Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 17

I'm publishing early, b/c I'm out of town on a different computer, and I always have problems with scheduled posts on new computers.

OT: Jeremiah 30:1-31:26

Today's reading relates a dream that Jeremiah had, in which God promised restoration to Judah. Even though Jeremiah considered afterward that his "sleep had been pleasant to [him]" (31:26), I thought the dream had a lot of negative imagery, intermixed with the positive. For example, the day of deliverance would be a day of great terror, in which "every strong man" will have "his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor," and "every face [will be] deathly pale" (30:6). Jacob will be saved, but it will still be a "time of trouble" for him (7). Speaking of trouble, the dream also dwells on the suffering of Judah during their punishment. God says,

"Your wound is incurable,
your injury beyond healing.
There is no one to plead your cause,
no remedy for your sore,
no healing for you.
All your allies have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you.
I have struck you as an enemy would
and punished you as would the cruel,
because your guilt is so great
and your sins so many" (12-14).


The dream goes on, however, to promise retribution on Judah's enemies (16) and to depict a day where Judah will be restored in its own land (30:17-31:14). In this section, dancing and joy is described (31:4), along with fruitful vineyards (5). God "will lead them beside streams of water/ on a level path where they will not stumble" (9a). Furthermore, the people "will be a well-watered garden,/ and they will sorrow no more" (12b). So clearly, there is also some really good stuff in this dream.

NT: 1 Timothy 2:1-15

Paul instructs Timothy to pray for all earthly authorities, in order "that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (2). This instruction kind of reminds me of Jeremiah's instruction to the exiles. They both transcend patriotism because their ends are not the success of a particular country but the ability of God's people to live peaceful, godly lives, wherever they are. If all is going well in the government, then it is more likely that the Jews/Christians can flourish. Of course, their experience of government was one in which they had absolutely no power, so praying for the authorities was about as involved as they could get.

In the second half of this section, Paul instructs women to "dress modestly," and to be defined by good deeds, rather than by material extravagance (9-10). He also rather bluntly commands women to be silent and strips them of any authority to teach men. The reasoning behind this injunction is that Eve sinned first, and not Adam. Paul also says something extremely odd, namely that "women will be saved through childbearing" (15). Because that idea is not found anywhere else in the New Testament, I have to think it is some kind of allusion back to the garden, which is the context for the remark. Like, a parallel statement could be made that, "Man will be saved through his toil on the earth." I don't really get what the meaning is for us, as many women don't, or even can't, have children, and I have absolutely no reason to think that their lack of children would take away their salvation. So...I don't really know what to take from that.

Psalm 87:1-7

Another psalm from the Sons of Korah. I honestly don't understand it very well tonight.

Prov. 25:28-19

Against false testimony and unreliability.

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