ARABIC BIBLE TRANSLATIONS AND TRANSLATORS

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:2

FOREIGN missionaries have moved mountains. Grain by grain, rock by rock, by steady work. year after year, toiling, delving, tunneling the giant mountain obstacles have been gradually melted away. After years of silent, unseen, prayerful, agonizing work, suddenly a new version of the sacred Scriptures is announced, and millions find the door of knowledge and salvation suddenly opened to them. It is easy to read in a Bible society report that the Bible has been translated into Mandingo for eight millions into Panjabi for fourteen millions, into Marathi for seventeen millions, into Cantonese for twenty millions, into Japanese for fifty millions, into Bengali for thirty-nine millions, into Arabic for fifty millions, into Hindi for eighty-two millions, and into Mandarin Chinese for two hundred millions. But who can comprehend what it all means? To those who claim that missionaries are, or should be, only men who are failures at home, who are unable to fill home pulpits, but are good enough for Asiatic or African mission work, such a statement must be an unsolved and unsolvable riddle.

Translation is an art, a science, one of the most difficult of all literary undertakings. To translate an ordinary newspaper editorial from English into French, German or Italian, would cost most scholars many hours of work. It is easier to compose in a foreign tongue than to translate into it, adhering conscientiously to the meaning, yet casting it so perfectly into the native idiom as to conceal the fact of its foreign origin. Few natives of Asia can translate from English into their own tongue without revealing the stiff foreign unoriental source from which the material was taken.

‘Dr. Thomas Laurie in his able work “Missions and Science,” P. 245, says, “If any wonder why so much pains should be taken to make a version not only accurate but idiomatic, let him read the following words of Luther in 1530: – ‘In translating, I have striven to give pure and clear German, and it has verily happened that we have sought, a fortnight, three or four weeks, for a single word, and yet it was not always found. In job we so laboured, Philip Melanchthon, Aurogallus and I, that in four days we sometimes barely finished three lines.’ Again he writes, ‘We must not ask the Latinizers how to speak German, but we must ask the mother in the house, the children in the lanes, the common man in the market-place and read in their mouths how they speak, and translate accordingly.”‘

If it was thus difficult for the learned Luther to translate from the Hebrew and Greek into his own mother German, how much more to translate from them into an Oriental tongue like the Arabic! And few foreign missionaries can translate ordinary tracts and books into the vernacular of their adopted country. Men must have a peculiar mental bent and devote years to studying and practicing the vulgar talk of the populace, and the pure classical language of the local literature, if there be a literature, and if not, to identify himself with those who are to read what he writes, before he can translate with success. But when you add to all this the work of translating a book of 960 pages from the ancient Hebrew, the Old Testament and another Of 270 pages front the ancient Greek, the New Testament, so as to give your readers’ the exact literal idea of the original, and this into a language utterly different -in spirit, ideals and idioms not only from the Hebrew and Greek, but also from your own tongue, and remember that this is the Word of God in which error is inadmissible and might be fatal; knowing that the eyes of scores of missionaries, and hundreds of native scholars in the future, as well as savants in philology and linguistic science in Europe and America will scan and criticize your work, and you might well exclaim, “Who is sufficient for these things?” The true translator, “nascitur, non fit.” It is born in him, and without this native genius and preparation, he cannot succeed.

Translators, of the Scriptures, “are called of God, as was Aaron.” Missionary boards send out young men to foreign lands, not knowing to what special work God may call them. It may be exploring, as Livingston; or healing, as Dr. Parker, “who opened China to the Gospel at the point of the lancet,” or teaching, as Duff, Hamlin and Calhoun; or preaching, as Titus Coan of Hilo, Sandwich Islands; or it may be translating as Morrison, Hepburn, Riggs, Goodell, Eli Smith and Van Dyck.

In 1847 a committee of which Dr. Eli Smith was chairman, and Drs. Thomson and Van Dyck were members, sent to the United States an appeal in behalf of a new translation of the Bible into the Arabic language, in which, after speaking of the comparatively evanescent character of translations of the Bible into the languages of tribes evidently hastening to extinction, the appeal rises to high and almost prophetic eloquence in speaking of the future of the Arabic Bible:

“The Arab translator is interpreting the lively oracles for the forty millions of an undying race whose successive and ever augmenting generations shall fail only with the final termination of all earthly things. Can we exaggerate on such a theme? Is it easy to overestimate the importance of that mighty power that shall send the healing leaves of salvation down the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Nile, and the Niger; that shall open living fountains in the plains of Syria, the deserts of Arabia and the sands of Africa; that shall gild with the light of life the craggy summits of goodly Lebanon and -sacred Sinai and giant Atlas? We think not. These and kindred thoughts are not the thoughtless and fitful scintillations of imagination, the baseless dreams of a wild enthusiasia. To give the Word of God to forty millions of perishing sinner, to write their commentaries, their concordances, their theology, their sermons, their tracts, their school-books and their religious journals: in short, to give them a Christian literature, or that germinating commencement of one, which can perpetuate its life and expand into full grown maturity, are great gigantic verities taking fast hold on the salvation of myriads which no man can number, of the present and all future generations.”

On the 21st of February 1885, Rev. James S. Dennis, D. D., then a member and librarian of the Syria Mission in Beirut, wrote to Dr. Van Dyck requesting him to prepare a careful sketch of the history of the translation of the Bible into the Arabic language. The following account to P. 76 summarizes the facts given in Dr. Van Dyck’s reply:

“An account of the Arabic Version of the Scriptures made under the auspices of the Syria Mission and the American Bible Society. At the general meeting of the mission held in Beirut, February, 1848, under the date of February 11th we find the following vote ‘Resolved, that at the end of the present term of the seminary (Abeih) Butrus el Bistany be transferred to the Beirut station with a view to his being employed in the translation of the Scriptures’ under the direction of Dr. Eli Smith. ‘ (Mr. Bistany had been associated with Dr. Van Dyck in the Boys’ Seminary of Abeih, from the time of its opening.) “

Under same date, February 11, 1848, we have the following resolution:

“Resolved, that Dr. Smith be authorized to correspond with the secretaries of the American Bible Society in relation to the contemplated new translation of the Scriptures into Arabic.”

Under date of April 4, 1849, we find the following:

“Dr, Smith reported progress in the work of translating the Scriptures, and laid before the mission the first ten chapters of Genesis for examination, and Messrs. Whiting, Van Dyck, Hurter, De Forest and Ford were appointed a committee to examine what had been done and report to this meeting. This committee reported April 7th, stating, that they find the new translation’ faithful to the original, and a decided improvement upon the version we now circulate, and recommend that the work be prosecuted to its completion upon the same general principles which appear to have guided the translator hitherto. They also commended the translator and those associated with him to the fervent prayers of all the members of the mission, that they may be guided by divine wisdom in the prosecution of this all important work.”

