01 July 2010

Jul 1

Reference links:
Old Testament

Judah gets to experience the destructive tendencies of Assyria, but they do not fall as easily as Israel.  Today's reading can be summarized as follows: King Sennacherib of Assyria invades Judah. King Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem. Hezekiah seeks help from God. God, through the prophet Isaiah (yes, that Isaiah), promises help and starts to deliver it (by randomly murdering 185,000 soldiers).

This statement of Sennacherib helps to illustrate the novelty of the idea of of worshiping one God in one  location:
But perhaps you will say to me, ‘We are trusting in the Lord our God!’ But isn’t he the one who was insulted by Hezekiah? Didn’t Hezekiah tear down his shrines and altars and make everyone in Judah and Jerusalem worship only at the altar here in Jerusalem?
Sennacherib, holding what I assume to be a fairly common attitude, implies that God would be insulted by having his alternate shrines and altars torn down. He thinks that God would want to be worshiped from anywhere people want to worship him

I am also amused by the specificity of the description of the Assyrian army's camp:
The Assyrians took up a position beside the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool, near the road leading to the field where cloth is washed. 
New Testament

Does the Holy Spirit guide people in contradictory ways? Remember how in yesterday's reading Paul said,
And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.
Today we read how in Tyre, the local believers
prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem.
Notice the phrasing. It is not that these people knew by the Holy Spirit that Paul would suffer in Jerusalem and so they chose to persuade him not to go (although that happens too later in the reading). Rather, the phrasing implies that the message the believers were getting from the Holy Spirit was that Paul should not go to Jerusalem, contrary to the message he received.

I suppose that a Holy Spirit giving conflicting advice would explain much of the history of the church.

In any case, Paul is not dissuaded and continues on to Jerusalem.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's psalm is interesting for it's sudden shift from generic cheerful praise to violence and vengeful thinking. Contrast this:
O Israel, rejoice in your Maker.
O people of Jerusalem, exult in your King.
Praise his name with dancing,
accompanied by tambourine and harp.
with this:
Let the praises of God be in their mouths,
and a sharp sword in their hands—
to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with shackles
and their leaders with iron chains,
to execute the judgment written against them.
This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones.
I like the phrasing of today's proverb. Mmm, tasty dainty morsels.

Rumors are dainty morsels
that sink deep into one’s heart.