The authority of the world (Lk 4:6-4:6)

“The devil

Said to Jesus.

‘I will give

To you

Their glory

And all this authority.

It has been delivered

To me.

I can give it

To anyone

I please.’”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος Σοὶ δώσω τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἅπασαν καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν, ὅτι ἐμοὶ παραδέδοται καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν θέλω δίδωμι αὐτήν·

 

Luke indicated that the devil said to Jesus (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὁ διάβολος) that he would give him all this authority (Σοὶ δώσω τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην ἅπασαν) and glory of these kingdoms (δόξαν αὐτῶν).  Then the devil said a remarkable thing.  He said that all the kingdoms of the earth had been given or turned over to him (ὅτι ἐμοὶ παραδέδοται).  He could do whatever he pleased with them (καὶ ᾧ ἐὰν θέλω δίδωμι αὐτήν).  Just like Matthew, chapter 4:9, the devil would then give all these kingdoms with their glory to Jesus.  Somehow this devil thought and implied that he was in control over all the nations in the world.  Perhaps the early followers of Jesus thought that the world outside Jerusalem was under the power of the devil.

Justice and sacrificial offerings (Mic 6:6-6:8)

“‘With what shall I come

Before Yahweh?

Shall I bow myself

Before God on high?

Shall I come before him

With burnt offerings?

Shall I come before him

With calves a year old?

Will Yahweh be pleased

With thousands of rams?

Will Yahweh be pleased

With ten thousand rivers of oil?

Shall I give

My first-born

For my transgression?

Shall I give

The fruit of my body

For the sin of my soul?’

O mortal!

He has showed you

What is good!

What does Yahweh

Require of you?

But you are

To do justice,

To love kindness,

To walk humbly

With your God!”

Yahweh, via Micah, once again showed the relationship between worship and justice.  Much like the written prophets, Amos, chapter 5, Hosea, chapter 2, and Isaiah, chapters 7 and 30, the emphasis was on justice over sacrificial gifts.  Micah asked what kind of gifts he should bring to Yahweh, the high God.  Would Yahweh be happy with burnt offerings of one-year old calves?  Would 1,000 rams please him?  Would 10,000 rivers of oil be enough for Yahweh?  Should he offer up his firstborn son to save his soul?  Micah pointed out what Yahweh required.  Yahweh wanted them to do justice and love kindness.  Very simply, they were to walk humbly with their God, Yahweh.

The dream was for the king’s enemies (Dan 4:19-4:19)

“Belteshazzar answered.

‘My lord!

May the dream

Be for those

Who hate you!

Its interpretation is

For your enemies!’”

Belteshazzar or Daniel replied by calling King Nebuchadnezzar, his lord. He told the king that this dream was for those who hated him. The interpretation would surely please his enemies. In other words, there would not be good news here.

Opposition to worship cults (Isa 66:3-66:4)

“Whoever slaughters an ox is

Like one who kills a human being.

Whoever sacrifices a lamb is

Like one who breaks a dog’s neck.

Whoever presents a cereal offering is

Like one who offers swine’s blood.

Whoever makes a memorial offering

Of frankincense is

Like one who blesses an idol.

These have chosen their own ways.

They take delight in their abominations.

I also will choose to mock them.

I will bring upon them

What they fear.

Because,

When I called,

No one answered.

When I spoke

They did not listen.

But they did

What was evil in my sight.

They chose

What did not please me.”

Yahweh seems to rebuke those who sacrifice animals, saying that killing oxen is like killing humans. If they sacrificed lambs, they are sacrificing dogs. A grain offering was compared to unclean pig’s blood. The use of the frankincense was compared to worshiping idols. They have chosen their own ways that are an abomination to Yahweh. He would continue to mock and punish them because no one answered when he called. No one listened when he spoke. They continued to do evil and not please God.

The wise ones (Sir 20:27-20:31)

“The wise person

Advances himself

By his words.

Whoever is sensible

Will please the great men.

Whoever cultivates the soil

Will heap up their harvest.

Whoever pleases the great men

Will atone for injustice.

Favors blind the eyes of the wise.

Gifts blind the eyes of the wise.

Like a muzzle on the mouth,

They stop reproofs.

What is the value

Of hidden wisdom?

What is the value

Of an unseen treasure?

What value is either of them?

Better are those

Who hide their folly

Than those

Who hide their wisdom.”

Sirach gives us some indications about the wise people. They advance themselves by their words. They are sensible and thus please great men. They know how to cultivate the soil to get a great harvest. They atone for injustice. However, there is a down side. They should not be blinded by gifts and favors. Thus they might end up putting a muzzle on so that they stop criticizing the people who are giving these presents and favors. There is no value to hidden wisdom or unseen treasure. The foolish should hide their foolishness rather than the wise hide their wisdom.

The hands of the Lord and fear of the Lord (Sir 2:15-2:18)

“Those who fear the Lord

Will not disobey his words.

Those who love him

Will keep his ways.

Those who fear the Lord

Will seek to please him.

Those who love him

Will be filled with his law.

Those who fear the Lord

Will prepare their hearts.

Those who fear the Lord

Will humble themselves before him.

Let us fall into the hands of the Lord.

But let us not fall into the hands of men.

Equal to his majesty is his mercy.

Equal to his name are his works.”

If you fear the Lord, you will not disobey his words. If you love the Lord, you will keep his ways. If you fear the Lord, you will try to please him. Those who love God will be filled with his law. Here we see the combination of law and love, not separated. If you love, you will follow the law. If you fear the Lord, you will prepare your hearts and humble yourselves before the Lord. We should be in the hands of the Lord and not the hands of men. God’s majesty is equal to his mercy. His name and his works are the same.

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.