Archive for December, 2017

Thoughts While Reviewing The Old Testament

December 27, 2017

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Characteristics hidden from wide acceptance within Christianity are common occurrences in the writings of the Old Testament. Sexually you have the matter of the various kings and patriarchs having multiple wives (“polygamy” is to much of an emotionally-charged term to use here without obscuring the point I’m trying to make) along with their concubines. At the same time, sexual “uncleanness” was punished with the death penalty, so… the allowance of multiple spouses may possibly have been a pressure-valve for venting surplus sexual energy without committing a capital offense.

We’re all aware that Solomon’s prodigious population of Significant Others was – mostly – the product of diplomatic ties he had established with the respective wife’s homeland. Nevertheless the sexual incentive behind his ambitious spousal proliferation cannot be negated. In the end it ruined him, inasmuch as some of his better-halves lured him into ungodly religious practices, leaving him depressed enough to pen the book of Ecclesiastes.

 
Battle.
The gruesome killings of the Old Testament are difficult to digest when viewed through the eyes of the New Covenant and the Age of Grace. But there *are* parallel components to these events: moving boldly in a state of faith, arising from a position of oppression and poverty to receive a state of victory by God’s hand, and knowing we’re not required to accept attacks by tyrants. Just recently I was inspired by an account in 2 Kings 2:23-25 where Elisha (Elija’s protege) was being trifled with by some surly teens. This may seem out of place, but he was known as a prophet of God and that was an era of harsh punishments for blasphemy. Elisha called down a curse on them before God, and vicious beasts mauled 43 of them.  One key principle of this is that Elisha left the “vengeance” to God – he didn’t bring his flesh into direct attack.  Another point is that such belittling need not go unchecked – when such interferes with one’s assignment from God. The Lord’s prophet would lose his nimbus of authority were he to accept such treatment silently – in that instance. Anyway, I received enough insight into that scripture for it to do my heart good.  We’re not powerless as we walk amid a world of enemies. 

 
Gold.
Solomon was rich, and he got richer. He was the wisest of the people up to that time (at least in the beginning before his wayward wives wore him down). But, as he dispensed his God-given wisdom, he happily received gold and gifts as tribute to his profitable insights. I personally don’t care to be so mercenary in doling out my epiphanies, but God takes care of me in other ways. I’m often the fortunate recipient of coupons good for big big savings at area merchants. But marketing and income constructs were very different in Solomon’s time so we must put his occupation in it’s historical context. The parallel principle in this account is to have no awkwardness about material success –  provided it doesn’t fuel your ego. Material pleasures can encourage reliance on the flesh – a frail and temporal vessel – rather than maintaining one’s state of faith and keeping one’s locus of consciousness in one’s spirit. 

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