Prepare Ye The Way!

For the Love of the Spirit

New Page(s)

GREETINGS!

In an attempt to improve the flow of blog traffic and provide a convenience for readers I have added a new page for a series of articles created on stories from the Bible.

As of now there is only one series that is posted and still in progress of creation.  It can be found on the page SAMUEL and has three links (so far) to articles posted here on the Prophet Samuel who anointed the first two kings of IsraelSaul and David.  The link for this page can be found here and in the right sidebar under the heading Bible Stories.  Similarly, links for the page Bible Stories can be found here, in the navigation bar at the top of this page, and in the right sidebar.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

michael

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Announcements, Blog Traffic | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hannah’s Prayer

This is the second part in Bible Stories began in Little Sammy, about Samuel.  Samuel was to anoint the first kings of

Samuel and Eli

Israel — Saul and David.  He is compared to Moses in importance in the continuity of the covenant as he provided the transition from government by the rule of the judges to that of the monarchy itself.

In the first part we see how Samuel’s mother, Hannah, asked God for him. Being childless to that point, she promised God that she would dedicate him to religious service if God would answer her prayer.  She gave birth to Samuel, and keeping her vow, carried the freshly weaned child to Shiloh and turned him over to the chief priest Eli.  That part was given to us in I Samuel Chapter 1.  Chapter 2 begins with the second prayer of Hannah after she turned her son over to the priesthood.

Hannah’s Prayer

My heart rejoices in the LORD;
in the LORD my horn is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
for I delight in your deliverance.

There is no one holy like the LORD;
there is no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.

Do not keep talking so proudly
or let your mouth speak such arrogance,
for the LORD is a God who knows,
and by him deeds are weighed.

The bows of the warriors are broken,
but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
but she who has had many sons pines away.

The LORD brings death and makes alive;
he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
and has them inherit a throne of honor.

For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s;
on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

It is not by strength that one prevails;
those who oppose the LORD will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
the LORD will judge the ends of the earth.

He will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the LORD under Eli the priest.

I had trouble at first with this passage.  It felt strangely out of context.  Hannah had just turned over her first born child at a very tender age over to religious service and here she was praying about military service and the might of the nation of Israel and kings and the triumph of goodness over evil in absolute terms of victory and defeat.

Then I realized the extreme importance of Samuel entering the world stage at this particular moment.  At the moment that Hannah turned Samuel over, there WERE no kings in Israel.  Israel at that point was strictly a Theocratic state and were ruled over by religious leaders called “Judges.”  There was no monarchy and there were no kings.  The entrance of Samuel into the international arena brought an end to all that even though it was still many years to come before he anointed the first king of Israel — Saul.

Hannah’s prayer foreshadowed all that.  Samuel was to be the next in line of God’s Chosen to further his covenant with Abraham.  In that respect, he deserves a position of divine honor along with Moses.  As will be seen as we proceed in our studies of Samuel, Samuel was against the turn of events that would lead Israel into monarchical government and it would appear from biblical accounts that God wasn’t very keen on the subject either.  But, it can be little doubted that the transition was vital to furthering the process of Israel’s asecendency.

NEXT:

Eli’s Sons

February 7, 2012 Posted by | Bible Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Powerless or Powerful?

Introduction

In this article we will examine power.  We will look at it from three standpoints.  First, we will look at what it means to exercise power and control strictly from a human standpoint.

  • What does it mean to be able to control human courses of events and experience?
  • How do we define being powerful either individually, culturally, or as a society?
  • What are the final implications of sole human power and control or, conversely, the lack thereof?

Second, we will look at power from a divine standpoint.  Operating from a given of one God who is infinitely powerful and good,

  • what can be said about the effects of that power acting in the world without human influence?
  • Is it remotely definable?
  • What are the implications of that power and wisdom as it impacts human existence?

Finally, we will look at how, if at all, human derived from human wisdom can interact with divine power and wisdom.

  • Is there or can there be a confluence?
  • How is it manifested either in the life of the individual or in the world?
  • What are the implications of that confluence in the lives of humans?

Human Power

How much influence can humans exert over their lives, or, for that matter, the world around them? To exercise power over or own world requires the acquisition of knowledge in the particular field in which they wish to manifest that power.  For example, if one wants to be a successful politician, they need to have education or knowledge in all the many fields that support politics such as the way their particular governmental systems operate, public speaking, media manipulation, public opinion and many many more.  To be a successful medical doctor, one needs very specialized education in human biology and methods of maintaining human health and life–and this is minimal.

