Godly people with more learning than me differ on whether blessings are also commands. As I understand the view points of various people towards Genesis 1:28, in particular, some see this as a general tendency towards fruitfulness in procreation or even a likely outcome, while others see more urging and even a command.
It has always seemed more of a command in my mind, but as I say, I look to my betters on both sides of the question.
Having said that, and recognizing that a verse in Psalms may not, necessarily, have a bearing on the interpretation of the verse in Genesis, I saw a rather interesting combination in Psalms 133:3 recently. This Psalm begins with the joy of unity and describes what that unity is like. The second comparison is to the dew of (Mt?) Hermon which falls on the mountains of Zion. Then, he says, “For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” Without analyzing too much where the “there” is, or what the blessing is, I find it curious that God “commanded the blessing”. Does He always command the blessings He gives? I don’t know. Is this the only location where we see this combination? I don’t know that, yet, either.
In the verse above, a first reading seems to favor Zion for the “where” and life forevermore as “the blessing”. The ideas beckon more study.
“It is a long established country belief that pigs can see the wind.”
I love the image of the above quote. The explanation follows below.
“Consequently, when gales are on their way pigs become very restless; they throw straw about with their snouts and rush around their sties.”
Alas, we have confirmed this behavior in the observation of the pigs we have raised over the years. Now, after reading “Weather Forecasting the Country Way”, by Robin Page, maybe I’ll make the connection.
I’d give a thumbs up recommendation, with the caveat that it is enjoyable reading even if one takes the lore with a grain of salt. Having said that, we are often urged to observe Creation to learn wisdom, and, ultimately, to learn of the wise and all-knowing Creator.
This book is now really ready for me to return to the library, but the ISBN is 0-671-40091-6, if you’re of a mind to purchase it. 56 pages. Country Way Books imprint. Published by Summit Books, New York.
We have had a milk cow off and on, and mostly on, for about six years, now, if memory serves. This girl, shown in the photo, is Marzipan. Marzipan is the daughter of Muffin, and Muffin is the daughter of our first cow, Lou (of various names and nicknames). Yesterday, Sunday, Marzipan went home with her new owners. Trying to simplify life a bit. Marzi’s steer calf, Chuck, is one unhappy camper. For now. Thankfully, Marzi went to a good home in the neighborhood. Chuck is the only bovine left at DandelionEnd, and he is only staying on the hoof until about June or July next year.
Ah, the memories! And now, every Thursday, our library is open late enough to visit. Maybe this winter.
Originally posted on Eleventh Stack:
Since I was a kid I have looked to the library to indulge my curiosity for things that, well, let’s just say I might not want to ask about too loudly in polite company. The relative anonymity of the library’s nonfiction classification system is much better for exploring interests that you might be a little embarrassed about; you may be reading about continental philosophy, you might be reading about astrology, but unless somebody gets really nebby and takes a close look no one will ever know which one it really is.
The library in Richland Township was the first public place that I remember my mom allowing my older brother and me to be in without supervision. In those pre-Internet days, there wasn’t much trouble that a kid could get into in a small, suburban library in the time it took her to go to the Shop’ n’ Save, so…
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In light of Labor Day weekend, I was reminded of something I had written down in my journal some time back. I don’t really consider myself a mechanic; I’m more of a hack when it comes to engine repair. The work I do as a signal maintainer involves machines with gears and relays, but I don’t deal with the internal combustion engine. My work involves DC electricity, some AC theory, and micro electronics. Still, my hands and arms do see their share of dirt, and grease, and grime.
I’ve noticed, and my beloved bride reminds me, when it comes time for cleanup, that some preparation makes the process easier. I’ve coated my hands with Vaseline petroleum jelly before changing oil on my personal trucks, and I’ve used hand lotion to keep my hands from getting cracked and chafed at work. Smooth hands are much easier to get clean; they don’t have as many cracks where the dirt and grease can get embedded.
As I discovered, or was reminded of, the smooth/soft hands are clean hands principle has a spiritual corollary. When I was reading Psalm 95 some time ago, I came across verses 8 and 9. These verses are referenced by the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews in chapter 3 of that book. Perhaps Paul also has this in mind in First Corinthians 10.
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
” when your fathers put me to the test, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
At any rate, it seems that a hardened heart is less likely to get clean, to get right with God. On the other hand, a softened heart is more likely to express the words of the Psalmist when he cried out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
After several weeks of reading Psalm 119 in the eight-verse chunks (stanzas?) the way most English Bibles are formatted, I cam to the end tonight. Admittedly, I hovered low over some stanzas for multiple days, and at other times, my reading skipped Psalms entirely. But, never the less, a few phrases stood out tonight that I want to contemplate, even after this post is published.
In verse 162, the Psalmist says, “I rejoice at your word, like one who finds great spoil.” Now, in my generation, in these United States, most people have been shielded from the activities of war. We generally don’t know what armed conflict looks like, nor what to expect when conquering another nation or an enemy of great numbers. For those that do know, and have seen combat, among my friends and acquaintances, I rarely hear about the taking of spoil. For what reason that is, I don’t know. I might speculate, but I won’t. In the ancient world, though, to the conquerors went the spoil. In one account in the Law and the Prophets, we read of where God delivered his people through the infighting and disease of the enemy, and the discovery of the defeat of the enemy was by two or three lepers. Sorry about no citation; I’ll try to look it up. The point is, the discovery of food, and clothing, and weapons, and treasures was enough to make them estatic!
Probably the closest thing to that I can think of in my own experience is when I find a bookseller with prices below a dollar per item, or a garage sale with tools for me, clothes for the kids, and yarn for Sharon, at giveaway prices. As exciting as such a find is, do I rejoice even more at God’s Word? It is convicting to realize that often I do not.
Verse 164 goes even further, I think. “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.” In the first place, how common is it for any of us, I am afraid to admit, to praise God for ANY rule, let alone admit his rules, all his rules, are righteous? Oh, I know, in theory, we would affirm that they are. But then we see the one that makes us squirm. “That applied to saints before the cross” (As a dispensationalist, I recognize differences exist, and my covenant friends likely do, as well. But we still justify ourselves when we ought not.)
The Psalmist praises God for his righteous rules, however, not once, and not just twice. He doesn’t even restrict his praise to the three times of public prayer. No, “seven times” a day he praises God for his righteous rules. Seven is considered a perfect number, so I don’t know if it is literally seven, or if it is a way of saying, he can’t stop praising God for his righteous rules. Like a man can’t stop talking about the grace of God when he finds a Godly woman willing to put up with him. Again, do I praise God even half that much for his righteous rules? I ought to do so.
Finally, in verse 165, “great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” Peace from loving the law seems antithetical to our nature, but the promise is of peace, and the promise is of stability, for those who love his law.
May it be so. May it please thee, O Father, to give me a deeper love for thy law, and for thee, the lawgiver. Amen.