Wise Men

Wise men

Wise men, kings, Magi? Who were they, where did they come from, and when did they visit Jesus?

Lots of questions, and some theories from research.

So, were they kings or wise men?

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Magi “The Magi are popularly referred to as wise men and kings.”

Who were they and where did they come from can be taken as one question… in my mind anyway. Although there are many theories of where they came from, I favour this one.

“The Bible states that they were from “the East,” which would be in the direction of Babylon and ancient Persia. Of all the peoples of “the East,” the Babylonians had many opportunities to learn of the Jewish Scriptures, which contain multiple promises of the coming Messiah. Daniel was an influential government official in Babylon about 600 years earlier, and he foretold the coming of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24–26). Also, tens of thousands of Jews lived in Babylon during the time of the Exile (605–536 BC), and they maintained a large presence there for the following centuries.” https://answersingenesis.org/holidays/christmas/we-three-kings/

The Magi were ‘wise men.’

It says in the quote above that tens of thousands of Jews lived in Babylon…. And they maintained a large presence there for the following centuries.

Centuries?

So many centuries that it is mentioned that the Apostle Peter went to Babylon.

 “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.” 
1 Peter 5:13, KJV

This raises a number of issues and many theories, most of which I have studied, but this is not the purpose of this post. Let’s just take it at its word.

This next quote explains ‘magi.’ 

The word magi is the plural of Latin magus, borrowed from Greek μάγος (magos), as used in the original Greek text of the Gospel of Matthew (in the plural: μάγοι, magoi). Greek magos itself is derived from Old Persian maguŝ from the Avestan magâunô, i.e., the religious caste into which Zoroaster was born (see Yasna 33.7: “ýâ sruyê parê magâunô” = “so I can be heard beyond Magi”). The term refers to the Persian priestly caste of Zoroastrianism. As part of their religion, these priests paid particular attention to the stars and gained an international reputation for astrology, which was at that time highly regarded as a science. Their religious practices and use of astrology caused derivatives of the term Magi to be applied to the occult in general and led to the English term magic. The King James Version translates the term as wise men; the same translation is applied to the wise men led by Daniel of earlier Hebrew Scriptures (Daniel 2:48).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Magi

When did the wise men (Magi) visit Jesus?

The traditional view presented in films, such as The Nativity Story, is that the wise men saw Jesus on the night of His birth, but this is highly unlikely. Matthew 2:1 reveals that the magi came to Jerusalem and subsequently visited with Herod after Jesus had been born.
https://answersingenesis.org/holidays/christmas/we-three-kings/

It is highly implausible that the wise men would arrive in Jerusalem at night and immediately obtain an audience with Herod. The king then gathered “all the chief priests and scribes of the people” (Matthew 2:4) so he could determine where the Messiah was to be born. The experts told Herod that the Messiah needed to be born in Bethlehem, which was predicted in Micah 5:2. So, the wise men departed and made their approximately six-mile journey to Bethlehem.

Continuing from another source…

https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-qa/qa-archives/question/how-old-was-jesus-when-the-wise-men-found-him/

After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11 (NASB)

Verse 11 states that Jesus was living in a house. This reveals that Jesus’ parents had moved to a house. Contrary to popular nativity scenes and paintings, Christ was now living in a house when the magi visited Him. His parents had moved from the location of the manger to this house. There were no shepherds or angels when the magi stopped to worship Him and give Him gifts.

See previous post…
Traditional Nativity Scenes Are Often Wrong

The Slaughter of the Innocents

King Herod ordered the execution of all male children under two years old.

slaughter of innocents
Duccio di Buoninsegna, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Note:

Much of this post is comprised of quotes from other sources. They are to demonstrate that these are not wild theories of mine. Just food for thought for you to explore and make up your own mind.

God bless,

Susan

Traditional Nativity Scenes Are Often Wrong

Nativity scene often wrong

Why is the traditional Nativity Scene wrong? Because if it is pictured like the one in the featured image the wrong people are there.

