Monday, July 19, 2010

Tisha B'av, and whether the best you can is good enough

Via Mississippi Fred, an unearthed story about the German Hebrew scholar Franz Delitzsch and his practice on Tisha B'av. His was to identify with our people out of a love for Messiah

I wanted to say one or four things in response to this thoughtful, religious video from Aish. You may first wish to watch the whole video. Charlie Harary (a lay leader in the Orthodox Union) brings us back to the first Tisha B'av, when Ten Spies presented their God-defying report about Canaan, against the courageous minority. According to tradition, sorrow befalls the Jewish people from that day. Why does God bring to our people such sorrow, Mr. Harary asks, if He is a God of Mercy?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Work of the Wise, Part 4: Limitation (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

Part 1 and Parts 2 and 3

"But beyond this, my son, be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body."
A. The work is not to be endless: land the plane. Beyond this, beyond the practical and edifying ministry of teaching people the truth of God, there lies vanity. Writing of many books is endless: understand there's much to be done; you can write books endlessly (ayn kaitz). But do not make writing books a goal itself –this vain conceit, other than what helps us to obey God is vanity (12:13-14). Do not go further for what is useful and profitable for the people. Being a writer without truth is endless; people never get anywhere ("ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth," 2 Tim 3:7) since there is a lack of focus, fulfillment, and closure.

B. The work is not to be exhausting
: study (lit) for application. Great study is a labor to the flesh: understand there's hard work in teaching (1 Tim 5:17). Devotion is good and needed; but to be excessive is enervating to the soul, not spiritually energizing. As the Lord loves a cheerful giver, so once it gets beyond cheerful, stop giving! The goal of learning is living and giving, not learning for its own sake. “How wise one feels walking out of the bookshop with a book under his arm!” Like a lawyer learning the law but not wanting to set the captives free. Thus, writing and reading that doesn’t serve and teach the truth is spiritually useless, wearing to the soul and unrewarded. Keep your eye on the ball: the goal of ministry is to help and encourage people to obey God and follow His word (12:13). Everything will be evaluated and judged (12:14) according to truth of God’s word and did it accomplish the administration of God (1 Tim 1:4).

The work of the wise disciple is to make wise disciples who work. :)

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Work of the Wise, Part 2 and 3: Presentation, Appropriation (Ecclesiastes 12:10-11)

These are taken from my notes on Ecclesiastes 12:9-12. Part 1 is here.

II. The Work of Presentation, 12:10 The Kohelet sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly.

A. Applicable words are delightful ones, not only practical but creatively presented. We seek to communicate effectively to impart to others the spiritual nourishment you have fed upon (1 Tim 4:6). Taking care to find the fitting word is pleasurable and meaningful. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever” took a while to write. "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances" (Proverbs 25:11)