Spiritual Training

Spiritual Training X2

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June 25 - Morning

"By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy;

they said, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion!'

How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.

Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. 'Tear it down,' they cried, 'tear it down to its foundations!'

Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."

- Psalms 137

The Captured Band

Psalm 137 records the experience and confessions of the temple musicians during their first years in Babylon after their deportation in 586 BC. This Levitical order of musicians were likely among those who had ignored Jeremiah’s teaching and watched him as he was publicly mocked in stocks on the temple mount (Jeremiah 20:1-6), possibly while they had performed in the background. Now, Jeremiah’s words had been fulfilled and his warnings had proven just.

The Hebew noun neharot in Psalm 137:1 translated “rivers” or “streams” is a reference to the many canals cut through and around the beautiful city of Babylon connecting the Tigris and Euphrates for protection, travel and resources.

Nebuchadnezzar’s deportation of the Jews included the plundering of the Temple of precious metal (gold, silver, bronze, etc.), furniture and articles, but also the transportation of the priestly musical instruments into Babylon. Taking the levitical musicians along with their musical instruments captive would be similar to kidnapping your favorite rock and roll band along with their guitars and sound equipment. Then, setting up their stage and demanding they perform an outdoor concert of party and celebration. This is seen in Psalm 137:2, “There among the poplars,” when the Levites express how difficult it is to perform the joyful songs (example: the Psalms of Ascent) while they are in a foreign land and the image of their burning temple and slaughtered bodies of members of their community is still fresh in their memory. (The remains of the Assyrian palace of Sennacherib in Nineveh preserves a similar setting in a relief showing Assyrian captors watching their Jewish prisoners from Lachish carry and play their lyres, or “guitars”, as they are deported into a foreign land in 701 BC.)

In 137:5 the Jewish musicians take an oath and curse their tongue from singing and their right hand, which was used to strum the lyre, from its skill of playing if they sing the joyful songs of Zion for the Babylonians.

Instead these Levitical musicians turn this chance to perform songs of joy formerly sung on the Temple Mount into a song (Psalm 137) with lyrics of angry vengeance and rebellion toward their Babylonian captors and their Edomite neighbors (see book of Obadiah) who cheered the success of the Babylonian destruction. These priestly musicians end this song that is sung for their captors with the lyrics:

“Happy is he who repays you…he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”

These lyrics are on the opposite side of the spectrum of musical lyrics. These words swinging from words of joy and celebration to shouts of chaos and rebellion.
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Yom (Hb) - Day (Eng) - The basic translation of yom is “day” as referring to the time from sunrise to sundown. The opposite of yom is Layla (“night”).
The two words
yom and Layla are used in contrast in:
Genesis 1:14
Exodus 10:13
Isaiah 28:19
Jeremiah 36:30
Amos 5:8

In addition to referring to the period of time from sunrise to sundown called “day,”
yom can also refer to:
• A 24 hour period of time
• A general period of time
• A moment in time
• A historically important point in time
Am I careful to judge a statement against the knowledge of the Word of God before I embrace it as truth?

Bible Reading Descriptions Here


General Text


Property and possessions


Christ-like attitudes and actions
Illegal drugs

Remains of a shepherd's tower in the hills of Benjamin
Details and labels for the location of the Pool of Siloam and the road that ran from the Pool of Siloam north along the Western Wall. This is a model of Jerusalem in 66-70 AD.
(Details for this road.)

Someone to Quote

"The Christians build hospitals in which they receive the poor, the sick, and travelers, and in each city they have one, two or even three hospitals. But I never heard that the Saracens (Muslims) have more than two hospitals, one at Tunis and the other at Alexandria."
- Raymond Lull (1235-1315), Spanish mystic and missionary

Something to Ponder

Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), a Spanish soldier and founder of the Jesuit Order, said in 1522:
"To arrive at the truth in all things, we ought always to be ready to believe that what seems to us white is black if the hierarchical Church so defines it."

(Both the OT prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 5:20 and Jesus in Matthew 6:23 warned of this twisted attitude.)

Here’s a Fact

In the book of Acts the author Luke accurately uses the language, words and the official titles popular during the first century when he wrote. The appearance of these words in Luke’s writings gives credibility to the authenticity of his writings since a forgery or an author of a later date writing a pseudo-graph would not have had the ability or knowledge Luke demonstrates. Here are some examples from the book of Acts:

14:11 – Lycaonian is the language spoken at Lystra 16:8 – Troy was properly called Troas 17:6 – Magistrates in Thessalonica are also called “politarchs” on inscriptions 17:18 – “spermologos” was a slang word in Athens that correctly applied to their view of Paul 19:35 – “neokoros” is the correct Roman title of honor 27:28 – taking soundings to measure the depth of water is correctly referred to as “bolisantes” 28:7 – the leader on the Island of Malta is correctly called “protos tes nesou” (“first man of the Island”) and not “chief”, “king”, or some other term that would not have been correct in the contemporary, local language.


"Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone."
- Proverbs 25:15

Coach’s Corner

Don’t let tomorrow find you unprepared. Meet tomorrow with a plan and with expectations.

