It’s time for some new prophecy. Today we start the book of Amos, who was a shepherd by trade when God called him to be a prophet. At the time, Israel and Judah had divided into two separate kingdoms; during Amos’ ministry in the mid-eighth century BC, Uzziah ruled Judah to the south, and Jeroboam ruled Israel to the north. Amos was an older contemporary of two prophets whose messages we’ve already seen: Isaiah and Hosea. When you consider that multiple prophets were on the scene at the same time, you have to conclude their audience was in dire need of their message. That audience, of course, is primarily Israel.
The second chapter of Joel begins with a trumpet warning of war–if you can call it a war. Joel sees a vision of an advancing foreign nation, and he devotes nearly half the chapter to describing their power. Even at a distance, it’ll be clear to the people of Israel that they’re terrifyingly outclassed by the horde; Joel prophesies, “Before them the people are in anguish; all faces turn pale” (6). The advancing crowd are disciplined soldiers, besieging cities with ease, and their power even shakes heaven and earth with apocalyptic might. And on top of that, they’re sanctioned by God.
The last time we saw the Sad Zone–also known as the Cry Hole–it was on an individual level, yet it was the subject of a song to be performed in a communal religious context. Today, though, the prophet Joel begins his message to Israel by calling for a nationwide Sad Zone.
The word “harlot” appears nine times in this chapter. The passage details Israel’s sins against God, and it’s pretty clear in what light he views their disobedience. He brings numerous charges against Israel, but at their core, they’re all forms of unfaithfulness: ways of giving yourself to things that don’t deserve you because they’re not your all-powerful, all-good Creator.
The book of Hosea begins with Hosea marrying a prostitute.
The first part of today’s chapter reiterates the theme begun in the previous chapter: Christ’s sacrifice covers our sin once for all, a single act making restitution for humanity’s evils and failings. It does what repeated sacrifices of bulls and goats could not do. It pays for the misdeeds of the spirit, not merely those of the flesh. So, let’s get into the latter half of the chapter, where we will find things interesting and new.
Wow, that’s a wake-up call. I opened up my Bible this morning expecting Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians to start off similar to the first one–a little “grace and peace to you,” gratitude to God for the letter’s recipients, a pat on the back and a little “Hey, goin’ good, you guys!” And instead, Paul goes off with all the intensity of Jonathan Edwards rapping over an NF beat. Dang, son.
So, yesterday I concluded by saying that Paul uses the word “judge” throughout 1 Corinthians 5. And I suppose that’s true, if by “throughout” I meant “once at the beginning of the chapter in verse three, and twice more in the final verses,” which is not “throughout” in any sense of the word. But today’s chapter continues talking about judgment, so it’s fair to say that this middle portion of his letter uses the word “judge” throughout. And since Paul is discussing judgment, we will too. All the Paul!
At the time when Paul wrote this letter, the Corinthian church had problems. We’ve seen their issues with factionalism and inflated egos, but in chapter five we see their issues with sexual immorality. We also see Paul drop the hammer.
Today’s Chocolate: Theo Organic 70% Dark Chocolate w/ Coconut Today’s Passage: Psalm 130 I just chucked an intro. I’d originally typed up a thing about Bo Burnham’s song “Repeat Stuff,” which satirizes the pop music industry’s aggressive commercialization of love songs. According to Burnham, mainstream love songs are written as vaguely as possible, in order to maximize […]