Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Numbers 20 – The people arrive at Kadesh in the desert of Zin, southwest of the Dead Sea. Here Miriam dies. But the focus of the chapter is on another rebellion, this time over the lack of water at Kadesh. When Moses consults the Lord, He tells Moses to order water to issue from a rock to satisfy the people. When Moses does this he strikes the rock twice and orders it to yield the promised water, saying, “Listen to me, you rebels! Are we to bring water for you out of this…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 15, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments
Numbers 19 - This reading has to do with the preparation of “lustral water” which is necessary under the law for purifying or cleansing those who have had some kind of contact with death. The water is made first of all by sacrificing an unblemished red heifer as a sin [hattat] offering, outside the camp, burning its remains with some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet yarn, all suggestive of blood as is the color of the heifer.
The ashes from this burning are…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 14, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments
Numbers 6 – Nazirite vows - nazir means “set apart as sacred, dedicated.” Those who take the vow may not drink wine or strong drink (anything from grapes). He may not cut his hair or enter where a dead person is—even family. If someone dies suddenly in his presence he must cut his hair seven days after, bring two turtle doves or pigeons to the priest to offer as sin offering and holocaust and renew his vow.
When the period of dedication is over, he shall…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 6, 2013 at 6:06am — No Comments
Leviticus 26 – There can be no idols or sacred pillars and the Sabbath must be honored.
Then comes the setting forth of blessings and curses—this was common in contracts in the ancient Near East according to Schocken (632]. The reward for obedience will be God’s care—rain, harvests, food in abundance, security in the land, peace (26:5-6).
“I will set my Dwelling among you, and will not disdain you. Ever present in your midst, I will be your…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 4, 2013 at 6:57am — No Comments
Exodus 39 – The vestments made and the work presented to Moses for his blessing are here described. The colors of everything are specified including even the color of the thread to be used (gold).
The names of the twelve tribes are engraved on a dark reddish gem mounted into gold. All the various garments are described in great detail and all are decorated with gems and gold. “The Israelites did all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 17, 2013 at 6:31am — No Comments
Exodus 19 – Some of the interesting observations made by the Schocken translator in his introduction to chapters 19-24 include the following: the mountain serves as a bridge between heaven and earth [Augustine would run with this image in his sermons]—and only Moses is permitted to ascend it.
Mt. Sinai itself never became a holy site for the Israelites. The…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 31, 2013 at 6:51am — No Comments
Exodus 14 - Pharaoh decides to pursue the people and overtake them encamped by the Sea. “As Pharaoh drew near, the Children of Israel lifted up their eyes: . . . They were exceedingly afraid. And the Children of Israel cried out to YHWH” (14:10). The people start blaming Moses for putting them in this predicament (14:11). “What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 26, 2013 at 5:45am — No Comments
Exodus 6 – God assures Moses that He will punish Pharaoh. He repeats to Moses the essence of his promises: that through his appearances to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He established a covenant which He is now acting upon – He will rescue His people from their slavery; He will take them as His own. And the people “will know that I, the Lord am [their] God when I free [them] from the labor of the Egyptians and bring [them] into the land which I swore [to give their ancestors]”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 19, 2013 at 6:50am — No Comments
Introduction: We turn here from the origins of the earth’s peoples—nations, races and clans—to the origins of the Jewish people religiously and politically. While we have no “outside”—extra-biblical—sources to weigh historical information against, the [historically/culturally] experiential impact of the exodus memory/story is impossible to set aside.
The memory/story, which is recounted here, is not only reality-orienting for the Jewish people,…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 16, 2013 at 7:31am — No Comments
Job 38 – Finally God speaks out of the tempest, the whirlwind:
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them” (38:2-3).
He is speaking to Job but really through Job to all of us: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?” (38:4) In a way, God speaks the very same arguments Elihu spoke, but the difference is He is speaking directly and…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 14, 2013 at 5:46am — No Comments
Job 32 – The three “friends” of Job now give up on him “because he kept insisting on his innocence” (32:1).
Elihu, son of Barachel the Buzite, now speaks to Job in anger. He is younger that all the others, so he has tried to hold his tongue, but now he is annoyed that the three “friends” have been so unsuccessful in convincing Job that he must have sinned. He thinks it is “the spirit in men, the breath of Shaddai, that gives them…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 11, 2013 at 5:47am — No Comments
Job 22 – Eliphaz now talks: He seems to say the Almighty gains nothing by the conduct of the virtuous man. But then he goes on to accuse Job of iniquity, the kind of iniquity that some think the rich are always guilty of. Job was, after all, a very wealthy man before he was struck down:
“You exact pledges from your fellows without reason, and leave them naked, stripped of their clothes; you do not give the thirsty water to drink; you deny bread to the hungry.…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 6, 2013 at 5:53am — No Comments
Job 20 – Zophar speaks out of an emotional response to the insults he hears from Job. The joy experienced by those who are “wicked” is always brief. “Though evil is sweet to his taste, and he conceals it under his tongue; though he saves it, . . .holds it inside his mouth, [t]his food in his bowels turns into asps’ venom within him” (20:13-14). This is what God does to the wicked man.
Job 21 – Job replies: He rebukes Zophar for thinking he is assailing him.…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 5, 2013 at 5:57am — No Comments
Job 10 – Job says he is disgusted with his life and must complain about it. “I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me—tell me the charge you are bringing against me’” (10:2).
Job believes God does not “see” with the eyes of men – God is eternal and so mysterious, it is pure pride to claim any kind of “knowledge.”
“You guided my conception and formed me in the womb. You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together. You…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 1, 2013 at 6:21am — No Comments
Genesis 45 - Unable to go on any more with this, Joseph dismisses everyone and reveals himself to his brothers. “He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace” (45:2).
After having put them through the wringer, Joseph now tells them they are not to reproach themselves any more: “It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives . . . to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 21, 2013 at 6:12am — No Comments
Genesis 32 – Now Jacob turns his attention to the fears he has about what might await him at his home. He camps in a place called Mahanaim (meaning Double-Camp according to Schocken) where he sends messengers ahead and learns that his brother Esau is coming to meet him with 400 men. He is afraid for his children, especially for his favorite wife and child, so he divides his family and his possessions into two. He begs the Lord to remember the covenant he cut with…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 2nd mo. 8, 2013 at 5:30am — No Comments
Part of my responsibilities as clerk of Ministry and Worship are to compile an annual report. In it, my Monthly Meeting seeks to attain the Spiritual State of the Meeting. The past several years, we’ve relied upon an online survey to gather information from members and regular attenders. It…Continue
Genesis 20 - A doublet of 12:10, but involving not the king of Egypt but the King of Gerar, a kingdom south of Gaza, Abimelech. Abimelech has a dream from God revealing the truth of what Abraham is doing and he confronts Abraham. The idea of God’s prophets being favored and being people who can intercede with God for us is reinforced here (20:7). Abraham learns that there is fear and respect for God outside his own people, so at Abraham’s intercession, God does…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 1st mo. 27, 2013 at 6:29am — No Comments
Genesis 6 – “Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives” (6:1-2). This story of the “sons of god” are mythological deities mating with the daughters of man and presumably bringing forth the Nephilim, from whom the heroes of men arose. The Greek myths we are familiar with are full of these stories of gods and goddesses…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 1st mo. 19, 2013 at 7:00am — No Comments
Psalm 90 – “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home. Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God” (90:1-2).
“For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 12th mo. 29, 2012 at 6:32am — No Comments