I can’t read Isaiah 3 without thinking of Johnny Q. Public’s song “Women of Zion.” Isaiah 3 ends with a denunciation of the daughters of Zion’s arrogance, saying that God will strip them of their beauty and ornamentation. I’m pretty sure it influenced Peter’s exhortation to humility for women in 1 Peter 3:1-6, but it also inspired Johnny Q. Public to write a musical interpretation of the passage with ludicrously literal lyrics. Consider the chorus: “Bald women, should’ve been humble; Bald women, should’ve been smarter; Bald women: you’re bald because you’re bald.” Sheer genius.
If the central topic of Isaiah 1 was the rebellious sons of Israel, chapter 2 focuses on their pride and its consequences. But before that, it takes a moment to ask what a future with actual humility would look like.
I often go into the background of the Biblical passages I’m reading, but you don’t need to break out a six-volume history of the ancient Near East to get something out of the Bible. In a matter of lines, Isaiah sets the tone for the message he’s delivering from God to Israel: “Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me” (1:2). You don’t need to know a thing about Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah; Isaiah tells you all you need to know. They’re kings of Judah, and Judah is a nation of rebellious sons.
Today’s Chocolate: Lily’s 55% Cocoa Almond Dark Chocolate Today’s Passage: Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and related passages Welcome, everyone, to the conclusion of our survey of the Sabbath in the Bible. Before we tie a bow on this one, I wanted to step back and take a look at everywhere we’ve been, ask, “What’s the takeaway from here?” […]
Some mentions of the Sabbath in the Bible won’t tell you much of anything about how to keep the Sabbath because they’re too literal. Remember all those times the Sabbath comes up in Acts that we skipped over because it’s just “on the Sabbath this thing happened?” Well, the fourth chapter of Hebrews is almost on the opposite side of the spectrum: you’ll barely find any guidelines or pointers on keeping the Sabbath because the chapter’s so metaphorical. …Or will you?
Reading what Paul had to say about the Sabbath in his letter to the Colossians, I couldn’t help but think of a verse from one of his other letters: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). The Sabbath isn’t meant to be a yoke or a burden; it’s meant to provide freedom and rest. And if you intend to keep it, it defeats the purpose to load it up with so many restrictions that keeping the Sabbath itself becomes work!
We need to tie up a loose end from yesterday before we get into today’s passage. Yesterday, while driving to my evening job right after finishing up the day’s post, it hit me: what if Jesus has been arguing from his opponents’ perspective in these problematic passages from John, in order to point out the flaws in their reasoning? What if he’s in essence saying, “If you think my healings qualify as ‘work,’ you’d better be prepared to admit a whole host of other lesser things into the can’t-do-it-on-Sabbath club–including the stuff you do for your animals and sons, and even the stuff the Law requires you to do?”
What is work, anyway? The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ time think they’ve got a handle on what work is and isn’t. Carrying a pallet? Work. Fishing your ox or son out of the well he’s fallen into? Not work. Miraculous healings? Definitely work. But the fourth commandment simply says, “You shall not do any work on the Sabbath…”
Of course Jesus heals on the other six days of the week. But those healings don’t draw heat like the Sabbath healings do.
Today’s Chocolate: Green & Black’s Organic Mint Dark Chocolate Today’s Passages: Luke 13:10-17. Luke 14:1-6 When the Sabbath gets mentioned in the gospels, it’s often because something or other happened on the Sabbath: for example, in Mark 1:21, Mark 6:2, or Matthew 28:1/Mark 16:1. During the Olivet Discourse, Jesus notes, “But pray that your flight will not be in the […]