Theism

Theism proclaims that there is a mysterious transcendent God out there.  We need to know and understand this higher power.  We can find a way to describe our transcendent God by using human terms.  Most religions believe in some higher power.  The place and how contact is made with this mysterious power is often different among theist believers.  Theism is a positive response to the question of God, as opposed to the negative response of atheism.

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Atheism

Atheism proclaims that there is nothing out there, no transcendence, no God.  Therefore, there is no theism or belief in God.  There is nothing but us mere humans, so that we have to do the best that we can do.  There is nothing but individual concerns that sometimes merge into some common causes.  This world is full of nothingness or just plain old materialism.  Get as much as you can now.  There is nothing more.  Quite often, this is a reasoned position, in that atheism is a minority opinion, since the natural tendency of most people is to believe in something other than yourself.

Yahweh has compassion (Lam 3:31-3:33)

Kaph

“Yahweh will not

Reject forever.

Although he causes grief,

He will have compassion

According to the abundance

Of his steadfast love.

He does not willingly

Afflict anyone.

He does not willingly

Grieve anyone.”

This grieving author talks about the compassion of Yahweh, since Yahweh was not going to reject him forever. Yahweh definitely caused him grief, but he is compassionate with his abundant steadfast love. Then in a strange statement that almost contradicts what was said earlier, this author proclaims that Yahweh does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone. In fact, that had been the main complaint earlier in this poem. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Kaph in this acrostic poem.

The forgotten happiness (Lam 3:16-3:18)

Vav

“Yahweh has made

My teeth grind

On gravel.

He made me

Cower in ashes.

My soul is bereft

Of peace.

I have forgotten

What happiness is.

So I say.

‘Gone is my glory,

All that I had hoped for

From Yahweh.’”

This suffering person proclaims that Yahweh has made him grind his teeth on gravel, which is not a pretty thought. Yahweh made him cower or be afraid with ashes on him, as if in mourning. His soul had no peace. He had forgotten what happiness was. All the glory that he had hoped for from Yahweh was gone. He was almost in despair. These three verses start with the Hebrew consonant letter Vav in this acrostic poem.

Personal suffering (Lam 3:1-3:3)

Aleph

“I am the one

Who has seen affliction

Under the rod

Of God’s wrath.

He has driven me.

He has brought me

Into darkness

Without any light.

Against me alone

He turns his hand

Again and again

All day long.”

These three short verses, instead of one verse, start with the Hebrew consonant letter Aleph. Each section after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this personal acrostic poem or psalm. Using the first person singular, this author proclaims that he has seen a lot of suffering. He has seen affliction, due to the rod or stick of God’s wrath. God drove him into darkness, without any light. God has turned his hand against him alone, over and over again, all day long. He was in great pain.

The arrogant Babylonians (Jer 50:30-50:32)

“‘Therefore,

Her young men

Shall fall

In her squares.

All her soldiers

Shall be destroyed

On that day.’

Says Yahweh.

‘I am against you!

O arrogant one!’

Says Yahweh!

God of hosts!

‘Your day has come!

It is the time

When I will punish you.

The arrogant one

Shall stumble.

The arrogant one

Shall fall.

There will be no one

To raise him up.

I will kindle a fire

In his cities.

It will devour

Everything around him.’”

Yahweh proclaims that the arrogant Babylonians would suffer defeat, so that their young men would die in their town squares. Their soldiers would be wiped out. Yahweh with all his hosts and armies would be against Babylon. Their time for their punishment was coming. These arrogant Babylonians would stumble and fall, but no one would help them up. Yahweh was going to set them on fire in their cities. Everything would be devoured around them. Bad times were coming to these proud Babylonians.

Judgment on the cities of Moab (Jer 48:21-48:25)

“‘Judgment has come

Upon the tableland,

Upon

Holon,

Jahzah,

Mephaath,

Dibon,

Nebo,

Beth-diblathaim,

Kiriathaim,

Beth-gamul,

Beth-meon,

Kerioth,

Bozrah,

And all the towns

Of the land

Of Moab,

Far and near.

The horn of Moab

Is cut off.

His arm is broken.’

Says Yahweh.”

Now Yahweh, via Jeremiah, issues his judgment against the Moab cities and towns. Interesting enough, the only other time two of these cities are named was in the book of Joshua, chapter 21,when they were assigned to the Levites living in the Reuben territory. Out of the four Levite towns mentioned there, two are mentioned here, Jahaz and Mephaath. In chapter 13 of Joshua, other cities were mentioned, Dibon, the capital city, Kiriathaim, and Beth-meon. Nebo was a Babylonian god, but could also be a place in Moab. Bozrah was in the southern part of Moab, while Beth-gamul was in eastern Moab. It is difficult to pin point the exact locations of Holon, Beth-diblathaim, and Kerioth. Actually this oracle proclaims that all the towns of Moab have been destroyed, since the horn of Moab and his arm have been broken and cut off. The towns are named explicitly here.