A year-long project is over. I started reading the Old Testament in May 2007. I read an average of three chapters every day. The version I read was the New International Version (NIV), which I read online (www.ibs.org/niv). Today I finally finished.
The end of the Old Testament contains twelve books about minor Hebrew prophets. There were two verses that I read today which I found particularly enlightening.
Here’s one that I feel many people today can relate to:
5 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
Maybe it’s the current state of the economy that makes this verse ring so true. This verse is talking about a lack of fulfillment, a scarcity of contentment. With the global food crisis, it definitely seems like we have harvested little. I also feel like I eat and eat, but I never have enough. Maybe I need to change my diet or maybe it’s something deeper, but I don’t feel satisfied by food like I used to feel. I’m not having money problems right now, thankfully, but I know many people must feel like their wallets or purses have holes in them.
This next verse strikes me as something that closely resembles the Quran and the Hadith.
16 “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate it when people clothe themselves with injustice,” says the LORD Almighty.
Of course Islam permits divorce and even makes it relatively easy to do, but it reminds us that divorce is one of the things that Allah hates most. Also, justice is very important to Muslims as we believe we are commanded to fight injustice in whatever way we are able. I find it interesting that divorce and injustice are paired together in this manner. Maybe the implication is that one major cause of divorce is injustice. When spouses do not give each other the rights they deserve, divorce may result.
Also, the verse doesn’t just say people commit injustice but that they “clothe themselves” with injustice. It is one thing when injustice is an act that you do, but when injustice surrounds you and envelops you as if it is your own clothing, you know you have gone far astray. In today’s society when our clothes are often the product of sweatshop labor and inhumane working conditions, how many of us are guilty of clothing ourselves with injustice? Think about it.