23 September 2010

Sep 23

Reference links:
Old Testament

It's hard to blog about poetry. Either I can talk about the gist, which amounts to just a few key ideas or I can analyze verses in detail, but then there are altogether too many choices. I suppose you could also analyze the general poetic structure and what not, but that is harder when (a) you're reading a translation and (b) you were never really good at analyzing poetry in the first place...

Today I'll go with the choose-some-interesting-verses approach. From my point of view, the most interesting section of today's reading is this:
“Present the case for your idols,”
says the Lord.
“Let them show what they can do,”
says the King of Israel.
“Let them try to tell us what happened long ago
so that we may consider the evidence.
Or let them tell us what the future holds,
so we can know what’s going to happen.
Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead.
Then we will know you are gods.
In fact, do anything—good or bad!
Do something that will amaze and frighten us.
But no! You are less than nothing and can do nothing at all.
Those who choose you pollute themselves.
Here we read God, as portrayed by Second Isaiah, putting up a challenge that he cannot (or, I suppose if you're a traditional believer, chooses not) to meet in modern times. Challenge God today to "tell us what the future holds" or to "do anything—good or bad!" "something that will amaze and frighten us" and we will see nothing. Nothing unambiguously God caused. Nothing amazing. Nothing

Instead, the modern Christian tells us to look inside our heart to see the "obvious" message in the world around us. They hold God to a lower standard than idols to be held to.

New Testament

Most important things first, this bit has a footnote:
You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.
According to the footnote, the more literal translation of the first bit could be:
obeying the commander of the power of the air.
The second version is way more entertaining.

Side thought, how do people who insist on reading the Bible word-for-word literally deal with the fact that they are reading a translation? And the fact that translations have differed considerably over time? I'm guessing they deal with it by not really thinking about it.

Paul's admirer continues to summarize Paul's theology as he sees it. Today's points are God's grace allows believers to be saved from the punishments deserved by those in a sinful world and the community of the Lord should be unified.

Psalms and Proverbs

Wow! Long proverbs reading today. The reading amounts to a short poem on the dangers of alcohol. He talks about the terrible effects of too much drink, but then he also says,
Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is,
how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down.
To me, this description reads with the tenderness of a loved one describing his love. The strong passions both for and against alcohol makes me wonder if the author is someone we would now classify as an alcoholic.