It is plain from the above that Dr. Smith began to work on the translation in 1848, assisted by Sheikh Nasif el Yazigy, and Mr. Butrus el Bistany. First, Mr. Bistany made a translation into Arabic from the Hebrew or Greek with the aid of the Syriac. Then Sheikh Nasif, who knew no language but Arabic, rewrote what had been translated, carefully sifting out all foreign idioms. Then Dr. Smith revised Sheikh Nasif’s manuscript by himself, and made his own corrections and emendations. Then he and Sheikh Nasif went over the work in company, and Dr. Smith was careful not to let the meaning be sacrificed for a question of Arabic grammar or rhetoric.

Under date of April 9th, the mission records state that “Dr. Smith submitted a copy of the new translation of the Book of Genesis, with some remarks and explanations, and it was voted that 100 copies of the new translation of Genesis be printed at the expense of the mission.”

As each form was struck off, a copy was sent to each member of the mission, and the Arabic scholars outside the mission, especially to the missionaries of other societies, and by special vote in March 29, 1851, all the members of the mission were urged to give special attention to the new translation and to render Dr. Smith all the assistance in their power to carry it forward to its completion.

In 1852, during the visit of Dr. Edward Robinson, of Union Seminary, Dr. Smith laid on the table the translation of the Pentateuch up to the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy, and a committee, consisting of Messrs. Thomson, Whiting, Robinson, Calhoun, Marsh of Mosul and Ford, examined the translation and approved it, whereupon the translator was directed to finish the Pentateuch and then take up the New Testament. March 23,1853, Dr. Smith laid upon the table the remainder of Deuteronomy, Matthew, Mark, and to the twelfth chapter of Luke.

March 3, 1854, Dr. Smith had completed during the year from the twelfth chapter of Luke to I Corinthians.

April 3, 1855 Dr. Smith reported that the New Testament had been completed, and also Jonah, Joel and Amos, and the printing of the Pentateuch had reached the sixth chapter of Exodus.

April 1 1956 Dr. Smith made his last report, that in the Old Testament, after finishing Nahum he had taken up Isaiah, and had reached the fifty-third chapter, and that in printing, the Pentateuch had advanced to the end of Exodus, and the New Testament to the sixteenth chapter of Matthew.

At the time of his death he had devoted nine years to this work, or rather eight years of actual labour. A day or two before his death Rev. D. M. Wilson asked him if he had anything to say about the translation. He replied, “I will be responsible only for what has been printed. If the work should be carried on, I hope that what I have done will be found of sonic value.”

Before narrating the work of Dr. Van Dyck in completing the translation, let us see what “helps” these learned scholars had at hand as a ‘translation apparatus,’ connected with the Old Testament. This list will deeply interest those who regard missionaries as unscholarly and behind the times.

1. Of Hebrew Grammars, they had Gesenius’ Lehrgebaude (1817), his smaller grammar edited by Rodiger (1851), a gift from the editor; Ewald’s Lehrbuch (1844) and Nordheimer’s Grammar.

2. Of Lexicons: Gesenius’ Hebrew Thesaurus, now completed by Rodiger (who kindly sent Dr. Smith the last part as soon as it left the press); and also Robinson’s Gesenius, a gift from the translator. he had also Furst’s -Concordance and his School Dictionary, also Noldin’s Concordance of the Hebrew particles.

3. Of Commentaries: Rosenmuller on the Pentateuch, and Tuch and Delitzch and Knobel on Genesis. Also the Glossa Ordinaria, a voluminous digest from the Fathers, and Pool’s Synopsis, with other more common commentaries in English.

4. Of non-Arabic versions of critical value: the London Polyglot (a gift of Mrs. Fisher Howe, of Brooklyn, New York), with Buxtorf’s Chaldee, and Castel’s Syriac Lexicon, and Schleusner’s Greek Lexicon of the Septuagint, besides the lexicons which Compose the seventh volume of the Polyglot. Also Tischendorf’s Septuagint, containing the readings of four ancient manuscripts; and., for a general Greek lexicon, Liddell and Scott. Among modern versions Dr. Smith bade constant reference to that of De Wette’s.

5. Of Arabic versions: Dr. Smith had besides that of Bandias Gaon in the Polyglot, the Ebreo-Mauritanian version edited by Erpenius, and three copies of the version of Abu Sa’d, the Samaritan; two of these copies he had made from manuscripts some five hundred years old, and the other edited by Kuenen, with the readings and notes of three manuscripts; also a distinct version in manuscript apparently made from the Peshito written nearly five hundred years ago. The above are ancient. Of more modern versions, I have the Romish edition reprinted by the British and Foreign Bible Society, which we now circulate, and which is conformed to the Vulgate with frequent accommodations to the Peshito. Also the lessons read in the Greek and Greek Catholic Churches printed at Shuwair and translated from the Septuagint but following after other readings than those of the Polyglot; and the Karshuny lessons read in the Maronite Churches printed at Koshaiya and translated from the Peshito. This version of the Maronites, if reference be had both to conformity with the Hebrew and acceptableness of style to modern readers, is the best of all, but it contains, as well as the lessons of the Greeks, only all, of the Old Testament.

6. Of other helps, Dr. Smith had Winer’s Realworterbuch (last edition), De Wette’s Introduction to the Old Testament, and Havernick’s Introduction to the Pentateuch ; also Sherif-ed-Din-et-Tifasy on precious stones, and the Arabic Materia Medica called Ma-la-yisa. both useful in explaining terms connected with natural history and kindred subjects. The Hebrew text used was that of Micliaelis, whose notes and especial references are often valuable; and also Dr. Rossi’s various readings, and Bahrdt’s remains of the Hexapla of Origen.

7. This catalogue would not be complete without mentioning the more important helps to a full understanding and proper use of the Arabic language. Grammars: The Commentary of Ashmuny, on the Alefiyeh of Ibn Malik; the Commentary of Demanuny on the Teshil of the same author and Millu Jamy of Ibn el Hajeb also Mughny el Labib of Ibn Hashim, invaluable for its definitions of the particles. Of rhetoric, the Mukhtasr and Muttowwal of Teftazany. Of dictionaries, I have two copies of Feiruzabady, and one of Jauhari, as well as the dic. tionary Feiyumy, and the Constantinople edition of Feiruzabady with definitions in Turkish. Of European works: the dictionary of Freytag and the Arabic-Turco- Persian dictionary of Meninski Also the Tarifat of Jorjamy and the Kulliyat of Abu el Buka, which latter when furnished with a proper index will help to many definitions of great value.

