Exodus 3 – In Case You Had Forgotten, My Name is God

Today’s chapter features the first half of a conversation with God that will turn Moses around and send him back to Egypt. It features a miraculous flaming bush that burns for far longer than a bush has any right to, and which emits God’s voice. It features Moses’ commission to bring the people of Israel back to the land that is their birthright. It features God’s holiness and compassion in equal measure. And, famously, it features God formally giving his name, the tetragrammaton YHWH. But the event raises a question: why the crud does Moses need to be told God’s name?

Malachi 1 – Love/Hate Relationship

Finally, an answer to the age-old philosophical question: does God hate anyone? We’re just three verses into the book of Malachi when he divulges that God hates Esau. But this revelation only raises further questions. Is God mad at Esau for trading his birthright to Jacob? Is it because Esau married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite? Is it simply that he was too hairy? And more importantly, how can a God who is Love possibly hate anyone, much less a grandson of the patriarch Abraham?

Isaiah 4 – Blood City

I often lead with a song, and this post’s gotta get written, so let’s go with that. Jan and Dean’s 1963 hit single “Surf City” depicts a fictitious town of surfing and partying that boasts “two girls for every boy.” The Israel-to-come of Isaiah’s prophecies boasts an even higher ratio of seven to one. Isaiah states, “For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying, ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach!'” (4:1). But this is no surf party, no cause for rejoicing. If the desperation of the women didn’t give it away, flip back to the previous chapter and read Isaiah’s prediction: “Your men will fall by the sword and your mighty ones in battle” (3:25). Why are there so many women compared to the men? It’s because some 85% of the men have been slaughtered in war.

Psalm 49 – God, Death, and Cold Hard Cash

This psalm actually answers a question that I wasn’t entirely aware that I had. I’d started thinking lately: what if we die because we run out of money? We can’t afford food or medical attention or supplies–we can’t buy what we need to remain living. Perhaps, even in the case of needing medical technology that doesn’t even exist yet, we die because we can’t afford to develop the technology, we can’t pay the cost to make what we need possible. This is an absurd proposition, but it had started to take hold in my mind.