06 November 2010

Nov 6

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today's reading has three parts. In the first part, Ezekiel conveys the message that the Lord's wrath is inescapable whether it be conveyed through famine, wild animals, war, or disease.

The second part compares Jerusalem to a vine. Vines are useless compared to wood. The only thing they are good for is fuel, but even in that role they are inferior. Like vines, Jerulsalem is good for nothing but burning. This was an interesting comparison since vines usually come up with a positive association in the context of wine.

The third part contains the most extended comparison we have seen comparing Jerusalem to a prostitute. It is obviously symbolic, but if you do happen to read it as if it were about actual people, it's a super creepy story: an abandoned baby is found and raised by the same person who later marries her. She lives an ungrateful and adulterous life and misuses the gifts given by her husband. In his anger, her husband publicly humiliates, tortures, and violently murders her.

New Testament

The author of Hebrews makes a rather questionable claim today:
This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus.
For God said to him,
“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
There was no oath regarding the Levitical priests? Really? First off, note that the "oath" the author of Hebrews refers to is a line from a psalm. While it may be considered the word of God by virtue of being scripture, is not directly attributed to God.

Compare that to the instructions, many attributed directly to the Lord and passed on by Moses, regarding the Levitical priests.

Exodus 29:9:
Wrap the sashes around the waists of Aaron and his sons, and put their special head coverings on them. Then the right to the priesthood will be theirs by law forever. In this way, you will ordain Aaron and his sons.
Exodus 40:15:
Anoint them as you did their father, so they may also serve me as priests. With their anointing, Aaron’s descendants are set apart for the priesthood forever, from generation to generation.
Deuteronomy 18:5:
For the Lord your God chose the tribe of Levi out of all your tribes to minister in the Lord’s name forever.
That's just what I could find searching on the word "forever". There may be more such verses if I had searched for variants such as "for all time". It seems pretty firmly like God made an oath about Levitical priests. Oaths that, in two of the three cases above, are attributed directly to God. The author of Hebrews once again fails to make a convincing case.

After that, the author goes on more about how Jesus makes an awesome high priest.

Psalms and Proverbs

Some good proverbs today about emotional regulation and honesty:
Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood,
but jealousy is even more dangerous.

An open rebuke
is better than hidden love!

Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.