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Chaldean or Babylonian?

Babylonian mapThis week I have begun doing a devotion purely devoted to the book of Habakkuk. If you aren’t sure who Habakkuk is, he was the prophet who wrote the book of Habakkuk… Big surprise right? This book contains the written accounts of a conversation between Habakkuk and God. Habakkuk has his complaints about the world and God responds to them through a set of visions. Other than what is said in the book, we really do not know much about who Habakkuk was at all. There are a few parts of his book that give us some hint though. For instance, the prayer that Habakkuk sings in chapter 3.

“This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk”

Habakkuk 3:1 NLT

Then at the end of chapter 3 it says,

“(For the choir director: This prayer is meant to be accompanied by stringed instruments.)”

Habakkuk 3:19 NLT

It says that the prayer written in this chapter was sung by Habakkuk, which, if you have ever been to a traditional church, the priest tends to lead the singing of prayers. Also, to accompany his prayer is suppose to be a group of stringed instruments. I think from that, it is a fair bet that this prayer was being said to an organized church that had an organized band or small orchestra. I may be wrong but that is what I think about who Habakkuk may be.

Now to the subject at hand. I was doing my devotion and decided to look at a few different versions of the book of Habakkuk. I looked at the New Living Translation (NLT), the New International Version (NIV), and the New King James Version (NKJV). I had read the NLT and NIV translations of chapter 1 and moved onto the NKJV. It was there where I found my dilemma. In the NLT version it says,

“I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands.”

Habakkuk 1:6 NLT

It said roughly the same thing in the NIV translation, but then I got to the NKJV translation.

“For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.”

Habukkuk 1:6 NKJV

They look pretty similar, right? Well, I have a question for you. What is the difference between a Chaldean and a Babylonian? We have all heard of Babylon and the Babylonian empire but what we don’t know is inside the group we know as the Babylonians was a sub-group called the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans were a tribe of people that settled near the city or Babylon and the city of Ur. This tribe was absorbed by the Babylonian Empire and created the country of Chaldea in the southern part of Babylonia. The Chaldean people were known for being violent and were to be feared. A very familiar name in Babylonian history is Nebuchadnezzar II, who happened to be a Chaldean ruler in what is called the Neo-Babylonian Empire. So to make it all clear the Chaldeans are the tribe that reformed Babylonia forever in the Neo-Babylonia era. This era was ruled by four Chaldean rulers and began coming to an end when an Assyrian ruler came to power. All in all, the Chaldeans were just a very violent group of Babylonians.

It makes me wonder though. Why did one translation say Babylonian and the other say Chaldean? Is one more precise or descriptive than the other? I do not know. Maybe I am just overthinking all of this but I am going to ask you to please comment and help me with this. What do you think? Help me answer the question. Why do you think one translation says Chaldean and the other Babylonian?

Sources:

“Babylonian Empire, Chaldean, 600 BC.” GROLIER ONLINE ATLAS. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <http://go.grolier.com/atlas?id=mh00019&gt;

“BibleGateway.” Habakkuk 3 NLT. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Habakkuk%2B3&version=NLT&gt;

“Who Are the Chaldeans?” Who Are the Chaldeans? N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/BQA/k/167/Who-Are-Chaldeans.htm&gt;.

“Chaldea.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaldea&gt;.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2015. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-Babylonian_Empire#Labashi-Marduk_556_BC&gt;

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An Apple a Day: Part 3: Peace

“May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:26 NIV

As humans, we get stressed and scared. We get upset and guilty. These emotions eat us alive. They consume us until we feel nothing else. This is extremely true and I can say this from personal experience that it sucks. However, there is a cure for the pain. It is the cure for every disease, disorder, and cracked spirit. The cure is God. God is the ultimate cure. When you are stressed and scare, the best thing to do is ask God for peace of mind and for a clean heart.