After the death of Dr. Eli Smith many thought that the work of translation must cease. Dr. Smith was so learned, so accurate and conscientious, and so singularly prepared for this great work, that it seemed as though no one could fill his place. But though the worker falls the work goes on. The mantle of Eli fell on Cornelius God had been preparing for seventeen years the man who was to complete the great work of giving the Bible to forty millions of men. Cornelius Van Alan Van Dyck, M. D., came, to Syria, April 2, 1840, aged twenty-one years and four months, the youngest American ever sent to Syria. He came as a medical missionary, had never studied theology, but in seventeen years in Syria he had mastered the Arabic language, the Syriac, Hebrew, Greek, French, Italian and German. He was of Hollandic origin, born at Kinderhook in 1818. He had a genius for languages a phenomenal memory, a clear intellect, and excelled in medicine, astronomy, the higher mathematics and linguistic science. His knowledge of Arabic, both classical and vulgar, was a wonder to both natives and foreigners, as will be seen in the chapter on his life and work. He had been ordained January 14, 1846, and afterwards received the degrees of D. D. and LL. D., and later that of L. H. D., from Edinburgh.

At the next annual meeting of the mission after Dr. Smith’s death (April 3, 1857), a committee was appointed to examine and report on the state of the translation of the Scriptures as left by Dr.Smith. This committee consisted of Messrs. Calhoun, Van Dyck, Ford, Eddy and Wilson, and reported that Genesis and Exodus had been printed with the exception of the last of Exodus which was in type but not edited. That the books of the Bible yet untouched are Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Ezekiel, Daniel, Habakkuk, Zechariah, Zephaniah Haggai and Malachi. The Historical Books from Joshua to Esther inclusive, and the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, had been put into Arabic by Hr. Bistany, the assistant translator, but not revised by Dr. Smith.

Dr W. W. Eddy
Dr W. W. Eddy

It was found that in the translation of the Now Testament, the Greek text followed had been that of Hahn, but in the first thirteen chapters of Matthew, there are some variations from that text according to the text of Tregelles and others.

The committee were unanimously of opinion that the translation of the New Testament had been made with great care and fidelity, and that it could, with comparatively little labour, be prepared for the press, and they accordingly recommended to the mission to prosecute and complete its publication as soon as possible.

The mission then appointed Dr. Van Dyck to the work. He was then living in Sidon, and removed to Beirut in November, 1857, and went on with the work as directed. As the American Bible Society required a strict adherence to the Textus Receptus of Hahn’s Greek Testament, Dr. Van Dyck revised every verse in the New Testament, taking up the work as if new. The basis left by Dr. Smith was found invaluable, and but for it the work would have been protracted very much beyond what it really was. The form adopted was the second font Reference New Testament. Thirty proofs were struck from each form as soon as set up in type and these proofs were distributed to all missionaries in the Arabic-speaking field, and to native scholars, and to Arabic scholars in Germany, viz.: Professor Fleischer of Leipsic, Professor Rodiger of Halle, afterwards of Berlin, Professor Flugel of Dresden and Dr. Behrnauer, librarian of the Imperial Library, Vienna. Some letters and proofs from some of these gentlemen and others have survived, and have been placed in the standard copy of the Old Testament, deposited in the library of the mission. The proofs distributed were returned to the translator with the criticisms of those to whom they had been sent, all of which were carefully examined and decided upon.

In 1862, Dr. Van Dyck wrote to the American Bible Society with regard to the labour involved in the translation of the Old Testament: ” In the first place, it must be carefully made from the Hebrew, then compared with the Syriac version of the Maronites, and the Septuagint of the Greeks ; the various readings given, and in difficult places the Chaldee Targums must be consulted, and hosts of German commentators, so that the eye is constantly glancing from one set of characters to another: then after the sheet is in type, thirty copies are struck off and sent to scholars in Syria, Egypt and even Germany. These all come back with notes and suggestions, every one of which must be well weighed. Thus a critic, by one dash of his pen, may cause me a day’s labour, and not till all is set right, can the sheet be printed.”

In regard to the style of Arabic adopted, it was the same as had been adopted by Dr. Smith after long and frequent consultations with the mission and with native scholars. Some would have preferred -the style “Koranic,” i. e., Islamic, adopting idioms and expressions peculiar to Mohammedans. All native Christian scholars decidedly objected to this. It was agreed to adopt a simple but pure Arabic, free from foreign idioms, but never to sacrifice the sense to a grammatical quirk or a rhetorical quibble, or a fanciful tinkling of words. As a matter of fact ‘ it will be seen that in the historical and didactic parts, the style is pure and simple but in the poetical parts the style necessarily takes on the higher standard of the original, e.g., Job, Psalms and parts of Prophets. The work of the translation of the New Testament was finished March 9, 1860, and a complete copy was laid upon the table at the annual meeting, March 28th, and that same copy is now preserved in the mission library.

Dr. Van Dyck was assisted by a Mohammedan scholar of high repute, Sheikh Yusef el Asir, a graduate of the Azhar University of Cairo, whose purely Arabic tastes and training fitted him to pronounce aft all questions of grammar, rhetoric and vowelling, subject to the revision and final judgment of Dr. Van Dyck.

In April, 1860, the mission directed Dr. Van Dyck to carry on the translation of the Old Testament commencing with Leviticus. The last chapter of Exodus was edited by Dr. Van Dyck immediately after Dr. Smith’s death, and printed, so that the whole of Genesis and Exodus might be before -the mission.

In 1864, an edition of the vowelled Psalms in parallelisms was issued 16mo, and on August 22, 1864, Dr. Van. Dyck reported the completion of the translation of the Old Testament. Friday, March 10, 1865, a celebration took place at the American Press, in honour of the printing of the Old Testament, thus completing the new Arabic translation of the Bible.

In the upper room, where Dr. Smith had laboured on the translation eight years, and Dr. Van Dyck eight years more, the assembled missionaries gave thanks to God for the completion of this arduous work. just then, the sound of many voices arose from below, and on throwing open the door, we heard a large company of native young men, labourers at the press and members of the Protestant community singing to the tune of Hebron, a new song, ” Even praise to our God,” composed for the occasion by Mr. Ibrahim Sarkis, chief compositor, in the Arabic language. Surely not for centuries have the angels in heaven heard a sweeter sound arising from Syria than the voices of this band of pious young men singing a hymn composed by one of themselves, ascribing glory and praise to God, that now, for the first time, the Word of God is given to their nation in its purity.

I translated this hymn into English, and on Sunday evening, March 12th, a public meeting was held in the old church in commemoration of this great event, and addresses were made by Rev. James Robertson, Scotch Chaplain, Mr. Butrus, Bistany and Rev. D. Stuart Dodge. The hymn was sung in Arabic and English.

