All posts by Steve Goold

I live in Champlin MN with my beautiful wife and daughters and I make my living as a drummer and these things are actually true and I can't believe it and am so grateful.

Daniel Is Sickened By God’s Will

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #23:

Daniel, chapters 7-8
Job 21:1-21
John 13:12-17
Jude, verses 1-7

“And I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days. Then I rose and went about the king’s business, but I was appalled by the vision and did not understand it” (Dan 8:27). This is Daniel having a vision about the future, about things that the Lord has planned and will allow/accomplish, and he is not encouraged by this vision. He literally gets sick over it. This is a good reminder to me that the Lord’s grand plans include things that I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen if it were up to me, things that might even really bum me out.

“You say, ‘God stores up their iniquity for their children.’ Let him pay it out to them, that they may know it” (Job 21:19). Job is impatient for justice to be done to the wicked, a sentiment I have shared many times. God has his own timing for this, however, and he is patient and merciful. God’s mercy toward the wicked as compared to my impatience is one of the things that makes him God.

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (Jn 13:14-15). The economy and functionality of authority and rank in the Kingdom of God is not the same as in the kingdom of man.

“Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude, vs 5). Jude nonchalantly credits JESUS with bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, even though Jesus is never mentioned in the Exodus account. This would be worth pointing out in any discussion about the doctrine of the Trinity.

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #24:

Daniel 9
Job 21:22-34
John 13:18-30
Jude, verses 8-16

“For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy” (Dan 9:18). Wow, does Daniel ever NAIL the essence of the Gospel with this sentence. This is Daniel’s version of Psalm 115:1.

“One dies in his full vigor, being wholly at ease and secure, his pails full of milk and the marrow of his bones moist. Another dies in bitterness of soul, never having tasted of prosperity. They lie down alike in the dust, and the worms cover them” (Job 21:23-26). Rich or poor, everybody dies.

“Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him” (Jn 13:27). So is Satan to blame, instead of Judas? Does Satan entering Judas absolve Judas of responsibility for his actions? It’s a question worth pondering.

“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively” (Jude, vs 10). Note that the destruction comes at the hand of instinct. In other words, the wicked in this text are instinctively doing that which kills them.


The Venom Of Cobras

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #21:

Job 19
Daniel, chapters 3-4
John 12:37-50
2 John

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). This is an encouraging verse, right? Yes, it is. But just remember the context. Job just got done describing the way God had “kindled his wrath” against him. Job sees God as BOTH a redeemer AND sovereign over suffering.

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Dan 4:37). I am noticing a similar thing in this text as in the Job text above. God clearly is the one who sends Nebuchadnezzar into crazy town, for the very purpose of demonstrating his power to him and through him. And then, when it’s all over, Nebuchadnezzar is NOT bitter or angry toward God, but gives him praise and honor, declaring his ways to be right and just. Nebuchadnezzar does not see God as unkind or unjust simply because he allows/decrees suffering in his life.

“For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God” (Jn 12:43). How could this be? Could such a misplaced love come from logic, or from reason, or intelligence? Rather, an error of affection like this only comes from DISEASE. Enter the doctrine of depravity.

“For whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works” (2Jn 11). Whoa… what? Is this hyperbole? Merely greeting someone who has become apostate and no longer teaches the truth makes you an accomplice in apostasy? I honestly do not understand this.

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #22:

Job 20
Daniel, chapters 5-6
John 13:1-11
3 John

“Though evil is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue, though he is loath to let it go and holds it in his mouth, yet his food is turned in his stomach; it is the venom of cobras within him” (Job 20:12-14). The paradox (or bummer, rather) or evil: it is pleasing while being poisonous. Oh Lord, may I not desire that which is venom.

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously” (Dan 6:10). This is Daniel modeling the proper prioritizing of the glory that comes from man and the glory that comes from God (see the above Jn 12 quote).

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (Jn 13:3-5). It’s noteworthy to me that Jesus’ motivation for this well-known act of service is “knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands” (vs 3). We too know that the Father has given all things into Jesus’ hands. Evidently that knowledge should push us toward an attitude of serving others.

