Wrestling with the angel

Jacob wrestled with the angel all night long. (Genesis 32:22-31) They were alone on an island together. The text doesn’t state whether Jacob even called out for help while he was wrestling. He didn’t get a chance to sleep that night because all night long he and the angel were wrestling. Towards the end of the night the angel touched him on his hip to make the fight stop. While this may seem like an unfair thing for the angel to do, I wonder why he touched him on the hip, and not somewhere else?

If the angel had touched him on the arm, the fight would’ve been over just as soon as touching him on his hip. You can’t pin someone to the ground with only one arm, or at least not very easily. It’s impossible or very difficult to throw them to the ground and hold them there. So he could have touched him on his shoulder and it would have been over just the same. Therefore it is very relevant that he touched him on his hip.

I propose that he touched him on the hip because Jacob was getting his strength from his roots. Jacob was relying on his ancestors and their faith (not his own, yet) in order to give him strength for this battle. The angel needed him to not rely on his own strength or on the faith of his forefathers. The angel needed him to trust in something so much bigger than him, something that he didn’t even know about yet. The angel needed him to trust in what AA would say is his “higher power”. And the Higher Power that the angel wanted him to rely on was God. He had to break his connection with his roots – his strength that he was getting from the past and from the present. He needed to make him learn how to rely on something bigger than himself, that very something that his ancestor Abraham relied on.

Jacob was very strong in many ways, but he hadn’t yet come to understand how much stronger he could be if he connected his power with God’s power.

Resurrection morning

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Joanna, and Salome went to the tomb while it was still dark on the first day of the week, after the Sabbath had ended. They brought the spices and perfumes they had prepared to anoint the body. They were wondering among themselves how they would roll back the stone that was covering the entrance to the tomb.

An angel of the Lord suddenly descended from heaven, causing the earth to shake. He rolled back the stone door and then sat upon it. He shone with a brilliant light and his robe was snow-white. The guards were paralyzed with fear when they saw him. The women bowed down to the ground, amazed and terrified.

The angel said to the women “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Why are looking among the dead for the living? He is not here – he has been resurrected! Remember how he told you when he was in Galilee that the Son of Man would be betrayed into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and will rise on the third day?” Then they remembered that Jesus had said this.

The angel continued, “Come and see where they put him. Go quickly and tell his disciples that ‘He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead to Galilee – you will see him there, just as he said.’ Make sure you tell them this.”

The women, trembling with amazement and alarm, ran from the tomb to tell the other disciples the news.

MT 28:1-8, MK 16:1-8, LK 24:1-8, (JN 20:1)

The escape and return of the Holy Family

The flight into Egypt.

The Magi left, and an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel said “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the baby and his mother and stay there until I tell you it is safe to return. Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.”

That very night he got up, and taking Mary and the child, escaped to Egypt. They stayed there until King Herod died. This fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea who said: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

MT 2:13-15

The massacre of the innocents

Herod flew into a rage when he realized that the Magi had outwitted him. He gave orders that all male children who were two years or less who lived in and around Bethlehem were to be massacred. This was because the Magi had told him that the star first appeared two years earlier.

This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah who said “Cries of tears and mourning were heard in Ramah, Rachel weeping for her children, and she was unable to be consoled because they are dead.”

MT 2:16-18

The return to Nazareth.

Herod died, and an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph while he was in Egypt, saying “Get up! Take the child and his mother and return to Israel, because those who wanted to kill the child are dead.”

Joseph immediately traveled to Israel with Jesus and Mary. While on the way he learned that Herod’s son, Archelaus, was king over Judea, so he was afraid to travel there. He was warned in a dream as well, so he went to Galilee instead and settled in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled the words of the prophets who said “He will be called a Nazarene.”

MT 2:19-23

Jesus grew up in Nazareth, becoming strong, wise, and filled with God’s grace.

LK 2:40

In his father’s house.

The family travel to Jerusalem for the Passover festival every year. When he was 12 years old, Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem while his family traveled back home to Nazareth. His parents didn’t notice his absence the first day because they thought he was walking with friends among all the other travelers. Then they began to look for him among their friends and relatives. Not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to continue their search. They finally found him after three days. He was sitting among the teachers in the Temple complex, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him talk was amazed at the depth of his understanding and answers. His parents were astonished when they saw him.

Mary said “Son! Why have you treated us this way? Your father and I have been worried sick looking for you.” Jesus replied “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know that I would be in my Father’s house?” But they didn’t understand what he was saying.

Then he returned to Nazareth and obeyed them, and Mary stored up this story in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and height, as well as in favor with God and people.

LK 2:41-52

Poem – can’t look at God

Look at all the people in the Bible who say
they can’t look at God
– to look at God,
they will surely die.

An angel appears and they
throw themselves
down to the ground,
protesting.

Where did they learn this behavior?
The angel never says
“Grovel, because God’s messenger is present”,
in fact,
the angel says the opposite.
The angel says “Stand up.”

Gideon, Joshua, Jacob,
to name a few.
Moses protested a lot.

They all said that they felt
unworthy
to look at the angel,
to be that close to God.

But consider this:
– the mere fact that God
chose to appear to you
is proof
that you
are good enough.

And consider this:
Mary
didn’t throw herself down.
Mary
didn’t grovel or whimper.

