17 June 2012
I led them with reins of kindness, with leading-strings of love
- Extracted from the prophet Hosea, Chapter 11:1,3-4,8-9
Listen to the word of the Lord:
When Israel was a child I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt.
I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in my arms;
yet they have not understood that I was the one looking after them.
I led them with reins of kindness, with leading-strings of love.
I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek;
stooping down to him I gave him his food.
Ephraim, how could I part with you? Israel, how could I give you up?
How could I treat you like Admah, or deal with you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils from it, my whole being trembles at the thought.
I will not give rein to my fierce anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again,
for I am God, not man: I am the Holy One in your midst and have no wish to destroy.
The mother of Samuel, Hannah gave praise to God when she presented Samuel to be consecrated to God for his entire life; as Samuel was conceived and born as a result of God’s answer to her prayers, for she was barren.
-Extracted from the 1st Book of the prophet Samuel, Chapter 2:
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in Yahweh, in my God is my strength lifted up, my mouth derides my foes, for I rejoice in your deliverance.
2 There is no Holy One like Yahweh, (indeed, there is none but you) no Rock like our God.
3 Do not keep talking so proudly, let no arrogance come from your mouth, for Yahweh is a wise God, his to weigh up deeds.
4 The bow of the mighty has been broken but those who were tottering are now braced with strength.
5 The full fed are hiring themselves out for bread but the hungry need labour no more; the barren woman bears sevenfold but the mother of many is left desolate.
6 Yahweh gives death and life, brings down to Sheol and draws up;
7 Yahweh makes poor and rich, he humbles and also exalts.
8 He raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the dunghill to give them a place with princes, to assign them a seat of honour; for to Yahweh belong the pillars of the earth, on these he has poised the world.
9 He safeguards the steps of his faithful but the wicked vanish in darkness (for human strength can win no victories).
10 Yahweh, his enemies are shattered, the Most High thunders in the heavens. Yahweh judges the ends of the earth, he endows his king with power, he raises up the strength of his Anointed.
11 Elkanah (Samuel’s father, an Ephraimite, descendant of Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob (son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham)) then went home to Ramah, but the child stayed in Yahweh's service, in the presence of Eli the priest.
20 June 2012
Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal
-Extracted from the 1st book of Kings, Chapter 18:
16 Obadiah went to find Ahab and tell him the news, and Ahab then went to find Elijah.
17 When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, 'So there you are, you scourge of Israel!'
18 'Not I,' he replied, 'I am not the scourge of Israel, you and your family are; because you have deserted Yahweh and followed Baal.
19 Now give orders for all Israel to gather round me on Mount Carmel, and also the four hundred prophets of Baal who eat at Jezebel's table.'
20 Ahab called all Israel together and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.
21 Elijah stepped out in front of all the people. 'How long', he said, 'do you mean to hobble first on one leg then on the other? If Yahweh is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.' But the people had nothing to say.
22 Elijah then said to them, 'I, I alone, am left as a prophet of Yahweh, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty.
23 Let two bulls be given us; let them choose one for themselves, dismember it but not set fire to it. I in my turn shall prepare the other bull, but not set fire to it.
24 You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of Yahweh; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.' The people all answered, 'Agreed!'
25 Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose one bull and begin, for there are more of you. Call on the name of your god but light no fire.'
26 They took the bull and prepared it, and from morning to midday they called on the name of Baal. 'O Baal, answer us!' they cried, but there was no voice, no answer, as they performed their hobbling dance round the altar which they had made.
27 Midday came, and Elijah mocked them. 'Call louder,' he said, 'for he is a god: he is preoccupied or he is busy, or he has gone on a journey; perhaps he is asleep and needs to be woken up!'
28 So they shouted louder and gashed themselves, as their custom was, with swords and spears until the blood flowed down them.
29 Midday passed, and they ranted on until the time when the offering is presented; but there was no voice, no answer, no sign of attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, 'Come over to me,' and all the people came over to him. He repaired Yahweh's altar which had been torn down.
31 Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Yahweh had come, 'Israel is to be your name,'
32 and built an altar in the name of Yahweh. Round the altar he dug a trench of a size to hold two measures of seed.
33 He then arranged the wood, dismembered the bull, and laid it on the wood.
34 Then he said, 'Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.' They did this. He said, 'Do it a second time;' they did it a second time. He said, 'Do it a third time;' they did it a third time.
35 The water flowed round the altar until even the trench itself was full of water.
36 At the time when the offering is presented, Elijah the prophet stepped forward. 'Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,' he said, 'let them know today that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, that I have done all these things at your command.
37 Answer me, Yahweh, answer me, so that this people may know that you, Yahweh, are God and are winning back their hearts.'
38 Then Yahweh's fire fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. 'Yahweh is God,' they cried, 'Yahweh is God!'
20 June 2012
The Prophesy concerning Jesus Christ
- Extracted from the prophet Ezekiel, Chapter 17:22-24
The Lord says this:
‘From the top of the cedar, from the highest branch I will take a shoot
and plant it myself on a very high mountain.
I will plant it on the high mountain of Israel. It will sprout branches and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar (hereinafter referred to Jesus Christ who was to come, as this prophesy was around 597 B.C.).
Every kind of bird will live beneath it, every winged creature rest in the shade of its branches.
And every tree of the field will learn that I, the Lord, am the one
who stunts tall trees and makes the low ones grow,
who withers green trees and makes the withered green.
I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it.’
17 June 2012