The self-exaltation of the king (Dan 11:36-11:37)

“The king

Shall act

As he pleases.

He shall exalt himself.

He shall consider himself

Greater than any god.

He shall speak

Horrendous things

Against the God of gods.

He shall prosper

Until the period of wrath

Is completed.

What is determined

Shall be done.

He shall pay no heed

To the gods

Of his ancestors,

Or to the one beloved

By women.

He shall not pay respect

To any other god.

He shall consider himself

Greater than all.”

Gabriel continued to tell Daniel about King Antiochus IV, who acted as he pleased. He exalted himself. He believed that he was greater than any god. He even spoke horrendous things against the God of gods, the Israelite God. He would continue to prosper, until the time of wrath was completed. This arrogant king did not even pay homage to the gods of his ancestors, or to the gods that women loved. He did not pay respect to any other gods. He seemed to have been intrigued by the Greek gods and wanted to be a god himself. He considered himself greater than any of the other gods.

The vision of the ram (Dan 8:3-8:4)

“I looked up.

I saw a ram

Standing

Beside the river.

It had two horns.

Both horns

Were long.

But one was longer

Than the other.

The longer one

Came up second.

I saw the ram

Charging

Westward,

Northward,

Southward.

All beasts were

Powerless

To withstand him.

No one could be rescued

From its power.

It did as it pleased.

It became strong.”

Daniel then saw a ram standing by the river. Obviously, it had 2 long horns, but one horn was longer than the other. Perhaps, this was an indication of the longer Persian was the shorter Medes horn. This ram charged west, north, and south, but not eastward. All the other animals were powerless before it. No one could escape from it, because it did what it pleased, as it seemed to get stronger.

Yahweh speaks about idols (Ezek 14:4-14:5)

“Therefore speak to them!

Say to them!

‘Thus says Yahweh God!

Any of the house of Israel

Who take their idols

Into their hearts

Place their iniquity

As a stumbling block

Before them.

Yet they come

To the prophet.

I,

Yahweh,

Will answer those

Who come

With the multitude

Of their idols.

Thus I may take hold

Of the hearts

Of the house of Israel,

All of whom are estranged

From me

Through their idols.’”

Yahweh told Ezekiel to speak to these elders with their idols. He told him to say that Yahweh was not pleased that anyone from the house of Israel would seriously take their idols to their hearts. Taking these idols seriously showed their wickedness as a stumbling block. Despite that, they came to the prophet to speak to him. Yahweh, himself was going to answer these people who had multiple idols. He knew why the hearts of the people of the house of Israelite were estranged from him. These idols were the main reason why they had turned against him.

The reward for the Rechabites (Jer 35:18-35:19)

“But to the house

Of the Rechabites,

Jeremiah said.

‘Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

You have obeyed

The command

Of your ancestor Jonadab.

You have kept

All his precepts.

You have done

All that he commanded you.

Therefore thus says

Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

Jonadab,

The son of Rechab,

Shall not lack

A descendant

To stand before me

For all time.’”

Now Jeremiah said that Yahweh was well pleased with the Rechabites because they obeyed the commandments of their ancestor Jonadab. They kept all his precepts and followed all his commands. Therefore Yahweh would make sure that they would never lack a descendant until the end of time. This group would continue on, something like the Davidic line of kings.

Jeremiah’s prayerful response (Jer 11:20-11:20)

“But you!

Yahweh of hosts!

You judge righteously

Those who try the heart,

Those who try the mind.

Let me see

Your retribution upon them!

I have committed my cause

To you.”

This prayerful response of Jeremiah is addressed to Yahweh. He knew that Yahweh judged righteously the hearts and the minds of all people. Thus Jeremiah wanted retribution to come to those who had plotted against him. However, he was committing his cause to Yahweh, to let him do as he pleased.

 

The call of Yahweh (Isa 22:12-22:14)

“In that day,

Yahweh,

God of hosts,

Called for weeping.

