Thursday, March 1, 2012

A few brief thoughts on the Old Testament

I like to read over breakfast. I have a habit of reading the daily devotion from Oswald Chambers's My Utmost for His Highest (link goes to an online version, but I bought a hard copy years ago, noticing that my boss at the time -- a heck of a guy, and I owe him a phone call -- had a beat-up, extensively marked-up copy), followed in the last couple of months by selected chapters from the New Jerusalem Bible (my copy is small, and travels well).

(Believe me, the preceding is not intended to be an applause line. Srsly.)

So since late January, I've read all of Isaiah, the first six chapters of Jeremiah, and the first 16 chapters of Acts (always one of my favorite books of the New Testament, for some reason). I think it perilous to use the Bible in a fortune-telling way, or to draw too many parallels with current events or circumstances, but there are a couple of passages from my recent reading that resonate, if they don't exactly rhyme.

The first two I want to share are from Jeremiah:
This is because my people are stupid,
they do not know me,
they are slow-witted children,
they have no understanding,
they are clever enough in doing wrong,
but do not know how to do right.
(Jeremiah 4:22)
(I dare say we all know that guy, and further dare speculate that many of us have been that guy. I know I have.) Next:
And when you ask, "why has Y_hw_h my G_d done all this to us?" you will give them this answer, "As you abandon me to serve alien gods in your own country, so you must serve aliens in a country not your own.
(Jeremiah 5:19)
Finally, and perhaps the most rhymey: the following passage from Isaiah came to mind, in regard to the propensity of politicians (and maybe a lot of us) to kick the can down the road, when we can do it without breaking a toe:
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, 'Listen to the word of Yahweh Sabaoth, "The days are coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have amassed until now, will be carried off to Babylon. Not a thing will be left," Yahweh says. "Sons sprung from you, sons begotten by you, will be abducted to be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon." '    Hezekiah said to Isaiah, 'This word of Yahweh that you announce is reassuring,' for he was thinking, 'There is going to be peace and security during my lifetime.'
(Isaiah 39:5-8)
Further affiant saith not.