Isaiah 1-12

I am confused by Isaiah already.  The Lord seems very fickle in what he wants from his people, and are the punishments he hands out really necessary?  What is to be respected here?  What makes the Lord any different from any dictator in the world today?  It seems to be a lesson of destruction – of people and the land.  Despite the promise of peace I see no indication of how this can be achieved and quite frankly the words indicating it will follow are very unrealistic – that naturally predatory animals would lie down in peace with those they would usually attack!  The Lord may be powerful but I do not believe that he cannot control the natural world, cases of this kind happen so very rarely.

I really do despair of the way of the world and the seeming need for people to harm others and exert control over them.  Reading the Bible, perhaps it is no surprise that some people take this message and seem to think it is fine to do this, more than fine, and that it is their right to do so.  The peace message in the Bible has been so small so far that you could miss it, and why would you delve to find this when the overwhelming message seems to be the opposite?  To dwell on it too much is just downright depressing but then that it the way the words come across to me.  Instead I will need to find joy in the sun shining, good food, an enthralling book, and kind deeds.

Song of Songs

Keeping it short and sweet.  Firstly, I am not a fan of poetry and much prefer prose.  Secondly, I read nothing here that I could relate to the Lord or faith unless we are taking about having faith in another person.  However much faith we have in another person, we are all flawed to certain degrees.  So is the faith we have that which is in ourselves and in our ability to judge others rather than our faith in others?

Ecclesiastes

Ignoring the misogynistic aberration part way through, that comes upon you without warning, like Proverbs I can find a lot of wisdom and things to agree with here.  Indeed, what is the point of our life?  All that we do with the life we are given is such a small moment in time that will be forgotten and all trace of which will disappear in time.  Whatever we do with our lives, they will all end the same way – with death whenever that may come.  In the meantime, all we can do is follow our hearts desires, enjoy what we have, and here I may deviate from the message of Ecclesiates but I believe that we should try to be happy – it certainly will help with our physical health as well as our mental wellbeing.

Minimalism seems to be an ‘in thing’ at the moment.  It has struck me for a long time that we have far more possessions now than is necessary and which people have ever had in the past, and do they make us happy?  I have been on a mission to cut down on the amount of ‘stuff’ I have and am making progress, albeit slowly.  The rule is that less which is not consumable is allowed into the household than that which leaves by whatever means – mainly by being donated to charity (for other people to accumulate!).  I’m discovering things I never knew I had (and therefore clearly do not need), and then there are things I have owned for years and just held on for no particular reason.

Happiness for me comes from experiences and interactions with the environment and others, not from possessions.  Although I should qualify that there are certain books that make me smile whilst reading or whose words contribute to my sense of wellbeing.  And a less cluttered house will hopefully contribute to a less cluttered mind.

Proverbs

One of the most readable books of the Bible I have encountered so far.  ‘If you answer a silly question, you are just as silly as the person who asked it.’  One of the wisdoms delivered, not that I find all the proverbs to be wisdom and downright disagree with quite a few.  I find it interesting that in the main, the book of Proverbs seems to be aimed towards young men but yet starts and ends with a feminine tone, and in particular ‘wisdom’ is defined as a feminine object.  So where does that leave the Lord, masculine as far as has been referred to up to this point?

Masculinity / femininity are interesting concepts.  What are masculine and feminine traits and roles, and who decides these anyway?  Just because the majority are a certain way or do a certain thing, does not mean it is necessarily right and that everyone should be expected to be this way or act in the same way as everyone else.  Are we not all really just a mixed up combination of traits and thoughts – individuals and all valid in our own right.  Why should we have to be defined as any one thing?  Does it make those who do categorise more comfortable and feel they have knowledge and power?  Or, in the spirit of Proverbs, are they just fools and lacking wisdom?

Psalms

A book of prayers and songs, a few of which are familiar from worship I have been party to but mostly not and quite a lot of repetition amongst them.  Mostly those of David strike me that he is like a child whining about things not being good for him and praying for the Lord’s help.  Hypocrisy also strikes me in the belief that the Lord helps the poor and needy to become prosperous but yet those who go after riches are evil.  And I find it very odd in Psalm 133 for David to compare the wonderment of God’s people living together in harmony to anointing oil running down from Aaron’s head and beard to the collar of his robes – this is not something I personally can think of as a wonderful thought, even if it was on someone I loved or admired.

Psalm 144 alarms me in that part of it calls for the Lord to save the author or reader from the power of foreigners who never tell the truth.  For someone whose idea of utopia would be no borders and no need for a passport, and who does not believe that people can be categorised solely by the country in which they find they were born, this is just wrong.

Finally, I would like to comment on Psalm 101.  Coincidentally, it’s almost like a room 101 moment.  I would like to believe that the same could be said whether a person is faithful to the Lord, or any God, or none at all – not tolerating evil, not being dishonest, not tolerating those who are proud and arrogant, not whispering evil things about someone else, not being in the presence of a hypocrite.  Doesn’t this sound rather like a good way of living for anyone, whether or faith or not.  When we have just had Easter as well, it is has made me question why so many people in the world feel they need a faith and belief in a God, and whether I actually do.  I’m still working on the answer to that one.

Job

I am probably missing the point but I do not understand how the Lord allows himself to be manipulated by Satan into punishing and testing Job in the first place.  And given what Satan gives Job to deal with, it is any wonder that Job doubts the Lord in whom he has shown faith while times were good.  The Lord seems to just be pulling the strings for the fun of it and where is the respect to be earned from that?  I personally do not think it is sport to watch someone suffer.

Everyone has a certain amount of power to control their own lives and actions but there are always those who will exert some force about which an individual can do absolutely nothing to overcome no matter how hard they fight it.  We can try to live our lives in the most moral way we can but none of us are free from the control of others to differing degrees depending on where we live, and no matter how much we may disagree with the control exerted over us.  We can all only do the best that it is within our control to do.  That our seemingly lack of influence can sometimes lead us to despair should surely be forgiven and understood by others in whom we alliance ourselves whether family or friends.

And as I know I have stated before, it can not be that simple that you are punished for sinning but blessed for doing right.  In today’s world I see very little evidence of this in the lives of ordinary people.

Esther

According to the small introduction to Esther in my Bible I am meant to admire her courage and devotion to her people.  I do not see any courage or devotion.  What I see is a woman who carries out the instruction of her cousin and those around her to flatter a man of power.  I do not find out anything of Esther’s own thoughts, morals or soul to admire – we are told very little about them.

Now she has every right to act in this way much as some women do today (and maybe a handful of men too for all I know except they do not receive the same attention) – acting in a certain way and dressing and making themselves up in a certain way to attract the attention of the rich and powerful.  The only objection I have to all this is when they then complain about the treatment they receive.  If you are willing to sell your soul, fine, but you have to accept that in this case there are sacrifices that will have to be made, certain facets of life that you will have to give up in order to live the life you have ultimately chosen to pursue.