The Lively Lectionary Old Testament is a blog that reflects on the Old Testament text from the Revised Common Lectionary each week.

Who is God? - Reflections on Job 38:1-7, 34-41

Some readers imagine that God here merely reiterates the sharp attacks against Job’s arrogance, but I think not. I see God winking slyly, and saying to Job to go on and “tread down the wicked in their place,” as you think I do, knowing full well that Job cannot do that, precisely because God does not do that either! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Reflections on Job 1:1; 2:1-10

It is only in year B in the round of lectionary texts that we get the opportunity to examine the rich and complex book of Job, and that for only four weeks. I urge you preachers to take full advantage of this chance to offer your congregation something of the wonders of this challenging story. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

A Powerful Woman - Reflections on Proverbs 31:10-31

Nearly all other materials from the book of Proverbs has to do with instructions given by male mentors to young men, but at the very end, the collectors of the book provide us with a portrait of a truly powerful and worthy woman, a wife, mother, provider, a hard-working and clever pillar of the community, praised by her husband and recognized by all as the very epitome of what it means to be a strong and capable woman in Israel, according to this branch of the school of wisdom. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Woman Wisdom Cries Out - Reflections on Proverbs 1:20-33

We find in Prov.1:20ff the intriguing and mysterious figure of Woman Wisdom, whose call to all is to embrace what she has to offer, namely true wisdom, the choice of which will lead inevitably to security and ease, and freedom from disaster (Prov.1:33). 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Limited Truths - Reflections on Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23

Proverbs are here designed to tease one into active thought, to think more deeply than simple repetitions of bumper sticker blathering. This is a lesson that every generation must relearn, lest we do nothing more than mouth what others have said. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Love Among the Flowers - Reflections on Song of Songs 2:8-13

The Most Beautiful Song offers to us a superb and winsome portrayal of a sacred sexual relationship, a picture of a man and a woman lusting after one another with genuine human desire, announcing to all who read that such desire is not only fabulous and wondrous, but is also a desire born of God

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Cleaning Up the Kings! - Reflections on 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14

 The editor’s attempt to clean up the figures of the story is a rank failure. The Bible will never let us forget that both of these men were human, both weak and vindictive, and ofttimes thoroughly unlovely. Creatures of God, as are we all, but humans at full stretch at the same time. So it is with the people of God, and so it always will be.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

A Most Sordid David - Reflections on 2 Samuel 11:1-15

The story is so well known as not to need reiteration, yet the details of the sharply composed narrative arrests our attention each time we read it.  In that way, perhaps he is more like us than we care to admit. But also perhaps like us, God can make something of him nonetheless.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Who Makes the Church? - Reflections on 2 Samuel 7:1-14a

David has his plans carefully designed to present both opulent palace and temple as living symbols of his greatness as king. This text suggests that there is a significant problem with David being the architect of the temple. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

David the Politician - Reflections on 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12-19

All events have conspired to solidify the throne for David. He only lacks one thing: a major religious symbol around which the people of Jerusalem may rally. The fabled ark of the covenant will be just the thing.

Monday, July 5, 2021

A Nation Yet to Be - Reflections on 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10

We are right to love our country, as long as we know its fuller history, and as long as we recognize that we worship not our country, but the God who is over all countries, loving and challenging all of them, including our own, to seek to follow the ways of justice and righteousness.

Monday, June 28, 2021