Monday, April 18, 2005

Jewish Gifts

We have much to be thankful for courtesy of the Jews. Even words like new, adventure, surprise, unique, individual, person, vocation, time, history, future, freedom, progress, spirit, faith, hope, and justice wouldn’t be a part of our vocabulary if it wasn’t for the Jews. I just completed reading “The Gifts of the Jews” by Thomas Cahill so I’m going to try to give a very quick wrap up of what I got from this book.

“The Gifts of the Jews” was a great read and helped me gain a better understanding of the Old Testament and many of its major players. Thomas Cahill takes the reader through what the mindset of the culture would have been at different points throughout the Old Testament and how much of a challenge it was for the Israelites to do things that were contrary to that culture. The idea of there only being one god for instance would not even make sense to us today if it wasn’t for the obedience of these ancient Jews in following the one true God.

The greatest thing about these Jews though is not that they gave us all of these gifts but that they were willing to take a chance on God and allow themselves to be used by Him. Not for things that would necessarily make their immediate lives better but for things that would fulfill God’s purposes.
I’m trying to stay away from direct quotes in my blogs but today I will finish with this.

“In a cyclical world, there are neither beginnings nor ends. But for us, (here in western culture) time had a beginning, whether it was the first words of God in the Book of Genesis, when “in the beginning God created heaven and earth,” or the Big Bang of modern science, a concept that would not have been possible without the Jews. Time, which had a beginning, must also have an end. What will it be? In the Torah (Genesis through to Deuteronomy) we learn that God is working his purposes in history and will effect its end, but in the Prophets (Joshua through Judges) we learn that our choices will also affect this end, that our inner disposition toward our fellow human beings will make an enormous difference in the way this end appears to us.
Unbelievers may wish to stop for a moment and consider how completely God – this Jewish God of justice and compassion – undergirds all our values and that it is just possible that human effort without this God is doomed to certain failure.”


Anonymous,  1/31/2006 11:02 PM  

This is my birthday!


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