4 For thus saith Yahweh unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:

It is very simple, very elementary: but everything in life at last boils down to this, and this alone: 

"Seek God: and live." *

8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: Yahweh is his name:

Surely this alone is wisdom! We marvel of the glories and beauties of Creation - on the earth and in the vast heavens. We are invited to the intimate companionship of Him Who made them all. Why, then, is it that our poor crawling animal natures cling so blindly to grubby earthy things? *

18 Woe unto you that desire the day of Yahweh! to what end is it for you? the day of Yahweh is darkness, and not light.

They were so convinced of their acceptability that they desired the Day of the Lord: wicked, selfish, luxurious Israel! Is it possible to be so utterly self-deceived? That is the whole point. It is not just possible: it is very easy, very natural. We have the same picture at Laodicea-

"I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17).

But the all-discerning Spirit's verdict was: 

"Poor, blind, miserable, naked."

The flesh, the natural mind, is no guide. It is only by rigidly testing ourselves by the commands of God in their full strength and import that we can see ourselves truly. Isaiah says of this same people-

"They seek Me daily . . They take delight in approaching to God. Is this what I have chosen: to bow the head as a bulrush and spread sackcloth under him? . . . Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor into thine houses, and clothe the naked?" (Isa. 58:2-7).

And Christ says the same, in condemning the religious hypocrites of his day. The message has not changed; nor has the flesh.

"I despise your feast days . . . I will not accept your offerings . . . Take away the noise of your songs" (5:21-23).

They were truly a very religious nation. God's Name was ever on their lips. But what good is religion without personal purity and holiness, or piety without full-hearted love and service of neighbour? *

Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live

26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your Elohim, which ye made to yourselves.

The Star of your Elohim

Astronomy is a strangely fascinating science, with two widely different and seemingly contradictory aspects, equally apt to develop habits of hard-thinking and of dreamy speculation. For, if on the one hand the study of mathematics, without which astronomy cannot subsist, disciplines the mind and trains it to exact and complicated operations, an the other hand, star-gazing, in the solitude and silence of a southern night, irresistibly draws it into a higher world, where poetical aspirations, guesses, and dreams take the place of figures with their demonstrations and proofs.

It is probably to these habitual contemplations that the later Chaldeans owed the higher tone of religious thought which distinguished them from their Turainan predecessors. They looked for the Deity in heaven not on earth. They did not cower and tremble before a host of wicked hobgoblins, the creation of a terrified fancy. The spirits which they worshipped, inhabited and ruled those beautiful bright worlds, whose harmonious concerted movements they watched admiringly, reverently, and could calculate correctly, but without understanding them.

The stars generally became to them the visible manifestations and agents of divine power, especially the seven most conspicuous heavenly bodies: the moon, whom they particularly honoured, as the ruler of night and the measurer of time; the sun and the five planets then known, those which we call Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury.

It is but just to the Shumiro-Accads to say that the perception of the divine in the beauty of the stars was not foreign to them. This is amply proved by the fact that in their oldest writings the sign of a star is used to express the idea, not of any particular god or goddess, but of the divine principle, the Deity generally.

The name of every divinity is preceded by a star, meaning "the god so-and-so." When used in this manner, the sign was read in the old language, "Dingir," "god, deity." The semitic language of Babylonia which we call Assyrian, while adapting the ancient writing to its own needs, retained their use of the sign "star," and read it ilu "god." This word, Ilu or El we find in all Semitic languages (either ancient or modern) in the names they give to God, in the Arabic Allah, as well as in the Hebrew Elohim."—(Rogozim).—E.G.

The Christadelphian, Jan 1889