Really?

Yes, really.

Why?

Please read on.

Before the Nativity Scene

First comes the account of the birth of Christ, described in detail by Luke in the account he wrote under the inspiration of God.

Luke 2: 2, 3: “(This registration first occurred when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) Then all went to be registered, each to his own city” 

Joseph was of the line of David, who was born in Bethlehem, https://biography.yourdictionary.com/david

Joseph and Mary were living down in the area of Galilee.

Luke 2:4 – 9  “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the City of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and lineage of David to register himself along with Mary, who was betrothed to him as wife, and was great with child. And it came to pass that during the time they were there, the days were fulfilled for her to give birth” And she gave birth to her Son, the firstborn, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in the same country, who were dwelling in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night and keeping watch over their flock by night, and suddenly an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shined round about them; and they were seized with great fear”

The time of the birth/nativity scene

Mary and Joseph  were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born because it was prophesied that He would be born there.

No place at the inn, Was it an Inn?

They were in a stable. A little later they were in a house.

The angel announced the birth to the shepherds.

Luke 2: 10: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I am announcing to you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. ‘For today, in the city of David, a Savior was born to you, Who is Christ the Lord. Now, this is the sign for you: you shall find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men of goodwill.’ And it came to pass, as the angels were departing from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now as far as Bethlehem, and let us see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us'” (vs 11-15).

Angel announces birth of Christ to shepherd
Rembrandt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Luke 2: 16: “And they made haste, and came and found both Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in the manger. Now after seeing Him, they made known everywhere the proclamation that they had been told concerning this little Child. And all those who heard were filled with wonder by the things that were spoken to them by the shepherds.”

After the birth

Then the Magi, (often called the ‘wise men,’ or ‘three kings’) visited Herod looking for this child who had been born king. After all, Herod was the king at the time.

Now to Matthew’s account…

Matthew 2: 7 – 9: “Then Herod secretly called for the Magi and ascertained from them the exact time of the appearing of the star….And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the little Child; and when you have found Him, bring word back to me, so that I also may go and worship Him. And after hearing the king, they departed; and behold, the star that they had seen in the east went in front of them, until it came and stood over the house where the little Child was. And after seeing the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they found the little Child with Mary His mother…”

This time they were in a house. Note, it also said they found the Child (not baby) with Mary, His mother.

So, it does not seem from these accounts that the Magi came to the stable at the time of the birth.

To me, point proven. Other than Mary and Joseph, only the shepherd boys witnessed the newborn Christ. Most nativity scenes, however attractive, are wrong, and of all the images I looked at the only one where the shepherds are not replaced by the Magi, who were still travelling,  is the Rembrandt one. (Above)

Just thinking

Susan

Blame or Choice?

blame leads to a fight

With all the riots, protests and demonstrations in so many places around the world, blaming someone else is easy. It is usually someone in authority we point the finger of blame at, but are we joining a herd response?

On a personal level, who is to blame for the fact I have not had an Internet connection for a few days?

Does it really matter?

Perhaps.

There were many mistakes, as well as frustrations, but the start of it all was a choice I made.

Nearly every situation that goes wrong can trace itself back to a choice on our part or, in this instance, on my part. It should have moved smoothly but it did not.

The blame game

pointing the finger of blame

Pointing the finger and blaming someone else is not a ‘new’ phenomenon. Currently in many countries in the world there is a lot of pointing fingers of blame. It is more prevalent in recent times, but the history of blaming someone else takes us back to the beginning of recorded human history.

Most people know the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent… some blame the serpent, some blame Eve, some blame Adam.

Which of them was to blame?

My opinion? We can rule out the serpent. As it says in Genesis 3: 1 “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made…

The serpent did not force either of them to eat the fruit of the tree they were told not to eat. He distorted what God had said, but first the woman chose to disobey God’s instructions, then Adam also disobeyed.

They each made choices, and neither of them accepted the blame for the choice they had made.

