28 November 2010

Nov 28

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today's reading is a great story!

A new king reigns. King Belshazzar has taken over the kingdom from his father and feasts with his nobles, wives, and concubines. At one feast, he chooses to drink from the cups that his father took from the Jerusalem temple. As Belshazzar and his court do so, a mysterious hand starts to write on the wall.

Fearful and trembling, Belshazzar calls his wise men and astrologers, but none of them can tell him what it means. Fortunately, the king's mother remembers Daniel's wisdom. Daniel comes, rejects the king's offer of gifts (which he later ends up accepting), and interprets the message. The king has dishonored the true God in favor of idols. His days are numbered and his kingdom will be divided. That night, Belshazzar is killed and his kingdom conquered by Darius the Mede.

Note that historians have not been able to identify a period of Mede rule over Babylon (in fact, there are strong reasons to doubt it), and the conquerer, Darius the Mede, is unknown. This is considered further support for this being historical fiction rather than history.

New Testament

The author of 2 Peter is not a big fan of legitimate disagreement. In his view, there seem to be people who are right and people who are knowingly deceiving others. Today's reading is all about how evil and terrible false teachers are. Now, there are false teachers in this world (I personally believe Christians are among them), but I see no need to demonize them. Teach people critical thinking skills and let the true teachers and the false teachers be separated based on evaluation of the truth of their teachings.

But I suppose by that criteria, the so called true teachers of religion would be indistinguishable from the false ones.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's proverbs praise hard work and honesty.