I am the Lord, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me
This is God talking to King Cyrus.
In this verse God is reminding Cyrus where his power and authority come from. God reminds Cyrus not to get too full of himself and start thinking of himself as a god.
As king of Persia, Cyrus conquered Babylon which was a great power at the time. So Cyrus was a pretty powerful king to conquer such a powerful nation. Continue reading
and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love;
and he relents over disaster.
“….and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
That was the line that caught my attention, so I made a note to write about it. I was familiar with the word render, which means in the verb form: “to provide or give”, but rend, was throwing me a bit of a curve. I thought it had to do with tearing since, “rend your heart” was followed by “and not your garments”. I took the time to look up the definition just to be sure. And that is what it means, to tear into two or more pieces. Continue reading
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
“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
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. Continue reading
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
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors,
When Hosea became a prophet, the first thing he was instructed to do by God was to make a prostitute his wife. He was then told to have children with his adulterous wife. This was to signify how Israel had whored after false Gods, seeking pleasures of the flesh over the love of righteousness. These two verses are another example of self responsibility and the individual having to bear the consequences of their actions. Continue reading