When questioned by God later… Adam excused himself by saying “the woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate.” Gen 3: 12

Interesting. Adam blamed the woman… and is there a hint of blame toward God? ‘The woman whom You gave me.’ Sounds a bit as if there is.

Adam also blamed Eve. Yet Adam had been instructed by God before this incident. He should have intervened.

Was Eve to blame?

Traditionally she has been blamed, but look at her response.

She blamed the serpent. Her response to God’s question was ‘The serpent deceived me and I ate.”

In fact, neither she nor Adam took responsibility for their own actions.

Are we any different? Do we accept blame if we have made a wrong choice?

Each of us is the only one who can answer that. Can we do it honestly?

Interesting story here

If asked, how would we respond if questioned about the actions we took, or chose not to take?

Something to think about,

God bless

Susan

Condition of Entry

condition of entry

There is nothing new about there being a condition of entry – to a place of business, a casino, or to someone’s party. In the Bible there was a condition of entry to a wedding feast in one of the parables Jesus told.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment.
Matt 22: 11
https://biblehub.com/matthew/22-11.htm

The outcome was that the man was put outside. V 13.

There was a condition of entry.

And there is now…

If I turned up at the casino wearing a ‘tank top’ and thongs (called flip-flops elsewhere in the world,) I would be denied entry.

These things are accepted, but this ‘virus’ pandemic has been turning things on its head.

Condition of entry and human rights clash

Some Australian States have mandated (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/mandated?s=t) that masks have to be worn when out in public.

Some stores have imposed the same condition of entry. However, some human rights people disagree and refuse to comply.

Some people have made claims that the mask requirement is unlawful or a breach of their human rights, and have alleged businesses aren’t allowed to refuse them entry if they’re not wearing one.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-28/face-mask-melbourne-mitchell-shire-coronavirus-legal-human-right/12494100

Whether or not you agree with wearing a mask, or any of the other recommendations, is it acceptable to ignore State or Store laws?

This brought to mind the short talk I had heard by Ravi Zacharias, and wrote about early in July https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/a-divisive-question-potentially/

The speaker divided up the method of answering a potentially divisive question into three categories… Theo nomos (God’s law.) Hetero nomos (Dictated by leadership), then Auto nomos. As you might have guessed, if you did not already know, ‘nomos’ is the Greek word for law.

Condition of entry…

Would be an example of hetero nomos. A condition determined by leadership, or the business owner. But what I see in the objections in my country are examples of auto nomos.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 17:6. 

However, if my choice differs from your choice, what are we left with? Anarchy? Some would say so. One definition of anarchy is ‘Absolute freedom of the individual.’ The mind boggles.

condition of entry, the mind boggles

In order for society to function, surely while needing to obtain some autonomy, we have to allow others to maintain theirs and cooperate with the law of the land.

If you think the law is unreasonable, use the appropriate channels to change it.

However, if you cannot change it, look to history, or examples in the Bible for inspiration. 

We cannot all have our own way.

Just thinking,

Susan

The Apostle Paul and Law

Apostle Paul and Law

Letters from the Apostle Paul make up a large part of the New Testament. The following epistles/letters are generally attributed to him, although some doubt his authorship of the book of Hebrews.

Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews.

https://www.gotquestions.org/how-many-books-did-Paul-write.html

On the subject of ‘law’ and ‘the Law,’ Paul’s writings sometimes seem contradictory. The Apostle Paul was a Pharisee before his conversion, so he should understand what he was writing and teaching. They had a whole ‘slew’ of laws that they kept.

(I included some of the laws of Judaism in the free series members of my VIP Readers’ Group received.  E.G.

Sample of the Code of Jewish Law

Apostle Paul and Law

The Code of Jewish Law is made up of four volumes and 221 Chapters which attempt to govern every aspect of the life of a Jew.

Chapter 3 deals with Dressing and Deportment.

