Storage space (Lk 12:17-12:17)

“He thought to himself.

‘What shall I do?

I have no place

To store my crops.’”

 

καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων Τί ποιήσω, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου;

 

Luke uniquely continued this parable about the rich man.  Jesus said that this rich man thought or was reasoning to himself (καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων) what should I do (Τί ποιήσω)?  He had no place to store his crops (ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου).  This seems like a legitimate concern.  His harvest had been so abundant that he no place to put all his harvested crops.  Do you worry about a place to put all your stuff?

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!

The farmers should mourn (Joel 1:11-1:12)

“Be dismayed!

You farmers!

Wail!

You vinedressers!

The wheat,

The barley,

The crops

Of the field

Are ruined.

The vine withers.

The fig tree droops.

Pomegranate trees,

Palm trees,

Apple trees,

All the trees

Of the field

Are dried up.

Surely,

Joy withers away

Among the people.”

The famers and the vinedressers should wail and be upset. All the crops of the field, the wheat and the barley, are ruined. The vines wither away, while the fig trees droop. All the trees of the field, the pomegranate, the palm, and the apple trees, have dried up. There is no longer any joy among the people because of this plague of locusts.

The restoration in Israel (Ezek 36:9-36:12)

“See now,

I am for you.

I will turn to you.

You shall be tilled.

You shall be sown.

I will multiply

Your population,

The whole house

Of Israel,

All of it.

The towns

Shall be inhabited.

The waste places

Rebuilt.

I will multiply

Human beings,

As well as animals

Among you.

They shall increase.

They shall be fruitful.

I will cause you

To be inhabited,

As in your former times.

I will do more good

To you

Than ever before.

Then you will know

That I am Yahweh.

I will lead people

Upon you,

My people Israel.

They shall possess you.

You shall be

Their inheritance.

No longer shall you

Bereave their children.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the mountains of Israel that he was for them. He was going to turn their land into a place that was tilled and sown with crops. He was going to multiply the population of the whole house of Israel. The towns would be inhabited and the ruined places rebuilt. Humans and animals would multiply, as the land would be occupied again. Yahweh was going to do more good than ever before. They would know that he was Yahweh, their God. There would be new leaders in this inherited land, so that they would no longer mourn for their lost children. His land and his people would be reunited again.

The wonderful blessed land (Ezek 34:26-34:27)

“I will make them

A blessing.

I will make the regions

Around my hill

A blessing.

I will send down

The showers

In their season.

They shall be showers

Of blessing.

The trees

Of the field

Shall yield

Their fruit.

The earth

Shall yield

Its increase.

They shall be

Secure

On their soil.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh,

When I break

The bars

Of their yoke.

I will save them

From the hands

Of those who enslaved them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was going to bless the holy hill of Israel and the surrounding areas. He was going to send down blessing showers in their appropriate seasons. He was also going to bless the trees of the field, so that they would yield their fruit. The good earth would yield a steady increase in its crops. Thus, they could be secure on their own soil. They would know that he was Yahweh, because he was going to break the bars on their slavery yoke. Finally, they would be saved from the hands of those who had enslaved them. Good times were ahead.

The sign for King Hezekiah (Isa 37:30-37:32)

“This shall be the sign for you.

This year,

Eat what grows of itself!

In the second year,

Eat what springs from that!

Then in the third year,

Sow!

Reap!

Plant vineyards!

Then eat their fruit!

The surviving remnant

Of the house of Judah

Shall again take root downward.

Then they will bear fruit upward.

From Jerusalem,

A remnant shall go out.

From Mount Zion,

A band of survivors will go out.            

The zeal of Yahweh of hosts

Will do this.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. Only a band of survivors, “the remnant” will carry on from Jerusalem. In a metaphor, the first 2 years they will only get what grows wild. However, in the 3rd year, they will plant and sow crops. Then they will eat and have some left over. This seems to indicate that the next few years will be difficult, but then it will get better in the 3rd year.

Pray to God (Wis 16:24-16:29)

“Creation,

Serving you

Who made it,

Exerts itself to punish the unrighteous.

In kindness,

It relaxes on behalf of those

Who trust in you.

Therefore at that time also,

Changed into all forms,

It served your all-nourishing bounty,

Aaccording to the desire of those who had need,

Thus your children,

Whom you loved,

O Lord!

Might learn

That it is not the production of crops

That feeds humankind.

But your word sustains

Those who trust in you.

What was not destroyed by fire

Was melted

When simply warmed by a fleeting ray of the sun.

This was to make it known

That one must rise before the sun

To give you thanks.

One must pray to you

At the dawning of the light.

The hope of an ungrateful person

Will melt like wintry frost.

This hope will flow away like waste water.”

Creation serves God by punishing the unrighteous. However, it gives bounty to those whom you love, your children, your sons (οἱ υἱοί σου). People should learn that it is not the production of crops that feeds people, but the word of the Lord (Κύριε) that sustains them. Thus fire can destroy or warm a crop. Therefore, humans should rise in the morning before sunlight to give thanks and pray to God. Otherwise, the hope of an ungrateful person will melt like frost. Their hope will flow away like waste water.