a woman killed him.
There seems to have been no judge during Abimelech’s short-lived reign. But after him comes Tola, who serves for 23-years. Then comes Jair, who reigns for 22-years. Not much is said about either of them. But the people quickly turn away from the Lord again and serve false gods from the people living around them. This takes place for 18-years.
In comes Jephthah. He was born from a prostitute, so he was not eligible for any of father’s wealth or inheritance. However, he was known to be a great fighter and extremely brave. So when the Ammonites start to fight against Israel, Jephthah is called up to lead the army. He has a chip on his shoulder for the wya the people treated him in his youth because of his mother’s participation in the world’s oldest profession. But he says that he will do lead them and be their king if God provides the victory.
The aggression comes from a poor understanding of history. The Ammonites believe the Israelites stole their land when they left Egypt. When the Israelites were leaving Egypt, they asked for permission to pass through Moab and Edom, but they were rejected. It was because of this that the Lord gave their land to the Israelites. Of course, the king of the Ammonites will not cave to Israel.
What happens next is an abomination. Jephthah vowed that if God gave him victory over the Ammonites, he would sacrifice the first thing to walk out of his house. God had already been clear about what an acceptable sacrifice would be. A random, haphazard approach to sacrifice was never acceptable. In this way, Jephthah pretended to think he could please God on his own.
After his victory, Jephthah returns home only to have his daughter, his only child, come out to greet him. In Judges 11:31, the “whatever” he promises to sacrifice as a burnt offering can just as clearly mean “whoever”. It is well within the realm of possibility that Jephthah was always ready to commit a human sacrifice. Not only does Scripture never command human sacrifice, but if anyone did it, they would be put to death themselves (Leviticus 20:2). And, if anyone vowed to do something evil unintentionally, they were not bound to keep it (Leviticus 5:4-6). The bottom line is that Jephthah was in no way bound to keep such an oath. This is an instance of Scripture simply describing what happened, not prescribing what is good.
Jephthah judged for six years, followed by a quick succession of judges: Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon. After their judgeship, Israel again abandoned the covenant. Enter Samson.
A man named Manoah and his wife were barren. And angel of the Lord appeared to her and promised her a son. Her son would be a Nazirite his entire life. The Nazirite vow is described at length in Numbers 6. What was unusual about Samson’s vow is that he does not take it on voluntarily, and it is lifelong. The Nazirite vow required no strong drink, not cutting ones hair, and not coming in contact with dead things. As Samson’s life and judgeship is explored in the upcoming chapters, we’ll see him break every one of his commitments.
It is no coincidence that the disciples saying to Jesus “Increase our faith” comes immediately after Jesus commanding to forgive our brothers every time they offend us. If you have ever been wronged by someone you love or respected, you understand the effort it takes to forgive them. Jewish tradition said that a good man forgives the offending party three times. Jesus does not say that tradition is bad, but he says that every offense, if repented of, can be forgiven.
When asked about increasing their faith, Jesus says that a small amount of faith is suitable for doing great things. What is the object of your faith? If the object of your faith is Christ, then regardless of quantity, it is sufficient. We are to forgive relentlessly, trust in God, and do our Christian duty. We are “unworthy servants” (17:10), only doing what Christ commands.
Jesus is passing through several towns on his way to Jerusalem for the crucifixion. In Jericho, he meet Zacchaeus, a wealthy taxman. He just wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus, but Jesus had plans for him. When Jesus says, “I must stay at your house today”, we hear the certainty with which Jesus saves him and us. When Jesus enters Zacchaeus’ house, he says, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham.” A true son of Abraham is a son by faith, not by genealogy.
In the interaction with the rich young ruler, Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom. But, what is impossible with man is possible with God. When Jesus enters Zacchaeus’ house, the impossible takes place. A rich man divests himself of his wealth which was acquired through fraud and calls Jesus Lord.
Money is a major theme in Jesus’ parables. Some scribes and chief priests are out to kill Jesus, but they need a reason to arrest him. They do so by asking political questions (it’s as if some things never change). “Should good Jews pay taxes?” they ask. But Jesus knows their heart and their intentions. When he sees a coin with Caesar’s face on it, he says that a good citizen renders obeisance to civil rulers. How much more, then, do you owe to God, your creator and sustainer?
