Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely

Archive for September 2007

Do angels feel fear? My gut says no, because having seen God, they would be unimpressed by anything else that might cause fear. Any thoughts?


OK, I fell off the wagon right away, but I’m back on now. I’m more or less used to our new schedule, so hopefully I will be able to keep up from now on. As usual, I have more questions than anything else about this week’s reading. Here goes:

The elders in Jerusalem say in their letter, “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” Why does this explain what went before? (That they should tell the gentiles to abstain from food polluted by idols, exual immorality, the meat of strangled animals, and from blood.) And why should they abstain from these 4 things in particular? (I’m assuming that murder, stealing, dishonoring parents and coveting are also verboten, but why don’t they mention it?)
1) food polluted by idols – this seems to conflict with what Paul says elsewhere (I can’t find the reference), that food sacrificed to idols is not inherently unclean, and that what your conscience says is more important (do I have that right?)

2) sexual immorality – this is obvious
3) the meat of strangled animals – I think that strangling an animal keeps all the blood in it, but if that’s not the case, then why?
4) and from blood – yes, it’s gross, but why do we care other than that? Other disgusting and formerly forbidden things are now ok, so what’s wrong with blood?

When Paul & Barnabas split up, Paul had issues with Mark, but was he also mad at Barnabas, or was it an amicable split?

I think it’s interesting that there are now Pharisees who are believers. And it makes sense that they are the ones who want everyone to follow the law.

In Acts 16 They go to Philippi. Why did people meet at the riverside to pray? Why was it just the women?

In chapter 21, Paul acts like he is quite certain that he is to go to Jerusalem, even though he told the Ephesian elders that the Holy Spirit warned him in every city that prison and hardships awaited him. But the disciples at Tyre warn him “through the Spirit” not to go to Jerusalem. What’s up with that? I understand everyone else’s objections as representing their own objections to seeing bad stuff happen to him, while knowing in spite of that that God’s will must be done. But I would expect a warning “in the Spirit” to be something we and Paul should follow. So I don’t get that.

Hello! I started a blog so that I could participate in Book Review Friday. I do not have nearly as much to say as the other people who are doing this, but I hope that practice will help.

First of all, I was struck as usual by the contrast between the generosity of this Pharaoh and the fear that filled the next one. The current Pharaoh doesn’t seem at all concerned that the Israelites are going to cause any problems, and he gives Joseph and his family much more than one could hope to expect from a ruler. The next Pharaoh is greedy, in that he refuses to pay the Israelites for their labor, but that seems to be overshadowed by his fear of them.

I have two questions from this week’s reading:

  1. In 46:4, God says to Jacob, “Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.” What does that mean? Jacob was old; was he blind? Was Joseph going to heal him?
  2. Why were shepherds an abomination to the Egyptians?

I intend to do some research, and if I find any answers, I will post them.

My favorite part of this passage is Joseph’s perspective on what his brothers did to him. In chapter 45 he says, “It was not you who sent me here, but God.” And in chapter 50 he says, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” God is sovereign, and He knows what He’s doing, even when it doesn’t look like it. These are two of my favorite verses, because they do me so much good.

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