Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Sirach 33 – On God’s Creative Will: “Like clay in the hands of the potter to mould as it pleases him, so are men in the hands of their Maker to reward as he judges right. Opposite evil stands good, opposite death, life; so too, opposite the devout man stands the sinner” (33:13-14).
On Avoiding Dependency: “Neither to son nor wife, brother nor friend, give power over yourself during your own lifetime. . . . As long as you live and there is breath in your body, do…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 8th mo. 1, 2012 at 8:05am — No Comments
Sirach 27 – The dangers of being in business or commerce: “It is difficult for a merchant to avoid doing wrong and for a salesman not to incur sin. Many have sinned for the sake of profit, he who hopes to be rich much be ruthless” (27:1).
“The kiln tests the work of the potter, the test of a man is in his conversation” (27:4).
Do not betray the confidence of friends. You will lose them, “[f]or a wound can be bandaged and abuse forgiven, but for the man…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 28, 2012 at 9:56am — No Comments
Sirach 24 – “Wisdom. . . glories in herself in the presence of the Mighty One” (24:1-2). ‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and I covered the earth like mist. . .Over the waves of the sea and over the whole earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I searched for rest, and looked to see in whose territory I might pitch camp. Then the creator of all things instructed me, and he who created me fixed a place for my tent.
Added by Irene Lape on 7th mo. 26, 2012 at 9:55am — No Comments
Esther 7 – The king’s eunuchs come to get him for the banquet with Esther. There, the king asks Esther what it is she wants; and she tells him she desires only “the lives of [her] people” (7:4). In the course of talking to him about the matter, Haman’s name comes up as the one behind the terror. The king leaves the banquet in a fury and Haman realizes the “gig is up.” He begs Esther for mercy and help. When the king returns he thinks Haman is trying to assault Esther. One of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 6th mo. 20, 2012 at 6:54am — No Comments
Tobit 13 – A song of praise to God:
Blessed be God who lives forever,
for his reign endures throughout all ages!
By turns he punishes and pardons;
he sends men down to the depths of the underworld
and draws them up from supreme…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 6th mo. 17, 2012 at 6:16am — No Comments
Tobit 3 – There follows a lovely ode on his unworthiness and desire for God’s forgiveness – here is some of it:
You are just, O Lord,
And just are all your works,
All your ways are grace and truth,
And you are the Judge of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 6th mo. 12, 2012 at 8:30am — No Comments
2 Kings 24 – King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Jerusalem Bible says Nabu-kudur-usur, founder of the Neo-Babylonian or Chaldean Empire, which succeeded Assyria from 605-562. This expedition to Palestine took place around 602. He defeated Pharaoh at Carchemish in 605. He comes to dominate Judah. Jehoiakim “became his servant for three years,” but then Jehoiakim rebels. “The Lord” sent against them bands of Chaldeans, Arameans, Moabites and Ammonites “to destroy” Judah…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 6th mo. 10, 2012 at 5:48am — No Comments
1 Kings 12 – Rehoboam goes to Shechem and all Israel comes there to make him king. Hearing this, Jeroboam returns from Egypt. The people complain to Rehoboam about the burdens his father had imposed on them and ask him what he will do to lighten the yoke. He asks advice of the older leaders and they tell him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them. . .they will be your servants forever” (12:7). But he…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 16, 2012 at 7:47am — No Comments
1 Kings 8:22-66 – In the presence of all the people, Solomon stands before the altar and prays. He raises his arms to God and asks that God will keep the covenant He has made. He says this: “But can you, O God, really live on earth? Not even all of heaven is large enough to hold you, so how can this Temple that I have built be large enough?” (8:27-30).
There is in this passage much of the same tension that must have come upon the Jewish…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 12, 2012 at 7:44am — No Comments
1 Kings 6 – 480 years after leaving Egypt, 4 years into Solomon’s reign, they start on the Temple. It was 60 by 20 cubits, 30 cubits high [or 90’ by 30’ and 45’ high]. It’s interesting how exact the biblical account is on the dimensions. It is similarly précised when it describes the Ark Noah was told to build [450’ by 75’ by 45’] and the Ark or Covenant Box that was built to contain the “words” or “commandments” of God [45” by 27” by 27”]. The stone used was finished with precision…Continue
2 Samuel 22 – A hymn of praise and thanks attributed to David for delivery from his enemies. It is Psalm 18 with some small differences:
The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my
God, the rock, in whom I take refuge. . .