“It is written (Micah 6: 8) “And to walk humbly with thy God.” Therefore it is the duty of every man to be modest in all his ways. When putting on or removing his shirt or other undergarment, he should be careful not to expose is body unduly. He should put it on or remove it while still lying covered in bed. He should never say to himself: “Lo, I am all alone in my inner chamber and in the dark, who can see me?” For the glory of the Holy One, blessed be He, fills the universe, and darkness and light are alike to Him, blessed be His name; and modesty and a sense of shame indicate humility before Him, blessed be His name.”

Chapter 4 deals with not thinking ‘holy thoughts’ in the lavatory.

Chapter 5 deals with the Cleanliness of Places Used for Holy Purposes.

There are many entries about not praying where there is excrement or urine… or bad odors

Was the Apostle Paul schizophrenic?

It can seem that way. Most of the teaching I received in church, or at Bible College held to the view that Paul said Christians did not have to keep the law.

Why then does he say…?

I do confess to you, however, that I worship the God of our fathers according to the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,
Acts 24: 14.  Berean Study Bible

It was important to me to know because my readers deserve an accurate background to the Apostle John Series of books. Then I read something written by a minister which said the definite article was not in the Greek translations of the Bible.

So, wanting accuracy in my books, I checked.

The Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about

With the understanding of Paul’s background, could it be that he sometimes refers to the Pharisaic law (which became Judaism), and the Law of God other times? He had been brought up in the strictest sect, Phariaism, as he said himself. In order to ‘protect’ the people from breaking the law and going back into   captivity these laws were added. In fact, the opposite happened, the Law of God was stifled by these laws.  

This is what Jesus meant in Mark 7: 8 when He said,
Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

So who was wrong, the Apostle Paul or the translators?

Choosing to be kind, perhaps the translators did not understand the two ‘law’ references that the Apostle Paul understood.

Romans 2: 15 is the only scripture about ‘the’ work and ‘the’ law that is accurately translated from the Greek. The definite articles are present.

https://biblehub.com/interlinear/romans/2.htm

It is an interesting study into the writings of Paul to go through them in a reputable Greek/English Interlinear.

The Pharisaic works in Jesus’ and Paul’s day were indeed the heavy burden that Jesus referred to…

Apostle Paul and Law

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.
Matt 23:4

But Jesus, who advocated keeping the commandments had a different view.

If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John `4; 15

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart; and you will find rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:25-30

One question leads to another LOL

God bless

Susan

Hints to writing better Biblical Fiction

Biblical fiction research starts in the Bible

Biblical fiction is the genre I write in (mostly… I do have a book about living on oxygen 24/7 but that’s non-fiction.)

As well as writing Biblical Fiction, I like reading it, and I do have some favorite authors who write great stories. There are some others, and I mentioned in a blog a long time ago that some seem to take their research from the block-buster movies. Movies makers aim to have a successful movie, not stay accurately to facts, therefore is not a reliable research activity.

Here is a link to a blog I had permission from Angela Hunt to re-blog. She makes a good explanation for why we should be trustworthy in our storytelling.

https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/biblical-novelists/

Biblical fiction readers deserve the best

The best what?

Stories? Perhaps… but stories based on the best facts we can find.

A story, or a character in the Bible inspires you to write about them. Well, that’s the beginning of a treasure hunt.

Why?

Because not all the information is in one or two verses.

Take the book of Genesis for example. When I attended a Bible Training Centre one of the lecturers explained how there were thousands of years between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

Other teachers and pastors have reinforced that since. And there is the first clue… use more than one source. It’s a weak building with only one or two bricks.

Here’s how I have seen it explained.

Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens…”

The heavens first, then the angels. Now how do the teachers come to that? Their research, the Hebrew, and other parts of the Bible.

One of those other parts, believe it if you like, is the book of Job when God answers Job.

“Now gird up your loins like a man; for I will demand of you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare it if you have understanding! Who has determined its measurements if you know? Or who has stretched the line upon it? On what are the foundations fastened to? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Job 38: 3-7
(Morning stars and sons of God are a type of angels, as explained in other parts of the Bible.)

