Thoughts for Tuesday 25th August 2020

Psalm 18:1-3, 20-32; Deuteronomy 32:18-20, 28-39; Romans 11:33-36

 

Tuesday 25 August

 

Traditionally, it used to be thought that the first five books of the Bible i.e. the Torah or Pentateuch, had been written by Moses. And then in 1878 a book was published which questioned that view. Called ‘History of Israel, Volume 1’, and written by Julius Wellhausen, it proposed that there were four authors (or traditions), all living at (or from) different times; and that none of them had been Moses. They were instead: the Jahwist, the Elohist, the Deuteronomist and the Priestly. Ranging in time from the earliest, sometime in the 10th century BC, to the latest in the 5th i.e. from the time of Solomon to the time of Ezra, this was a view that then almost everyone agreed on throughout much of the 20th century.

 

The situation today is somewhat different, that so-called Documentary Theory now having been overtaken by all sorts of other theories, some of which are separate from, and others of which are combined with aspects of, Wellhausen’s original hypothesis.

 

It might well have been reading the ‘Song of Moses’, part of which we’re reading ourselves today, which caused Wellhausen to doubt that everything from Genesis 1 right through to Deuteronomy 34, which is a huge chunk of Scripture, was actually Mosaic. Moses has always been thought of as a prophet. Prophets are thought to be able to predict the future. But there are references to Israelite history, albeit very generalised, that suggest a much later date.

 

That’s not to say, however, that the text isn’t inspired in its ability to challenge us here in these two passages in a number of ways. For example, I do like verse 30, in which as many as a thousand are said to be defeated by just one person, because it reminds me of a Gospel which relies not on strength of numbers – on quantity – but on quality. It reminds me of the way just one person (i.e. Jesus) has had such a profound affect, for good, on not just ten thousand, but billions of people throughout the world, and throughout the whole of the rest of human history.

 

I also like our text from Romans, and the sentiment that, creative though we ourselves at times can seem to be, everything does all (has all, will all) come from God.

 

Let us pray:

 

(and an Edinburgh church, St Michael’s, has set up “Prayer Stations” in its garden as an alternative to using the building while it is closed. The Kirk Session is encouraging people to “stop and breathe” and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation amongst the flowers and trees. Nine boards have been planted which invite walkers to reflect on life and the teachings of   the Scriptures. They include a Bible verse, a thought to ponder, a call to action and a prayer.)

 

One of the Prayer Stations encourages people to share food.

 

Bible verse: “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish but how far will they go among so many? “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.”

 

Thought: Think about meals you have enjoyed. What made them special?

 

Action: Plan to share some food with someone.

 

Prayer: Thank God for providing food for you and remember those who do not have enough to eat.

 

Amen.

 


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