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem for the final time. We’re not told what village he stays in, but at a stop along the way ten lepers say to him, “Jesus, Master, having mercy on us” (17:13). Jesus certainly does so, and he has them fulfill the lawful duty of having a priest confirm their new clean status. What we soon find out is that one of them, at least, was not even an Israelite, but a Samaritan. Jesus has already told the parable of the Good Samaritan, and now a Samaritan falls at Jesus’ feet to worship him and give thanks. Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy.
A beggar is sitting along the road, and he says to Jesus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People are trying to shut him up and telling him to leave Jesus alone, that he can’t be bothered. But the man knows that Jesus is his only hope. But instead of listening those people, Jesus has them bring the beggar to him. When asked what he wants, the beggar tells Jesus that he simply wants his sight restored. By calling Jesus the Son of David, he has recognized Christ’s messianic status. As with the Samaritan leper, his faith has made him well.
Luke 17:20-37 is the parallel passage to Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13. As on the topic of prayer, Jesus taught on the end of the age and his return multiple times. In Matthew, Jesus is responding to his disciples’ remarks about how the state of Jerusalem is not as bad he said it was in Matthew 23. Now in Luke, Jesus is asked a question by the Pharisees about the timing of the coming of the kingdom.
Jesus makes the same points as he does in other instances of this teaching. There will be many who say they know when he will return, but they will be each be wrong. When he returns, it will be visible to all to see. You will not need a prophet to tell you that he has returned. Before the kingdom comes, Jesus will suffer and die, then he will inherit the kingdom. Like in the days of Noah, life was going on like normal before the waters rose. Like in the days of Lot, life was going on like normal until the fire and brimstone fell. In like manner, life will go on like normal until the day Christ returns. There will be no secret return, but a single, glorious, visible return for the world to witness.
When the disciples ask where these things will take place at his second coming, he replies, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Luke 17:37). He is simply saying that in the same way you can see vultures circling in the air over a dead animal from a distance, you will see Christ coming. It means the same thing as being able to see a lightning strike in the east and in the west at the same time (Matthew 24:27). In fact, in Matthew 24, Jesus says both sayings back-to-back.
Later, Jesus gives a parable specific to eschatology. Many believed that Jesus would establish his kingdom when he entered Jerusalem, which he is just about to do. But to correct the notion that the kingdom will come sooner than later, he tells the parable of the ten minas (one mina is equal to about three months’ average pay for a laborer). A man leave his servants with his money, telling them to conduct business while he’s gone. Two of the three servants give their master a return on his investments, while one servant wastes it. There were also citizens of this man’s land who hated him and did not want to have him rule over them.
When this man returned (let the reader understand), he rewarded the servants who prospered and condemned the servant who wasted his master’s money. Actually, the servant’s own words condemn him; if the servant really believed that the man was as strict and austere as he said, he would have at least let the money sit in a bank instead of a handkerchief. Those citizens who hated the man were destroyed. When Christ returns, he will reward those who lived for him, condemn those who betrayed him, and destroy those who reject him.
Jesus’ parables about the coming kingdom continue. First comes the parable of the persistent widow. Again, think about whether we should compare or contrast the parable with the kingdom of God. A certain judge is so bothered by a widow who kept showing up to his courtroom demanding justice that only because of her incessant squawking does he give her what she wants. How much more, then, does God want to bring justice for his children?
After all of these parables involving money, a rich young ruler comes and asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. The young man thinks that he has kept the law perfectly, but at best he has kept it superficially. To keep the spirit of the law, his spirit must be broken, and he must part with the false god of money that he actually serves with his heart.
After entering Jerusalem, he tells the parable of the wicked tenants as he teaches in the temple. In keeping with the theme of the second coming, a vineyard owner leaves for an extended period of time. In fact, he’s gone so long that he sends servants to do some inspections. He sends three servants, all of whom are beaten by the tenants/workers of the vineyard. Finally the owner sent his own son, thinking that he would be respected. However, the tenants kill the son, treating him worse than the previous servants. When the owner returns, he has the tenants destroyed.
The Sadducees also try to trick him, and it is noted that they outright reject the resurrection (as they did most supernatural phenomena and explanations). It was customary for the brother of a dead man to have children on behalf of that man. So the Sadducees create a somewhat nonsensical scenario. There are seven brothers, all of them die, and the widow has no children with any of them. When the woman dies, whose wife will she be in the resurrection?