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3Jn 4). This verse carries more weight with me now that I myself am a father and desire my children to walk in the truth.

Daniel Knows His Babylonian Literature

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #19:

Ezekiel 48
Job 17
John 12:12-19
1 John 5:6-12

“And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There” (Ez 48:35). What was merely an attribute becomes an identity, and furthermore, an identity that wasn’t formerly but is now and “from that time on.”

“He has made me a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom men spit” (Job 17:6). This chapter is about how terrible Job is feeling, but I don’t want to miss that he again credits God with his afflictions (it’s worth noting how frequently this happens in Job). We all know enough about the Job story to know that God rebukes him at the end of the book, but it will be interesting to see if the rebuke is because Job is incorrect to claim that God is the source of his suffering.

“And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written” (Jn 12:14). This clear fulfillment of prophecy and the way it is worded makes me wonder if Jesus ever states in the gospels that he is aware that his actions are fulfilling prophecy. Does anyone know if this is the case? A quick Google search didn’t turn anything up for me just now.

“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1Jn 5:12). It’s interesting that the “believing” is not present in this verse, but only “having.” The concept of belief is used elsewhere in John’s writings, but it just stands out to me that it isn’t used here.

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #20:

Daniel, chapters 1-2
Job 18
John 12:20-36
1 John 5:13-21

“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank” (Dan 1:8). Don’t miss the fact that Daniel’s issue with potentially defiling himself is with only the FOOD of the Babylonians, though we see only a few verses earlier that he was forced to study the literature and language of this pagan nation. Verses 17-20 reveal that God himself gives Daniel and his friends great understanding and wisdom in the literature of the Babylonians. Daniel refuses to break God’s direct command, but is not afraid of immersing himself in the culture of Babylon.

“Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God” (Job 18:21). Bildad is listing all the ways that wickedness doesn’t end up profiting a man in the end. He’s correct, right? I’ve pointed this out before and I’ll do it again: the book of Job is confusing to me. God’s rebuke to Job’s friends (at the end of the book) comes because they spoke wrongly. Is this chapter an example of Bildad speaking wrongly? It sure doesn’t seem wrong.

“Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out” (Jn 12:31). A few years ago I spent some time studying the main views on the “millenium” concept found in Revelation 20. This verse would seem to support the “Post-Mil” and “A-Mil” positions.

“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1Jn 5:18). This is a really heavy-hitting verse. How should we understand the phrase “does not keep on sinning”? Should we assume that it means “never sins again”? I think all of us would admit that we have missed that mark entirely.

The Past Two Years

A couple years ago Bryan asked me to join him on this blog. I am woefully underqualified to keep up with someone like Bryan in anything other than disc golf (I will defeat him on the disc golf course any day of the week), but I was flattered to be given such an invitation. In June of 2011 I launched headlong in to a series of posts culled from the notes I had taken during my year-long Bible reading plan, which at that time I had recently completed and was starting again. Reviewing and posting my notes was a very enjoyable thing to do a and a cool way to read through the plan a second time. I got about halfway through the readings before my post regularity started to dwindle, and then, right around when Bryan began his haitus from his regular posting, I also just kinda stopped posting.

Inspired by Bryan’s return to blogging I too and going to pick it up again, finishing out the final 1.5 months of readings. Given the whole “year-long” aspect of the reading plan, I should have finished the posts in May of 2012, and my new goal is to be done by the end of May 2013. So I’m just turning the year-long reading plan into a two-year-long plan. No big deal.

A quick review on the reading plan and the posts:
1) There are 25 readings per month, which gives time for a few “missed days” in the calendar schedule.
2) There are 4 different sections of the Bible represented in each reading (OT Narrative, OT prophecy, NT gospel, NT epistle). This creates some really cool cross-text relationships and opportunities to connect dots within the Bible as a whole.
3) I took notes on all the readings during my first year through the plan, and these posts are my way to share those notes.
4) The act of posting my notes on a blog is an invitation for discussion and feedback on the readings. Let’s talk about it! Finish these last couple months of readings with me and sound off as you go!