“But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”

Judges 6:23 NIV

Peace and harmony. This is something that won’t ever happen on this earth. You will only find this in Heaven. When I say this, I don’t just mean war with other nations or arguments among governments, I mean war within our own mind and arguments with ourselves. Our minds never just stand still. They are always someplace and no matter what it is, it always seems to stress us out in one way or another. Personally, stress has taken me far away from God. I stressed so much about pointless things that I spent all of my time stressing. I didn’t ever have anything else on my mind. Even when I thought I was worshiping God, I was stressing about my relationship with Him. It slowly made me stray until I was depressed and alone. I was not a fit leader but I was stubborn and wouldn’t admit that. about 2 months ago, my friends told me that I needed to take a 2 week break from leadership for a while and focus on God and not on my stresses. I was angry and didn’t do anything but hold a grudge and stress those two weeks but we had a message at church that completely opened my eyes to what I had to do. I had to give my leadership to God and let Him lead. My passion for Him is stronger than ever right now. The moral of my story is that, no matter how far you stray from God, have peace, For if you really want God more than anything, He will create a path back to him. Chose the path that God has drawn. Don’t explore your own path.

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”

Matthew 6:26 NLT

This has been one of my favorite verses for the past month or so. One of my closest friends has to move out of their house and they have no where to go. I was and still am worried about them but about a month ago, I read this verse and it hit me like a brick wall. God will provide them with a home and will give them security. The verse after that goes“31 So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” The stresses of everyday life will be provided by our Heavenly Father. He will give you everything you need as long as you believe in Him. He will take you under His wing and will provide food, clothing, jobs and love for you. He is your true God so He will take care of His children, His brides and grooms, and His creations.

“If you follow this advice, and if God commands you to do so, then you will be able to endure the pressures, and all these people will go home in peace.”

Exodus 18:23 NLT

In this verse they say if you follow this “advice”. Back when Jesus was alive, it would have been verbal advice and He would have been speaking this directly to the people. Now in our modern times, when they say advice, they mean the words of the bible or signs from God through prayer. It may say advice, but it really is a choice. A choice between sin and following the will of God. As I said earlier in this series, God will provide, but in order for Him to provide you must follow His will. Just as it says in this verse, if you do what God commands, you will be able to endure the pressures and will go home in peace. You will go home. Home is where your heart is so if you do Gods will, your heart must be with God, so you will be going to God in peace. God gives you pure, true peace.

“5 When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Matthew 6:5-6 NLT

My challenge for this part of the series is to go and seclude yourself. Go into your room and lock the door or go out into the woods and sit against a tree. Take your bible and just read and pray or turn on worship music and pray about what you feel God is telling you. If you are a person who goes to youth group on a regular basis, then I especially want you to do this. When people are at youth group, they are surrounded by people worshiping God, which is not a bad thing at all, but having a personal relationship with God is the most important thing you can do. Having a relationship with God is about you and Him, not you, Him and then some other people. Make having a personal relationship with God a purposeful thing. That is my challenge for this Peace. Seclude yourself for an hour or two, turn off your phone, computer, and any other electronics you may have, and find peace in Gods presence.

Light up the darkness

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, we must learn that there is always light in the darkness.

An eternal candle that nothing can put out. You can dim the flame, but never put it out. If placed upon others, the small flame will turn into a sea of fire, all being held in the hands of the people who need it.

In order to see through the days, we must open our eyes, but in order to see through the night, we must light but the darkness.

He must light up the darkness.

