Increase our faith (Lk 17:5-17:5)

“The apostles said

To the Lord.

‘Increase our faith!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπαν οἱ ἀπόστολοι τῷ Κυρίῳ Πρόσθες ἡμῖν πίστιν.

 

Luke uniquely indicated that the apostles asked the Lord (Καὶ εἶπαν οἱ ἀπόστολοι τῷ Κυρίῳ) to add or increase their faith (Πρόσθες ἡμῖν πίστιν).  Notice that Jesus was called the Lord (Κυρίῳ) here.  Although there are other instances of people having a lack of faith or a strong faith, quite often they were around being healed by Jesus.  This saying was the only instance of the apostles, not merely the disciples, or other followers of Jesus, where they specifically wished to increase or add to their belief.  Do you want to increase your faith?

Why be anxious? (Lk 12:26-12:26)

“If then you are not able

To do as small a thing

As that,

Why do you worry

About the rest?”

 

εἰ οὖν οὐδὲ ἐλάχιστον δύνασθε, τί περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν μεριμνᾶτε;

 

This appears to be a unique verse in this longer saying that Luke shared with Matthew about worrying.  Jesus said that if you are not able to do as small a thing as that (εἰ οὖν οὐδὲ ἐλάχιστον δύνασθε), why do you worry about the rest of the things (τί περὶ τῶν λοιπῶν μεριμνᾶτε)?  Jesus seemed to indicate that if you cannot add to your lifespan by worrying, why worry about anything else.  What, me worry?  What do you worry about?

The birds do not worry (Mt 6:26-6:27)

“Look at the birds

Of the air!

They do not sow.

They do not reap.

They do not gather

Into barns.

Yet your heavenly Father

Feeds them.

Are you not

Of more value than they?

Can any of you,

By worrying,

Add a single hour

To your life span?”

 

ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν εἰς ἀποθήκας, καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά· οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν;

τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα;

 

Once again, Luke, chapter 12:24-26, has a similar Jesus saying, almost word for word, indicating a common Q source.  Luke called the birds ravens.  Matthew has Jesus tell his disciples to look and see the birds of the heavenly skies (ἐμβλέψατε εἰς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  The word “οὐρανοῦ” means heaven, sky, or air.  These birds do not sow or scatter (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), reap or harvest (ὅτι οὐ σπείρουσιν), or gather crops (οὐδὲ συνάγουσιν) into a granary or barn (εἰς ἀποθήκας).  They are freeloaders.  Yet they are able to eat off the land, because the heavenly Father feeds them (καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος τρέφει αὐτά).  Are the disciples or followers of Jesus not more valuable than these birds (οὐχ ὑμεῖς μᾶλλον διαφέρετε αὐτῶν)?  Is worrying going to add one cubit or one hour to your life span or age (τίς δὲ ἐξ ὑμῶν μεριμνῶν δύναται προσθεῖναι ἐπὶ τὴν ἡλικίαν αὐτοῦ πῆχυν ἕνα).  Probably, the opposite is true.  Don’t worry!  Be happy!

A reproach against large estates (Isa 5:8-5:10)

“Woe to you

Who join house to house!

Woe to you

Who add field to field!

Finally there is room

For no one but you.

You are left

To live alone

In the midst of the land.

Yahweh of hosts has sworn

In my hearing.

‘Surely many houses

Shall be desolate.

Large houses

Will be without inhabitants.

Beautiful houses

Will be without inhabitants.

Ten acres of vineyard

Shall yield but one bath.

A homer of seed

Shall yield a mere ephah.’”

Next Isaiah issues a series of curses or reproaches to the people of Judah. First of all, he rants about the idea of people wanting too much land. If you add house to house, or field to field, you make it difficult for others. Your huge estate will leave you to live alone on your land. Yahweh had spoken to Isaiah to say that many houses will lay desolate. Large and beautiful houses will be empty. The land will not yield much. 10 acres will only produce about 6 gallons (a bath) of a crop. 6 bushels of seed (a homer) will produce less than a bushel of grapes (an ephah). The more you try to expand your living area and your fields, the more it will come to very little.

Little sister (Song 8:8-8:10)

Female lover

“We have a little sister.

She has no breasts.

What shall we do for our sister?

What shall we do

On the day when she is spoken for?

If she is a wall,

We will build

Upon her

A battlement of silver.

But if she is a door,

We will enclose her

With boards of cedar.

I was a wall,

My breasts were like towers.

Then I was in his eyes

As one who brings peace.”

Somehow, there is a problem about a little sister. Probably she was not yet ready for marriage since she had no breasts. She was not spoken for or engaged. What were they to do? They were going to protect her. She either was a wall or a door. If she was a wall, they would add a silver fortification. If she was a door, they would enclose her with cedar boards. This female lover says that she was a wall with large breasts that had brought peace to everyone. It could also be future child, as interpretations abound.

The word of God (Prov 30:5-30:6)

“Every word of God proves true.

He is a shield

To those who take refuge in him.

Do not add to his words.

Otherwise he will rebuke you.

You will be found a liar.”

The answer to the series of questions is simple, God. Every word of God proves to be true. He is like a shield to those who run for help to him. Do not add to his words or else he will rebuke you and call you a liar.

The pleasant words (Prov 16:22-16:26)

“Wisdom is a fountain of life

To whoever has it.

But folly is the punishment of fools.

The mind of the wise

Makes their speech judicious.

The mind of the wise

Adds persuasiveness to their lips.

Pleasant words are like

A honeycomb.

Pleasant words are like

Sweetness to the soul.

Pleasant words are like

Health to the body.

Sometimes there is a way

That seems to be right.

But in the end

It is the way to death.

The appetite of workers works for them.

Their hunger urges them on.”

The fountain of life is wisdom. On the other hand, the punishment for fools is their own folly. The wise person will have judicious speech and persuasive lips. Their words are pleasant like a honeycomb. Theses pleasant words add sweetness to the soul and health to the body. You have to watch out for the way that seems like it is right, but actually is the way to death. If workers are hungry they will work harder.