Wednesday, December 31, 2008

bruised reeds and smoking flax

Today is weird scripture Wednesday, and Isaiah is a wonderfully unfailing source of strangeness.

Isaiah 42:3

A bruised reed he shall not break, and the smoking flax he shall not
quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Here, Isaiah uses reeds and wicks as metaphors for people. A reed is, in scripture,
the emblem of weakness,
so a bruised reed is really weak.

From this verse, I learned that:

• we are not cast off because of our imperfections-

• the Lord wants to save us because we are dear to him.

Lydia Mountford wrote:

”A bruised reed he shall not break”

A shepherd spent much time alone with his sheep in
desert solitudes; and his reed pipe, a frail little instrument
of two reeds bound together, hollowed out and with holes
on the side, helped him to pass the hours cheerfully. He
learned to play many little tunes on it. It was very easily
broken and if it fell and was crushed by a careless foot, its
music was stilled. It was of almost no value – and a new
one could easily be made and the bruised pipe could be
left by the wayside to rot.

But the shepherd had a sentimental feeling about it;
he would not let it go, not at all. He picked up the
crushed reed, and tenderly repaired it, binding up its
broken parts, until once more he drew from it the
music he dearly loved. The sound after mending was
sometimes a bit out of tune, but that didn’t bother
him. He felt that it made the music more interesting.

What a picture this is of his children, sometimes
bruised and broken by sin, of no apparent value, lying
by the wayside. We are shown God’s love and concern
and His desire to restore each broken life.

“The smoking flax shall he not quench.”

Here in this
Scripture we see a little clay lamp, with its wick
floating in an hour’s supply of olive oil. The oil has
burned out, the wick smokes. We would probably say,
“Throw it out, get a fresh wick; this one smokes and
it is of no value.” But the owner does not agree to
that, “The old will do, all that is needed is oil,
then the wick will burn as brightly as ever.”

I know that when I have been short on the spiritual “oil” required for
shining, I have been the source of my own smoky environment.

A modern example might be like a candle that has to be trimmed
each time before it is re-lighted to prevent smoking. Perhaps as
human ‘candles’ sent into the world to show forth the Lord’s light, we can do our part by cheerfully “submitting to all that the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon us” especially when some trimmings might hurt our pride.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You can count on it


One is about God. Two is about the balance between God and man. Three is about the fathers and covenants. Four is about the Messiah. Five is about faith, mercy, or grace. Six is about man. Seven is about God’s plan. Eight is about new beginnings. Nine is about judgment. Ten is about having confidence in God. Twelve is about theocracy, the government of God. There are other numbers but these are the most common.

Let me share an example of what I mean. The number four is about the Messiah. Messiah comes from the line of Judah. Judah was the fourth son. Almost every woman bears a child in pregnancy for 40 weeks. Moses was on the mountain for 40 days. Every time you find the number 4, 40, 400, 4000 there is a matching theme to the Messiah.

Here is another example using the number seven. God used seven days in the creation. There are seven commanded holy days. There are seven Spirits of God. In the book of Revelation, there are 57 different sets of sevens. Sevens illustrate the plan of God.


Leviticus is the 3rd book in the Bible. It has 27 chapters (3x3x3). It was named for Levi, the 3rd son of Jacob. Levi had 3 sons. One of Levi’s grandsons (3rd generation) was Amram, and he had 3 children: Aaron, Miriam, and Moses. Moses was the youngest and so he was born 3rd. Aaron was one of God’s high priests, and when he died his 3rd son (Eleazar) became high priest. The number 3 or “third” occurs 9 times (3x3) in Leviticus. (Meyer, Allen R., Insects and Other Critters of the Bible, Bible-Student Resources, Clairmont, Alberta, Canada, 1997, pg 154)

Monday, December 29, 2008

looking beyond the mark

Jacob 4: 14

But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall;

Here is an additional way to think about Jacob's description of the Jews as a people who sinned by looking 'beyond the mark'. Using the Hebraic viewpoint, sin is often described as missing the center of the target-the bullseye-because you looked beyond the goal and didn't maintain focus.


Het (Strong’s #2399) is a Hebrew word that is often mistranslated as “sin.” But “sin,” like the word “God,” has been so distorted through time that it brings up all sorts of erroneous associations—the devil, hellfire, damnation. So let me define the word in the context of the Torah. Het has its own original meaning with no adequate translation in English. But I learned exactly what it means while I was taking a stroll in Jerusalem one Sunday afternoon. I was walking along, chatting with my wife, when I heard from afar a thousand voices shouting, “Het! Het! Het!” I looked around to see where the sound was coming from, imagining that perhaps some sort of religious sect was holding a revival meeting nearby. But then I realized that we had come near a soccer stadium and it was the fans in the bleachers who were yelling, “Het! Het!”
In soccer, that’s what you yell when someone’s missed the goal. Het! Het! means nothing more than “Miss! Miss!” And that’s precisely how the Torah defines sin. You’re off the mark. You haven’t hit the goal. You played the music off-key, missed your cue. (Aaron, David., Endless Light, Simon & Schuster, 1997, pgs 70-71)

We can liken Jacob's words to ourselves. Isaiah also describes Ephraim as prideful and "stiffnecked", so the Jews don't have a monopoly on those qualities. Any time we take our focus off the Savior, we are apt to miss our most important goal. He is the mark.

Welcome and Introduction

Welcome to Connections. I have been looking for a way to share my scripture research with family and friends and this is how I've decided to do that.

Over the years, I have collected fascinating and fun information from reading all sorts of books. I am extremely blessed in that I was born a speed reader and average reading 4-5 books a week, although I can plow through more if I'm really motivated and can squeeze in the time. I read while brushing my teeth and stopping at stop lights, and sometimes I don't even mind waiting at places like the DMV because it is a good excuse to get some serious reading done.

I am mostly interested in languages, symbolism, scriptures, cultural history (especially Middle-Eastern and European), Shakespeare, and popular science. (Oooh, as I reread that last sentence, I sound kind of stuffy. I'm NOT.) I pride myself on appreciating clever humor.

After taking notes and accumulating them for several years. I just can't seem to find the time right now to actually edit them and get them ready to print in book form. Soooooo, I am going to share my notes! Most of them will be in the form of a scripture and a one or two paragraph commentary. Many of them are insights that make my heart sing, and I hope they will delight you as well.

Except for my current plan to have "Weird Scripture Wednesday", I'm not sure how the rest will be posted, but I do know that it will be eclectic.

1. selecting or choosing from various sources.
2. made up of what is selected from different sources.
3. not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.

It is one of my self-assigned missions in life to make scriptures interesting and understandable . I love learning about them and especially making sense of the bewildering ones. I hope you will share your insights with me as well. I absolutely hate the idea that there is something good out there and that I am missing out on it.