Apocrypha

This tag is associated with 2 posts

Really Recommended Posts 5/16/14- Edge of Tomorrow, Femininity, the Apocrypha, and more!

postI am very pleased to serve these links up to you, dear readers. I found a very diverse array this week and I think you’ll really enjoy them. One post analyzes the story behind Tom Cruise’s latest movie from a Christian perspective. Another talks about Bart Ehrman’s worldview problem. Yet another analyzes the concept of femininity. Oh yeah, and there are more! Tell me your own thoughts in the comments here, and be sure to tell me which you liked! If you liked their post, be sure to let the author of that post know too! There’s nothing like having a new comment on your site. Thanks, readers!

All You Need Is Kill/Edge of Tomorrow– Tom Cruise’s latest flick, “Edge of Tomorrow” is based upon this graphic novel. Check out Anthony Weber’s excellent review and critique of the graphic novel from a Christian perspective. I really recommend you follow his blog as well. It’s in my top five must-read blogs.

Femininity– A short title for an extremely important post. What does it mean to be feminine/female? What do we say to women when we say they need to be more feminine? Most importantly, where is that found in the Bible?

Bart Ehrman’s Worldview Problem– Frequent critic of Christianity, Bart Ehrman, has a problem. It’s a problem of worldview. Check out this post from noted theologian Michael Kruger analyzing Ehrman’s work in light of this problem.

Kirkdale Cave Hyena Den: A Young Earth Challenge Since 1821– What can a cave teach us about the age of the Earth and the extent of Noah’s Flood? Quite a bit, it turns out. Check out this excellent post.

Does 2 Maccabees “Expressly Disclaim Inspiration”?– Although I do not accept the Apocrypha as authoritative Scripture, I think it is important we are accurate when we discuss the canon and the extent of Apocryphal authority. This post analyzes a claim made that 2 Maccabees disclaims inspiration. Check it out.

The Prayer of Judith: A Devotion from the Apocrypha

The Apocrypha is a wealth of devotional reading that remains largely untouched by Protestants. No longer, I say! Martin Luther said of the Book of Judith (in the Apocrypha):  “[T]his is a fine, good, holy, useful book, well worth reading by us Christians. For the words spoken by the persons in it should be understood as though they were uttered in the Holy Spirit by a spiritual, holy poet or prophet who, in presenting such persons in his play, preaches to us through them” (cited in The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition With Notes, 5-6). It should be noted that Luther is not suggesting that the Apocrypha is on par with the sacred canon. Instead, his view of the office of the ministry is that those ministering are speaking through the spirit. He and others view the book of Judith as a piece of historical fiction, made clear to its readers that it was fictional by its commingling of names from different cultural backgrounds and its generally ahistorical nature. Although it is fiction, that does not undermine the possibility of spiritual truths.

Here, we’ll explore the Prayer of Judith in Judith 9:1ff and see how it points to God as transcendent Lord of all creation.

[Y]ou have designed the things that are now and those that are to come. Yea, the things you intended came to pass, and the things you decided presented themselves and said, ‘Lo, we are here’; for all your ways are prepared in advance, and your judgment is with foreknowledge. (Judith 9:5ff, ESV translation of the Apocrypha)

Judith here acknowledges that all which God plans comes to be. Note that here, Judith does not affirm that God specifically intends for each and every thing that occurs. Rather, this passage reveals that God is in control over all things, accomplishing His plan in such a way that the things He intends will come to pass. Yet the author does not imply that God intends for all things which do happen. Judith does not pray thanking God for causing evil–such would be wildly inappropriate. Instead, Judith focuses upon God’s comprehensive plan which takes into account all things. God has “prepared in advance” all His ways. His judgment and execution of plans is “with foreknowledge.” God’s plans are with absolute foreknowledge of what occurs, and we can trust in God to execute rightly.

[T]hey [the Assyrians] trust in shield and spear, in bow and sling, and know not that you are the Lord who crushes wars; the Lord [YHWH] is your name. (9:7b)

One of my favorite lines in the entire book of Judith: “the Lord who crushes wars.” Think about the implications there: it is God who is control of the destinies of nations. Although the weapons of humanity may be raised against each other, the Lord crushes the war itself. We are reminded in Revelation that there will be a day with no more tears (Revelation 21:4). One day, God will crush the very possibility of war.

Furthermore, it should be noted that in context, Judith is not suggesting that God is against any type of war per se; after all, Judith goes on to behead the leader of the Assyrians and the Israelites pursue the Assyrians from their land. Instead, it is the trust in human invention that is under assault here. The Assyrians put their trust into their own weapons instead of God. Rather, it is God who should be trusted, for it is God who has the power not only to wage war but to destroy war itself.

[C]rush their arrogance by the hand of a woman. (9:10b)

God uses the unexpected for His ends. Women were not the expected leaders; deliverance was more likely to have come from a  great general–a man. Yet God uses the weak to bring down the strong.

[C]ause your whole nation and every tribe to know and understand that you are God, the God of all power and might and that there is no other who protects the people of Israel but you alone! (9:14)

Judith continues her prayer, exhorting God to bring His message to all peoples across the whole earth. Such is our own call as Christians. We are to carry out God’s plan in this mortal realm and bring God’s message to the whole earth. Yet we cannot forget that it is God alone who is our unfailing protector. We can trust only in God, not our weapons, not our might: we must trust in God who is far beyond such earthly powers.

Amen.

Source:

The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition With Notes (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2012).

SDG.

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