Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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May 28 - Morning

"Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob."
- Psalms 24:3-6

An Ancient Jewish Liturgy for Progressing into the Temple Courts

Psalm 24 appears to be a series of liturgical questions and answers similar to our modern church’s responsive readings. A photo of the excavated southern steps of the ancient temple mount (or, better, a visit to this excavated archaeological site) presents a clear image of where a progression of Jewish worshippers would have advanced into the Temple courts. Worshippers would walk up this long stone stair case cut into the bedrock of Mount Moriah while reciting the answers to these questions presented to them by their priestly leader (or, a priestly chorus.) (see excavation site south of the Temple and diagrams here)

The ten verses of this Psalm can be divided into three basic parts for study purposes:
• 24:1-2 – a hymn praising the Lord for creation, establishment and sustaining dominion of the earth
• 24:3-6 – the responsive liturgical portion used to prepare the hearts of worshippers through self-examination and confession of faith. This confession is recorded into three parts: (1) Question, (2) Answer, (3) Statement of Faith. This middle section ends with a time of silence and inner reflection identified by the word “selah.”
• 24:7-10 – the liturgy continues with the resuming of the procession into the temple courts that seems to include the transportation of the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-edom to Jerusalem or from David’s tent of worship into Solomon’s Temple on Mount Moriah. Then in the years that followed this Psalm could have been a ceremonial reenactment of these historical events.

Specifically verses 3-6 identify the spiritual and moral condition required of a man who:
• Desires to worship the Lord who created, sustains and rules the universe.
• Desires to progress wit the Lord into his glory and dwelling.

The ”mountain of the lord” would refer literally to Mount Moriah in Jerusalem and metaphorically to the throne room of the eternal God.

Who may enter to worship the God who brought “order” (a word that refers to “fixed it” and “established it” in 24:2 recounting Genesis 1:1-3) “chaos” (referenced again as “seas” and “rivers” in 24:2 from Genesis 1:1-3).  Who can worship the God of “order”? Only he who himself has “order” ruling his moral life! The worshipper of this holy God must:
• Have innocent hands
• A pure heart
• Reject false thinking (or, reject a false worldview which is a form of chaos)

Basically who may ascend into God’s place of order and holiness? Only those who themselves think and function I order and holiness. No one who is themselves disorderly (lie, deception, etc. ) can bring their false reality and alternative views and lifestyles of chaos into the presence of the Lord’ holiness and order.
Palal (Hb) – Pray (Eng) – palal is the Hebrew word that means “to pray,” “to intervene,” “to mediate.” Palal refers to mediating or coming between two parties in order to help. In 1 Samuel 2:25 palal means mediate between two people. In Ezekiel 16:52 palal means make a judgment or a decision for two people with differing interests. One of the things Samuel did was palal continuously for Israel in 1 Samuel 12:23.
Is my life confused because of disorder and unholy decisions? I will seek an organized life that is lived in holiness before the righteous Lord and Creator.

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


Complete Text

General Text


Spiritual gift


Proclamation of God's Word
Freedom of Religion
The Gambia

The model of the Gezer Calendar. (Details 1, 2)
An on-site diagram of the Canaanite City Gate in the Philistine city of Ashkelon.

Someone to Quote

“After more than sixty years of almost daily reading of the BIBLE,  I never fail to find it always new and marvelously in tune with the changing needs of every day." -Cecil B. DeMille

Something to Ponder

There is an interesting parallel between the events surrounding Jesus in Mark 4:35-43 and the words of David in Psalm 107:23-31:

"That day when evening came, he said to his disciples,  'Let us go over to the other side.'  Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?'  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves,  'Quiet! Be still!'  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples,  'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!' " - Mark 4:35-43

"Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind." - Psalm107:23-31

Here’s a Fact

Until 1906 the fifty biblical references to the Hittites remained unsupported by text outside of scripture or with archaeology discovery.  But, by 1912 the  German archaeologist, Hugo Winckler, had discovered over 10,0000 clay tablets from the Hittite’s royal library in their ancient city that had served as the capital of the biblical Hittite Empire. (Details 1, 2)


"If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
    even their prayers are detestable."

- Proverbs 28:9

Coach’s Corner

Selfishness tarnishes the greatest man, the boldest achievement and the most glorious day.