The English is as follows:

Hail day, thrice blessed of our God!
Rejoice, let all men bear a part.
Complete at length Thy printed word;
Lord, print its truths on every heart!
To Him who gave His gracious word,
Arise, and with glad praises sing:
Exalt and magnify out Lord,
Our Maker and our glorious King!
Lord, spare Thy servant through whose toil,
Thou gav’st us this of books the best,
Bless all who shared the arduous task
From Eastern land or distant West.
Amen I Amen I lift up the voice:
Praise God whose mercy’s e’er the same:
His goodness all our song employs,
Thanksgiving then to His Great Name!

June 3, 1865, Dr. Van Dyck proceeded to New York, in accordance with arrangements made with the American Bible Society and superintended the making of a set of electrotype plates of the entire Arabic Bible in large type 8vo, and of the vowelled New Testament. Two years later he returned to Beirut with Mr. Samuel Hallock, an electrotyper, and superintended electrotyping the vowelled Old Testament 8vo, and editions of the entire Bible and of the New Testament. The American Bible Society furnished the British and Foreign Bible Society with a duplicate set of plates of the Bible and New Testament made in New York and also of the vowelled Old Testament made in Beirut.

Thus was the Arabic Bible completed. In a short time ten editions, containing forty thousand copies, had been printed. The accuracy of its renderings the idiomatic excellence of the style and even the beauty of the type, which Dr. Smith had prepared especially for it, and which surpassed all that had gone before as much as the translation excelled all previous effort, made it popular among all classes, so that even the Moslem was forced to commend the Bible of the Christian. No literary work of the century exceeds it in importance and it is acknowledged to be one of the best translations of the Bible ever made.

Since that day, not less than thirty-two editions of the Arabic Bible and parts of the same have been printed, comprising about nine hundred thousand copies, and on the title page of every copy is the imperial permit and sanction of the government of the Turkish Sultan. These books have been sent, and are still being sent, by tens of thousands of copies, to the whole Arabic reading Mohammedan world, from Mogador and Sierra Leone on the Atlantic to Peking on the East: to Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, Egypt, Sudan, Arabia, Zanzibar, Aden, Muscat, Bussorah, Bagdad, India, the East Indies, Northern China, Persia, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Palestine, Syria and to the new colonies of Syrian emigrants in the United States, Brazil and Australia.

The best selling book in Syria and Egypt today is the Arabic Bible. It is the loving gift of the one hundred and forty million Protestant Christians to the two hundred million of Mohammedans of whom sixty million speak the Arabic language, while the rest use the Arabic Koran as their sacred book, and are scattered all the way from the Canary Islands through North Africa and Southern Asia to Peking in China.

As Mr. Calhoun has beautifully said in one of his letters, “Just as Syria, once lighted up with the oil made from her own olives, is now illuminated by oil transported from America, so the light of revelation that once burned brightly there, lighting up the whole earth with its radiance long suffered to go out in darkness, has been rekindled by missionaries from America, in the translation of her own Scriptures into the spoken language of her present inhabitants.” Priest Ghubreen Jebara, a learned Greek ecclesiastic in Beirut, said in a public address, in 1865, “But for the American missionaries, the Word of God had well-nigh perished out of the language: but now, through the labours of Dr. Eli Smith and Dr. Van Dyck, they have given us a translation so pure, so exact, so clear, and so classical, as to be acceptable to all classes and all sects.”

http://www.arabicbible.com/for-christians/the-bible/148-fifty-three-years-in-syria/1449-the-arabic-bible-its-translation-and-the-translators-1848-1865.html

The University and the monastic spirit

In one of her last stories, “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” Flannery O’Connor told a story of miscomprehension between mother and son. The story retells communication problems between generations by contrasting two valuations of life. Walter and his mother are at odds for reasons which are perfectly comprehensible within the mental world of each but which are almost impossible to understand across conceptual lines. At the center of this difference stands the complex and at times paradoxical relation of love to anger.

A sure indicator of O’Connor’s literary genius shows up in the levels of interpretation necessary to plumb the meaning of the story. On the surface, “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” is a story of a mother whose twenty-eight year old son appears to be a lazy good-for-nothing who is not willing to take on his masculine role in the order of southern society. Walter’s mother, who is never named, cannot understand her son’s indolence. Now that Tilman, Walter’s father, is incapacitated, the male role in the household falls to the son. Walter’s mother is especially eager that he takes up the duty of “making the Negroes work.” When Walter objects that his mother is more capable of the task than he, she protests, “I am only a woman.” Walter, for his part, seems not to have any aspirations other than reading. Like Hulga in “Good Country People,” Walter is a thinker; he is in no hurry to accomplish anything.

O’Connor pursued the tangled web of parents and grown children at odds in several of her stories. In addition to “Good Country People,” there is “The Enduring Chill” (Asbury and his mother), and the famous “Everything that Rises Must Converge” (Julian and mother). What sets “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” apart is its reach into ancient Christian antiquity to highlight the contrast between O’Conner’s southern American culture with all its emphasis on activism and the spiritual battle of desert monasticism. As the story moves to its conclusion, Walter’s mother finds an open text from Jerome’s Letter to Heliodorus written in 374 that her son has underlined. The highlighted passage begins “Love should be full of anger.” This sentence resonates with her, “she thought, well mine is. She was furious all the time.” Her anger provides the end bracket that balances O’Connor’s description at the story’s beginning of Tilman’s crooked eye, the only part of his countenance that “seemed to harbor his former personality.” And what was the personality that the eye alone could not conceal? “It burned with rage.” Tilman and his wife have set their house ablaze with anger, which O’Connor knew was one of the seven deadly sins.

The title of “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” derives, of course, from the second Psalm in which the enemies of God have risen up in rebellion against the Lord and against his Anointed One. The interesting question is why O’Connor chose this biblical phrase to title her story. Who are the heathen in her story? Could it be the “Christian” of the American South whose cultural experience has been shaped by biblical categories? Could it be Walter’s father, Tilman, or his mother? Could it be that the passage from Jerome affords us insight into Walter’s “sloth?” Was he lazy or had he decided to engage the anger within his family by imitating Jerome’s monastic life? Could Walter’s own home be his desert?

How could any two things be more opposite than love and anger? Yet O’Connor was somehow taken with Jerome’s statement “Love should be full of anger” (debet amor irasci). Could there be love beneath the anger seething inside Walter’s mother? Her rage grew out of the combination of her desire to see Walter make something of himself coupled with her disappointment that all he seemed interested in was reading. Her love for Walter at least made her pick up the book and read the passage in an attempt to understand his lack of pursuing anything important. She was left with incomprehension. “This was the kind of thing he read—something that made no sense for now.”

