24 April 2010

Apr 24

Reference links:
Old Testament

Exciting stories today! To start, the Israelites are yet again failing to follow God's instructions to them.
After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.
The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. 
The Israelites suffer at the hands of their enemies, but eventually God sends them help. The text sets up a pattern for the behavior of the Israelites. God raises "judges" over Israel. While a judge is alive, Israel prospers. Once the judge died, there was corruption again. In so far as this is based on any real shared cultural memory, it seems to me that Israel prospered when they had strong military leaders and had problems with their enemies when they were not. This is not unexpected historical behavior, and it does not seem necessary to bring God into it.

Today we read the stories of three judges (although the third can hardly be called a story). The first judge is Othniel (the same one who married Acsah). The Israelites do evil. God hands them over to their enemies. Othniel defeats the enemy. There is peace until his death. The most interesting part of this story is the enemy king's name: King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim.

The second judge has the most exciting of today's stories. After Othniel's death, the Israelites sinned again, so God gave them over to King Eglon of Moab. Ehud defeats the king, but not in any conventional way. Instead,
Ehud walked over to Eglon, who was sitting alone in a cool upstairs room. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you!” As King Eglon rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the king’s belly. The dagger went so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king’s fat. So Ehud did not pull out the dagger, and the king’s bowels emptied [Or "and it came out behind"]. Then Ehud closed and locked the doors of the room and escaped down the latrine [Or "and went out through the porch"].
Kind of icky, but super entertaining!

The third judge is hardly worth mentioning. His whole story is this,
After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath rescued Israel. He once killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad.
New Testament

Continuing the last supper. Jesus predicts that one of his disciples will betray them. The disciples argue over who it would be. Then they argue about which one of them is the greatest. Jesus says that,
Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.
Jesus then predicts that Peter will deny knowing Jesus three times before the next morning.

Psalms and Proverbs

Two psalms again! Both are psalms of joyful praise.

Today's proverbs:
A wise woman builds her home,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.
Perhaps it's because I'm fortunately unfamiliar with Biblical arguments for a woman's place being in the home, but I'm kind of surprised that I have never heard this proverb in support of that.

Those who follow the right path fear the Lord;
those who take the wrong path despise him.
What about those of us who are just indifferent to the Lord? (Because it's hard to fear or hate something that one does not believe exists.)