What Is A Teraphim? 072412
This morning’s scripture from Zechariah (below) speaks of teraphim. At first I thought it said ‘terrapins’ but I couldn’t make the word for ‘turtles’ to fit the meaning of the sentence. As it turns out, no one exactly knows what the word means, but it seems they were some kind of object related to household worship, and were important enough to be carried by one when traveling or fleeing the household.
Zechariah 10:1 says: Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, who gives showers of rain to you, the vegetation in the field to everyone.
The verse goes on to discount the teraphim and the fortune-tellers and to depend instead on the Lord, who will prevent the people from wandering like sheep without a shepherd.
We’ve all probably wandered around, looking for some kind of god, while God waited. Are their teraphim in your household, or in your investment portfolio or in your bank account? How can we live without a shepherd to show the way?
Pray for peace
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1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
3Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
14Then the Lord will appear over them, and his arrow go forth like lightning; the Lord God will sound the trumpet and march forth in the whirlwinds of the south. 15The Lord of hosts will protect them, and they shall devour and tread down the slingers; they shall drink their blood like wine, and be full like a bowl, drenched like the corners of the altar. 16On that day the Lord their God will save them for they are the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. 17For what goodness and beauty are his! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.
10Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, who gives showers of rain to you, the vegetation in the field to everyone. 2For the teraphim utter nonsense, and the diviners see lies; the dreamers tell false dreams, and give empty consolation. Therefore the people wander like sheep; they suffer for lack of a shepherd.
17From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. 18When they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. 20I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, 21as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. 22And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. 24But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. 25“And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. 26Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, 27for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 28Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. 29I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. 31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. 32And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. 33I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. 34You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. 35In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
36When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. 37There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.
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.