Thursday, February 16, 2012

Isaiah 13, 14 & 15

Isaiah 14 must be one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I feel like I need to add a caveat tht "they're all wonderful, of course" but you know what I mean.

In the first half, we read this:

12 Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground. 13 You said to yourself: "I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the [gods'] assembly, in the remotest parts of the North. 14 I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." 15 But you will be brought down to Sheol into the deepest regions of the Pit. 16Those who see you will stare at you; they will look closely at you: "Is this the man who caused the earth to tremble, who shook the kingdoms, 17 who turned the world into a wilderness, who trampled its cities and would not release the prisoners to return home?" 18 All the kings of the nations lie in splendor, each in his own tomb. 19 But you are thrown out without a grave, like a worthless branch, covered by those slain with the sword and dumped into a rocky pit like a trampled corpse.

I've talked about this on the other blog before, but there are belief systems out there that call themselves Christian, but also say that if you live a good life, have a good religious "holy" marriage and follow all the right rules, then after death, you can be "exalted" and become a god like the god of this planet.

First of all, that's like the opposite of Christianity. I hope that's self-evident.

Secondly, there's only one place in the Bible where someone explicitly desired to become a god. This is it. And it doesn't end too well for him, does it? In case it's obscure from this excerpt, that's Satan that God is talking about.

Don't be like Satan, mmkay?

The second half of Isaiah has some of my most favorite passages ever:

24 The Lord of Hosts has sworn: As I have planned, so it will be; as I have purposed it, so it will happen...26 This is the plan prepared for the whole earth, and this is the hand stretched out against all the nations. 27 The Lord of Hosts Himself has planned it; therefore, who can stand in its way? It is His hand that is outstretched, so who can turn it back?

Phew. I get such a thrill reading that. "As I have planned, so it will be." God doesn't need a plan B. I love it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Matthew 10, 11 & 12

My mind is a jumble today, so I'm having trouble forming coherent thoughts. However, one thing that stuck out to me was this: When Jesus was talking about John the Baptist, among many other things he says that John "did not come eating and drinking, and they said he had a demon. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they called him a glutton and a drunkard."

First of all, now Scriptural validation for my pet saying, "No matter what you do, there's always someone ready and willing to tell you you're doing it wrong."

But secondly, I know there's a whole contentious school of thought about whether or not Jesus drank actual wine or just grape juice. I was raised by juicers, but how could anyone have accused Jesus of being a "drunkard" if he only ever drank plain old grape juice? I do know people who think you're a drunkard even if you only have a glass of champagne to celebrate the New Year. It doesn't take becoming drunk to make legalists think you're an alcoholic. Jesus wouldn't have had to do more than socially nurse a goblet of wine at a wedding to set their tongues wagging.

Just my random thoughts for the day powered by pure caffeine. I'd probably do better if I had some protein before I did these. And now we're off-topic.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Isaiah 10, 11 & 12

The thing that stood out most to me is the beginning of chapter 10, where it says woe to those who enact crooked laws and pass oppressive statutes. All I can think about is first, how this is an election year, and second, how many people still to this day thing God doesn't really care about politics or the political workings of our country. God has an awful lot to say about the way societies are run, most of it very stern warnings. I can't imagine that the responsibility for making that evil decisions won't extend to those of us who elected the people that made those decisions. Just something to chew on pre-primary.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Job 8, 9 & 10

I'll be honest, when I started this one, I wasn't really excited. Job is pretty depressed at this point and It's not fun reading negativity. Not real negativity, anyway. And then another one of his friends pops up and starts saying, well, a lot of good things actually. Talking about how God is sovereign and powerful and all-knowing...and then saying, so obviously He knows you've sinned, Job, so stop pretending and just confess your sin already.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but if there's anything to learn from Job's friends, it's that we can take good biblical truth and absolutely ruin it by putting our own spin on it. It's like the people who use the book of Proverbs as ammo. We may be "right" in what we're saying, but not in how we're saying or how we're applying it.

And then, when this friend stops speaking, at the beginning of Chapter 10, Job gets snarky. I almost laughed out loud. "Wisdom will die with you!" Yes, obviously you know way more about my situation than I do, so please, continue telling me everything I'm doing wrong from a position of total ignorance. And he goes on to say, even fish know as much as you do on this subject. Bahaha.

At least, that's how I read it. I'm sure that's not the model way to reply to a well-meaning idiot...but it made me smile today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Joshua 8, 9 & 10

I was wondering while I was reading, how there are so many battles in the Old Testament, and how so many people have a serious problem with it. Joshua led the Israelites, essentially razing the Middle East. Over and over it says they took a city and left no one alive. Now, when they did leave some alive, it always led to misfortune - they'd leave the women alive and then the Israelite men would get seduced into idolatry or other alternative lifestyles. So there is that. But I wonder if there isn't another layer to it.

The people who make treaties with Israel come to them and say, "We have heard about you and your God..." not because of the miracle in Egypt (primarily) or sending down manna and quail for days on end. No, it was because of their battle conquests. And that brings foreigners into the tribes and leads them to worship God.

I wonder if perhaps that's another reason God chose to lead the Israelites in battle to claim the Promised Land, rather than just striking down all the people already inhabiting it supernaturally. I wonder if it was because it gave the people a chance to make peace and form treaties rather than be annihilated, because at that time, they would recognize superior military strength as having supernatural implications that today we wouldn't.

I don't know. I don't have a conclusion. I just wonder.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gen 8, 9 & 10

God remembered Noah.

Good thing, too. I imagine it was getting pretty stinky in there. Chapter 10 is a genealogy chapter, and I did read it. I don't know how much I got out of it, but I am glad there are other people out there who make that their focus of study, able to trace back the origins of the human race through these records.

This is also where we see God's promise manifested in the rainbow. I remember in high school one of my Sunday School teachers saying how much it saddened her to see God's promise to us, of safety and beauty, being distorted to represent something completely different. And it's true, having grown up in surrounded by that culture, I do have to make an effort to see a rainbow and remember the real meaning behind it.

This also makes me stop and think: many people, at least as children, have an inherent fear of thunderstorms. And, presumably, thunderstorms were involved in the Great Flood. Doesn't it speak to God's love for us that He made His physical reminder that He will never use a flood to destroy the earth to pop up after every storm? I mean, just having it written in the Bible would be sufficient. It is for every other one of His promises (just throwing that in there). And yet, it's like after every rain, God is telling us not to be afraid, that we don't need to worry, He still promises. I can't express it very well right now, coffee is working slow today. But I like that.

This week's memory verse:

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven." Matthew 5:16