Biblical Fiction authors do a lot of research

I can attest to that… and it becomes addictive.

Check out the sources of your research. Some are ‘weighted’ to a particular belief system so can be a little skewed. Another reason to check several sources.

Found an interesting book that reinforces what you think? Well, pray and ask God to lead you by His Spirit, and on a practical level, check the author Bio. What does it say? What are the credentials? Now, a love of the truth is more important than how many university degrees, because some who write commentaries are not even Christian, they are scholars.

More hints…

Download the free one-page PDF of other hints.

So here are some of the hints for your Biblical Fiction Research

Hope these help you make the reader of Biblical Fiction a happy reader.

Blessings

Susan

PS My pet hate in a Biblical Fiction book is modern Americanisms such as ‘scooted across.” I didn’t even know what it meant until I asked an American friend to explain.

According to dictionary.com the word was first used in 1750–60 AD not BC – and it’s the late Middle Ages at that.

Did God Say?

Did God say? Everything has a code

Most Christians will recognize ‘did God say?’ as the question the serpent asked Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3.1)

Some translations will add the word ‘really’… as in ‘Did God really say?’

What then did God say?

And Jehovah God layeth a charge on the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden eating thou dost eat; and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it — dying thou dost die.’ Gen 2: 16, 17 Youngs Literal Translation.

There are many things that can be discussed from these verses, but my thinking lately has been about what we do with what God did say. First, do we believe it? Here I am asking ‘believers’ not the folks who do not believe.

Everything in the universe has a ‘code’ – or rules it runs by.

If God says something, does it make it a command?

This brings to my mind all the law-breaking I see on the news. For weeks there have been protests in Hong Kong. These continued after the original reason for the protest ended.  Read more here 

Then there were protests over Indonesia’s proposed law changes…

The unrest was sparked by a proposed Bill that includes dozens of law changes – from criminalising pre-marital sex and restricting sales of contraceptives, to making it illegal to insult the president.

Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/indonesia-violent-law-change-protests-11945346

 

My Way or No Way

It sounds as though this is what we are coming to, if we are not already there.

A simple example…

speed limit sign

How many people obey the speed limit?

It is not a ‘suggestion.’ It is a law.

You will discover this if you are caught breaking it… there is a fine.

Beach closed sign

If you are a beach goer, this might be something you might see. Image: did God say beach

https://thewest.com.au/news/perth/north-cottesloe-beach-closed-after-shark-sighting-ng-b881337656z

Not everyone pays attention though. The result is often an expensive rescue… at taxpayers’ expense.

If you identify as Christian…

That first breaking of God’s word has had some far-reaching consequences.

What do you think about the Ten Commandments? Do you believe they are applicable today?

Well, what about the ‘Two Great Commandments’ as spoken by Jesus?

Are we at the same point as people were here?

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21: 25 ESV

This ended up with the nation sliding more and more deeply into depravity. (There is an interesting, but long, article here.)

Learning from what God said

When I researched the background and culture for the Apostle John Series (https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/apostle-john-series-2/ ) I discovered a great deal.

One, they lived according to what God said.

Two, they often lost their lives because they did.

There were many who claimed to believe, but ‘did what was right in their own eyes.’ They were often the ones who set up false groups.

King Solomon wrote ‘there is nothing new under the sun,’ and there is much evidence of that today. However, consider this… God’s throne is above the sun.

Believe whatever you believe, consider your destination, and treat others as you would like to be treated.

Susan

A Word Fitly Spoken

a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 25: 11

What does that mean? Well, a meaning I found was, “A word fitly spoken can mean well spoken or spoken at the right time. ” So said someone answering a question on Quora.

I heard it recently and it came to mind during my time in the ‘wilderness.’

What wilderness?

The one that had no phone or Internet access for nearly a week.

A fitly spoken word

Before, during and after the time in total isolation, my description of that term would have been the truth.