In addition to knowledge and/or education experience is vital.  Power without manifestation is not power.  At best it is potential.  To be able to put into  successful practice that which is purposefully learned, we also need the experience of it.  “Practice makes perfect” is not an accidentally constructed sentence.  The more we work it, the more we see it, the better we get at being able to “control” it.  The very best and the very brightest student of a field can make a very big mess if they are not very careful when they first begin to put their knowledge into practice.

“Knowledge” synthesized with “Experience” may commonly referred to as “Wisdom.”

King Solomon

God told Solomon, shortly after he followed his father, King David into the kingship, to ask of him anything he wished.  King Solomon asked for wisdom and God granted it to him.  It was and is widely acknowledged that Solomon was the wisest of any person current or past in his time.  Kings from all over the known world sent their own wise men to seek wisdom from the King of the Israelites.  (1 Ki 3: 5-12, 4: 29-34. 2Ch 7-12)

Given the scope here it is fitting that we turn to Solomon to answer the questions posed above regarding power and wisdom from the human standpoint.  The Book of Ecclesiastes is widely assumed to be authored by Solomon and so it will be here.  (It is not to be confused with the Book of Wisdom (or Wisdom of Solomon) which is part of the Apocrypha.)

In the very beginning it is immediately stated what he finds to be the answer to all the questions posed in the first standpoint, and he does that quite succinctly,

“Meaningless!  Meaningless!”

says the Teacher,

“Utterly meaningless!

Everything is meaningless!”  (Ec 1:2. NIV)

Kinda harsh isn’t it?  It sounds like TOTAL depression setting in.  In the King James Version, “Meaningless!  Meaningless” translates as, “Vanity of vanities!”  That verse and many others, if taken out of context with the book as a whole IS very depressing.  Solomon means to tell us that all of human endeavor including the pursuit of wisdom is completely without value.  “Human endeavor” is the operative phrase in that last sentence.

Doing good works, seeking pleasure, gaining knowledge and experience, and even the pursuit of wisdom itself are useless as the most defining human experience of all is that no matter how much we progress in wisdom and experience the final result is that we all end up as all other animals.  We Die!

No matter how much POWER we obtain, we all end up dead.  Everything crumbles to dust.  The future is ultimately unknowable.  How much clearer can this be when we consider all the other minor things besides death that cause us existential angst?

We cannot find a way to put an end to war.  We cannot find a way to cure chemical addictions.  We have no cures for horrible disease.  World hunger seems undefeatable. Poverty reduction let alone elimination is out of reach.  If the best educated, wisest, most experienced, wealthiest, and most POWERFUL among us cannot be of help, then what hope do the rest of us stand?

And even IF we should find an answer to all the world’s evils and ailments, we still end up DEADStinks doesn’t it?

Divine Power

It is a recognized given that there is but one God.  It is also a given that God is the God acknowledged by Christianity as the trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Finally, it is a given that God, is the possessor of infinite power and wisdom.

The triune God acts without need of any human prompting or intervention.  His ultimate wisdom acts as the foundation for his will, which is immutable.  That wisdom is projected through his will as a product of his omnipotence.

It is definable, but because of the vast difference between human knowledge and wisdom and divine knowledge and wisdom not every aspect can be realized until humans and God achieve spiritual unity.  We know the motive.  The motive can be found in the scriptures and in revelation of the Holy Spirit to individuals.

That motive is love.  It can be found in the first chapter of the Gospel of John and as a theme of the first Epistle of John.  The ultimate manifestation of that love, and therefore will and power, is the free gift of his Son offered for sacrifice and resurrection so that we may also be possessed of the Holy Spirit, and therefore united with a loving Spirit, our Holy Father.

Human and Divine

Human power is ALWAYS subordinate to divine power.  Whatever power we possess comes from God.  We cannot create power or project our own will to any ultimately good and lasting effect.  Acting on our own, as we have seen, results in meaningless or vain results.  We just beat our heads against the wall and die anyway.  The only way to defeat that is to turn our will, and our vain/prideful attempts at control over to a power that makes itself readily available and is infinitely capable of doing what we can not.  That is, live forever!

There can be confluence.  That is found in turning our willful and vain lives over to the one God.  We accomplish this through prayer–direct communication with the Spirit of Love.  Though pain and death of the body may and will still occur, we will be freed of the death of our spirit and the anger and fear that attend separation from the perfect will of the One who exercises perfect wisdom.  We will find love.

Come Lord Jesus!

November 5, 2011 Posted by | Wisdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment