Friend Hubby and I have been exploring some of the books that were not canonized at the Council of Trent. The books of Enoch and Jasher have been referenced in scripture and Friend Hubby has been enjoying them. I have fallen in love (so far -- haven't read it in entirety) with the book of Sirach.
There are many instances where I feel it is a good companion to the book of Proverbs. Like Proverbs 31, Sirach 26 extols the virtues of a good wife:
Blessed the husband of a good wife, twice-lengthened are his days; A worthy wife brings joy to her husband, peaceful and full is his life. A good wife is a generous gift bestowed upon him who fears the Lord; Be he rich or poor, his heart is content, and a smile is ever on his face.
A gracious wife delights her husband, her thoughtfulness puts flesh on his bones; A gift from the Lord is her governed speech, and her firm virtue is of surpassing worth. Choicest of blessings is a modest wife, priceless her chaste soul. A holy and decent woman adds grace upon grace; indeed, no price is worthy of her temperate soul. Like the sun rising in the Lord’s heavens, the beauty of a virtuous wife is the radiance of her home.
Sirach 29 goes into the downhill spiral of relationship that can take place between borrower and lender.
It is also available on BibleGateway.com in the Good News Translation. In the foot notes, it cross references it with the non-canonized Book of Wisdom and the book of Proverbs in our Bibles as well.
Do you ever get a brain buzz when you learn something new? I am really enjoying this! Not for the sake of knowledge alone, but to learn greater how to apply my heart to wisdom and walk it out in my daily life. THAT is my earnest desire.
Honestly, I was nervous reading these books. Am I going to lose my mind or go blind if I read them? Am I going to be led hopelessly away from my Adonai, never to return? Those are fears that popped into my head the moment I thought to read them. I cannot begin to understand the reasoning of the Council of Trent for not including them our canon of scripture. The great thinkers of the 1600s didn't think they were worth including, but why do we still go by their opinion? Tradition?
I have read that many of the things Yeshua said can be traced back to Sirach. The Apostle Paul quotes from the book of either Enoch or Jasher in Jude. These books would have been known by the rabbis of that day. There are references to them in the Talmud so they would have been used in Yeshua's childhood learning. Why? Why? Why? Am I just nosy? Probably. :-)
I will just keep reading for now, praying for discernment, checking and balancing with the approved canon of texts. Pray for me, I'm going in!
Others of my favorite passages:
"My child, if you are going to serve the Lord, be prepared for times when you will be put to the test. Be sincere and determined. Keep calm when trouble comes. Stay with the Lord; never abandon him, and you will be prosperous at the end of your days. Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire, and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord, and he will help you. Walk straight in his ways, and put your hope in him."
"Think back to the ancient generations and consider this: has the Lord ever disappointed anyone who put his hope in him? Has the Lord ever abandoned anyone who held him in constant reverence? Has the Lord ever ignored anyone who prayed to him? The Lord is kind and merciful; he forgives our sins and keeps us safe in time of trouble."
Don't you just love these ancient words of wisdom?
A popular song on Christian radio right now quotes Micah 6:8 (I have copied it in Amplified)
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?"
What does it mean to "walk humbly?"
Sirach 2:4-6 says,
"Accept whatever happens to you. Even if you suffer humiliation, be patient. Gold is tested by fire, and human character is tested in the furnace of humiliation. Trust the Lord, and he will help you. Walk straight in his ways, and put your hope in him."
Here is something else I have come across recently in a book called Shabby Chic: Treasure Hunting & Decorating Guide by Rachel Ashwell. The author is unknown, but the writing was found on something at a garage sale:
"Humility is perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised; it is to have a blessed home in my self where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is trouble."