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Why so much negativity in here? 111211
Among today’s selected lectionary daily texts, there is not much joy beyond the praise song of Psalm 90’s first line. Reading Ezekiel 7, Judges 5 and Matthew 12 one could be struck with the overwhelming negativity of the scriptures. And I have to ask why?
Of course, these scriptures may be just a random sample of grapes which all happened to turn out sour.
Another explanation is that the Bible and its stories and wisdom tends to be something which contains all the trouble and toil to which mankind is subject. Of course it is negative, because Satan rules the world it is said, and Satan is all that is negative. Bible verses tend to be negative because there is so much evil in the world to learn about and to remember.
But the underlying story of the Bible is not just about evil; it is also the story of humanity’s response to evil and of God’s faithfulness to humanity in facing a world of evil. Evil is evil, but how we overcome it with God’s help is positive and uplifting.
Let us pray for this love from God, which sustains us through all, and may the love of God reach all of human kind and all of earth, which astonishes us daily with its beauty and bounty.
Pray for peace
1Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
4For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.
5You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning;
6in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
7For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
8You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9For all our days pass away under your wrath; our years come to an end like a sigh.
10The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
12So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
10See, the day! See, it comes! Your doom has gone out. The rod has blossomed, pride has budded. 11Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness. None of them shall remain, not their abundance, not their wealth; no pre-eminence among them. 12The time has come, the day draws near; let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is upon all their multitude. 13For the sellers shall not return to what has been sold as long as they remain alive. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not be revoked. Because of their iniquity, they cannot maintain their lives. 14They have blown the horn and made everything ready; but no one goes to battle, for my wrath is upon all their multitude. 15The sword is outside, pestilence and famine are inside; those in the field die by the sword; those in the city—famine and pestilence devour them.
16If any survivors escape, they shall be found on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them moaning over their iniquity. 17All hands shall grow feeble, all knees turn to water. 18They shall put on sackcloth, horror shall cover them. Shame shall be on all faces, baldness on all their heads. 19They shall fling their silver into the streets, their gold shall be treated as unclean. Their silver and gold cannot save them on the day of the wrath of the Lord. They shall not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling block of their iniquity. 20From their beautiful ornament, in which they took pride, they made their abominable images, their detestable things; therefore I will make of it an unclean thing to them. 21I will hand it over to strangers as booty, to the wicked of the earth as plunder; they shall profane it. 22I will avert my face from them, so that they may profane my treasured place; the violent shall enter it, they shall profane it.
23Make a chain! For the land is full of bloody crimes; the city is full of violence. 24I will bring the worst of the nations to take possession of their houses. I will put an end to the arrogance of the strong, and their holy places shall be profaned. 25When anguish comes, they will seek peace, but there shall be none. 26Disaster comes upon disaster, rumor follows rumor; they shall keep seeking a vision from the prophet; instruction shall perish from the priest, and counsel from the elders. 27The king shall mourn, the prince shall be wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land shall tremble. According to their way I will deal with them; according to their own judgments I will judge them. And they shall know that I am the Lord.
5Then Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying: 2“When locks are long in Israel, when the people offer themselves willingly— bless the Lord! 3“Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes; to the Lord I will sing, I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel. 4“Lord, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the region of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens poured, the clouds indeed poured water. 5The mountains quaked before the Lord, the One of Sinai, before the Lord, the God of Israel.
6“In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, caravans ceased and travelers kept to the byways. 7The peasantry prospered in Israel, they grew fat on plunder, because you arose, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel. 8When new gods were chosen, then war was in the gates. Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel? 9My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless the Lord. 10“Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets and you who walk by the way. 11To the sound of musicians at the watering places, there they repeat the triumphs of the Lord, the triumphs of his peasantry in Israel. “Then down to the gates marched the people of the Lord.
12“Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, utter a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam.
43“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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- Frailty of Life (via Holy Land Moments) (thechristiangazette.wordpress.com)
- What the Bible Teaches About Scoffers (verticalviewer.wordpress.com)
- The First Three Judges (JUDGES 3) (fellowshiproom.org)
- The Valley of Dry Bones Pt. 3 (anotherchristianblog.org)
- Arise Sweet Remnant of Israel (hismessages.wordpress.com)
- Ez 38-39 (wbcthomasanna.wordpress.com)