Judges 17-18 is, in my opinion, among the most bizarre stories in the OT. It opens with Micah, saying to his mother, that the eleven hundred pieces of silver stolen from her about which she utters are curse, were actually stolen by him. When she hears this, she blesses him. He returns the silver and she in turns dedicates the silver to the Lord to make a graven image and a molten image. (What an image is exactly I'm not sure...) Micah sets up a shrine, makes an ephod, puts together some idols and appoints one of his sons to be the priest.
Some time later, a young Levite, an "official" priest by blood, leaves Bethlehem in Judah to basically find a place where he can hang out. He stumbles onto Micah who, realizing that he is a holy man by blood, invites me to be "a father and a priest" to him, pays him, gives him clothes and takes care of him. Micah then says, "Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as priest."
It gets even stranger...
Enter the Danites. The Danites, i.e., a tribe of Israel descended from Dan, send out five men to scout for land to possess, since an inheritance had not yet been alloted to them. These five guys end up lodging not far from Micah's home where they then recognize the young Levite's voice. Realizing that he is a holy man, and a priest, they ask him to ask God if they are going the right way. He says, "Your way in which you are going has the LORD'S approval."
So, the five men continue on and find some people living in quietly and securely far from everyone else. So, they come back to their brothers and say, we've seen the land, it's good, let's take them. On the way there, the entourage of six hundred men "armed with weapons of war" come to Micah's house. The priest meets them, and while he stands at the gate with the six hundred men, the five guys go into the shrine and heist the graven image, the ephod the household idols and the molten image. The priest says, "Hey, what are you doing!" They say, "Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?" That seems pretty reasonable to the young priest, so he takes off with them.
Shortly there after, Micah and his neighbors catch up to the Danites. The Danites say to Micah, "What is the matter with you?" Micah says, "How can you say 'What's the matter with you?' You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and have gone away, and what do I have besides?" The Danites basically threaten him, and Micah seeing their numbers, goes home. They eventually get to the land and wipe out the population, taking over the city and setting up the graven image. This graven image becomes their idol for years, as the good book says, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.
Judges 19 is even more crazy... why does Judges have such bizarre stories? It is to show what happens when every man does what is right in his own eyes - Judges 17:6. Isn't that the theme of the day? Every one should decide what's right for themselves.
One of today's reading was from Matthew 2 for which a large section is dedicated to the story of the magi from the east. The magi or magoi in Greek, were an Eastern religious order of astronomers trained in Babylon and Persia. It makes me wonder if they had left any notes - maybe a couple labbooks. Too bad it didn't happen today, we might even have a blog and some digital pictures.
I'm always amazed how short the book of Philemon is. This morning I used BibleGateway's Listen to this (NASB) while making pancake mix. In what seemed like no time, the narrator was saying "end of the book of Philemon". The book of Philemon is a letter from Paul to a Philemon regarding Philemon's runaway slave, Onesimus, who was converted.
OK, I digitized the file, added index numbers, and wrote a little php script to process the current date and choose the appropriate passage. But how can I call it from MoveableType. Can I use PHP here? I'm not sure at all.
You can look at the current version here.
The sons of Reuben and Gad say, "hey, we like it here, can we just stay here?" Moses then accuses them of discouraging the rest of the community from going into the promised land. The interesting thing is that they are satisfied already. Surprisingly, Moses does not tell them that they need to take Canaan.
In this Psalm, David, being troubled in spirit, finds as a solution to reflect on the great deeds of God. He talks about feelings of rejection, and asks if God's "lovingkindness" has ceased forever. I like verse 10: "Then I said, 'It is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High has changed." Does that mean that he then feels better, resolving to remember the deeds of the Lord?
"The exalted of the people of the earth fade away." How often do I want to be the exaclted of the earth. I want to be successful, to be highly esteemed, but these things so quickly will pass away. This is not what the Lord desires of us.
What's wrong with the wine? It mourns, the vine decays, no one drinks wine with song, and strong drink is bitter. I think it means that in the day of judgement, nothing can make people happy, not even wine.
Versus 21 and 22 are interesting. The LORD will punish both the kings on earth and the host of heaven on high. Why is the host of heaven being punished. These all will be gathered together to be confined and then punished.
1 John 2
We come to know the Father when we keep His commandments. To keep means to follow. This appears to be the old commandment. But what is the new commandment? The new commandment comes because the darkness is passing away. It is that we must love one another - or is it that we should not love the world?
Everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him...
In this sort of passage your heart really sinks because it is so extreme. The reason that Moses was upset at the people for sparing the women was that these were the ones that originally led Israel to sin in Numbers 25. Of course, they could have showed more fortitude.
Psalm 75 is about the judgement of the Lord, and how He is righteous and will execute judgement with all power. I liked the verse about how the cup is in the hand of the Lord and how the wicked will "drink down its dregs". One should not be prideful.
How do I view God? Do I see Him resplendent, more majestic than the mountains? Do I fear, knowing that no man can stand in His presence in His anger? God saves the humble, not the proud - and the wrath of man will praise Him. I must humble myself.
Who planned against Tyre and Sidon - "the Lord of hosts has planned it, to defile the pride of all beauty, to despise all the onored of the earth." The last part is interesting, it basically says that after 70 years, Tyre will go back to "her harlot's wages" and "play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth." But that the "gain" and "wages" will not be hoarded but become "sufficient food and choice attire for those who dwell in the presence of the LORD." What does this mean? Why would it go back to its old ways? And how is it that those who dwell in the presence of the LORD will benefit.
1 John 1
We have heard, we have seen, we have looked, we have toched, we have seen, we testify, we proclaim... Can I say that? Have I seen, looked touched, should I not testify and proclaim? If not... what is the message? The message is that in God there is no darkness. If we are to have fellowship with God then we should also not have any darkness. What is darkness, is it sin? I don't think so - it is the hiding of sins, for we can walk in the Light, confessing our sins - for which no man can say they have without.