Man, writing this entry has been like pulling teeth. It’s been like going to the dentist and finding out you’re the dentist. Is every chapter of Genesis going to be like this? Is it going to be grappling every time with just what the text intends to communicate and how to talk about that to all of you, with your various perspectives on it? Am I going to spend each post on the mat, with uncertainty and self-consciousness putting me in a headlock? Well, so far we’re two for two, so let’s get back into the creation myth.
Habakkuk spoke his piece in the first chapter, and now he’s content to listen: the majority of chapter two is God talking. Does he adequately answer Habakkuk’s concerns? We won’t get to see Habakkuk’s response until chapter three, but in the meantime, we can see for ourselves and make our own assessments.
Who should praise God? The beings in the heavens and the beings on the earth. And why should they praise him? Because he is the greatest being. There, that’s Psalm 148. Good work, everyone; see you tomorrow.
God is a mixed-media artist. One of his preferred media? Biomass.
This psalm is a call to worship. In the span of the first two verses, the psalmist uses the phrase “Let us shout joyfully,” with God on the receiving end of the people’s shouts of praise. I was tempted to look up the Hebrew word for “shout,” and perhaps there’s some hidden nuance in the original Hebrew language here. But today I’m gonna take the translator of the NASB at his word. It’s reasonable to expect that “shout” means “shout.” The psalmist is inviting the people to go loud.
Some biblical passages explicitly note God’s status as uncreated Creator. Among the passages that don’t, I will invariably view them in the context of God’s status as uncreated Creator–perhaps even at the expense of the passage’s point. But I’m in luck, because today’s chapter explicitly notes God’s status as uncreated Creator.
To continue our study of the Sabbath, we’re going to backtrack to the first two chapters of Genesis. You won’t actually find the word “Sabbath” in here, not in English. But if you look at Genesis 2:2, “[God] rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done,” in Hebrew? You’ll find that “rested” is the verb shabath.
Today is Labor Day, that paradoxical day when we in America celebrate hard work by taking a day off. Well, most of us. Here at Chocolate Book, we, in the words of nerdcore rappers Mega Ran and Adam WarRock, “never take a day off, not even bank holidays.” Okay, not literally, but I wanted to share a link to their music because it’s excellent, and also because I wanted to raise the questions: how do you strike a balance between work and rest? How much work is a recipe for burnout? How much rest is just being lazy?
I remember a time in college when a friend volunteered to open the Christian Fellowship meeting with a prayer. The first words out of his mouth? “Our Mother, who art in Heaven.” It was like he’d dropped a bomb into the circle; even with my eyes closed, I could feel something shift in the room. After he finished praying, another member of the group quickly threw out a few conciliatory words about how God’s name “El Shaddai” referred to the Hebrew term for “breast,” but I remember thinking that God was masculine, not feminine, and that my friend’s invocation had been misled at best, possibly even out of line. I congratulated us on being such a charitable group to not require perfect theology from our “baby Christians.” Big pat on the back for us, right?
Psalm 65 is a song of praise; it praises God first for his blessings toward humankind, especially in the Jewish temple, then for his power in shaping physical geography in mountains and seas, and finally for providing food and prosperity through the harvest season. There’s your overview of the psalm, but today I’m struggling to come up with something to say about it. I’ve been rereading it off and on all morning and into the afternoon as I do my things, and the whole thing is just turning into a bunch of words from overexposure. It’s like, God establishes the mountains by His strength, being girded with might (6). What more is there to say about that?