Jesus rejects the premise altogether. Marriage is an image of how Christ loves the church, therefore, marriage is only suitable for the current age. In the age to come, no one will marry, just like how the angels in heaven do not marry in the present age. He goes on to say their own Scriptures prove the resurrection (from the Old Testament!). If God is able to say to Moses that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who were all long dead, then God is not the God of the dead but of the living. Even without their physical bodies, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are alive right now.
Death and resurrection
On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus teaches abut his upcoming death and resurrection for a third and final time. He gives plenty of information about what will take place: he will die, but on the third day he will rise again. The point in this foretelling is that the prophets have said that all of this will happen. Jesus will fulfill not only the law but the prophets, as well.
The triumphal entry is the last time the people will show any kind of respect and honor to Jesus until after his resurrection. They sing Psalm 118 over him as he enters the holy city. As he enters, he sees Jerusalem and weeps for her. Israel/Judah/Jerusalem has always been under threat of foreign oppression because of unfaithfulness. Even at that time, they were under Roman occupation. And in the same way they had rejected the prophets before him, because they will reject the final prophet, Jerusalem will be destroyed again within a generation.
He enters the temple (possibly to show that the presence of God had finally filled the temple in the coming of Christ) and kicks out those selling animals for sacrifices. That was a perfectly legitimate transaction, but the sellers were exploiting the people traveling to Jerusalem who lived far enough away to warrant not bringing live animals with them. During holy week, Jesus was teaching in the temple. During those few days, the religious leaders finally decided he had to go.
Psalm 81: God calls for obedience to the covenant.
Psalm 82: God will judge in righteousness at the right time.
Psalm 83: The nations rage against God, but he will overcome them all.
Psalm 84: It is better to be in the presence of God than anywhere else.
Psalm 85: God is near to those who love and fear him.
The people of Israel are now beginning to have many military victories as they enter into the promised land. Things are going so well that the people are now able to start living in the land and prospering. But as Joshua gets up there in years, there is still much more to be done.
Chapters 13-21 all describe the initial land boundaries for the different tribes. This included the specific cities of refuge, those cities where if a man accidentally kills someone he may flee for protection and await trial or the death of the current high priest. The tribe of Levi did not have their land as did the remaining tribes. The Levites were given cities within the various tribal lands so that there were always priests among the people. The priests were of course charged with the sacrificial system, but their other regular duty was that of teaching the people to obey the law of Moses. They would live among the people instead of making the people go to them to one place, like Jerusalem.
The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manessah (half on one side, half on the other) all took possession of some land on the other side of the Jordan river, which meant some distance between those three and the remaining tribes. There was nothing wrong with taking that land, but all the able-bodied men were required to fight along with their brothers across the river. Now that the majority of the land is conquered, the soldiers from those tribes are given permission to return to their own land and build their lives.
What the ten tribes lost in a visual, they gained in suspicion. The eastern tribes built an altar in their own land, across the river. It appeared to the larger tribes, at least on the surface, that Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manessah were turning into idolaters. A group from the west is sent to get some confirmation about what is taking place. The two-and-a-half tribes assure the other nine-and-a-half that there is no funny business; there are no sacrifices taking place.
Gad, Reuben, and half-Manessah built this altar as a testimony to future generations that they are all a part of the nation of Israel. It is also to remind the larger group of tribes that those who live across the river are brothers, not enemies. We know what that is like within our own families. If we only see each other at weddings and funerals, we lose that intimate knowledge of each other. If the Israelites only see each other at the major festivals, they’re going to basically be strangers. This “witness” altar would at least be a regular visual reminder that the people across the river are compatriots and fellow worshipers of the one, true God.
Joshua, like Moses, then gives a sort of farewell address. He calls the Israelite elders to faithfulness and a firm backbone in leading the people. They’ve entered a new stage of Israelite life. Moses led them out of Egypt, and Joshua led them into the promised land. Now there isn’t going to be a point-man for the nation. They are going to be a group of tribes without centralized leadership. The elders are going to become even more important.
Joshua ends with the covenant renewal at Shechem. As was common, Joshua rehearsed the nation’s history as a reminder of God’s good purposes. Because of God’s faithfulness to the people, Joshua calls on the people to choose faithfulness in return. Of course, no one wants to be seen as a faithless apostate, so everyone says that they will be faithful and true to the Lord.
But this isn’t Joshua’s first rodeo. He tells the people that they are unable to do so in their own power. God is holy and jealous. He does not just throw out pardons and forgiveness wantonly. He is just. But the people affirm their intent, and Joshua tells them that they are witnesses against each other.