The mother’s inability to see the connection between ancient monasticism and the mid-twentieth century was undoubtedly something of which O’Connor was all too aware. Southern Protestantism was in her experience devoid of a sense of history. Yet, in the last sentence of the story we gain some insight into why O’Connor chose Jerome’s letter, “Then it came to her [the mother], with an unpleasant little jolt, that the General with the sword in his mouth, marching to do violence, was Jesus.” Here Walter’s mother knows the reference to the Apocalypse where Jesus is portrayed as a conqueror going forth to battle. The “little jolt” was possibly the realization that Jesus could be loving and full of anger at the same time. And it is possible that this was also jolting to O’Connor whose Catholic upbringing would have surely have contrasted the sin of anger with the love of Jesus. Can love be rightly full of anger? O’Connor must have known how much Jerome struggled with anger for he was very candid about it. She undoubtedly knew that overcoming his anger was one reason he went to the deserts of Syria and of Bethlehem.

Modern culture seems to assume that Christian monasticism has little or no relevance for our world. The disgust that Walter’s mother had for his reading habits reflects the common assumption that the problems we face today have nothing do with the deserts of old. “He [Walter] read books that had nothing to do with anything that mattered now.” Too many people and even a non-negligible contingent of the highly educated are convinced that the past harbors no wisdom or solace for the present.

Many in the modern university share the perspective of Walter’s mother. Monasticism makes no sense for now, for today’s problems, for contemporary society. For example, within the research university, it is the production of papers, books, and conferences that matter. Though some may have a vague awareness that education can foster personal formation, that is an interesting by-product rather than a defined goal of the curriculum. Becoming a better person will not get you tenure. Not even helping your students become better people will count for much. In university administration, the only thing that matters is “making the Negroes work,” i.e. keeping the machinery running, maintaining the system.

When Jerome chided Heliodorus for abandoning the desert, his anger burned because he knew what the future Bishop of Altinum could so easily forget, that the mastery of self is far more important than ecclesiastical honors and recognition. Drawing on military metaphors, Jerome dismantled his friend’s possible objections against the warfare of the desert. Calling Heliodorus “an effeminate soldier” (delicate miles), Jerome warned against the purported duties of family and other attachments such as the lure of episcopal power. Jerome’s love for his fellow soldier burned with jealousy; he wanted him to take the difficult but ultimately more rewarding path of self-mastery.

The modern university is devoted to recognition of and honors for research production. Often vying to hire the brightest and the best, the university can become a place, not of critical inquiry but of disciplinary advancement, not of pedagogical excellence but of ideological hegemony. As long as the university lives in the thought world of Walter’s mother, the world of disciplinary convention and presentist conformity, it will always be vulnerable to the faddish movements of history. It needs a purgatory, not superimposed from above but a cleansing from the inside out. The modern university can be that desert for the Christian precisely because the university needs the monastic spirit more than ever. Christians have always been called to non-conformity, to spurn position, reward, fame, and to return into the silence of contemplation, to engage the battle of prayer, to assault the demons of vaunting pride, be it of ecclesiastical honors or intellectual recognition.

The Christian today must be full of love in order to make a difference in the academy. Only love can transform knowledge into some good for humanity. Otherwise, it is what the Greeks called kenodoxia, “vainglory.” The lust for recognition represents a pursuit that leaves only a few specialists better off, just as the acquisition of ecclesiastical honors in the Church profits few. Only love can reshape ecclesial and educational practice into some benefit for humanity. Such a love will necessarily be full of anger against superficial substitutes for the pursuit of truth.

How can the Christian be full of love, a love that turns anger against the twin enemies of humanity, the pride and passion of men? Only by going to the desert, to do battle with the demons of self-glory, recognition, and advancement. Only by purging the lust for power and control. The academic who is full of love will be capable of recognizing truth as the enemy of convention and conformity. Truth can purge the status quo, the desire to keep the machinery running as it has been. More love is needed if education is to be a liberalizing and humanizing enterprise. The university needs the desert. In “Why Do the Heathen Rage?” Flannery O’Connor seems to have a mission, the mission of bringing the wisdom of Jerome’s wilderness into the desert of her world, a society that she was at odds with and loved at the same time.

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/university-needs-monastic-spirit-ever

Fishers of men in the dockyard

Reaching out to fellow seafarers is something God has placed on the hearts of several people aboard Logos Hope. A team joined chaplains from the Sailors’ Society and Seafarers’ Care mission in Tema’s busy dockyard.

Other vessels had noticed the ‘nice white ship’ and wanted to know more about its purpose. Hearing that she sails with crew from 60 different nations who may not see their families for two years impressed the captains – but they were left speechless by the fact that no one on board gets paid!

One Ukrainian sailor approached the team to say, in broken English, “Since 10 years I have Jesus in my heart. I am happy.” The man, named Sasha, shared his struggle to witness to younger sailors who enjoy the things of the world. The group was prompted to return with a gift of devotional books for Sasha and an encouraging card, written by a Ukrainian serving on Logos Hope.

“You sometimes have an image of seafarers, because it’s an intimidating environment,” says Elisa Leuenberger (Switzerland), who works in Logos Hope’s engine department. “It was great to see them being so friendly towards us.” She continues, “Container ships seem so vast and hard to access, but inside them, there are just 20 bored people a long way from home. Our ship might have someone who can speak their language or remind them of home.”

Initial contact led to repeat visits, with Indians and Sri Lankans from one vessel taking up the offer of a tour of Logos Hope, then inviting a party to join them for lunch the following day. The Sikh captain accepted Gospel booklets and prayer before departing Ghana, to cross the Atlantic.

Connecting with other ships appealed to Ester Hansen (Brazil), who has previously worked as an oceanographer. “Sailors are kind of an unreached people,” she says, “They need Jesus and it may be easier to talk to them in this way than if we were in their own countries. They can also spread the word as they travel.”

The outreach may become a more permanent ‘passion group’, or free time activity, for Logos Hope’s community. In honour of the side opening found on many ships, the current leading nickname is “shell door to shell door ministry”.

http://www.omships.org

Holy Spirit Preaching in NYC Subway!

Revelation Song in 14 Languages!

“My mission is submission.” – Silas Fox, Canadian missionary and evangelist to Andhra Pradesh, India (1893-1982).

The White Fox of Andhra 

One of the most interesting and dynamic personalities to grace the chapel platform at BJU was a missionary known as The White Fox of Andhra. This diminutive man over 80, too weak to stand, spoke with power from a wheelchair. What he lacked in strength of limb, he made up for in spoken word and song (October 1977)].

Silas F. Fox was born in 1893 at Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. His father died when he was a year old. Shortly thereafter, his mother remarried. Silas’ stepfather was abusive and an alcoholic; and while Silas was still a young child, his mother left his stepfather, taking the children with her. He grew up in a single-parent home with no Christian influence.

