Exodus 20 – Dangerous Presence

Welcome to the Ten Commandments, also referred to as the Decalogue. In Judaism, they’re known as the Aseret ha’Dibrot, which might be translated “the Ten Sayings,” “the Ten Statements,” or, as my dad is fond of putting it, “the Ten Words.” They’re not technically imperative sentences, but they do prescribe certain behavior, or more accurately, they proscribe certain behavior. And they certainly are sayings, as the chapter says right out the gate that God says them.

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Jonah 1 – Jonah, the Very Worst Prophet

If there’s one minor prophet you’re already familiar with, it’s probably Jonah. While the bulk of the minor prophets comprises divine messages of judgment, mercy, and calls to repentance, Jonah is largely historical narrative. When you add that it requires very little background knowledge to understand, you’ve got a prime candidate for a children’s Bible story lesson. Plus, it’s got a big ol’ miracle fish.

Isaiah 59 – Sin in Isolation

First things first: remember that extended metaphor of the light at the end of the tunnel that I employed while discussing Isaiah 57? At the time, I felt a little odd framing the chapter that way, since it doesn’t use the words “light” or “dark” at all. But look at these lines from today’s chapter: “We hope for light, but behold, darkness, for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope along the wall like blind men, we grope like those who have no eyes” (59:9-10). It seems the metaphor hews a little closer to the source than expected.

Isaiah 55 – The Rising Cost of Peanut Butter Cups

Normally, at my local Kroger, Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups are $1.59 per pack. I bought the pack shown above on sale for $1.25. I remember a time when you could buy a pack of Reese’s cups for fifty cents. Those days are long gone, but you can still get an eight-pack for $1.50, or 19 cents a cup–and I would do so on the regular, if Reese’s would step it up and get themselves on the Ethical Chocolate Companies list. The milk I drank with it–well, my recollection’s a bit fuzzier, but I think it cost a little over two bucks a gallon. I, uh, pay more attention to peanut butter cups than I do to milk.

Psalm 22 – Gone God

You likely know today’s passage, Psalm 22, as the psalm whose first line Jesus quoted on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s also known for containing several Messianic prophecies. It describes David under pressure, surrounded by enemies, suffering and troubled, a common subject for his psalms. But it’s also a psalm of reorientation, and it comes to a place of hope at the end.