Glory to God (Lk 2:14-2:14)

“The angels

Were saying.

‘Glory to God

In the highest heaven!

On earth,

Peace among those

Whom he favors!’”

 

καὶ λεγόντων

Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.

 

This is where the famous Latin song sung at Roman Catholic masses during the Liturgy of the Word “Gloria in excelsis Deo” comes from.  Luke indicated that these angels were saying (καὶ λεγόντων) or singing “Glory to God in the highest (Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ)!  On earth (καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς), peace be among the men (εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις) whom he favors (εὐδοκίας), those of good will.”

 

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The polluted food (Mal 1:7-1:8)

“Yahweh said.

‘By offering polluted food

Upon my altar.

You say.

‘How have we polluted it?’

‘By thinking

That Yahweh’s table

May be despised.

When you offer blind animals

In sacrifice,

Is that not wrong?

When you offer those

That are lame

Or sick,

Is that not wrong?

Try presenting that

To your governor!

Will he be pleased

With you?

Will he show you favor?’

Says Yahweh of hosts.”

Yahweh was upset at these priests.  They had offered up polluted food on the altar of Yahweh.  These priests wanted to know how they had polluted the food.  Yahweh responded that they had despised him by offering up blind, lame, and sick animals instead of healthy and sound animals.  They had done Yahweh wrong.  Would they present these kinds of wounded animals to their governor?  Would he be pleased with them?  Would he show them favors?  Thus, they have despised Yahweh by offering these kinds of wounded, unfit, or unclean animals.

The sinners pray (Bar 2:12-2:15)

“We have sinned!

We have been ungodly!

We have done wrong!

O Lord!

Our God!

Against all your ordinances!

Let your anger

Turn away

From us!

We are left,

Few in number,

Among the nations

Where you have

Scattered us.

Hear!

O Lord!

Our prayer!

Hear

Our supplication!

For your own sake

Deliver us!

Grant us favor

In the sight of those

Who have carried us

Into exile!

Thus all the earth

May know

That you are

The Lord our God!

For Israel

With his descendants,

You are

Called by your name.”

These sinners admit that they have been ungodly, doing wrong since they had disobeyed the ordinances of their Lord and God. They wanted him to turn his anger away from them, because they were only a few of them left. They had been scattered among the various nations, not just in one country. They wanted the Lord to hear their prayers and grant them favors among the people who carried them away into exile. Then the whole world would know what the God of Israel had done for his people and their descendants. They will call out his name to all.

 

Confession of guilt (Bar 2:6-2:10)

“The Lord

Our God,

Is in the right.

However,

There is open shame

On us

With our ancestors.

This very day,

All those calamities,

With which

The Lord threatened us,

Have come upon us.

Yet we have not entreated

The favor of the Lord,

By turning away,

Each of us,

From the thoughts

Of our wicked hearts.

The Lord

Has kept

The calamities ready.

The Lord has brought them

Upon us.

The Lord is just

In all his works

That he has commanded us

To do.

Yet we have not obeyed

His voice,

To walk

In the statutes

Of the Lord

That he set before us.”

Their Lord was right. Thus they and their ancestors were shamed. The Lord’s threatened disasters have come upon them. However, instead of asking for favors and forgiveness, they turned their thoughts and wicked hearts away from God. The Lord kept these calamities ready to use at any time since he was just. They were the people who would not obey the voice of the Lord in following his statutes. They were guilty of sinning against their Lord and God.

The example of the prophet Micah (Jer 26:17-26:19)

“Some of the elders

Of the land

Arose.

They said

To all the assembled people.

‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied

During the days of King Hezekiah

Of Judah.

He said to all the people

Of Judah.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

Zion shall be plowed

As a field. Jerusalem shall become

A heap of ruins.

The mountain of the house

Will be a wooded height.’

Did King Hezekiah

Of Judah,

With all Judah,

Put him to death?

Did he not fear Yahweh?

Did he not entreat

The favor of Yahweh?

Did not Yahweh change

His mind

About the disaster

That he had pronounced

Against them?

But we are about

To bring great disaster

On ourselves.’”

Some of the elders reminded the assembly that at the time of King Hezekiah of Judah (716-687 BCE), about a hundred years previously, that the prophet Micah (737-696 BCE) from Moresheth, in southwestern Judah, had made some disturbing prophecies. Micah was considered one of the Minor Prophets with his own biblical book. During his day, he told King Hezekiah that Judah would be plowed like a field, while Jerusalem would become a ruined heap, as found in chapter 3 of Micah. King Hezekiah did not put him to death. Just the opposite, the king feared Yahweh and asked Yahweh for favors. Thus Yahweh changed his mind at that time, since he did not send a disaster to them. This was right after the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 714 BCE. If they kill Jeremiah, they might bring a great disaster on themselves. Thus a little history lesson helps Jeremiah.

The reason for Yahweh’s judgment (Jer 16:11-16:13)

“Then you shall say to them.

Says Yahweh.

‘It is because your ancestors

Have forsaken me.

They have gone after other gods.

They have served them.

They have worshiped them.

They have forsaken me.

They have not kept my law.

However you have behaved worse

Than your ancestors.

Here you are,

Every one of you,

Following your stubborn evil will.

You refuse to listen to me.

Therefore I will hurl you

Out of this land,

Into a land

That neither you,

Nor your ancestors,

Have known.

There you shall serve other gods

Day and night.

I will show you no favor.’”

Jeremiah received his explanation of why this disaster was to come from Yahweh. The problem was twofold, their ancestors and they themselves. First of all, their ancestors had forsaken Yahweh, since they served and worshipped other gods. They did not keep Yahweh’s law. However, the current Israelites were even worse than their ancestors. Jeremiah’s contemporaries refused to listen to him. Instead they followed their own stubborn evil ways. The result of this was that the current people of Judah and Jerusalem would be thrown out of this Promised Land into another country. There they would serve other gods, day and night, in a land that was foreign to them and their ancestors. Yahweh was in no mood to show any favors.

The great deeds of Yahweh (Isa 63:7-63:7)

“I will recount

The gracious deeds of Yahweh.

I will recount

The praiseworthy acts of Yahweh.

Because of all that

Yahweh has done for us.

Because he has done

Great favors to the house of Israel.

He has shown them

According to his mercy.

He has shown them

According to the abundance

Of his steadfast love.”

Now the prophet breaks into a psalm about the great deeds of Yahweh. He was going to tell everybody about Yahweh’s gracious deeds and praiseworthy acts, since he had done do much for them. He had granted so many favors to the house of Israel. He has shown them mercy and abundant steadfast love.