Text Book For The Future

Text Book For The Future

Joel 1: 2-3

Hear this, you elders;
    give ear, all inhabitants of the land!
Has such a thing happened in your days,
    or in the days of your fathers?
Tell your children of it,
    and let your children tell their children,
    and their children to another generation.

The English Standard Version Bible titles Chapter 1 of the Book of Joel as,  “An Invasion of Locust”.   Joel is referring to the outside invaders of Jerusalem, who will plunder and carry off the nation of Israel to Babylon.  Joel poetically describes the destruction of a once great and powerful nation and its reduction to rubble.  He begins his lament with a warning to the elders of Israel, advising them to be sure they record this disaster and share it with future generations.  It’s basically the old adage, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Continue reading

The Great Light

The Great Light

Isaiah 9:2

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,

on them has light shone.

Biblical scholars’ commentaries on this verse say that Isaiah is referring to the defeat of the Assyrian army and that the great light mention may be referring to the coming of Christ.

I thought differently when I read this verse and decided to write about it. Continue reading

Twinkies and Candy Bars

Twinkies and Candy Bars

Isaiah 55:1-2

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.

 “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”  That is a question we all should ask ourselves every day, and then we should honestly answer it. Continue reading

Expectations Of God

Expectations Of God

Job 24:1

“Why are not times of judgment kept by the Almighty,

    and why do those who know him never see his days?

Job is responding to the accusations of his friends.  They are telling him that he has committed some sort of sin to incur the wrath of God.  They believe the tragedies that Job has suffered were not just a random act.

Job who is a righteous man has lost his wealth and his family.  His friends have come to console him but they end up chastising Job for not admitting to the sin they are sure he has committed. Continue reading

Selfish Expectations

Selfish Expectations

Hosea 13:5-6

It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
    in the land of drought;
but when they had grazed, they became full,
    they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
    therefore they forgot me.

These two verses touch on a number of themes. There is the balance of the universe, times of  little and times of plenty.  And the subject of how we tend to pray like crazy when things go wrong, but when times are good, we don’t give thanks or realize what we have.  But today these verses brought to mind the arrogance of man.

The arrogance of man, the pride and selfishness to believe that we are the universe.  The arrogance of our expectations.  If the outcome doesn’t fit our expectations then all that happens throughout the universe are just random acts that have no rhyme or reason.  So we believe that we are not responsible for the consequences of our actions.

Verse 5:

It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
    in the land of drought;

The Jews were lead out Egypt by God.  They wandered in the wilderness, and even though they were presented with miracles, they turned away from God.  During their times of hardship some thought it might be better to return to slavery. At least they would be given just enough food and shelter to survive.

Their arrogance and expectations not being met, made them willing to sacrifice their freedom for the comfort of the known.  The Jews were willing to abandon God just to be taken care of by an oppressor, even though it would be a sorrowful existence.  They were willing to abandon God because they did not like the consequences of their actions.

God wasn’t meeting their expectations.  The Jews must have thought; when we signed up for this freedom we didn’t think it would be this hard and require such a commitment.  To the Jews, slavery was better than dealing with hard times in order to get to the good times.  Their expectations were not being met and so God was to blame.

Their fortunes did turn around.  The good came after sticking it out for forty years.  But did they realize that through their work and the consequences of their actions, that the balance of the universe came into play?  Did they remember what brought them to the land of milk and honey?

No, they abandoned God in the good times.  Why think of God and give thanks for your blessings when you are not in want?

Verse 6:

but when they had grazed, they became full,

they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;

therefore they forgot me.

When things are bad we like to blame someone else, but when things are good we credit ourselves, admire our work and abandon God.  At that point we feel we have no need for God.  This is our arrogance and selfish expectations.  We fail to see the balance, the bad that will get us to the good, and the good that will take us to the bad.

What God has given us through prayer, thoughtful, honest contemplation and an open heart, is the ability to deal with and survive both the good and the bad, as we seek God and the path of righteousness.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Vexation And Sorrow In Knowledge

Vexation And Sorrow In Knowledge

Ecclesiastes 1:13-14

And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

When I read this verse I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about it, but I knew I had to write something.

King Solomon decided to seek as much wisdom and knowledge as he could about what goes on in the world.  Solomon says he is going to “apply his heart” which means his very essence and being, to seeking this knowledge.  This is his life’s quest. Continue reading

Give Your Son That We May Eat Him

Give Your Son That We May Eat Him

2 Kings 6:24-29

Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” And he said, “If the Lord will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.”

I read these verses and was a bit taken back by the matter of fact telling of this story.  Try to imagine having to go through something like this.  Try to imagine the brutality and inhumanity that is sited in stories like this and others from the Old Testament.  It’s quite stunning. Continue reading