Joshua set up a stone as a monument, or a witness, to the covenant that has been renewed. Note, this is not a new covenant between God and Joshua, but a renewal of the Mosaic covenant. Joshua’s death is then recounted. We’re told that as long as Joshua lived, Israel was faithful to God. Eleazar the priest, Aaron’s son, also dies. This means that all of the primary spiritual leadership, everyone that brought the people through the wilderness and into the promised land, has died. The book of Judges picks up immediately where Joshua leaves off. Things are not good.
The term “judge” covers a variety of roles. There is no prophet like Moses, no military leader like Joshua, and no king in Israel. But at times, the people turn faithless and need spiritual leadership to call them to repentance and get them back on track.
There are still people-groups to kick out of Israel. Note that Simeon and Judah are fighting together, because they are living in the same plot of land. Simeon was dissolved as a tribe because of his violence against those who did horrific acts against his sister, Dinah. Nothing happened to the people per se, but the tribe was essentially absorbed into Judah. Levi is not dissolved because they already do not have land of their own, only cities within the other tribes.
Those tribes go up against Canaanites and Perizzites and king Adoni-bezek (Lord of Bezek). It was common practice to cut off body parts essential to warfare, such as thumbs or toes. Try grasping a sword or running without those things! But the tribes have great success. They finally capture Jerusalem for themselves, the future-capital city of Judah.
But not everything is hunky-dory. The threat of faithlessness is all too real. If the people get tired and quit fighting, they will without a doubt assimilate with the pagan people around them. And that is exactly what happens. Manasseh fails to drive out the Canaanites and takes them as slaves. And it wasn’t just one tribe’s problem. Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, and Naphtali all fail to remove the pagans from the land and so disobey God’s word.
The incident of Pilate killing people in Siloam is not recorded in Scripture, and as far as anyone knows, there is no recollection of it outside of Scripture, either. But the impulse of many Jews was to see people who die a violent death as getting a special punishment for some kind of special sin. This is a common belief among the Jews (and many assume it to be true today). Think back to when some tried to question Jesus about the man born blind; was he born this way because of his own sin or because of his parents’?
Jesus corrects this misguided belief by telling them that they will suffer the same punishment or worse if they live unrepentant lives. The point is not that really bad sin leads to being squashed by a falling tower, but that ultimately all sin is deserving of death. Not all sins are equal, but the wages of all sin is death.
Jesus tells many parables throughout this section. The parable of the barren fig tree is a perfect conclusion to the interaction with the people about the Siloam tower. The parable is a great image of God’s patience leading people to repentance. Remember that the parables are all about the kingdom of God. The mustard seed and the leaven envisage small beginnings but enormous ends. The narrow door is the image of what is necessary for salvation; when asked if there will be many who are saved, Jesus reorients the question by saying that it’s better to focus on repentance than numbers alone. The wedding feast teaches that God’s kingdom is a race to the butler’s pantry, not the front row seats. The great banquet shows God’s patience with Israel, and when rejected by Israel, God’s call to the gentiles.
Chapter 15 tells perhaps his most famous parable, the parable of the prodigal son. But the prodigal son is one of three parables told back-to-back. All three are about things or people that are lost. In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd cares for each and every one his sheep and knows exactly how many he has. In the parable of the lost coin, the woman diligently searches for what is hers. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father absorbs back into himself the cost brought about by both sons. In all three parables, they end with celebrations.
Parables require both comparison and contrast. The parable of the dishonest manager is not a call to live dishonestly but a call to wisdom and discernment. Because you cannot serve (be completely loyal to) both God and money, use your money to serve God.
The rich man and Lazarus is a parable about the eternal state and rewards. Since this parable follows shortly after the parable of the dishonest manager, it should be read in a similar way, especially since money is involved in both. Money has a way of blinding us to eternal realities, and the rich man was too focused on luxury and comfort to notice or care about a poor, dying man at his own doorstep. If we care so little for the things of God, we will continue to care little for the things of God in the age to come. The rich man never repents, even in hell. All he wants is a little relief, not forgiveness.
Later comes the parable of the persistent widow. Again, think about whether we should compare or contrast the parable with the kingdom of God. A certain judge is so bothered by a widow who kept showing up to his courtroom demanding justice that only because of her incessant squawking does he give her what she wants. How much more, then, does God want to bring justice for his children?
