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.
I’ve read Zechariah before, but I hadn’t remembered how vision-intensive it was until I opened it up for this study. Seriously, it’s like Ezekiel in microcosm up in here. On the docket for today we have a flying scroll, an ephah, and three women, two of whom have stork wings because how else are they going to fly while carrying the third woman and the ephah.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise if Micah reminds us of Amos in parts. After all, the messages in these books aren’t Micah’s or Amos’s, or any other prophet’s. They’re God’s messages, and the prophet is simply a person who heard the message from God and bought into it enough to tell it to the people it was for. People are people, and at some times in history, we see people spreading a social epidemic of oppression, corruption, and exploitation of the poor. Amos lived in such times. So did Micah.
Today we flip back to the Triad study with a new theme and a new passage for the week. We’re looking at Psalm 51, which the authors of the study chose to illustrate God’s grace as it leads us to repentance, and which David wrote in response to his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. It’s a plea for cleansing and renewal, a desire to be set right.
Paul really likes his metaphors. In this chapter, he’s hardly introduced one metaphor when he moves on to another: a metaphor-shark swimming in the stream of consciousness, never stopping. He’s got three metaphors here: a letter of commendation, the stone tablets of the old Law, and Moses’ veil.
Took me long enough to notice, but there’s a mantra going in yesterday’s and today’s chapters of Isaiah: “In spite of all this, His anger does not turn away, and His hand is still stretched out” (9:12, 9:17, 9:21, 10:4). The Contemporary Jackson Ferrell Version reads, “Ain’t no party like a God’s wrath party ’cause a God’s wrath party don’t stop.” It’s a prophetic indication that even after the judgment of Aramean and Philistine invasion, even after the judgment of Israel losing its leadership, even after the judgment of self-consuming evil, even after the judgment of devastation and captivity, there’s more.
The second chapter of Hosea accuses Israel of violating the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2). The indictment is set up as a divorce case between God the faithful husband and his adulterous wife. He gives her grain, new wine, oil, silver, and gold, which she turns around and offers to the pagan god Baal. For her sin, he vows to take away not only the gifts, but also her Sabbaths: “I will also put an end to all her gaiety, her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her festal assemblies” (Hosea 2:11). This verse can easily be another record-scratch moment: is God putting an end to Israel’s obedience, in essence compelling her to disobey?