Deuteronomy 30, The Rest of the Story: 6. Wandering (9/24/12)
The Rest of The Story -
Several weeks ago I said, about half-seriously, that chapter and verse numbers are the blessing and the curse of Bible study, and now this is being illustrated by The Story
, which doesn’t include them. Reading may be easier, but discussion is harder, because you have to say things like “on the bottom of page 67, there right above the last paragraph, down to the second sentence of the next paragraph” instead of “Exodus 33:15-18.” But still, I was only about half serious.
This morning Pastor Craig said that bacon is okay under the Law if you dip it in chocolate. I punched the air and said, “Yes! Leviticus!” Everybody laughed at his joke, and the people around me laughed at me. They all realized that we were joking
. On the other hand, I once told a Bethel class that Leviticus says, “Chocolate makes all things holy,” and because they were new to Bible study, they believed me and wanted to know where it said that.
Folks, don’t believe me about what the Bible says – read it for yourself! Don’t believe Pastor Craig, or your own pastor, rabbi, Sunday School teacher, or bishop, either. Sometimes we make mistakes – either because we misquote, misspeak, or misunderstand – and sometimes we are joking. The only way you can defend yourself against us is to read the Bible for yourself. Meantime, pray for God to guide our hearts, minds, mouths, and fingertips when we try to help you understand your Bible.
Moses talked to the Israelites about blessings and curses, and he wasn’t joking.
Deuteronomy 31:1-6, 14-15, 30, The Rest of the Story: 6. Wandering (9/25/12)
On the topic of jokes again: When Pastor Craig and I were talking after church Sunday, we agreed that the Bible is full of funny stories. Mostly they aren’t jokes like “A Levite, a Moabite, and an Amorite walked into a tent,” although I wouldn’t rule that out. But there are puns and other types of word play, riddles, satire, sarcasm, witty debates, exaggeration, talking animals and plants, slapstick, and teasing, to name a few.
Now, the reason we don’t recognize the puns and word play is that those are almost impossible to translate from one language to another. But I think the main reason that we don’t recognize the rest of them is that we are convinced that the Bible is SERIOUS
. It is
serious, but the prophets criticized idolatry by being extremely sarcastic. The writer of Jonah used scathing satire to condemn our attitudes toward people outside the church or synagogue. The blind beggar in John 9 was one of the wittiest stand-up comics of all time – and it got him thrown out of the synagogue by people who were too SERIOUS
to recognize a miracle when they saw one.
God and Moses argued with each other: “Your people did this.” “My people? My
people? Since when are they my
people??” Even so, both God and Moses seriously loved the children of Israel, and they got them to the Promised Land in spite of themselves. There’s hope for us yet, even when we don’t get the joke.
Deuteronomy 32, The Rest of the Story: 6. Wandering (9/26/12)
When my kids were little, one of them wanted to talk to me every time I was on the phone. I always asked, “Is this a matter of life and death?” and while he was thinking it over, I’d continue my call. One day while I was on the phone, he rushed up and said, “Mom! It’s a matter of life and death!” I immediately said, “I have to go. Bye!” and hung up. It turned out that our cat was walking along the top of a 7-foot-high fence, which looks very
dangerous when you are only three and a half feet tall.
Moses has seen the Israelites engaging in dangerous behavior: disregard for God and the Law, including the worship of other gods. He tells them: “Pay close attention to everything I’ve told you from God. It’s a matter of life and death!”
“Jeshurun” is a poetic name for Israel used only four times. It means, roughly, “upright one.” It apparently expresses an ideal of uprightness on the part of the people of Israel, since from the context of Moses’ whole sermon, he doesn’t hold much real hope for their uprightness. “Hoshea” is another way of saying “Joshua.”
Deuteronomy 33, The Rest of the Story: 6. Wandering (9/27/12)
Much ink has been spilled on the topic of why Simeon is not on the list of tribes blessed by Moses. Nobody knows why Simeon was omitted, which does not seem to prevent many people from having an explanation. If you take Joseph as two tribes – Ephraim and Manasseh – you still have twelve.
Pride of place is given to Joseph, not Reuben (the eldest) or Judah (from whom came the kings of Israel), with Levi coming in second. Nevertheless, each tribe gets a blessing uniquely suited to it. So do we.
Deuteronomy 34, The Rest of the Story: 6. Wandering (9/28/12)
Here in Albuquerque, you can go to the top of the Sandia Mountains and see just about forever. In particular, you can see roughly the same number of square miles (maybe a little more) that Moses could see from Mt. Nebo, which is at E4 on our map
How would you feel if God took you up there and said, “I’m giving everything you can see to your family”?
I love our picture of Moses at Mt. Nebo
The artist has captured both Moses’ age and his vigor. He’s also captured something of what I would call, “Dang! I wish I was going out there, too!” Moses was a dedicated and powerful worker for God, and we will not see his like again in the Old Testament.
More of the Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time
Copyright 2009, 2011, 2012 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
The woodcut of Moses on Mt. Nebo is from a Bible in a family collection.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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