Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.
Today I’ll depart from the New Testament and go back to the Old Testament.
One day while on my way to a gig, as I was driving through a section of town on the same road I use at least once a week, I noticed a banner. It was strung to a fence that was protecting an old hotel that was being refurbished. Part of the sign had the general contractor’s name, phone number, website, logo, etc. That was on the left side of the sign. On the right side was the verse from Proverbs that I referenced at the beginning of this piece.
Now maybe I noticed the verse because I was stopped at a red light, but I don’t believe that was the first time the light stopped me at that intersection. I know they hadn’t just put up the sign because I remembered the contractor’s name and logo on the sign. Something on that day made me look at the sign and read the verse. Continue reading
for the customs of the peoples are vanity.
A tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.
They decorate it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so that it cannot move.
Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
for they cannot do evil,
neither is it in them to do good.”
The theme of these verses seems to be a common one throughout the Old Testament. False idols, and the destruction of a nation that turns to them is reported throughout the Bible, especially in the books of the prophets.
I have written a number of times about false gods and idolatry, and this will be another piece on that subject. I’m sure there will be a few more times I will write about this, since I am currently reading the book of Jeremiah and still have fifteen more books to go in the Old Testatment. Continue reading
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
My post, Living In Your Paneled House, dealt with the words of the prophet Haggai. He was addressing the people of Israel after their return from captivity in Babylon. The Old Testament Book of Haggai starts by him admonishing the Jews for taking care of their personal homes while neglecting the rebuilding of the Lord’s temple. Haggai was letting all people who hear his words know that they must take care of their spiritual house, which is our spiritual self, which is the house of the Lord. Continue reading
“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?
Haggai was one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. I wondered why a prophet would be referred to as a minor prophet. It seemed to me that saying he was a minor prophet was like saying you had a minor heart attack. There’s nothing minor about a heart attack, just like there’s nothing minor about a prophet of God. Continue reading
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Okay, so I’m beating this to death, but I feel this phrase, “the fear of the Lord” is very important. At least it is to me and my life.
I previously wrote how this phrase turns up numerous times in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. And I have written how this phrase is misconstrued. Most concepts of “the fear of the Lord” are, a being of human form, floating above in the clouds, looking down, just waiting for us to screw up. But if you read any of my previous posts on this phrase you know that’s not what it’s about. 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
But you say, ‘What a weariness this is”, and you snort at it, says the LORD of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the LORD. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the LORD of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations.
I’m just about all the way through the Old Testament on this go round with the Bible.
This verse spoke to me beyond the literal interpretation. Animal sacrifices are obviously an antiquated idea. They existed in Biblical times to drive home the seriousness of sin. Through these sacrifices you atoned or paid for your sin.
The price was steep. You sacrificed your best. You sacrificed your unblemished, your males who could produce quality off spring, the males that could grow your flock and enrich your wealth.
You give your best to God because God comes first. By not giving your best you anger God and hurt yourself. Continue reading
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
That’s some pretty powerful stuff right there.
Ezekiel the Old Testament prophet is laying down some twenty first century wisdom. Actually it’s eternal wisdom that will apply throughout time.
What Ezekiel is saying is you are in charge and you are responsible for all you do and all that happens to you. Not the government, not the church, not your family, not your friends, not your enemies, but you and only you are responsible.
Your righteousness and your wickedness are yours to own. You own it, no one else does, no matter what you think of say. Continue reading
The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
How powerful are these words from Psalms?
I don’t care if you do or don’t believe in God or whatever form of God or superior being you worship or deny. There is no denying the power of these words.
Of course I had to write this verse down when I read it.
When you’re younger this doesn’t mean much but as you age and as the seventy years become a hell of a lot closer to you than when you were twenty or thirty, words like these start to take on a whole new meaning.
This is my take on what King David is trying to tell himself with this verse. Note his honesty, David has written this for himself, a reflection on his life. He was one of the most powerful individuals on the earth at the time yet he does not delude himself. Continue reading
2 Chronicles 30:18-19
For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”
Hezekiah was the thirteenth king of Judah. According to the Old Testament, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Hezekiah cleansed and restored the temple of the Lord and returned Judah to the laws and traditions as set down by Moses. This included the celebration of the Passover.
Many people came from tribes outside of Judah to celebrate the Passover. They had not consecrated or cleansed themselves per the laws of Moses. Hezekiah understood what was truly important about this feast. It was a milestone for all the tribes of Israel to be returning to their laws and traditions and once again celebrate the Passover. He knew it wasn’t about following processes and procedures. It wasn’t about having all your I’s dotted and T’s crossed. Continue reading