And so, I’m am picking things up midway through the April reading sets…

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #17:

Ezekiel, chapters 42-44
Job 15:17-35
John 11:45-57
1 John 4:7-21

“It had a wall around it, 500 cubits long and 500 cubits broad, to make a separation between the holy and the common” (Ez 42:20). Separating good from bad (or holy from common) is not a politically correct action, but here is the Lord including such a separation in his holy temple anyway.

“Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself, for emptiness will be his payment” (Job 15:31). Note that the deception behind trusting in emptiness is a SELF deception.

John 11 contains one of the most compelling descriptions of God’s sovereignty and human accountability that I’ve found in scripture: “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation” (vs 52). This verse refers to Caiaphas’ declaration that one man would die sacrificially for the sake of the people, but he CLEARLY did not intend the double meaning of Jesus’ substitutionary atonement and the political ploy of having Christ executed in order to facilitate continued Jewish influence under Roman rule. So Caiaphas speaks with BOTH his heart’s wicked intentions and the Lord’s righteous intentions, with BOTH meanings bound up in the same sentence. Amazing.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1Jn 4:20-21). This verse always reminds me to search my heart and take every thought captive, especially the thoughts I have toward those that seem to be my “enemies.”

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #18:

Ezekiel, chapters 45-47
Job 16
John 12:1-11
1 John 5:1-5

“You shall do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who has sinned through error or ignorance; so you shall make atonement for the temple” (Ez 45:20). Apparently ignorance is not an excuse for sin in Ezekiel-era Israel. A sin committed unknowingly was still a sin.

“Even now, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high” (Job 16:19). This verse comes on the heels of verses 11-18, where Job credits God for all of his afflictions. So Job knows that God is sovereign over his pain, and yet still views God as his advocate/witness/testifier.

“The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me” (John 12:8). This is a commonly misunderstood verse. Jesus is not trying to make some sort of existential declaration that poor people will always exist. Rather, he is stating that the opportunity to help the poor is something that we as Christians will have on a regular basis. We can always help the poor. We are not short on situations where the poor need our assistance. We should approach each day knowing that there will be poor people who need our aid.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome” (1Jn 5:3). Loving God means keeping his commandments, but we must also see the commandments as not simply an obligation.

Believing And Loving

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #15:

Ezekiel, chapters 38-39
Job 14
John 11:17-37
1 John 3:19-24

“Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore” (Ezk 39:28). The Lord is glorified through both the sending into exile and the rescuing from exile.

“Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass” (Job 14:5). This is a great example of where I have trouble understanding the book of Job. Is this statement from Job an error? Is Job speaking wrongly here? Or is this accurate, and Job’s mistaken statements are elsewhere in the book?

“Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” (Jn 11:37). This is a fair question, right? But the problem with this statement isn’t faulty logic behind the question, but that it is questioning at all, rather than TRUSTING.

“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (1Jn 3:23). “Believing” is listed right alongside “loving” in this verse. Lately the aspect of Christianity that revolves around belief gets a lot less attention than love, but here it is, and it’s no less than a commandment.

Daily Scripture readings for April, set #16:

Ezekiel, chapters 40-41
Job 15:1-16
John 11:38-44
1 John 4:1-4

My primary question after finishing today’s readings in Ezekiel: what are jambs? “Then he brought me to the nave and measured the jambs. On each side six cubits was the breadth of the jambs” (40:1). I’m not your most experienced home improvement guy, so I had to look it up.

“Are you the first man who was born? Or were you brought forth before the hills? Have you listened in the council of God?” (Job 15:7-8). Spoiler alert: This kind of sarcasm is roughly how God himself responds to Job at the end of the book.

“I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me” (Jn 11:42). This verse is another example of Jesus saying something out loud that somewhat misrepresents actual reality. Without Jesus’ explanation we would be left with the possibility that God doesn’t always hear Jesus, since Jesus is thankful for having been heard in this specific instance.

Implications from today’s 4 verses in 1 John:
1) There are false spirits in the world
2) we can and should be able to distinguish false spirits from true ones
3) Jesus himself is the line in the sand
4) we should not fear false spirits because Jesus has overcome them.