After all of these parables involving money, a rich young ruler comes and asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. The young man thinks that he has kept the law perfectly, but at best he has kept it superficially. To keep the spirit of the law, his spirit must be broken, and he must part with the false god of money that he actually serves with his heart.
Throughout this section, Jesus continues to heal many people, from exorcisms to physical ailments. These miraculous healings are always to show God’s power over nature and the spiritual realm.
Jesus also has a lot to say about Jerusalem. Jesus once compares himself to a mother hen trying to gather her brood, but the brood keeps running away. And because of their stubborn, hard hearts, they will not accept him as Lord and Savior until their hearts are made anew.
Luke 17:20-37 is parallel to the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24-25 and Mark 13. To make the comparison of the last days to the days of Noah even clearer, Jesus now compares the last days to the days of Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. In both of those instances, those who were saved were those who were left behind. Those who were judged for wickedness were those who were taken and destroyed. And like it was with Sodom and Gomorrah, with fire and brimstone, so it will be again at the end of the age, when Christ returns. Just read about the seven seals, bowls, and trumpets of Revelation to see how accurate that is. When the disciples ask where these things will take place at his second coming, he replies, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Luke 17:37). He is simply saying that in the same way you can see vultures circling in the air over a dead animal from a distance, you will see Christ coming. There will be nothing secret about it. It means the same thing as being able to see a lightning strike in the east and in the west at the same time (Matthew 24:27). In fact, in Matthew 24, Jesus says both sayings back-to-back.
Psalm 76: God is to be feared above all others.
Psalm 77: When my strength is gone, God remains powerful.
Psalm 78: God is just, but he never forgets his promises.
Psalm 79: God will never disappoint us.
Psalm 80: Do not forget us, God, even when we fail.
Deuteronomy 32 is the famous son of Moses. It is the end of the final address that Moses gives to the Israelites before he dies and they enter the promised land. It is not just a rehearsal of Israel’s history up to that point; Moses is giving insight into God’s perspective of that history. He is calling the people to worship God as the creator and sustainer of all things.
Like Jacob, Moses blesses each tribe of Israel individually. They are even similar to Jacob’s blessings of his twelve. However, a keen reader will notice that Simeon is missing from this list of the twelve tribes. In Genesis 49, Jacob says that because of Simeon's anger and violence, he will be dispersed (or dissolved). Remember that he and Levi led the advance in retribution against what happened to Dinah in Genesis 34 (cf. v.25). His punishment for a brash reaction was to have his tribe dispersed, or absorbed into Judah. In one sense, the tribe of Simeon would be "wiped off the map", so to speak, even though the people would be permitted to live. Leaving Simeon out of this particular list is faithful to that blessing/prophecy.
But in Joshua 19, the tribe of Simeon is given a plot of land of their own. However, 19:2 tells us that Simeon will live among the people of Judah. So the tribe of Simeon still technically exists because the people are descendants of Simeon, but they are living among the Judahites, just like Jacob said they would. It's sort-of like a tribe living within a tribe.
Though Moses will not be permitted to enter the promised land, he is buried on Mt. Nebo, which will overlook it. Joshua is now God’s man for Israel. He will lead the charge in the upcoming military conquests.
God speaks to Joshua, commanding and encouraging him to take up the task of leading the people into the land. The people commit to following him.
Joshua sent two spies into the city of Jericho on an information-gathering mission. By staying with a prostitute, the two would likely not garner too much attention. But, the king of Jericho still found out about their mission.
If God told the Israelites to push out all of Canaanites, why did Rahab get special treatment? God is a God of justice, but Rahab also highlights his mercy. Like at the passover, Rahab was to gather all of her family into her house, and the Israelites would pass over her home during their invasion. God never intended for ethnic Israel to be his only people. Rahab, a gentile, would be welcomed into God’s people if she worshipped him and him alone. And of course, she would later be mentioned in Jesus’s genealogy.
The people must travel west from Shittim, over the Jordan river, to Jericho. As they cross the river, God tells Joshua to have one man from each tribe take a stone from the bed of the river and build a memorial in the place they would stay overnight. According to Joshua 4:9, it’s possible that Joshua set up his own memorial in the Jordan river, which would be a second memorial.
Circumcision was the sign and seal of the Abrahamic covenant, and every male was to be circumcised when he was eight days old. Joshua does not circumcise the adult males a second time, but no one practiced circumcision in the wilderness for forty years. So God gives the command a second time. Not only do they get circumcision right, but they also have the first Passover celebration in the land. It’s quite fitting, because ending the wilderness wandering was a type of exodus. All of these are a type, or a shadow, of the greater reality that would be revealed in Christ.
