Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Bible Challenge: Day 309

The scriptures read are Hosea 11-12, Psalm 103 and Matthew 5.

Hosea 11. In this chapter, the analogy is that Israel is God's son. There is the usual charge of idolatry and violence. But God cannot give up on his people or destroy them, because he is God and not human.

Hosea 12. An interesting reinterpretation of the story of Jacob, questioning when he wrestled with God and prevailed and drawing attention to his deceit. The prophets are held up as better examples to follow.

Psalm 103. I love this quiet approach to this joyful psalm.

Matthew 5. Jesus teaching from the mountain recalls Moses bringing the law down from the mountain.

Earthly kingdoms are brought about by force and conquest. But Jesus is promising his kingdom not to the rich who finance such campaigns but to the poor in spirit, not to those who kill but those who mourn, not to the aggressive but to the meek, not to those who feel might makes right but to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, not to the ruthless but to the merciful, not to those who fight dirty but to the pure in heart, not to the warmongers but to the peacemakers, not to those who suppress dissent but to those who are persecuted. He turns the world's values on their heads.

He compares his followers to salt which preserves rather than causes things to rot, to lights and cities on hills, which are highly visible beacons of light and centers of civilization.

The seeds of murder, adultery, dishonesty and violence begin in the heart and must be dealt with before they blossom into sinful acts. Perfection is loving even your enemies.

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