A few days ago, I happened across some item from my school days. No, I don’t remember what it was. And while I could make this post more interesting by making up some specific item, we here at Chocolate Book are all about truthfulness over entertainment value. Anyway, whatever this item was, it amazed me to think that there were twelve years of my life where I spent one-fourth of the year not working. No obligations! But now those days are gone forever.
Here’s David’s psalm of penitence again. I forgot to mention something yesterday, though. As I’m typing up these posts, I often stream Switchfoot’s album Where the Light Shines Through, front to back. As I was listing off the various “clean-related” words that David uses, I fired up the album, and the very first track came on: “Holy Water.” The song is as much about sanctification, being set apart for a purpose and receiving anointing with the “holy water” of the Holy Spirit, as it is about cleansing from sin. But with opening lines like “Wash the dust off dirty wheels, / Give me the waters that could help me heal,” I couldn’t help but be struck by the parallels. The confluence was in fact so striking that I forgot to mention it, whoops.
Time to say goodbye to Timothy. Paul signs off with his usual encouragement, exhortations, and personal notes mentioning various individuals by name, but it’s clear Paul wrote this letter late in life. He speaks about his life as a drink offering poured out to God, the conclusion of a victorious battle, the final hundred-meter push at the end of the eight-mile, and he urges Timothy to visit him as quickly as time permits. If Paul’s letters were a chord progression, this one would be a V chord, anticipating a move back to the tonic chord and the end of the song. This is the final chorus; this is the outro.
Confession: I’ve never seen an episode of The Walking Dead. You’d think I’d at least have read an issue of the comic or something, but no.
Seriously? In today’s entry, I’m going to end up talking about Axiom Verge? I’m trying to think of anything else the passage brings to mind, any other thoughts whatsoever, and nope: it’s gonna be Axiom Verge. For the uninitiated, Axiom Verge is a retro-style side-scrolling action-adventure game in the vein of Metroid, in which a scientist apparently dies in a lab accident and finds himself in a hostile alien otherworld.
In third grade I got the chicken pox. Right around day four, the itching became nigh-intolerable. I remember laying on the floor in pain that afternoon, just outside the upstairs bathroom. I was nowhere near the edge of death, my chicken pox was hardly as severe as Hezekiah’s life-threatening illness, yet I recall wanting to die so that the itching would stop. Did I actually pray for God to end my life? I don’t remember. But I’m glad he didn’t grant my wishes, because if he had, I wouldn’t be here today, eating chocolate and reading Hezekiah’s song and writing a blog post about it.
There’s more about cities in today’s passage, but there’s also some stuff not about cities in yesterday’s passage that I didn’t get to cover. And the more I think about it, the more I feel that I haven’t done Isaiah 25 justice unless I step outside the ruined city and look at that other stuff, so let’s begin today by backtracking before we move forward.
The Sabbath receives mention in only two passages in Numbers. The first is narrative in nature, while the second is a commandment. And yes, that first passage is going to thrust our faces in the issue of the death penalty for breaking the Sabbath again, so let’s buckle up and get this thing moving.
The issue of the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai isn’t the only place in Exodus that God commands the Hebrews to keep the Sabbath. There are four more injunctions to seventh-day rest throughout the rest of the book. Exodus 34:21 and Exodus 35:2-3 briefly mention the Sabbath, the former noting “even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest,” and the latter adding “You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.” The other two passages have a bit more to say about the Sabbath.
This is a psalm about God winning. It’s a psalm about how trained warriors go to absolute pieces when faced with his power. “There He broke the flaming arrows, the shield and the sword and the weapons of war” (3), Asaph writes. The verse is reminiscent of another pair of lines from the sons of Korah: “He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire” (Psalm 46:9). By the testimony of multiple witnesses it is confirmed: God is literally disarming.