Bel versus the living God (Dan 14:4-14:5)

“The king said to him.

‘Why do you

Not worship Bel?’

Daniel answered.

‘Because I do not revere

Idols,

Made with human hands.

But I revere

The living God,

Who created heaven,

Who created earth.

He has dominion

Over all living creatures.’”

King Cyrus and Daniel got into a conversation about Bel, the Babylonian god. The king wanted to know why Daniel did not worship Bel. Daniel explained that he did not worship or revere man made idols. Instead, he revered and worshipped the living God, who created heaven and earth. Thus, his God had dominion over all living creatures.

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Priests (Sir 7:29-7:31)

“With all your soul

Fear the Lord!

Revere his priests!

With all your might,

Love your Maker!

Do not neglect his ministers!

Fear the Lord!

Honor the priest!

Give him his portion,

As you have been commanded.

Give him

The first fruits,

The guilt offering,

The gift of the shoulders,

The sacrifice of sanctification,

The first fruits of the holy things.”

Once again, Sirach is absolute in his demands about the Israelite Levitical priests.   Listening to them was like listening to God. Obviously, you were to fear the Lord and love your Maker. You also were to revere God’s priests. Thus you should not neglect God’s ministers. They should have their portion as commanded by the law. In case there was any confusion, he specifically listed what the priests were to get, the first fruits, the guilt offerings, the shoulders, the sanctification sacrifice, and the first fruits of the holy things. I am not sure about the shoulders, but the others were common in the Torah.

The greatness of Yahweh (Ps 86:8-86:11)

“There is none like you among the gods!

Yahweh!

There are not any works like yours!

All the nations that you have made shall come.

They shall bow down before you!

Yahweh!

They shall glorify your name!

You are great!

You do wondrous things!

You alone are God!

Teach me your way!

Yahweh!

Thus I may walk in your truth.

Give me an undivided heart.

Thus I may revere your name!”

David continued his prayer by saying that Yahweh was like no other god. There was nothing like his works. All the nations that Yahweh has made should come and bow down before him. They should glorify his name for all the great deeds that he has done. Yahweh alone was God. This was a strong monotheistic idea that Yahweh was the one true God, while there were other false gods. David wanted to be taught in the ways of God. He wanted to walk in truth with an undivided heart. He wanted to revere the name of Yahweh.

The great harvest thanksgiving (Ps 67:5-67:7)

Let the peoples praise you!

O God!

Let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase.

God!

Our God has blessed us!

May God continue to bless us.

Let all the ends of the earth revere him!”

This short psalm ends with a great thanksgiving for a good harvest. The great refrain about all the people praising God was repeated twice again. God has blessed us with a great harvest. May he continue to do so. All the ends of the earth should revere God.

The short admonition of Tobit to his son (Tob 4:5-4:7)

“Revere the Lord all your days, my son!

Refuse to sin!

Refuse to transgress his commandments!

Live uprightly all the days of your life!

Do not walk in the ways of wrongdoing!

Those who act in accordance with truth

Will prosper in their activities.”

Tobit warned his son not to sin, but to revere the Lord all the days of his life. He was to follow the commandments of God, not walking in the ways of the wrongdoers. He was to follow the truth, because then he would prosper. Good morality led to prosperity.