The watchful eye of Yahweh (Jer 31:28-31:28)

“‘Just as I have watched

Over them

To pluck up,

To break down,

To overthrow,

To destroy,

To bring evil,

So I will watch

Over them

To build

And to plant.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh in this oracle says that he watches over the Israelites. Just as he plucked them up, broke them down, overthrew them, destroyed them, and brought evil to them, so too he would watch over them as he builds them up and plants them again. There is a glimpse of hope here.

The divine judge (Sir 17:15-17:24)

“Their ways are always known to him.

They will not be hid from his eyes.

Their ways from youth tend towards evil.

They are unable

To make for themselves hearts of flesh

In place of their stony hearts.

In the division of nations of the whole earth

He appointed a ruler for every nation.

But Israel is the Lord’s own portion.

Being his firstborn,

He brings them up with discipline.

He allots to them

The light of his love.

He does not neglect them.

All their works are as clear

As the sun before him.

His eyes are continually upon their ways.

Their iniquities are not hidden from him.

All their sins are before the Lord.

The Lord is gracious.

He knows how they were formed.

He has not left them.

He has not abandoned them.

But he has spared them.

One’s almsgiving is

Like a signet ring with the Lord.

He will keep a person’s kindness

Like the apple of his eye.

Afterward he will rise up.

He will repay them.

He will bring their recompense on their heads.

Yet to those who repent,

He grants a return.

He encourages those who are losing hope.”

The Lord is a diving judge. He knows human ways. You cannot hide from him. He appointed rulers for the various countries, but he is the ruler of Israel. Since the time of the Exile in the 6th century BCE, there was no king of Israel. As Israel is the first born, the Lord has disciplined and loved Israel. He would not neglect them as he watches them continually. Their works are as clear as the sun. They cannot hide their sins, but he has not abandoned them. Almsgiving is like the Lord’s ring. Kindness is the apple of his eye. However, he will repay them for their sins. Nevertheless, those who repent can return. In fact, he tries to encourage those who are losing hope.

The wisdom of the Lord (Sir 15:18-15:20)

“Great is the wisdom of the Lord.

He is mighty in power.

He sees everything.

His eyes are on those who fear him.

He knows every human action.

He has not commanded any one to be wicked.

He has not given anyone permission to sin.”

The Lord God has great wisdom and mighty power. He sees everything as he watches over those who fear him. He knows their every action. He definitely has not commanded us to be wicked. He has never given anyone permission to sin.

Premature death of the righteous (Wis 4:10-4:15)

“There were some who pleased God.

They were loved by him.

While living among sinners,

They were taken up.

They were caught up

So that evil might not change their understanding.

Thus evil guile did not deceive their souls.

The fascination of wickedness

Obscures what is good.

Roving desire perverts the innocent mind.

Being perfected in a short time,

They fulfilled long years.

Their souls were pleasing to the Lord.

Therefore he took them quickly

From the midst of wickedness.

Yet the peoples saw.

They did not understand.

They did not take such a thing to heart.

God’s grace is with his elect.

God’s mercy is with his elect.

He watches over his holy ones.”

Even those who were pleasing to God (εὐάρεστος τῷ Θεῷ) were taken up at an early age. They were living among sinners (ἁμαρτωλῶν) when they were taken up from earth. They were loved (ἠγαπήθη), so that no evil (μὴ κακία) was able to change their understanding or their souls. There is a fascination with wickedness that obscures good things. Sometimes, a roving desire perverts an innocent mind. Some people are perfect in a short time, as if they had lived many years. Thus the Lord takes them quickly. They are pleasing to him (ἀρεστὴ γὰρ ἦν Κυρίῳ). People see this, but they do not understand it or take it to heart. God’s grace and mercy is with his chosen ones (χάρις καὶ ἔλεος ἐν τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς) since he watches over these holy ones.

The visitation (Wis 3:7-3:9)

“In the time of their visitation

They will shine forth.

They will run

Like sparks through the stubble.

They will govern nations.

They will rule over peoples.

The Lord will reign over them forever.

Those who trust in him

Will understand truth.

The faithful will abide

With him in love.

Because grace is upon his elect.

Mercy is upon his elect.

He watches over his elect.”

In some future time, there will be some kind of divine visitation (ἐν καιρῷ ἐπισκοπῆς αὐτῶν). At that time they will shine forth (ἀναλάμψουσι). They will run like fire sparks on dry stubble. They will govern nations and peoples (ἔθνη καὶ λαῶν). The Lord will have his kingdom reign forever (βασιλεύσει αὐτῶν Κύριος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας). Those who trust him will understand. The faithful believing ones will remain in love with him (οἱ πιστοὶ ἐν ἀγάπῃ). The Lord gives grace and mercy (χάρις καὶ ἔλεος), as he watches over his elect (τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς αὐτοῦ).

The consequences of non-action (Prov 24:11-24:12)

“If you hold back from rescuing

Those taken away to death,

Those who go staggering to the slaughter,

What are the consequences?

If you say.

‘Look!

We did not know this.’

Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?

Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it?

Will he not repay all according to their deeds?”

If you do not try to rescue someone from death, what are the consequences? They were staggering to their slaughter, what were you to do? Can you say that I did not know what was going on? This was the case at the time of the holocaust roundup. The excuse for non-action was I didn’t know. However, it is important to note that God, who weighs the heart, perceives this. He watches over your soul and knows it. He will repay you according to your deeds.

The generous ones (Prov 22:9-22:13)

“Those who are generous are blessed.

They share their bread with the poor.

Drive out a scoffer!

Then strife also goes out.

Quarreling and abuse will cease.

Whoever loves a pure heart,

Will have the king as a friend.

Whoever is gracious in speech,

Will have the king as his friend.

The eyes of Yahweh keep watch over knowledge.

But he overthrows the words of the faithless.

The lazy person says.

‘There is a lion outside!

I shall be killed in the streets!’”

The generous people are blessed because they share their bread with the poor. Get rid of the scoffers, the mockers, and strife will go away. Arguments and abuse will cease if the mockers are gone. If you have a pure heart and gracious speech you will have the king as a friend. Yahweh watches over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the faithless. The lazy person is afraid to go outside because he says that he is scared of being killed by a lion.