Two passages for today’s post. The first is a section of St. Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians, which I propose to contain many valuable lessons:
6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8 we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. 9 It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. 11 For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. 13 Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing.
14 If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not look on him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
(2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
Here is a quick list I have made of the important lessons which St. Paul teaches here:
- Avoid those “Christians” who are idle, that is, given over to sloth.
- Avoid those professed Christians who are living in a way which goes against Apostolic tradition.
- St. Paul and his companions may have worked for their upkeep, but they had the right to expect their fellow brethren in Christ to support them.
- Those who refuse to work should not eat- that is, be given food by the community.
- Christians should not grow weary, presumably in the soul, of hard work.
- Have nothing to do with fellow Christians who disobey the teaching of the Apostles. This will shame them and hopefully convince them to turn aside from their sin.
- Those who have fallen away are not our enemies, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Instead they are wayward brothers who should be warned about the perils of sin out of love.
As for this next passage, it was motivated by Dalrock’s long running series of weak men- many of whom seem to be screwing feminism up. This passage indeed features a weak man- Herod:
14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some[c] said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli′jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero′di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Hero′di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Is it just me, or does this passage make Herod seem, well, kinda pathetic? He fears John, and yet it is only when a woman effectively blackmails him that he finally puts the prophet to death. Not to mention the fact that a pretty girl dancing (plus presumably a fair amount of drink) would compel the man to make that rash of a vow. And to make it even worse, Herod knew John was righteous and still was so full of pride as to keep on with his (initially) half a—d measures.