The Sky

Today, I was doing summer homework. I was reading the book “The Book Thief” and I was in a really big rush because school starts on Monday and I procrastinated so I haven’t stopped all day. One of the questions ask for a quote that stuck out to me and why it stuck out to me. Right away, I knew the quote that I was going to put. It was a quote I saw and said to myself, “Oh my gosh. I never thought about that!”. The quote goes,

“People observe the colors of a day only at its beginning and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations, with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spat blues, murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them” ~Death

Its like a punch in the face. Its made me feel so selfish and conceded. I just felt terrible. I have sat down and looked at a sunset and a sunrise but if its not sunrise or sunset, I just ignore the sky. I just think whatever I’m doing at that moment is more important than paying attention to something that I can see anytime. The thing is, it is Gods creation and he does amazing things that we don’t even notice. We look at it as just another thing, but it is one of Gods greatest creations. It separates heaven and earth. It changes color thousands of times a day and we don’t even notice. We, as humans, only notice things that we think we can benefit from, but in actuality, the greatest thing are the things that we don’t notice. The background. The sky, the grass, the world. Thank you God for all your creations. My challenge for you is to take time out of your life and appreciate Gods creations, starting with the sky. Let God know how much you care. Show Him your appreciation for His world He has created. Show your love!

Jesus > Everything

Today, I was pulled into the same conversation multiple times but it was always with different people. The conversation was about putting God over everything. I try to so hard and I think I’m starting to actually do it. It’s such a different feeling because everything looks so insignificant except for the things that God wants you to do. Everything is so clear. So clear that it’s scary. God made it clear to me that I need to read the Bible more, I need to speak and teach His words, I am to be the worship leader at the hangar for 2 years and bring up someone to take over after me, and I need to stop some bad habits I have. I’ve stopped almost every bad habit I have been struggling with. The moral of the story is that once you finally open your eyes and let Jesus completely take over ever little bit of your body, mind and soul, everything will be ok. I accepted this fact today. I said the longest prayer that I’ve said in a long time. Everything seemed to be just flowing out without me even thinking about what was coming out. It was absolutely amazing. I thought I completely understood but then I read something on one of the many blogs I read. It said,

I want the man I marry to love Jesus more than he loves me.

just think about that. I always thought I was suppose to Love my wife with my whole heart but I thought about it and I understand now. I am suppose to Love my wife with my whole heart but God is my bride. God has been my bride since the moment I was born. So yes, you are suppose to Love your wife with your whole heart but you need to Love God with your whole heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit. God is suppose to your greatest Love on earth, in space, in heaven and anywhere! Your wife is suppose to be your mortal Love. Your second greatest Love. You must Love her more than anyone on this planet. God is everywhere though so He must always stay your greatest Love.

Physical Pain

Physical pain to us is a punch in the stomach or a thorn in our foot. What Jesus went through gave a whole new meaning to the word pain. Jesus whipped with leather that had glass and rocks sewn into it. He was forced to wear a crown of thorns that went deeper in his head with every step he took. He was so weak and in so much pain that he wasn’t able to carry roughly a 60 pound cross for more than a few minutes until he collapsed. Jesus knew the meaning of pain very well. I know this doesn’t even come close to the pain that Jesus went through but every day at about 6 o clock, I will go for a walk barefoot. But the thing is, I’m on vacation in south Carolina and their roads are first cemented and then they put rocks and small bits of broken glass down so the cars have better traction. Not to mention the road is Burning hot from the 100 degree heat. I’ve come home from a walk with my feet bleeding with blood blisters from the burning pavement. But I refuse to walk any faster than I normally would. I walk a mile or two with intense pain on my feet. Who cares if my feet bleed? Who cares if I hurt for a few days? And the truth is, I don’t feel a thing the entire walk. The whole time I’m walking, I’m either praying, worshiping to music, texting a friend about God, or just thinking about my life. Jesus went through more pain than anyone could imagine. The least I can do is go for a painful walk every night. It won’t kill me. So I don’t see why I shouldn’t do it. I Know it probably doesn’t make sense but its pretty much my way of saying Jesus, thank you so much. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Thank you for taking all the sins of the world away. Just thank you. I love you Jesus.

John 11:35

“Jesus wept” John 11:35 AKA the shortest verse in the Bible. Tonight just think about this verse. That’s it. Just think. It is one of the hardest verses to understand the meaning, but once you do, it is one of the most powerful verses in the Bible. Goodnight.