Now that the people are over the river (and through the woods), Jericho is ready to fall. The men of war will walk around the city one time for six days, then seven times on the seventh day with the priests and the ark. When the trumpets blow and the people shout, the walls come a-crumblin’ down. With the defenses (the wall) down, capturing the city was a breeze. Joshua pronounces a future curse on anyone who rebuilds Jericho. Unsurprisingly, the curse is enacted in 1 Kings 16 by a man named Hiel.
When they went to Jericho, everything that was silver, gold, bronze, and iron was to be saved for use the treasury of Israel. But of course, there’s always one. A man named Achan keeps some of it for himself. At the next battle, Israel loses horribly. God reveals to Joshua that someone has kept the devoted things for himself. By fiddling down the possibilities, Joshua finds the man Achan. Achan’s sons and daughters were involved in the thievery (there is no way one man took all that himself), so they are not innocent by any means. Because they lie and steal, they are stoned and burned. Because the evil has been purged from Israel, they become successful in their next battle. They lost at the battle of Ai, and now they win.
The Israelites are not to make any peace treaties or concessions with the Canaanites. A group of Gibeonites deceive Joshua, lying about their origins. The Gibeonites do not want to face the same fate as Jericho, so they con their way into being the slaves of the Israelites. But they “did not seek counsel from the LORD” (9:14). Because they swore protection in God’s name, God did not have them break their word and destroy the Gibeonites. But their punishment for their deception was to do the manual labor for the sacrificial system.
A group of five kings, including the king of Jerusalem (which is not yet under Israelite rule), form a cabal and started a battle in Gibeon, knowing that Israel was now the guardian of Gibeon. This battle is entirely miraculous. God throws down giant stones from the heavens, and Joshua prayed for the sun to stand still during the battle. The book of Jashar is mentioned as corroborating evidence for this miraculous heavenly event. Finally, the people are making some real headway into the land.
In like manner of the initial disciples going out to do the miraculous and to preach, Jesus now sends. Seventy-two disciples. The instructions are quite similar. Seventy-two is often a symbolic number, but there’s no real reason to necessarily take it as symbolic here. Context will usually let the reader know if a number is symbolic or literal.
Jesus mentions several cities. Sodom was destroyed because of its wickedness. Tyre and Sidon were cities mentioned in the Old Testament because of their devotion to Baal worship and idolatry. And yet, these two cities, Chorazin and Bethsaida, which were the two places where most of Jesus’s miracles took place, were more stubborn than the older cities. If those older cities had been around to take part of Jesus’s ministry, they would have repented and believed. It seems to stand true that as human history rolls on, we only get more stubborn toward God.
In the debrief with the seventy-two, Jesus is glad to hear of their success. Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (10:18). He must not be speaking of Satan’s initial rebellion since he says it in the context of this debrief of recent events. It seems as though Jesus saw Satan fall because of the work of the seventy-two. This actually aligns quite nicely with Revelation 12. In that prophetic vision, a woman (Israel) gives birth to a male child (Christ), and because that child is born, a war breaks out in heaven. Michael defeats Satan, and Satan is cast to the earth to pursue the woman. It seems as though these passages are depicting the same period of time. Satan’s initial sin took place long, long ago, before the fall of man. This “fall” is speaking of another time, concurrent with Jesus’s earthly ministry.
Jesus praises the Father for both hiding and revealing spiritual truths. This prayer is imminently Trinitarian. The Father has given the Son all things, and no one knows the Son except those who the Father has chosen to reveal him. Trinitarianism is partly a mystery, but our faith and salvation is rooted in it. We only know of and believe in Jesus because the Father has decided so and because the Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son.
The parable of the good Samaritan is to twist the knife slowly in the hearts of the Jews. Samaritans were hated by the Jews. Samaria was the capital city of the old northern kingdom of Israel. When Assyria took Israel captive, their practice was to remove many natives and scatter them around the Assyrian empire. In turn, Assyria would send people from around their empire to a newly conquered land. The Israelites were already practicing idolatry, so it is no surprise that the religion of the people living in the northern kingdom was barely recognizable as anything related to covenantal, faithful Israelite religion.
But in this parable, the Samaritan is who does the merciful act. And remember, Jesus tells this parable after being asked who our neighbors are. Jesus flips the script and instead says the better question is how to behave as a neighbor. Jesus is the true neighbor and our great example of neighborly love.
