To preach or not to preach (Mic 2:6-2:7)

“‘Do not preach!’

This is what they preach.

‘One should not preach

Of such things.

Disgrace will not

Overtake us.’

Should this be said?

O house of Jacob!

Is Yahweh’s patience

Exhausted?

Are these his doings?

Do not my words

Do good

To him

Who walks uprightly?’”

Micah indicated the difference between false preaching and true preaching.  Was Micah to preach or not?  Did he only have to say good things in order to preach?  Should he be careful about what he said?  Is it disgraceful to speak about bad things?  Has Yahweh exhausted all his patience?  However, Micah believed that his harsh words from Yahweh would help those who were upright.  The evil ones would not like to hear about their evil ways.

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Powerful providence (Isa 40:27-40:31)

“Why do you say?

O Jacob!

Speak!

O Israel!

‘My way is hidden from Yahweh.

My right is disregarded by my God!’

Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

Yahweh is the everlasting God.

He is the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint.

He does not grow weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint.

He strengthens the powerless.

Even youths will faint.

They will be weary.

Young men shall fall exhausted.

But those who wait for Yahweh

Shall renew their strength.

They shall mount up

With wings

Like eagles.

They shall run.

They shall not be weary.

They shall walk.

They shall not faint.”

This chapter concludes with a shout out to the great providence of God. Do not be concerned that God does not know about you. Yahweh is an everlasting God, the creator of everything. Although he is unsearchable, he does not grow faint or weary in his understanding of you. He gives power to the faint. He strengthens the powerless. Even if some young people grow faint, weary, and exhausted, anyone who waits for Yahweh will find renewed strength. They will fly with wings like they were eagles. They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not be faint. They just need to trust Yahweh, their God.

David is weak (Ps 22:14-22:15)

“I am poured out like water.

All my bones are out of joint.

My heart is like wax.

It is melted within my breast.

My mouth is dried up like a potsherd.

My tongue sticks to my jaws.

You lay me in the dust of death.”

This is a very colorful descriptive explanation of David’s or the psalmist’s situation. He was poured out like water, exhausted. His bones were out of joint in pain. His heart was like wax that melted away in his breast with no energy. His mouth was dried up as his tongue was stuck to his jaws. A potsherd is broken pieces of pottery. He was almost on his death bed of dust. It is apparent why the works of Matthew and Mark used this vivid graphic psalm to describe a dying Jesus on the cross.

Jonathan with Simon wins at Azotus (1 Macc 10:82-10:85)

“Then Simon brought forward his force. He engaged the phalanx in battle because the cavalry was exhausted. They were overwhelmed by him and fled as the cavalry was dispersed in the plain. They fled to Azotus. There they entered Beth-dagon, the temple of their idol, for safety. But Jonathan burned Azotus and the surrounding towns and plundered them. He burned with fire the temple of Dagon and those who had taken refuge in it. The number of those who fell by the sword, with those burned alive, came to eight thousand men.”

Simon then brought his reserve forces into play. They overwhelmed the army of Apollonius as it dispersed. The troops of Apollonius fled to the city of Azotus and to their temple of Dagon. The mention of Dagon at Azotus or Ashdod goes back to Samson in Judges, chapter 16 and the Philistines with the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Samuel, chapter 5. Jonathan was not very tolerant of other religious beliefs so he burned down the temple with the refugees inside it. Altogether he wiped out 8,000 people either with the sword or by burning.

The money problems of King Antiochus IV (1 Macc 3:27-3:31)

“When King Antiochus heard these reports, he was greatly angered.  He sent for and gathered all the forces of his kingdom, a very strong army.  He opened his coffers and gave a year’s pay to his forces.  He ordered them to be ready for any need.  Then he saw that the money in the treasury was exhausted.  The revenues from the country were small because of the dissension and disaster that he had caused in the land by abolishing the laws that had existed from the earliest days.  He feared that he might not have such funds as he had before for his expenses and for the gifts which he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings.  He was greatly perplexed in mind.  He determined to go to Persia.  There he could collect the revenues from those regions and thus raise a large fund.”

The Seleucid Syrian King Antiochus IV got angry when he heard these reports about Judas Maccabeus.  He wanted a strong army.  Thus he paid all the people in the army for a full year so that they would be ready at any moment.  However, he soon realized that he did not have as much money as he expected.  The revenues were diminishing after he set in motion the new laws of unification that did away with all the local laws.  There was a lot of dissension that led to this disaster.  He decided that he would go to Persia and get some money from that region there.