Thursday, December 15, 2011

Priority #3 - My Children - Parenting Advice from the Book of Sirach

Sirach 40:28-30 GNT
"My child, don't live the life of a beggar; it is better to die than to beg. If you have to depend on someone else for your food, you are not really living your own life. You pollute yourself by accepting food from another. Begging is torture to the soul of any sensitive person. A shameless person can make begging sound sweet, but something inside him burns."

Sirach 10:28-31 GNT
"My child, keep your self-respect, but remain modest. Value yourself at your true worth. There is no excuse for a person to run himself down. No one respects a person who has no respect for himself. Poor people can be honored for their good sense, and rich people can be honored for their wealth. If someone is honored while he is poor, think how much he will be honored if he becomes rich! If someone is despised while he is rich, think how much more he will be despised if he becomes poor!"

Sirach 11:10 GNT
"My child, don't get involved in too many things. If you try to do too much, you will suffer for it. You won't be able to finish your work, and you won't be able to get away from it either."

Sirach 7:23-25 GNT
"If you have sons, educate them. Teach them self-discipline while they are young. If you have daughters, keep them virtuous, and don't be too indulgent with them. When you give your daughter in marriage, you have finished a great task, but give her to a sensible man."

A SENSE OF DECENCY (teaching our children to blush!)
Sirach 41:16-23
"My children, listen and I will teach you the circumstances when it is proper to be ashamed. Sometimes it is entirely out of place.

Before your parents, be ashamed of immoral behavior.
Before a ruler or an important person, be ashamed of a lie.

Before a judge, be ashamed of criminal behavior.
Before a public assembly, be ashamed of breaking the law.
Before a friend or partner, be ashamed of dishonesty.

Before your neighbors, be ashamed of theft.
Be ashamed of breaking a promise,
of leaning on the dinner table with your elbows,
of stinginess when you are asked for something,

of not returning a greeting,
of staring at a prostitute,

of turning down a relative's request,
of depriving someone of what is rightly his,
of staring at another man's wife,

of playing around with his slave woman (keep away from her bed!)
of insulting your friends,
of following up your gifts with criticism,

of betraying secrets."

Sirach 42:9-13 GNT
"Although he will not let his daughter know it, a father will lie awake at night worrying about her. If she is young, he worries that she might not get married. If she is already married, he worries about her happiness. If she is a virgin, he worries that she might be seduced and become pregnant while living in his house. If she is married, he worries that she might be unfaithful, or that she might not be able to have children. Keep a close watch over your daughter if she is determined to have her own way. If you don't, she may make a fool of you in front of your enemies. You will be a constant joke to everyone in town, a public disgrace. Make sure that her room has no windows or any place where she can look out to the entrance of the house. Don't let her show off her beauty in front of men, or spend her time talking with the women. Women hurt other women just as moths damage clothing."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Priority #2 - My Husband - More on Sirach

I have still been reading the Book of Sirach and how it pertains to wives:

Sirach 40:19-20 (GNT)
"Your name can be preserved if you have children or if you establish a city, but finding Wisdom is a better way. Owning livestock and orchards will make you famous, but it is better to have a wife you love. Wine and music can make you happy, but a happy marriage is even better."

Sirach 40:23 (GNT)
"You can't go wrong with a good friend or neighbor, but an intelligent wife is better than either."

Sirach 7:19 GNT
"Don't miss your chance to marry a wise and good woman. A gracious wife is worth more than gold."

Sirach 7:26 GNT
"If you have a good wife, do not divorce her, but do not trust yourself to someone you don't love."

Sirach 42:6 GNT
"It is wise to lock things up if you cannot trust your wife or if too many people are around."

Any wonder why Proverbs 31:11 AMP says,
"The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil."

The book of Sirach also has some very unflattering things to say about women. I will not list them here because I don't want to examine them in the light of today's sociopolitical standards. But these verses on the importance of marrying an intelligent wife and making a happy marriage, these are timeless. :-)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Priority #1 - My God - The Book of Sirach

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 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:
Sirach 2:1-6
"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."

Sirach 2:10-11
"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."