Jesus encouraged women to study the Scriptures. That fact does not nullify Paul’s later commands about men and women in the church. Both men and women should be avid reader of Scripture, be able to understand it, and happy to teach it to others. Paul simply gives the proper avenues for doing that.
Mary and Martha are sisters, and like most sisters, are two very different people. Mary is learning from Jesus, but Martha is concerned with pleasing everyone. Jesus has called both Mary and Martha, but we’re told that Martha is “distracted” (10:40). The answer to that problem is to please the Lord over other people and sit at his feet.
Jesus likely taught the Lord’s prayer several times, which accounts for the slight variations between Matthew 6 and Luke 11. In Matthew, Jesus includes this model prayer in the middle of the sermon on the mount. In Luke, Jesus is asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray. Jesus tells them to pray this prayer. It is perfectly permissible to both learn to pray on your own by learning this prayer and to recite this prayer as a prayer itself. In both instances, the Lord’s prayer includes a section on God meeting our daily provisions. So Jesus follows with a lesson on how generous God is to his children.
Jesus was busy casting out demons. He is charged with doing so by Beelzebul, or “the master of the house”, or Satan. If Jesus is powered by Satan, why is he casting out demons? Is that not working against his own master, if that’s true? Of course, it’s nonsense, but some people are willing to throw anything to the wall to see what sticks.
Jesus is always concerned that people know who he is and do not have a caricature of him. As a woman tries to say that Jesus’s mother is a blessed woman, while he does not reject that premise, he instead says that those who keep God’s word are blessed. Worship of and prayer to Mary is idolatry.
Others are only interested in the miraculous. Jesus knows they want proof of his authority, but the only sign he’ll give them (as if his power over nature, exorcisms, and physical healings weren’t enough) is his resurrection, or the sign of Jonah. In Jonah 2:2, Jonah says that he cried out to God from Sheol, not the belly of a fish. It may have been that Jonah actually died. If that’s the case, then the connection between Jonah and Jesus is even less metaphorical and more obvious. This also solidifies the place of typology in the Bible. Typology is when a person, a place, or an event foreshadows something about Christ. In this case, Jonah’s three days in a fish was a type of Christ’s three days in a tomb. The purpose of typology is to see God’s divine hand over redemption history.
If that’s the case, then the Jonah-Jesus connection helps us understand the next passage that speaks about lighting a lamp. The people just want signs, but miracles don’t save anyone. Think about all the miracles that took place at the time of the exodus from Egypt. Nearly three-million Hebrews are saved from slavery and taken by God’s mighty arm into freedom. Three days later, they build a golden calf and choose to worship it instead.
When people are filled with the knowledge of God, miracles are not necessary. The people just want signs, but Jesus says they want them for the wrong reasons. We think miracles will give us faith; only the Spirit of God gives us faith. What is the light that gets put on a stand? Jesus Christ! A healthy eye is a healthy way of seeing and understanding. A bad eye leads to a life full of darkness. If Christ is the light of your life, then you will be wholly bright.
The Pharisees are a constant issue for Jesus. Jesus pronounces woes against them for turning their traditions against the law of God, overturning the authority of Scripture. People like the Pharisees, who always know better, are the ones who killed and persecuted the prophets. So Jesus warns his followers about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. Do not fear the people like the Pharisees; fear God, because his power and authority exceeds every earthly power. The Pharisees lead you away from the word of God, which in turn leads you away from Christ. Therefore, acknowledge Christ before men and turn from hypocrisy.
Jesus taught about similar issues many times to different crowds. What we think of as the sermon on the mount is found in parts throughout Luke. Jesus speaks about the dangers of anxiety in chapter 12. God clothes, or care for, those things which are common and short-lived. How much more does he care for those who are his image-bearers?
The same goes for the Olivet discourse. Jesus teaches us to be ready for his return in Luke 12:35ff. As he teaches about his return in parables in Matthew 25, so he does in Luke 12. We must understand the age in which we find ourselves, seeing that his return is always to be considered at hand. He has not yet returned, but he is near, even at the very gates.
Psalm 71: I am weak, but God is my strength.
Psalm 72: God blesses his people continually.
Psalm 73: I have many lingering questions, but God is my counsel.
Psalm 74: God remembers his covenant promises.
Psalm 75: God is patient now, but his wrath will one day be poured out on the unjust.