He called for mourning.

He called for baldness.

He called for putting on sackcloth.

But instead

There was joy.

There was festivity.

They killed oxen.

They slaughtered sheep.

They were eating meat.

They were drinking wine.

‘Let us eat!

Let us drink!

For tomorrow we die!’

Yahweh of hosts

Has revealed himself

In my ears.

‘Surely

This iniquity

Will not be forgiven you

Until you die.’

Says Yahweh,

God of hosts.”

On that day, Yahweh called on his people to weep and mourn. He wanted them to shave their heads and put on sackcloth because of the impending disaster. Instead, the people of Jerusalem decided to have a joyous festival. They killed oxen and sheep for their celebration, as they drank wine and ate meat. Then we have the famous saying that has endured through time. They cried out, “Let us eat and drink because tomorrow we die.” Yahweh of hosts was not pleased at this response. In fact, he told Isaiah explicitly that their iniquity would not be forgiven as long as they lived.

Infidelity and punishment (Sir 48:15-48:16)

“Despite all this,

The people did not repent.

They did not forsake their sins,

Until they were carried off

As plunder

From their land.

They were scattered

Over all the earth.

The people were left,

Very few in number,

But with a ruler

From the house of David.

Some of them did

What was right,

Pleasing to God.

But others sinned

More and more.”

Despite the warnings of these two great northern prophets of Israel, Elijah and Elisha, the northern Israelites did not repent. They did not give up their sinning ways. Only when they were carried off as plunder in the captivity did they realize how bad they had been. They were scattered all over the earth. Only a few people were left. However, there was a ruler from the house of David in Judah. Some people did what was right and pleased the Lord, but many others continued to multiply their sins.

Wisdom will save you from evil people (Prov 2:10-2:15)

“When wisdom comes into your heart,

Then knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.

Prudence will watch over you.

Understanding will guard you.

It will save you

From the way of evil.

It will save you

From those who speak perversely.

It will save you

From those who forsake the paths of uprightness.

They walk in the ways of darkness.

They rejoice in doing evil.

They delight in the perverseness of evil.

Their paths are crooked.

They are devious in their ways.”

Things will go better for you if you have wisdom in your heart. Your soul will be pleased with its knowledge, prudence, and understanding. On the other hand, wisdom will save you from evil ways and perverse speech. It will help you keep on the straight and narrow. Wisdom will keep you away from those who walk in darkness or do perverse evil on crooked paths in their devious ways.

Israelite festival (Ps 149:1-149:5)

“Praise Yahweh!

Sing to Yahweh a new song!

His praise is due

In the assembly of the faithful!

Let Israel be glad in its maker!

Let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!

Let them praise his name with dancing!

Let them make melody to him

With the tambourine!

Let them make melody to him

With the lyre!

Yahweh takes pleasure in his people.

He adorns the humble with victory.

Let the faithful exult in glory!

Let them sing for joy on their couches!”

Psalm 149 begins with the phrase “praise Yahweh,” another way of saying alleluia, the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” There is no introductory title. The Israelites were to sing a new song in the assembly of the faithful. They should be glad because Yahweh is their creator. They should rejoice with their king. They were to dance and play the tambourine and the lyre. Yahweh was pleased with his people. He would give them glory and victory. Thus they can sing with glory from their couches after their victory.

David’s broken contrite heart (Ps 51:15-51:17)

“O Lord!

Open my lips!

My mouth will declare your praise.

You have no delight in sacrifice.

If I were to give a burnt offering,

You would not be pleased.

The sacrifice acceptable to God is

A broken spirit,

A broken heart,

A contrite heart.

O God!

You will not despise.”

David wanted God to open his lips and mouth so that they might praise God. He seemed to imply that God was not that pleased with sacrifices and burnt offerings. What God really wanted was a broken spirit and a contrite broken heart that would not despise him.