Paul’s got a two-pronged argument here for those among the Galatians who would want to hang onto the Jewish law and insist that it’s necessary for salvation. He starts with a contrast between law and faith, similar to his arguments in the first handful of chapters from Romans, then moves into one based on chronology. But before we get into all that, I just want to note: the Galatians are by and large not Jews themselves! But they’ve bought into this false gospel from diehard Jewish legalists that being a Christian means getting circumcised and getting your kosher on and keeping the Sabbath. Which, honestly, strikes me as a serious feat of persuasion, getting predominantly Greek Gentiles to adopt the restrictive legal code of a minority religious-ethnic group that enjoys no particular popularity in the Roman Empire.
Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint Today’s Passage: Psalm 133 I’m a messy person, but not a dirty one. You’ll find my workspaces littered with scrap paper, post-it notes and assorted office supplies, but every surface and pile will be clean, free of anything “gross.” I’ve never liked messy activities, even as a kid shying away […]
Psalm 109 is about David’s enemies. Specifically, it concerns how they are bad people and bad things should happen to them. Normally, that would be the end of it, but David happens to know someone–an Invisible Sky King, in fact–who determines which things happen to which people. So David asks him to make his enemies die in a fire so that it’s just like they never existed.
In this chapter, as in many other places, Isaiah contrasts God’s stability with man’s insecurity. He prays, “O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for You. Be their strength every morning, our salvation also in the time of distress” (33:2). And he expects that, in time, God will deliver his people from the uncertainty and threats around them. “He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge” (33:5-6), Isaiah prophesies. There is societal stability in God’s justice and wisdom, his moral and noetic goodness, his omnibenevolence and omniscience; where God is king, he brings peace.
The first handful of chapters in Isaiah are a prophetic message from God to Israel, but chapter 6 begins a tradition into historical narrative, and by chapter 7, we’re fully into the story. The two Jewish kingdoms are at war with each other, and Pekah, the king of Israel, has teamed up with King Rezin of Syria to lay siege to Jerusalem in Judah. King Ahaz of Judah freaks out over the attack, so God sends Isaiah and his son out to reassure the king that Judah will not fall. If it seems like there’s a lot going on and it’s hard to make sense of, don’t worry; you’re in good company. I myself had to check out a study guide by David Guzik just to distill it all down to that summary.
Like Numbers, Deuteronomy is much more spare in its mentions of the Sabbath than I expected. One of them we’ve already visited and revisited: it’s the reiteration of the Ten Commandments in chapter 5. And by now you’re familiar with the story: six days do your work, rest with your whole household on the seventh, remember you used to be a slave in Egypt. On to the next.
Welcome back, everyone. I hope you had a restful Sabbath and a productive Sunday–or the other way around, if you choose to keep Sunday as your day of rest. I’m sure we’ll get to the matter of resting on Sunday soon enough in this study. But for now we’re picking up where Friday’s post left off, taking a look at the differences between the fourth commandment as it’s issued in Exodus and reiterated in Deuteronomy.