Why tell me I would lose neither the phone of the Internet when it was probably obvious I would lose both. Which I did, and only a prepaid mobile phone with insufficient credit to deal with ‘please hold while we try to connect you,’ Mmm

Maxine, my care aide, took me to try to work it out. I know, I should not have been walking since my oxygen saturation dropped to the 60s (Mine can drop that low because I have been managing on low oxygen for years.) Not as low as it did that day though.

low oxygen reading

I will not tell you how low it went, but it was lower than this.

What I can tell you is that the phone and Internet stayed off. 

Since my oxygen levels were so low, and remained low even though I turned the flow rate up. (I am allowed) – it was scary  On another subject…though.

Are Our Words Fitly Spoken?

I remember my grandmother say ‘tell the truth and shame the devil.’

It was a long time ago, and probably is not understood by many, if any, nowadays.

Well, apart from telling, and being told the truth, I have some other suggestions for words fitly spoken.

  • Do they encourage?
  • Do they comfort?
  • Do they help or guide?
  • Even, do they correct?

We all need our ‘course’ corrected sometimes. If people always agree with us (to our faces) what are we learning if we have ‘lost the plot’ or are hurting another.

fitly spoken words encourage

Yes, every day IS a new start. We need to encourage (which sometimes involves telling a truth that might hurt… but gently.) We also might need to learn to receive encouragement.

Remember this post?
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/your-life-as-a-movie/

Still, I received encouragement when I emerged from the wasteland of no contact with the outside world. (As well as hundreds of emails and messages I am still working my way through.)

Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube has been given a five star review by Readers’ Favorite.

5-* seal

You can see the review on the book page
https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/living-at-the-end-of-an-oxygen-tube/

Well, would have been last Sunday’s post – but looking for the positive, I would not have known about the five-star review if I had written this last Sunday. 

All things work together for good…

Some will recognise this,

God bless

Susan

Quarantine, Why?

quarantine to stop infections spreadking

Quarantine as defined by dictionary.com is…  1 –  a strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease.
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/quarantine

I wonder if ‘quarantine’ is even understood by ordinary people today. It seems the drug companies do not want people to understand. After all, we are to ‘soldier on’ according to a medication advert shown on TV  here in Western Australia… it is a medication that is supposed to enable someone with the ‘flu to go to work and soldier on.

They might feel better, somewhat, but how many others does that one person infect?

Reasons to quarantine yourself

A local newspaper headline recently said…

WA flu deaths up 925 per cent amid brutal and early start to season.
Angela Pownall: The West Australian, reported.

Full report here…
https://thewest.com.au/news/public-health/wa-flu-deaths-up-925-per-cent-amid-brutal-and-early-start-to-season-ng-b881248197z

Waiting for a prescription, I stood behind two women discussing their young children suffering with the ‘flu. Although one woman’s child had been given the ‘flu shot, it had not protected her and the child had been very ill. With little relief she was also treated with Tamiflu. (A prevention and a treatment.)

The other woman’s child was in hospital. Their description of their children’s ‘flu symptoms was vastly different from the ‘flu I remember in the past.

A recent update on a news programme here in Western Australia stated that the vaccines recently used are probably no longer effective because the virus has mutated, already.

This is a reason for quarantine. One child taking it to school potentially could infect many others.

There is another ‘bug’ or virus knocking people down at this time.  An infection causing virulent vomiting and diarrhoea (Australian English spelling’) Other than some friends who have suffered it, my family doctor asked me at a recent appointment if I had symptoms, and explained how prevalent it is.

There are quarantine rules in the Bible.

And I cannot help but see how the laws that were given about quarantine, were given by a merciful and loving God.

For example…

Take heed in an outbreak of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the priests, the Levites, shall teach you…
Deuteronomy 24:8

I looked up leprosy, wondering why (as mentioned in the previous verse) Miriam was put out of the camp for a week.

It was to prevent the spread of the disease.

(The rules for ‘diagnosing’ leprosy are given in detail in Leviticus 13.)

