Fasting and tithing (Lk 18:12-18:12)

“I fast

Twice a week.

I give a tenth

Of all my income.”

 

νηστεύω δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου, ἀποδεκατεύω πάντα ὅσα κτῶμαι.

 

Luke has Jesus tell this parable about a Pharisee and a tax collector that is only found in this gospel.  Luke indicated that Jesus said that this Pharisee said that he fasted twice a week (νηστεύω δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου) and he gave a tenth of all his income (ποδεκατεύω πάντα ὅσα κτῶμαι).  Normally, the Pharisees fasted on Mondays and Thursdays.  This was a good thing.  This Pharisee fasted and did not eat twice a week.  Besides, he tithed all his income, as he gave 10% to the Temple.  There was nothing wrong with this behavior.  He was a faithful Jewish person.  The problem was his attitude, not how he acted.  Was is your attitude toward your religious practices?

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The decree of Caesar Augustus (Lk 2:1-2:1)

“In those days,

A decree went out

From the Emperor

Caesar Augustus

That all the world

Should be registered.”

 

Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην.

 

Luke tried to put these events within a historical perspective.  He said that in those days (Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις), a decree or dogma went out (ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα) from the Emperor, Caesar Augustus (παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου), that all the world should be registered (ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην).  Could all the world be registered in a census?  Luke referred to the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, who ruled the Roman empire with his famous Pax Romana, or peace everywhere, from 27 BCE to 14 CE, precisely the time of these events.  Augustus was born in 63 BCE so that he would have been 77 years old when he died.  He was sometimes called god, son of god, savior, or father.  As the adopted son of Julius Caesar, he defeated Mark Anthony and Cleopatra to gain sole control of the empire.  He set up an intricate set of taxes for the empire, so that there was a consent source of income.  Thus, the local tax collectors or publicans became rich, but disliked, official people in the empire.  The month of August was named after him, just as July was named after Julius Caesar.  However, there is no evidence of any call to register the whole world.  However, this would not have been inconsistent with his taxing plans, since the main reason for any registration or census would be for tax purposes.  Thus, this is possible, but unlikely.

The role of Yahweh (Prov 16:5-16:9)

“All the arrogant are an abomination to Yahweh.

Be assured!

They will not go unpunished.

By loyalty and faithfulness

Iniquity is atoned for.

By the fear of Yahweh

One avoids evil.

When the ways of people please Yahweh,

He causes even their enemies

To be at peace with them.

Better is a little with righteousness

Than large income with injustice.

The human mind plans the way.

But Yahweh directs the steps.”

What does God do to the arrogant? They are an abomination to Yahweh. Don’t worry since they will not go unpunished. You can atone for their iniquity by being loyal and faithful. If you fear Yahweh, you will avoid evil. To those people who please Yahweh, he will make their enemies be at peace with them. It is better to be righteous than have a large income, but be unjust. The human mind makes plans, but Yahweh directs their steps. In other words, man proposes but God disposes.

The fools (Prov 15:5-15:7)

“A fool despises a parent’s instruction.

But whoever heeds admonition is prudent.

In the house of the righteous

There is much treasure.

But trouble befalls the income of the wicked.

The lips of the wise spread knowledge.

The minds of fools do not spread knowledge.”

Fools do not listen to their parent’s advice. However, those who heed the admonition of their parents are prudent. If you are righteous, your family will have much treasure. However, trouble will come upon the income of the wicked fools. The wise spread knowledge with their lips, but the mind of fools cannot spread any knowledge, because they have nothing to give.

Wisdom and happiness (Prov 3:13-3:18)

“Happy are those who find wisdom!

Happy are those who get understanding!

Her income is better than silver.

Her revenue is better than gold.

She is more precious than jewels.

Nothing you desire can compare with her.

Long life is in her right hand.

In her left hand are riches.

In her left hand is honor.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness.

All her paths are peace.

All her paths are happiness.

She is a tree of life

To those who lay hold of her.

Those who hold her fast are called happy.”

You will be happy if you find wisdom. You will be happy because you have an intelligent understanding of life. The personification of wisdom is female not male. Her profit, income, or revenue is greater than silver, gold, or jewels. Nothing can compare to lady wisdom. In her right hand is a long life. In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant. All her paths are peaceful and happy. She is the tree of life. Once you can get hold of her, you will be happy.