2 Samuel 3
New International Version (NIV)
The war between the house of Saul and the house of David lasted a long time. David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.
Sons were born to David in Hebron:
His firstborn was Amnon the son of Ahinoam of Jezreel;
his second, Kileab the son of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel;
the third, Absalom the son of Maakah daughter of Talmai king of Geshur;
the fourth, Adonijah the son of Haggith;
the fifth, Shephatiah the son of Abital;
and the sixth, Ithream the son of David’s wife Eglah.
These were born to David in Hebron.
Abner Goes Over to David
During the war between the house of Saul and the house of David, Abner had been strengthening his own position in the house of Saul. Now Saul had had a concubine named Rizpah daughter of Aiah. And Ish-Bosheth said to Abner, “Why did you sleep with my father’s concubine?”
Abner was very angry because of what Ish-Bosheth said. So he answered, “Am I a dog’s head—on Judah’s side? This very day I am loyal to the house of your father Saul and to his family and friends. I haven’t handed you over to David. Yet now you accuse me of an offense involving this woman! May God deal with Abner, be it ever so severely, if I do not do for David what the Lord promised him on oath 10 and transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and establish David’s throne over Israel and Judah from Dan to Beersheba.” 11 Ish-Bosheth did not dare to say another word to Abner, because he was afraid of him.
12 Then Abner sent messengers on his behalf to say to David, “Whose land is it? Make an agreement with me, and I will help you bring all Israel over to you.”
13 “Good,” said David. “I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.” 14 Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, “Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins.”
15 So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. 16 Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, “Go back home!” So he went back.
17 Abner conferred with the elders of Israel and said, “For some time you have wanted to make David your king. 18 Now do it! For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies.’”
19 Abner also spoke to the Benjamites in person. Then he went to Hebron to tell David everything that Israel and the whole tribe of Benjamin wanted to do. 20 When Abner, who had twenty men with him, came to David at Hebron, David prepared a feast for him and his men. 21 Then Abner said to David, “Let me go at once and assemble all Israel for my lord the king, so that they may make a covenant with you, and that you may rule over all that your heart desires.” So David sent Abner away, and he went in peace.
Joab Murders Abner
22 Just then David’s men and Joab returned from a raid and brought with them a great deal of plunder. But Abner was no longer with David in Hebron, because David had sent him away, and he had gone in peace. 23 When Joab and all the soldiers with him arrived, he was told that Abner son of Ner had come to the king and that the king had sent him away and that he had gone in peace.
24 So Joab went to the king and said, “What have you done? Look, Abner came to you. Why did you let him go? Now he is gone! 25 You know Abner son of Ner; he came to deceive you and observe your movements and find out everything you are doing.”
26 Joab then left David and sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern at Sirah. But David did not know it. 27 Now when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into an inner chamber, as if to speak with him privately. And there, to avenge the blood of his brother Asahel, Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.
28 Later, when David heard about this, he said, “I and my kingdom are forever innocent before the Lord concerning the blood of Abner son of Ner. 29 May his blood fall on the head of Joab and on his whole family! May Joab’s family never be without someone who has a running sore or leprosy or who leans on a crutch or who falls by the sword or who lacks food.”
30 (Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon.)
31 Then David said to Joab and all the people with him, “Tear your clothes and put on sackcloth and walk in mourning in front of Abner.” King David himself walked behind the bier. 32 They buried Abner in Hebron, and the king wept aloud at Abner’s tomb. All the people wept also.
33 The king sang this lament for Abner:
“Should Abner have died as the lawless die?
    Your hands were not bound,     your feet were not fettered. You fell as one falls before the wicked.”
And all the people wept over him again.
35 Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!”
36 All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them. 37 So on that day all the people there and all Israel knew that the king had no part in the murder of Abner son of Ner.
38 Then the king said to his men, “Do you not realize that a commander and a great man has fallen in Israel this day? 39 And today, though I am the anointed king, I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer according to his evil deeds!”
Nahum 3
New International Version (NIV)
Woe to Nineveh

Woe to the city of blood,     full of lies, full of plunder,     never without victims!

The crack of whips,     the clatter of wheels, galloping horses     and jolting chariots!

Charging cavalry,     flashing swords     and glittering spears! Many casualties,     piles of dead, bodies without number,     people stumbling over the corpses—

all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,     alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution     and peoples by her witchcraft.

“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.     “I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness     and the kingdoms your shame.

I will pelt you with filth,     I will treat you with contempt     and make you a spectacle.

All who see you will flee from you and say,     ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’     Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”

Are you better than Thebes,     situated on the Nile,     with water around her? The river was her defense,     the waters her wall.

Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength;     Put and Libya were among her allies.
Yet she was taken captive     and went into exile. Her infants were dashed to pieces     at every street corner. Lots were cast for her nobles,     and all her great men were put in chains.
You too will become drunk;     you will go into hiding     and seek refuge from the enemy.
All your fortresses are like fig trees     with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken,     the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.
Look at your troops—     they are all weaklings. The gates of your land     are wide open to your enemies;     fire has consumed the bars of your gates.
Draw water for the siege,     strengthen your defenses! Work the clay,     tread the mortar,     repair the brickwork!
There the fire will consume you;     the sword will cut you down—     they will devour you like a swarm of locusts. Multiply like grasshoppers,     multiply like locusts!
You have increased the number of your merchants     till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky, but like locusts they strip the land     and then fly away.
Your guards are like locusts,     your officials like swarms of locusts     that settle in the walls on a cold day— but when the sun appears they fly away,     and no one knows where.
King of Assyria, your shepherds slumber;     your nobles lie down to rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains     with no one to gather them.
Nothing can heal you;     your wound is fatal. All who hear the news about you     clap their hands at your fall, for who has not felt     your endless cruelty?
1 Kings 15:1-24
New International Version (NIV)
Abijah King of Judah
15 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom.
He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam throughout Abijah’s lifetime. As for the other events of Abijah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Asa his son succeeded him as king.
Asa King of Judah
In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, 10 and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom.
11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. 12 He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. 13 He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life. 15 He brought into the temple of the Lord the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.
16 There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.
18 Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 19 “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”
20 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maakah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. 21 When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah—no one was exempt—and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah.
23 As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. 24 Then Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king.

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