Silas was a man with great drive and, at a very early age, lied in order to obtain jobs available only to older men. He proved himself competent in these responsibilities.

He met a neighbor girl and fell in love with her at first sight. It was through her influence that he began to attend a Baptist church. In due time he made a profession of faith and was baptized, but he really did not live for the Lord as he should. It was the testimony of a middle-aged alcoholic who said to him on one occasion, “Silas, take some advice from a drunken bum. Take Christ as your Savior, and you won’t end up like me—a good for nothing.” It was with these words in mind that he finally fell on his knees and cried out to the Lord and accepted Him as his true Lord and Master.

Sensing the call of God upon his life, he went to Toronto Bible College, where he graduated in 1916. In 1973 at the age of 80, he was awarded the honor of Alumnus of the Year. Among other things, the citation referred to him as: “A man with the heart of a Viking and the simple faith of a child.”

On November 20, 1916, he married his childhood sweetheart, Emma. Two days later they left for India. Upon arrival, they threw themselves into the major task of learning the local Telugu language. Like any new missionary, he made many mistakes at the beginning, but he became extremely fluent in this major language of India and learned several other dialects as well.

His great strength was that of evangelism, and he took every opportunity possible to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His favorite pulpits were the marketplace, the roadside, and under shade trees. Wherever he could gather a crowd of people, he would preach. Many times he used very unorthodox ways to speak to his congregation. He relates one experience of preaching in a market area surrounded by a large crowd with three Brahmim priests in the midst of the crowd. They were bare to the waist and wearing their sacred thread, and their foreheads were well smeared with sandalwood paste. After Silas had preached, one of the priests approached him and, with his finger pointed to Silas’ face, began quoting the Vedas, a Hindu holy book, in Sanskrit. Silas said he didn’t understand a thing that was being said, and the priests were successful in turning the crowd with their words. They reasoned that if this man could not understand the holy sayings of the gods, why should they bother to listen to him. With this, the crowd scattered.

When the Brahmin priest returned another time and repeated the same accusations, Silas recalled reading of a similar situation experienced by a CIM missionary in China when a Confucius scholar had confronted him quoting from Confucius. In response, this man had quoted in English long passages from Shakespeare which, of course, the Confucius scholar did not understand and turned away from him. With this in mind, Silas looked the Brahmin priest right in the eye and very deliberately and with as much authority as he could command quoted the only poetry he knew. It was the well-known ditty that goes as follows:

The boy stood on the railroad track,

The train came rushing by.

The boy jumped off the railroad track,

And let the train go by.

The Brahmin priests were astonished. They had no idea what he was quoting, but because it was said with such authority, they quietly left, and Silas continued preaching.

Most of his time was spent as an independent missionary. He often said “My mission is submission.” He was a preacher first and foremost and spent much of his time in evangelistic campaigns throughout India but primarily in the southeast part of India in the Madras Presidency.

As with the prophets of old, Silas said there were two “woes” that he preached. One was for the hearers: “Woe if you do not listen.” The other was for himself: “Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.” And preach he did.

Silas originally went out to India under the Ceylon and India General Mission, but after his first term, he “jumped ship,” and for the remainder of his long life was an independent missionary.

Silas recognized the great value of the printed page and for many years published a paper in the vernacular language that was widely circulated and proved to be a great blessing and encouragement to the Indian believers, as well as a number of tracts and booklets that were greatly used of the Lord.

The independent nature with which Silas Fox was endued probably would never have set well in the context of a mission board, but he was not opposed to such mission agencies. On one occasion while speaking from Acts 27 concerning the shipwreck, he said with tongue in cheek, “Here we see the Scriptural justification for boards. It says in verse 44 that some escaped on boards. Many a board keeps a sinking missionary afloat.” Silas, in his dramatic way, captured the limelight throughout his ministry, yet his wife certainly was not without her own ministry. One of the many behind-the- scenes activities that Emma superintended was the circulation of his paper and other literature and correspondence, a very considerable task. She was the one who kept the family ship on an even keel. He often referred to Emma in this way: “She was a missionary wife, not just the wife of a missionary—a very important difference.”

Silas Fox had the ability to work with nationals as equals and co-laborers in a very good way, and there were several who were his longtime friends and co-workers. Although he spent more than 50 years in India, he still had an active ministry in semiretirement, but increasingly debilitating health limited his ministry in his final years.

the nomads of our world

Consider nomadic people: Not all ‘least-reached’ peoples are nomads, but virtually all nomads are amongst the ‘least-reached’. Perhaps we think of typical nomads as pastoralists—those that herd sheep, cattle, camels, yak, reindeer or other animals. Bedouin in the Middle East, Kyrgys in the High Pamirs or the Samburu in East Africa are good examples. There are other types of nomads, however. The smallest grouping is hunter-gatherers; and sea-nomads would be considered a subset of hunter-gatherers. The third key group is peripatetics or ‘service’ nomads: those with certain skills that traditionally they would offer in a symbiotic relationship to communities near where they settle for a season or longer. They may be horse-traders, artisans, coppersmiths, or have a whole range of other skills and services. Traveller communities in Europe are historically a good example of service nomads.

There are hundreds of nomadic peoples around the world and, while their nomadism may vary, as will the environments in which they live, they share a way of looking at the world. Ironically, you can be a settled nomad, which seems a contradiction, because it is all to do with worldview. This explains why millions of other people on the move, from refugees to migrant workers, are not nomads in this sense. A number of us may already be serving amongst nomads, unaware of their presence or the implications.

Nomads belong to a clan or tribe and do not stand as individuals. Their identity and security is tied to their clan, their allegiance to that clan and its moral codes. It will be a clan that has either presently, or has in the recent past, survived in an environment insufficient to support them and their chosen livelihoods over a period of years or seasons. The nature of their economic activity necessitates the need to be mobile, or at least for that to remain an option. It may be that some members of a tribe are mobile and others are settled, which better serves the tribe overall. The key is not whether they are mobile at present, but whether their immediate ancestors were and whether a mobile lifestyle remains an option.

The independence of nomads is a high value. A nomadic tribe values its ability to make its own decisions vis-a-vis the nation state and surrounding communities. In fact, they often have very little loyalty to a nation state. Ultimately, nomads see themselves as different from non-nomads, even if on the surface they appear similar. They don’t see themselves as part of a settled system, hierarchy or class. They don’t see themselves as part of that continuum, but standing outside it, even when living in the midst of it.

