What these texts model is human initiative, as much as courage, intelligence, verbal agility, and responsibility for others. These intercessors come up with their own speeches, not words already dictated by YHWH.—Forestalling Doom pages 239–40
Friday, September 30, 2016
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
This is actually very common; if you read much anthropology and/or history of religions, you'll see it repeatedly. The line between the divine and the human is bridged by the ritual practitioner. Eliade called it illud tempus (that time) in his writings.
Now the question to ask is, how do we fall into this trap as Christians? How do we think we can control God and circumstances? I would venture to say that we do it without realizing it...
As always, just an
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Well, I wouldn't limit the reason they survived to just that; there is a good bit of Holy Spirit action involved, too! But, a good point nonetheless.
Intercession is available to all. Let's make use of it for the good of our neighbors. Intercede on their behalf—not to "make America great again" or "keep America great," whatever that means (see here). But so that they might enjoy the presence and peace of God in their lives.
Monday, September 26, 2016
As I was reading this, all kinds of prayers that I've read from the ancient world came to mind, along with the techniques they used. Some obviously magical, some more do ut des, some repetitive—as if to wear the god out until the request was granted—, some full of rhetorical flourishes, and some, especially the from the Psalms, just the pouring out of a heart in distress. And then the admonition by Jesus about vain repetition came to mind.
So what do we do with all these data? I'm still (after 40+ years as a Christian) trying to formulate a theology of prayer. I think the best I can do is, "It's messy, but it works (sometimes)!" What do you think?
Friday, September 23, 2016
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Fascinating idea, isn't it? God wants us to intercede! May we rise to the challenge!
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
The rhetoric of the causative and hybrid speech acts presents a somewhat different image of the gods. Rather than appealing to the gods’ personal reasons for desiring the ritual’s success, here vivid analogies are designed to entice the gods into transforming reality in the ways depicted. The gods are assumed to recognize and validate the conventional associations on which the persuasive analogies are based. There is a circular process here: the gods are understood to have given humans rituals containing verbal techniques and references that the gods themselves would find particularly compelling. This circularity supports the view that the gods desire the rituals’ success.—Forestalling Doom pages 229–30
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
In sum, then, biblical apotropaic intercessory utterances aim to persuade the deity, rely on many of the same rhetorical strategies and arguments as supplications to human authorities, and are generally portrayed as effective at reducing or appropriately targeting divinely planned doom. As for the theology of the intercession proper, apotropaic intercessory appeals depict a deity moved by human passion as well as pain, a deity sensitive about his reputation, and a deity attached to his chosen, particularly his patriarchs. This God is stirred by justice but sometimes in need of reminding to protect the innocent in his rush to punish the guilty. YHWH is depicted as resembling a well-intentioned and all- powerful monarch, who relies on his advisers for guidance when the concerns of his subjects are brought to his ears—but who always reserves the final judgment as his own.—Forestalling Doom page 213
Monday, September 19, 2016
Kinda blows the stereotypes out of the water, doesn't it? But it sure does make God more merciful and illustrates the depth of ḥesed!
Another thought: You don't turn/repent in order to avoid punishment. You turn/repent out of thankfulness that God has delivered you! Just an
Friday, September 16, 2016
Indeed. But our natural tendency is to bristle and deny, isn't it?
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Interesting insight, once again illustrating that YHWH isn't a tame deity that we can put on a leash. Something we all need to remember when we try to bend God's will to our own.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
He isn't a tame lion...
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Bad pun alert: Incense to calm an incensed deity...
Monday, September 12, 2016
Overall, David’s intercession parallels others in that YHWH presents an opening for intercession, David argues for protection of the innocent, and the intercession succeeds. Even its two unique features—confession and a link to ritual—follow biblical precedent: as in Lev 5:1-6, the guilty party must realize his sin, confess, and offer sacrifice before his sin is expiated (נשלח).—Forestalling Doom page 198
I guess the question is, how sensitive are we to the openings that God gives us to intercede? Are we too busy condemning the guilty to hear God say, "Intercede!"?
Thursday, September 08, 2016
In other words, "Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift." (Matt 5:23 CEB).
So, to answer the question:
Who can ascend the Lord’s mountain?Holiness matters...and I'm talking heart holiness, not rule-based pseudo-holiness. You know, the kind that is imparted by the Holy Spirit.
Who can stand in his holy sanctuary?
Only the one with clean hands and a pure heart;
the one who hasn’t made false promises,
the one who hasn’t sworn dishonestly.
That kind of person receives blessings from the Lord
and righteousness from the God who saves.
Wednesday, September 07, 2016
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
If we are convinced that our violence is responsible to secure our future, then our actions will tacitly witness to the death of god in our culture. This atheistic tendency has been prevalent because of our fears since the destruction of the World Trade Towers. The results have been disastrous. The more we prepare for war, the better our weaponry, the more vigilant we become, the more we engage in “preemptive” war or targeted drone assassinations, the more we live the illusion that we can create peace by violence and in turn leave a wake of destruction that mirrors the very destruction we fear. Because peace and security through violence are political impossibilities, our wars are no longer limited political engagements but ideological crusades, and that should concern all people of good will. (A good dose of Niebuhrian realism would be beneficial.) Even more should it concern people of faith who have been told to love their enemy because this love is the nature of God who loved us while we were enemies. Before we can ask the question, “what would you do if” in a hypothetical situation, it would behoove Christians to ask: How do we best witness to this God who loves us while we were enemies? The cross and resurrection are the inconvenient answer to that question.
As I've been saying for many years now, we get the role of a prophet totally wrong. They spend most of their time interceding with God for the very people they are reprimanding.
How different from self-styled "prophets" today, who spend most of their time "prophesying" wealth and prosperity over people! They are closer to the false prophets in the book of Jeremiah than they are to the true prophets of old!
Lord, forgive us! Raise up true prophets who stand in the gap!