22 April 2010

Apr 22

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we finish Joshua! Joshua gives a summarized overview of the history of the Israelites. I appreciate that Joshua gives a more concise history lesson than Moses did. Joshua ends by reminding the Israelites that God helped them to murder all of the people in this land they now live in. Therefore, they should honor and worship only their God and no other. But he does not think they will be very good at it. The people agree to worship only their God.
So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day at Shechem, committing them to follow the decrees and regulations of the Lord. Joshua recorded these things in the Book of God’s Instructions. As a reminder of their agreement, he took a huge stone and rolled it beneath the terebinth tree beside the Tabernacle of the Lord.
Joshua said to all the people, “This stone has heard everything the Lord said to us. It will be a witness to testify against you if you go back on your word to God.”
 I suppose we are supposed to take the rock's hearing the covenant to be symbolic, although it does not seem any more symbolic than many of the things people take literally. Also, terebinth trees seem to be pretty!

After that Joshua dies and is buried (at the age of 110). Eleazar also dies. The people of Israel finally bury Joseph's bones, which they have been carrying with them since they left Egypt.
The bones of Joseph, which the Israelites had brought along with them when they left Egypt, were buried at Shechem, in the parcel of ground Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor for 100 pieces of silver. This land was located in the territory allotted to the descendants of Joseph.
Tomorrow we start Judges!

New Testament

A widow is praised for donating all she has. On the one hand, I agree with the sentiment that sometimes a smaller gift can be more generous depending on the means of the donor. On the other hand, it makes me think about how much of the money given to churches is not used for the good they do but is only used to propagate their own message.

Jesus talks about... the end times? the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem? It is unclear. We read,
Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
“Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”
Now, this "prediction" is referring to the destruction of the Temple during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I put "prediction" in quotes because the gospels are generally believed by critical scholars to have been written after the Siege. But in any case, the disciples are clearly asking when the temple will be destroyed.

Jesus then goes on to describe a bunch of weird and terrible things. However, they are effects that I have at least on occasion seed associated with the end times and with Jesus' second coming. Clearly, one of these things has happened and the other, in most people's view, has not (and in my view, never will). I suppose this prediction could have a dual meaning like is attributed to all of the so called prophecies that Jesus fulfills.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today we get the third and final part of the psalm we started two days ago. You may remember that the first parts of the psalm talk about how God is wonderful and David his chosen king. Today we get the dramatic plot twist!
But now you have rejected him and cast him off.
You are angry with your anointed king.
You have renounced your covenant with him;
you have thrown his crown in the dust.
You have broken down the walls protecting him
and ruined every fort defending him.
Everyone who comes along has robbed him,
and he has become a joke to his neighbors.
 The psalm ends with the psalmist praising God after a request that God stop hiding. Cheery.

4 proverbs today! Why is it that we get 1 some days and 4 other days. Maybe they are grouped thematically, but not significantly so. I would personally have a more even distribution.