Nearly all nomads are amongst the ‘least-reached’, perhaps because they are often amongst the hardest to reach, whether a question of the tough environments in which they live, or whether we may need to radically re-think our strategies and approaches. We may see nomads as an extension to the urban-rural continuum, but if that is not how they see themselves, what does that mean for us as we long to see ‘vibrant communities of Jesus-followers’ amongst the nomadic peoples of the world?

Stephan Bauer has worked for many years among nomadic and other people groups in the Middle East.

http://news.om.org/recent-news-article/r50484

Where are the fathers?

Please pray for me….

A man I knew worked as a driver. For over 3 years he helped transport for going to and from orphanages. He had a good sense of humor and he loved children very much. He had taken care of orphans in his home for many years. Despite these admirable characteristics he was prone to heavy drinking…He drank so much every day and often beat his wife and children. He lost himself while he was drinking, he lost his job because of drinking, and, finally, he got really sick due to a damaged liver. His wife eventually told me that doctors said his life remaining was not so long.

Soon I visited him in the hospital. He was sitting on the chair with a swollen abdomen but thankfully he was able to talk clearly. His mind was not clear the day before. When I talked to him, he kept saying repeatedly “please pray for me.” He was a believer but was not sure where he was heading, and he knew his time was coming to the end. We prayed together to ask for forgiveness of sins and to go to the heaven. A few days later he passed away with peace. He was only 44 years old.

This is one of many common stories in Myanmar. Many people are addicted to alcohol and they just sit down in beer houses all day. They make trouble in their families with violence and spend all money on drinking. They know they should stop drinking, but cannot stop it. Why? They lose their job, they lose their family, and lose their life. But it is also true that they are often desperately seeking the truth for their lives and to be changed.

Pray for people who are addicted to drinking alcohol; that they would know God’s love for them.
Pray for families to put their trust in God that He is the one who is able to change their family members.
Pray that fathers will be delivered out of so that they can truly bless their families.

nomad / pilgrim theme in Scripture

Recommended writings:

The Pilgrim Church by E. H. Broadbent

http://www.thepilgrimchurch.com

God and the Nomads by Malcolm Hunter of Nomadic Peoples Network

http://www.ijfm.org/PDFs_IJFM/31_3_PDFs/IJFM_31_3-Hunter.pdf

Bible verses about nomads:

Genesis 4:19-20
Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal, he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.

Genesis 12:4-9
So Abram left, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy five years old when he set out from Haran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. The LORD appeared to Abram and said, To your offspring (NIV footnote: seed) I will give this land. So he built an alter there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Genesis 13:1-6
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold. From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent has been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the LORD. Now Lot, who was moving with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together.

Genesis 26:23-25
From there Isaac went up to Beersheba. That night the LORD appeared to him and said, I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you, I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham. Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.

Genesis 31:22-25
On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. Taking his relatives with him, he pursued Jacob for seven days and caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead. Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad. Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead when Laban overtook him, and Laban and his relatives camped there too.

Genesis 35:19-21
Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb. Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.

Deuteronomy 26:1-5
When you have entered the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance and have taken possession of it and settled in it, take some of the firstfruits of all that you produce from the soil of the land the LORD your God is giving you and put them in a basket. Then go to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name and say to the priest in office at the time, I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come to the land the LORD swore to our forefathers to give us. The priest shall take the basket from your hands and set it down in front of the altar of the LORD your God. Then you shall declare before the LORD your God: My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.

Judges 6:1-6
Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountains, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep not cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels, they invaded the land to ravage it. Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help.

Judges 8:11
Gideon went up by the route of the nomads east of Nobah and Jogbehah and fell upon the unsuspecting army.

2 Samuel 7:1-11
After the king was settled in his palace and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, he said to Nathan the prophet, Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of God remains in a tent. Nathan replied to the king, Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you. That night the word of the LORD came to Nathan, saying: Go and tell my servant David, This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build be a house to live in? I have not lived in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my house. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their rulers whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, Why have you not built me a house of cedar? Now then, tell my servant David, This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed judges over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you.

2 Samuel 11:10-11
When David was told, Uriah did not go home, he asked him, Haven’t you just come from a distance? Why didn’t you go home? Uriah said to David, The ark and Israel and Judah are staying in tents, and my master Joab and my lord’s men are camped in the open fields.

1 Chronicles 16:14-22
He is the LORD our God, his judgments are in all the earth. He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit. When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no man to oppress them, for their sake he rebuked kings: Do not touch my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm.

1 Chronicles 17:1-6
After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent. Nathan replied to David, Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you. That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, This is what the LORD says: You are not the one to build me a house to live in. I have not lived in a house from the day I brought Israel up out of Egypt to this day. I have moved from one tent site to another, from one living place to another. Wherever I have moved with all the Israelites, did I ever say to any of their judges whom I commanded to shepherd my people, Why have you not built me a house of cedar?

Psalm 105:8-15
He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit. When they we but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no one to oppress them, for their sake he rebuked kings: Do not touch my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm.

Psalm 120
I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me. Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. What will he do to you, and what more besides, O deceitful tongue? He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom tree. Woe to me that I dwell in Meshech, that I live among the tents of Kedar! Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace, but when I speak, they are for war.

Jeremiah 3:1-5
If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers, would you now return to me? declares the LORD. Look up to the barren heights and see, Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute, you refuse to blush with shame. Have you not just called to me: My Father, my friend from my youth, will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever? This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.

Jeremiah 35:1-7
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD during the reign of Jehoiakim son of Joasiah king of Judah: Go to the Recabite family and invite them to come to one of the side rooms of the house of the LORD and give them wine to drink. So I went to get Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, the son of Habazziniah, and his brothers and all his sons—the whole family of the Recabites. I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the room of the sons of Hanan son of Igdaliah the man of God. It was next to the room of the officials, which was over that of Maaseiah son of Shallum the doorkeeper. The I set bowls full of wine and some cups before the men of the Recabite family and said to them, Drink some wine. But they replied, We do not drink wine, because our forefather Jonadab son of Recab gave us this command: Neither you nor your descendants must ever drink wine. Also you must never build houses, sow seed or plant vineyards, you must never have any of these things, but must always live in tents. Then you will live a long time in the land where you are nomads.

Jeremiah 49:28-33
Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked: This is what the LORD says: Arise, and attack Kedar and destroy the people of the East. Their tents and their flocks will be taken, their shelters will be carried off with all their goods and camels. Men will shout to them, Terror on every side! Flee quickly away! Stay in deep caves, you who live in Hazor, declared the LORD. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has plotted against you, he has devised a plan against you. Arise and attack a nation at ease, which lives in confidence, declares the LORD, a nation that has neither gates nor bars, its people live alone. Their camels will become plunder, and their large herds will be booty. I will scatter to the winds those who are in distant places and will bring disaster on them from every side, declares the LORD. Hazor will become a haunt of jackals, a desolate place forever. No one will live there, no man will dwell in it.