Many English translations of the Bible translate tzaraath as “leprosy,” a confusion that derives from the use of the koine cognate “Λέπρα” (which can mean any disease causing scaly skin) in the Septuagint. Ancient sources such as the Talmud (Sifra 63) make clear that tzaraath refers to various types of lesions or stains associated with ritual impurity and occurring on cloth, leather, or houses, as well as skin. It may sometimes be a symptom of the disease described in this article, but has many other causes, as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leprosy (near the end, under the sub-heading Bible.)

So, all those restrictions would determine whether it was leprosy, with all the stigma, and poor conditions associated with being cast out of society, not to mention the complications of the disease itself. If it should turn out to be leprosy, then the spread of the disease was contained.

In this day and age

In Western cultures, leprosy is not such a common threat. However, with the many ‘plagues’ – like this year’s ‘deadly’ ‘flu outbreak in Western Australia and the ‘D and V’ outbreak and other rapidly spreading diseases, we would be wise to heed the instruction to quarantine ourselves.

Prevention is better than cure, quarantine yourself… please.

Besides, some people have what is called a ‘compromised immune system. Something you might recover from in a week, might make them seriously ill, or even die.

Serious thought,

Susan

quarantine yourself

Feel as if you are down a Sewer?

down in a sewer

Have you ever felt you are down a sewer, or in a deep pit? I know I have at times, and those sojourns down the sewer seem to last such a long time. Then just when it feels like there is some progress out of the pit…  bang!

Back down into it.

Jeremiah was in a sewer.

Jeremiah was a prophet in the Old Testament and he was put in a pit for telling the truth.

A pit in Jerusalem

Many commentators believe the pit or cistern was actually a sewer. Nevertheless, Jeremiah was in mud at the bottom of this hole in the ground.

“So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud”
Jeremiah 38:6

Does your mud feel this deep?

mud in the sewer

In the sewer

Jeremiah found himself mired in a literal pit. He was caught in deep despair. The prophet was the object of hatred because he urged Jerusalem to submit to God’s commands. Jeremiah suffered abuse from those who persecuted him – slander, false accusations, beatings, anger, and all other expressions prompted by bitterness and vindictive feelings. Finally, the prophet was seized and thrown into an empty cistern. He sank into the mud.

The faithful prophet was emotionally and physically exhausted.

Despair is exhausting.

Despair can be defined as a loss of hope, and this often turns to anger. So, the next question is – ‘what do we do with anger?’

Recognize our anger.

  • Who is it directed toward?
  • Someone close to you?
    • Are you able to discuss it with the person?
      If not, walk away rather than fight an unwinnable fight.
  • A work colleague?
    • Try to talk it out.
      If that does not work
    • Gather evidence and take it to HR
    • Ignore them.
  • A work situation?
    • Create boundaries and learn when to walk away.
    • Work on an exit strategy.

Angry with yourself?

Recognize it. Own it. Only then are you able to start to deal with it.

Shame

Tease out the reasons but try not to dwell on them. Instead, look for a way you could handle a future situation in a different way. Remember the old saying, ‘Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.’ Many people have said it with some variations.

As you see each ‘mistake’ or wrong decision you made… forgive yourself. I remember when I was in the sewer years ago and giving myself a ‘hard time’ when I saw my mistakes, someone said to me, “You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time.”

It helped.

Give yourself time

Eventually someone rescued Jeremiah from the pit, but he had to wait. I am sure it felt even longer than it actually was. 

Learn to wait. Expect to fall back into despair, anger, depression, but do not allow yourself to stay there.

Be patient with yourself because it is not possible to change direction immediately just because you see the need to change. Think of a cruise ship. It needs a lot of space and  takes a long time to turn.

One more thing…

Look for the things you are doing well. Learn to focus on them and not the mistakes.

This is something we all need to do. It seems easier to see our mistakes, especially when feeling tired or vulnerable.

Encourage someone, and encourage yourself!

God bless

Susan

And a PS

Positive affirmation