Romans 1:14 – 5:19 – 6:23
One of my beliefs about life, God, and our existence is balance, the balance of the universe. It’s referred to throughout the Bible and history. So here are three verses in Paul’s letter to the Romans that made me think about the balance. Continue reading
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Those born in the 1950’s certainly recognize these verses as part of a Pete Seeger song made famous by The Byrds, Turn Turn Turn. The song has been touted as an anti-war song. King Solomon was not writing a song for the “peace movement” when composing these eight verses. King Solomon was reminding us about the balance of the universe. Continue reading
Righteous are you, O Lord,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
But you, O Lord, know me;
you see me, and test my heart toward you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
For the evil of those who dwell in it
the beasts and the birds are swept away,
because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”
The English Standard Version of the Bible gives verses one through four the title: “Jeremiah’s Complaint”. Some of the commentaries I have read about these verses state that this is not Jeremiah quarreling with God, or attempting to quarrel with God, but it is a plea. I would say a plea for justice. Continue reading
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry.
“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.
“Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
I’ve known that the first half of these verses were called “The Beatitudes”, but never really knew the definition of the word “beatitude”. So I looked it up. Continue reading
To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.
Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?
When I read these verses, I am reminded of the arrogance of man and so is Jeremiah who wrote these lamentations for Israel. I am reminded of the arrogance of people who assume that all justice is defined as they see it. I am talking about the arrogance of those who think that punishment is to be doled out to their own sense of revenge. The assumption that they are the sole proprietors of making the determination of the punishment to fit the crime. People believe they are the center of the universe and therefore the balance is of their doing and it is to be to their satisfaction. But we are only a mere sub atomic particle in the infinity of space.
Justice is very subjective. Continue reading
“Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’”
The prophet Malachi has written the words of God, and here he has written another example of the arrogance of man. This is God calling us out for our arrogance.
Israel had its expectations of God just as we do now. They had expectations about what God should or shouldn’t be doing. So when God didn’t meet their expectations they spoke as Malachi has written in these verses. Continue reading
Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
This is just another quick post about the balance of the universe. Perhaps it would make more sense if I said equality of the universe. Because Isaiah is writing about God’s consequences for sin and unrighteousness. God’s will to balance things. Continue reading