Friday, August 16, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 228

The scriptures read are Isaiah 34-36, Psalm 37:1-18, and 1 Timothy 6.

Isaiah 34. God is angry with all the nations and their armies. He will wipe them all out. He singles out Edom as a special case. Describing the desolation to be wrought, Peterson renders the second half of verse 11: "God will reverse creation. Chaos! He will cancel fertility. Emptiness!" Good catch on that contrast. Which raises the question: is God clearing the way for a new act of creation?

Lilith is mentioned in v. 14! She is a female demon, who seduces and kills men, kinda like a succubus. In Jewish legend, she was Adam's first wife. Their parting was not amicable and she went on to give birth to demons. None of that is biblical but I am surprised to find the word mentioned here (and only here) albeit not as an individual but as a class of demons.

Isaiah 35. Talk about contrast! After all that death and destruction in chapter 34, we get all this imagery of life and restoration and healing and refreshment. And a holy highway for God's ransomed people leading straight home to Zion. New creation, all right!

Isaiah 36. An account of the events recorded in 2 Kings 18 and 2 Chronicles 32.

Psalm 37:1-18. This is a paraphrase from a Christian perspective and it really rocks! For a more literal and traditional take, here is some good old Anglican psalm chanting. Beautiful!

1 Timothy 6. This chapter is a rebuke to those who preach a prosperity gospel: pray to God, contribute to my ministry and God will make you rich. They "think that godliness is a means to financial gain." Here we have the famous but usually misquoted verse 10: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." It's greed and materialism, not money in and of itself, that are condemned and they don't lead to all evil but all kinds of evils. Paul says our wealth is contentment. If we have food and clothing, that's sufficient. It's not like we can take anything with us when we die.

Paul is also not fond of preachers who stir up controversy for no good reason.

No general greetings, just a lot of encouragement for Timothy and a reminder to seek the spiritual treasures God is so generous with.

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