Quotes and Readings of the Day
God's Goodness and Israel's Ingratitude
A Maskil of Asaph.
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
He established a decree in Jacob,
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach to their children;
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their ancestors,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.
The Ephraimites, armed with the bow,
turned back on the day of battle.
They did not keep God's covenant,
but refused to walk according to his law.
They forgot what he had done,
and the miracles that he had shown them.
In the sight of their ancestors he worked marvels
in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan.
He divided the sea and let them pass through it,
and made the waters stand like a heap.
In the daytime he led them with a cloud,
and all night long with a fiery light.
He split rocks open in the wilderness,
and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.
He made streams come out of the rock,
and caused waters to flow down like rivers.
Yet they sinned still more against him,
rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
They tested God in their heart
by demanding the food they craved.
They spoke against God, saying,
“Can God spread a table in the wilderness?
Even though he struck the rock so that water gushed out
and torrents overflowed,
can he also give bread,
or provide meat for his people?”
Therefore, when the LORD heard, he was full of rage;
a fire was kindled against Jacob,
his anger mounted against Israel,
because they had no faith in God,
and did not trust his saving power.
Yet he commanded the skies above,
and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained down on them manna to eat,
and gave them the grain of heaven.
Mortals ate of the bread of angels;
he sent them food in abundance.
He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens,
and by his power he led out the south wind;
he rained flesh upon them like dust,
winged birds like the sand of the seas;
he let them fall within their camp,
all around their dwellings.
And they ate and were well filled,
for he gave them what they craved.
But before they had satisfied their craving,
while the food was still in their mouths,
the anger of God rose against them
and he killed the strongest of them,
and laid low the flower of Israel.
In spite of all this they still sinned;
they did not believe in his wonders.
So he made their days vanish like a breath,
and their years in terror.
When he killed them, they sought for him;
they repented and sought God earnestly.
They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God their redeemer.
But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not true to his covenant.
Yet he, being compassionate,
forgave their iniquity,
and did not destroy them;
often he restrained his anger,
and did not stir up all his wrath.
He remembered that they were but flesh,
a wind that passes and does not come again.
Note: Today's Gospel reading is John 7:37-52.
From the New Revised Standard Version. Reprinted with permission from HarperBibles.
And when the Lord your God has thrust them from your path, say not to yourselves, "The Lord has enabled us to possess this land because of our virtues"; it is rather because of the wickedness of those nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. 5 It is not because of your virtues and your rectitude that you will be able to possess their country; but it is because of their wickedness that the Lord your God is dispossessing those nations before you, and in order to fulfill the oath that the Lord made to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Know, then, that it is not for any virtue of yours that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess; for you are a stiffnecked people. Remember, never forget, how you provoked the Lord your God to anger in the wilderness: from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place, you have continued defiant toward the Lord.
At Horeb you so provoked the Lord that the Lord was angry enough with you to have destroyed you. I had ascended the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the Tablets of the Covenant that the Lord had made with you, and I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights, eating no bread and drinking no water. And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God, with the exact words that the Lord had addressed to you on the mountain out of the fire on the day of the Assembly.
At the end of those forty days and forty nights, the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the Tablets of the Covenant. And the Lord said to me, "Hurry, go down from here at once, for the people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted wickedly; they have been quick to stray from the path that I enjoined upon them; they have made themselves a molten image." The Lord further said to me, "I see that this is a stiffnecked people. Let Me alone and I will destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven, and I will make you a nation far more numerous than they."
I started down the mountain, a mountain ablaze with fire, the two Tablets of the Covenant in my two hands. I saw how you had sinned against the Lord your God: you had made yourselves a molten calf; you had been quick to stray from the path that the Lord had enjoined upon you. Thereupon I gripped the two tablets and flung them away with both my hands, smashing them before your eyes. I threw myself down before the Lord--eating no bread and drinking no water forty days and forty nights, as before--because of the great wrong you had committed, doing what displeased the Lord and vexing Him. For I was in dread of the Lord's fierce anger against you, which moved Him to wipe you out. And that time, too, the Lord gave heed to me. Moreover, the Lord was angry enough with Aaron to have destroyed him; so I also interceded for Aaron at that time. As for that sinful thing you had made, the calf, I took it and put it to the fire; I broke it to bits and ground it thoroughly until it was fine as dust, and I threw its dust into the brook that comes down from the mountain.
Again you provoked the Lord at Taberah, and at Massah, and at Kibroth-hattaavah. And when the Lord sent you on from Kadesh-barnea, saying, "Go up and take possession of the land that I am giving you," you flouted the command of the Lord your God; you did not put your trust in Him and did not obey Him. As long as I have known you, you have been defiant toward the Lord.
When I lay prostrate before the Lord those forty days and forty nights, because the Lord was determined to destroy you, I prayed to the Lord and said, "O Lord God, do not annihilate Your very own people, whom You redeemed in Your majesty and whom You freed from Egypt with a mighty hand. Give thought to Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and pay no heed to the stubbornness of this people, its wickedness, and its sinfulness. Else the country from which You freed us will say, 'It was because the Lord was powerless to bring them into the land that He had promised them, and because He rejected them, that He brought them out to have them die in the wilderness.' Yet they are Your very own people, whom You freed with Your great might and Your outstretched arm."
From Parshat Ekev. From THE TANAKH: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.
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The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.
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Be unremitting in the doing of good deeds. Do them with all your might and by every possible means. Keep the mind free of impurity. That alone is the practice of virtue. All else is nothing but empty display.
Excerpted from the Tirukkural, translated by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. Copyright Himalayan Academy Publications, www.himalayanacademy.com.
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You are the sole companion of my heart, though my body is available for those who wish its company. This body is hospitable to its guests; the love of my heart is the guest of my soul.
-Rabi'a, "Rabi'a the Mystic"
From "The Bounty of Allah," translated by Aneela Khalid Arshed. Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. Used with permission of The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York.
Norris Chumley Tip of the Day
If things aren't going the way you want, or going the way you expected, first of all you should know you're not alone. Second, figure out how to "make do" with what you've got. That may sound like "settling for second best," but chances are if you give up your expectations about the way things should be – you’ll discover the gifts from God hiding in what you already have. ... Click here to read Norris' full message.
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When a soul comes down from Heaven, it is both male and female. The male aspects enter a male child and the female aspects enter a female child. If they are deserving, God will cause them to find each other and to join in marriage. This is a true union.