God’s creative uniqueness (Sir 33:7-33:13)

“Why is one day

More important than another?

All the daylight in the year

Is from the sun.

By the Lord’s wisdom

They were distinguished.

He appointed

The different seasons.

He appointed

The different festivals.

He exalted some days

He hallowed some days.

He made some days ordinary.

All human beings come

From the ground.

Humankind was created

Out of the dust.

In the fullness of his knowledge

The Lord distinguished them.

He appointed their different ways.

He blessed some.

He exalted some.

He made some holy.

He brought them

Near to himself.

He cursed some.

He brought some low.

He turned them out of their place.

Like clay

In the hand of the potter,

To be molded as he pleases,

We are all in the hands

Of our maker

To be given

Whatever he decides.”

Sirach asks the question why some days are more important than others. After all, the sun shines every day, so what is the difference? Sirach’s response is that the Lord’s wisdom distinguishes between ordinary days and the different seasons. The Lord, not humans, have made holy days and festival days. Using the chapter one story of Genesis, chapter 1, he mentions that all humans come from dust, yet some are better than others. Some were blessed and lifted up. Some were holy and close to God. On the other hand, some were cursed. They are all like clay in the great potter’s hands. He molds them however he pleases and whatever way he decides. This is a very deterministic view of humans since everything is controlled by God.

The power of the king (Eccl 8:2-8:5)

“Keep the king’s command

Because of your sacred oath.

Do not be terrified.

Go from his presence!

Do not delay

When the matter is unpleasant.

He does whatever he pleases.

The word of the king is powerful.

Who can say to him?

‘What are you doing?’

Whoever obeys a command

Will meet no harm.

The wise mind will know

The time.

The wise mind will know

The way.”

Once again, the basic assumption is that the king in acting in the name of God, what later was called the divine right of a king. You have sworn to follow the king. Do not be afraid. Go to him even if the matter is unpleasant. He is going to do whatever he pleases anyway. The word of the king is powerful. No one can ask him what he is doing. If you obey his command, everything will be okay. The wise person will know the right time and way to do this.

Our God is in heaven (Ps 115:2-115:3)

“Why should the nations say?

‘Where is their God?’

Our God is in the heavens.                           

He does whatever he pleases.”

Why do people ask where our God is? He is in heaven and does whatever he pleases. This is a simple description of Yahweh, a heavenly God who does whatever he wants.

Judith’s speech (Jdt 8:11-8:17)

“They came to her. She said to them.

‘Listen to me,

Rulers of the people of Bethulia!

What you have said to the people today is not right.

You have even sworn

You have pronounced this oath between God and you,

You promised to surrender the town to our enemies,

Unless the Lord turns and helps us within so many days.

Who are you?

Do you think that you can put God to the test today?

You are setting yourselves up in the place of God in human affairs.

You are putting the Lord Almighty to the test.

You will never know anything!

You cannot plumb the depths of the human heart!

You cannot find out what a man is thinking!

How do you expect to search out God?

God made all these things.

How can you find out his mind?

How can you comprehend his thought?

No, my brothers,

Do not anger the Lord our God!

If he does not choose to help us within these five days,

He has power to protect us within any time he pleases.

He may even destroy us in the presence of our enemies.

Do not try to bind the purposes of the Lord our God!

God is not like a human being!

He cannot be threatened!

He is not a mere moral!

He cannot be won over by pleading.

Therefore, while we wait for his deliverance,

Let us call upon him to help us!

He will hear our voice,

If it pleases him.’”

Judith pointed out that they should not be putting God to the test. They were not right in speaking that way. Who are you to test God? Why are you putting yourselves in the place of God? You do not know anything about the human heart and understanding. How can you possibly understand the thought of God? Do not anger God. He is not like a human being or mere mortal. He has made all things. He has the power to protect or destroy you if he pleases. All you can do is call for help, while we wait for his deliverance. He will either hear or not hear us as he pleases.