1 Samuel 6
New International Version (NIV)
The Ark Returned to Israel
When the ark of the Lord had been in Philistine territory seven months, the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us how we should send it back to its place.”
They answered, “If you return the ark of the god of Israel, do not send it back to him without a gift; by all means send a guilt offering to him. Then you will be healed, and you will know why his hand has not been lifted from you.”
The Philistines asked, “What guilt offering should we send to him?”
They replied, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers.
Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land. Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When Israel’s god dealt harshly with them, did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way?
“Now then, get a new cart ready, with two cows that have calved and have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord and put it on the cart, and in a chest beside it put the gold objects you are sending back to him as a guilt offering. Send it on its way, but keep watching it. If it goes up to its own territory, toward Beth Shemesh, then the Lord has brought this great disaster on us. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not his hand that struck us but that it happened to us by chance.”
10 So they did this. They took two such cows and hitched them to the cart and penned up their calves. 11 They placed the ark of the Lord on the cart and along with it the chest containing the gold rats and the models of the tumors. 12 Then the cows went straight up toward Beth Shemesh, keeping on the road and lowing all the way; they did not turn to the right or to the left. The rulers of the Philistines followed them as far as the border of Beth Shemesh.
13 Now the people of Beth Shemesh were harvesting their wheat in the valley, and when they looked up and saw the ark, they rejoiced at the sight. 14 The cart came to the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and there it stopped beside a large rock. The people chopped up the wood of the cart and sacrificed the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord. 15 The Levites took down the ark of the Lord, together with the chest containing the gold objects, and placed them on the large rock. On that day the people of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices to the Lord. 16 The five rulers of the Philistines saw all this and then returned that same day to Ekron.
17 These are the gold tumors the Philistines sent as a guilt offering to the Lord—one each for Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath and Ekron. 18 And the number of the gold rats was according to the number of Philistine towns belonging to the five rulers—the fortified towns with their country villages. The large rock on which the Levites set the ark of the Lord is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh.
19 But God struck down some of the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh, putting seventy of them to death because they looked into the ark of the Lord. The people mourned because of the heavy blow the Lord had dealt them. 20 And the people of Beth Shemesh asked, “Who can stand in the presence of the Lord, this holy God? To whom will the ark go up from here?”
21 Then they sent messengers to the people of Kiriath Jearim, saying, “The Philistines have returned the ark of the Lord. Come down and take it up to your town.”
Hosea 7
New International Version (NIV)

whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed     and the crimes of Samaria revealed. They practice deceit,     thieves break into houses,     bandits rob in the streets;

but they do not realize     that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them;     they are always before me.

“They delight the king with their wickedness,     the princes with their lies.

They are all adulterers,     burning like an oven whose fire the baker need not stir     from the kneading of the dough till it rises.

On the day of the festival of our king     the princes become inflamed with wine,     and he joins hands with the mockers.

Their hearts are like an oven;     they approach him with intrigue. Their passion smolders all night;     in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.

All of them are hot as an oven;     they devour their rulers. All their kings fall,     and none of them calls on me.

“Ephraim mixes with the nations;     Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.

Foreigners sap his strength,     but he does not realize it. His hair is sprinkled with gray,     but he does not notice.
Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,     but despite all this he does not return to the Lord his God     or search for him.
“Ephraim is like a dove,     easily deceived and senseless— now calling to Egypt,     now turning to Assyria.
When they go, I will throw my net over them;     I will pull them down like the birds in the sky. When I hear them flocking together,     I will catch them.
Woe to them,     because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them,     because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them     but they speak about me falsely.
They do not cry out to me from their hearts     but wail on their beds. They slash themselves, appealing to their gods     for grain and new wine,     but they turn away from me.
I trained them and strengthened their arms,     but they plot evil against me.
They do not turn to the Most High;     they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword     because of their insolent words. For this they will be ridiculed     in the land of Egypt.
Psalm 111-114
New International Version (NIV)
Psalm 111

Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
    in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

Great are the works of the Lord;     they are pondered by all who delight in them.

Glorious and majestic are his deeds,     and his righteousness endures forever.

He has caused his wonders to be remembered;     the Lord is gracious and compassionate.

He provides food for those who fear him;     he remembers his covenant forever.

He has shown his people the power of his works,     giving them the lands of other nations.

The works of his hands are faithful and just;     all his precepts are trustworthy.

They are established for ever and ever,     enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.

He provided redemption for his people;     he ordained his covenant forever—     holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;     all who follow his precepts have good understanding.     To him belongs eternal praise.
Psalm 112

Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land;     the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are in their houses,     and their righteousness endures forever.

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,     for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,     who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;     they will be remembered forever.

They will have no fear of bad news;     their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;     in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.

They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,     their righteousness endures forever;     their horn will be lifted high in honor.
The wicked will see and be vexed,     they will gnash their teeth and waste away;     the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
Psalm 113

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
    praise the name of the Lord.

Let the name of the Lord be praised,     both now and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,     the name of the Lord is to be praised.

The Lord is exalted over all the nations,     his glory above the heavens.

Who is like the Lord our God,     the One who sits enthroned on high,

who stoops down to look     on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust     and lifts the needy from the ash heap;

he seats them with princes,     with the princes of his people.

He settles the childless woman in her home     as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 114

When Israel came out of Egypt,     Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,

Judah became God’s sanctuary,     Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,     the Jordan turned back;

the mountains leaped like rams,     the hills like lambs.

Why was it, sea, that you fled?     Why, Jordan, did you turn back?

Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,     you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,     at the presence of the God of Jacob,

who turned the rock into a pool,     the hard rock into springs of water.

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