Ezekiel 25:1-7
The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them. Say to them, Hear the word of the Sovereign LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you said, Aha! over my sanctuary when it was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile, therefore I am going to give you to the people of the East as a possession. They will set up their camps and pitch their tents among you, they will eat your fruit and drink your milk. I will turn Rabbah into a pasture for camels and Ammon into a resting place for sheep. Then you will know that I am the LORD. For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet, rejoicing with all the malice of your heart against the land of Israel, therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations. I will cut you off from the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the LORD.

Habakkuk 3:2-7
LORD, I have heard of your fame, I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known, in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise, rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plague went before him, pestilence followed his steps. He stood, and shook the earth, he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal. I saw the tents of Cushan in distress, the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Matthew 8:19-20
Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus replied, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

Luke 9:57-58
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus replied, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

2 Corinthians 11:23-27
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and worked and have often gone without sleep, I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food, I have been cold and naked.

Hebrews 11:8-10
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country, he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Hebrews 11:13-16
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were foreigners and pilgrims on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

1 Peter 1:17
And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence.

1 Peter 2:11
Beloved, I urge you are foreigners and pilgrims in the world, to keep away from the desires of the flesh, which war against your soul.

Some practical advice for young and old and all who desire to see life:

Bible reading is a very special thing

we meet with God

therefore it is a time of expecting great things

do not rush but take your time

and make some time

find a quiet place

relax

take deep breathe

slow down

sit somewhere comfortable

not in the bed lying down!

make some room find some space, go somewhere comfortable

and have notebook and pen to write some thoughts

but most important make it a special time

between you and God!

and listen to his voice

what he says to you

how he speaks to you

the Bible is very special

let us treat Bible reading the way it deserves

then it will really become sweeter than honey🍯 to your soul and God will give you the Holy Spirit and love and happiness and peace and rest!

go for coffee with God and the Bible

meet God for coffee

just you and God and the Bible

because God loves to spend time with us

he wants us to learn to be Best Friends

but we have so many other people and friends we talk to and meet for coffee

but God wants to meet for coffee too!

spend some time today with God and the Bible

not lying down in the bed in the morning

but meet with God like we meet with a friend

and then he will begin to slowly speak …

😀

and do not rush and think of million things to do before or after

when you are with God

forget about everything else

all the responsibilities, plans, chores, work, troubles

forget everything

just spend time in secret with God

and he will reward you

learn this discipline everyday and you will be BLESSED

and your life will change

and you will begin to see heaven on earth!

because you will live with God

and if you dont find time in the morning then ask God to find different time in afternoon or evening

but best thing is the morning!

that is why set your alarm and wake up earlier to meet with God for coffee and breakfast and the Bible

and if you miss one day thats ok dont worry

start again the next day

and that is how we grow in our relationship with God

And most important tip: find a Bible reading plan that works for you

I recommend Bible in a year plan

http://www.mcheyne.info/calendar.pdf

Be blessed and may the Lord bless you!

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chesed: love which will not let go

chesed: love which will not let go

Israel’s persistent waywardness could never destroy it. Though Israel be faithless, yet God remains faithful still.

This steady, persistent refusal of God to let go of Israel is the essential meaning of the Hebrew word which is translated loving-kindness.

Biblical scholars have often complained that the word חֶסֶד in the Hebrew Bible is difficult to translate into English, because it really has no precise equivalent in our language. English versions usually try to represent it with such words as “loving-kindness,” “mercy,” “steadfast love,” and sometimes “loyalty,” but the full meaning of the word cannot be conveyed . . .

Loving-Kindness is a biblical word, invented by Miles Coverdale, and carried over into the English versions generally.

It is one of the words he used in the Psalms (23 times, plus Hosea 2:19) to translate the Hebrew chesed when it refers to God’s love for his people Israel.

Otherwise it is translated ‘mercy,’ ‘goodness,’ ‘kindness’ ‘love’ . . .

The nearest New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew chesed is charis (grace), as Luther realized when he used the German “Gnade” for both words.

The loving-kindness of God towards Israel is undeserved on Israel’s part.

Strict, however, as the demands for righteousness are, God’s yearnings for the people of his choice are stronger still.
The word stands for the wonder of his unfailing love for the people of his choice.

List of verses where “chesed” occurs:

Genesis:
19:19
20:13
21:23
24:12, 14
27:49
32:10
39:21
40:14
47:29

Exodus:
15:13
20:6
34:6, 7

Leviticus:
20:17

Numbers:
14:18, 19

Deuteronomy:
5:10
7:9, 12

Joshua:
2:12, 14

Judges:
1:24
8:35

Ruth:
1:8
2:20
3:10

1 Samuel:
15:6
20:8, 14, 15

2 Samuel:
2:5, 6
3:8
7:15
9:1, 3, 7
10:2
15:20
16:17
22:51

1 Kings:
2:7
3:6
8:23
20:31

1 Chronicles:
16:34, 41
17:13
19:2

2 Chronicles:
1:8
5:13
6:14, 42
7:3, 6
20:21
24:22
32:32
35:26

Ezra:
3:11
7:28
9:9

Nehemiah:
1:5
9:17, 32
13:14, 22

Esther:
2:9, 17

Job:
6:14
10:12
37:13

Psalms:
5:7
6:4
13:5
17:7
18:50
21:7
23:6
25:6, 7, 10
26:3
31:7, 16, 21
32:10
33:5, 18, 22
36:5, 7, 10
40:10, 11
42:8
44:26
48:9
51:1
52:1, 8
57:3, 10
59:10, 16, 17
61:7
62:12
63:3
66:20
69:13, 16
77:8
85:7, 10
86:5, 13, 15
88:11
89:1, 2, 14, 24, 28, 33, 49
90:14
92:2
94:18
98:3
100:5
101:1
103:4, 8, 11, 17
106:1, 7, 45
107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43
108:4
109:12, 16, 21, 26
115:1
117:2
118:1, 2, 3, 4, 29
119:41, 64, 76, 88, 124, 149, 159
130:7
136:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26
138:2, 8
141:5
143:8, 12
144:2
145:8
147:11

Proverbs:
3:3
11:17
14:22, 34
16:6
19:22
20:6, 28
21:21
31:26

Isaiah:
16:5
40:6
54:8, 10
55:3
57:1
63:7

Jeremiah:
2:2
9:24
16:5
31:3
32:18
33:11

Lamentations:
3:22, 32

Daniel:
1:9
9:4

Hosea:
2:19
4:1
6:4, 6
10:12
12:6

Joel:
2:13

Jonah:
2:8
4:2

Micah:
6:8
7:18, 20

Zechariah:
7:9