He reached from on high, he took me, he drew me out of
mighty waters. . .
He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those…Continue
2 Samuel 2 – The Lord tells David to go into Judah, to the town of Hebron, a very important city to the south and west of the Dead Sea. He goes with two of his wives—Ahinoam of Jezreel (his first wife) and Abigail of Carmel (formerly wife of Nabal – see 1 Samuel 25). There David is anointed king over the house of Judah. The tradition of 2 Samuel is different from the account in 1 Samuel 16:1, where Samuel goes out in search of the shepherd boy whom God…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 13, 2012 at 10:00am — No Comments
Baruch 4 – What God has given to the people, the commandments of the Law, a knowledge of “what pleases God” will stand forever, Baruch tells us. “Turn back, Jacob, seize her, in her radiance make your way to light” (4:2-4). He urges them to “take courage,” for “I have put my hope in the Everlasting to save you, and joy has come to me from the Holy One, because of the mercy that will soon come to you from your everlasting savior” (4:23). “Look toward the east, O Jerusalem, and see the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 5, 2012 at 8:04am — No Comments
Baruch 3 – “[T]he soul in anguish and the wearied spirit cry out to you” (3:1). “Learn where there is wisdom, where there is strength, where there is understanding, so that you may at the same time discern where there is length of days and life, where there is light for the eyes and peace” (3:14). This begins to sound a lot like the wisdom literature. There is even a touch of environmentalism here as in the following:
Baruch 2 – The Lord is true to his threats as he is to his promises—both of which are the legacy of Moses to his people (the blessings and the curses). An interesting passage seems to ask the Lord to save his people because only the living can offer God the glory and praise appropriate to God. “Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see, for the dead who are in Hades, whose spirit has been taken from their bodies, will not ascribe glory or justice to…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 3, 2012 at 8:32am — No Comments
Lamentations 3 – If you are not torn apart by the words of this lament, I do not understand it. The comments I have in my notes on this reflect the many different “states of mind” I have brought to it over the years. It slays me every time.
Here are the first three verses:
“I am one who knows what it is to be punished by God. He drove me deeper and deeper into darkness and beat me again and again with merciless blows. He has left my flesh open and raw,…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 30, 2012 at 7:11am — No Comments
Lamentations is a poetic description of the desolation Jerusalem suffered in the wake of its destruction in 586 BC—attributed to Jeremiah. Each “chapter” of Lamentations consists of a 22 verse poem.
Lamentations 1- “How lonely lies Jerusalem, once so full of people! Once honored by the world, she is now like a widow; the noblest of cities has fallen into slavery” (1:1).
The “bride” of Yahweh cries and is without any allies or…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 28, 2012 at 8:01am — No Comments
Listen to this post: http://www.turtleboxstories.com/audio/fullnessofexistence.mp3Continue
Added by Cathy Barney on 3rd mo. 17, 2012 at 10:30am — No Comments
Jeremiah. 34 - With Nebuchadnezzar at the gates, Jeremiah is told to go to King Zedekiah, and tell him the Lord is handing the city over to the king of Babylon. If he obeys, he will die in peace; if not he will die by the sword. Only the fortified towns of Lachish and Azekah hold out.
Zedekiah had agreed to emancipate all Hebrew slaves (presumably to provide more defenders for their side; but maybe also because they knew they had not obeyed the command of YHWH to…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 14, 2012 at 8:51am — No Comments
I was thinking today how quickly people will grab a Bible Commentary, read a book, listen to a YouTube Video or ask a friend for spiritual answers, yet they are deathly afraid of listening to allow God to teach them. We have been trained to think it is impossible for God to speak to us or teach us directly, even through the Scriptures. The religious culture always points us to "experts" who are more learned than the rest of us.
Yet the Scriptures often speak of waiting and hearing…