And perhaps
that is the difference.
Perhaps the Messiah
will come to all of us
when we realize
that we are worthy,
as we are.

Poem – I stand in the presence of God

When the angel Gabriel told Zachariah
“I am Gabriel,
who stands
in the presence
of God”
(Luke 1:19)
what he meant was
that while
he was talking to Zachariah
he was
at the same time
in the presence
of God.

Angels do not experience
our reality
in the same way
that we do.

Angels are multi dimensional.
Angels are quantum.
They are not in the same phase
of the space-time continuum
as we are.

When Gabriel is reporting
what God is saying,
he is hearing
it at the same time
God is saying it
and then
reporting it
to the person.

He is there with God
and here
with us
at the same time.
There isn’t far away.
There is right here
– we just cannot see God
because our senses
cannot usually
perceive something
that overwhelming.

God blows our fuses.

God is like trying
to play a CD
on a record player.

The angel is able
to take shape
in our dimension
and relate to us
the words of God
in a way
that we can hear
and understand.

However,
even though we need angels
to hear God,
(sometimes),
God can always hear us,
and always does.

The angel Gabriel predicts Jesus’ birth

Six months after John was conceived, God sent the angel Gabriel to a village in Galilee called Nazareth, to visit a woman named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph, a descendant of King David.

The angel said “Rejoice! The Lord is with you! You are blessed and favored among women!”

Mary was perplexed by his words and wondered what he meant by this greeting. The angel continued saying “Have no fear Mary, for God has chosen you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and called the Son of God, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor King David. He will reign over the house of Israel forever and his kingdom will have no end!”

Mary asked the angel, “How is this possible since I have never been with a man?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be overshadowed by the power of the Most High. Therefore this child will be completely holy and God will be his father. Consider this, your relative Elizabeth who was barren and elderly has conceived and is six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible with God!”
“I am a servant of the Lord,” said Mary. “May everything happen to me that you have said.” Then the angel left.

LK 1:26-38

Gabriel predicts John’s birth

There once was a man named Zachariah who was a priest in the Abijah division when Herod was the king of Judea. He was married to a woman named Elizabeth, who, like him, was descended from the priestly line of Aaron. Both were honorable people and followed all the commandments of the Lord. They were childless because Elizabeth was barren and both of them were elderly.

Zachariah was chosen by lot to enter the inner sanctuary to burn incense when his division was on duty in the Temple. The entire assembly stood outside praying while he performed this task. An angel suddenly appeared, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Seeing the angel, Zachariah was startled and a feeling of terror fell upon him.

Then the angel said to him, “Have no fear Zachariah, your prayer has been heard! Your wife Elizabeth will give birth to a son, and you will name him John. Both of you will be filled with joy and gladness, and many people will rejoice with you at his birth. He will be a champion of the Lord. He must never drink alcohol, because he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will convince many Israelites to turn to the Lord their God. He will serve God with the same kind of spirit and power of Elijah, and will transform the hearts of parents to be like their children, and the hearts of the disobedient back to the wisdom of the faithful, to prepare all the people for the coming of the Lord.

Zachariah challenged the angel saying “How can I know that this is going to happen? Both I and my wife are very old.”

Then the angel replied “I am Gabriel, who stands in the very presence of God. I was sent to tell you this good news. But because you didn’t believe my words, which will come true in due course, you will lose your ability to speak until the child is born.”

Meanwhile, the congregation outside was wondering why Zachariah was taking so long in the sanctuary. When he finally appeared before them they deduced from his gestures (since he wasn’t able to speak) that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He continued to work at the Temple until his assignment was over, and then he returned home.

Shortly after that, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and she went into seclusion for five months. She said “Blessed is the Lord for taking away my public disgrace!”

LK 1:5-25

Wrestling, not rest

Consider Jacob. He has just escaped from a very unpleasant situation with his brother. Before that, he’d narrowly escaped from his cheating in-law, Laban. He was not in a good place in his life. Everything seemed against him.

He and his brother Esau had not left on good terms. In fact Esau had threatened to kill him. Jacob had gotten away from him and years had passed by, but the feelings hadn’t softened much. Jacob was aware that Esau was coming and so he sent ahead a lot of gifts to him to butter him up. When they actually did meet face-to-face he was very concerned about how Esau would meet him and talk with him.

That makes perfect sense because Jacob himself wasn’t very trustworthy. He had stolen his birthright and his blessing from Esau. Yet notice that it was after their emotionally charged meeting that Jacob spent some time alone. While he was on the riverbank without any family or friends he had the famous encounter with the angel. Maybe he had intended on having some time to himself to recover from that potentially horrible encounter with his brother. Maybe he had hoped to rest a bit. But instead he spent the whole night awake wrestling with the angel. At the end, the angel blessed him and gave him a new name and made him equal to Abraham in importance to the Jews. If Abraham is the father of all the Jews, then Jacob (renamed Israel) gave them their family name.

Sometimes the biggest and most important events in our life don’t happen when we want them to happen. They certainly don’t happen the way that we expect them or even want them to happen.

Here is the text, starting with some of the difficulty Jacob had with Laban.

Genesis 31 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

31 Now Jacob heard what Laban’s sons were saying: “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s and has built this wealth from what belonged to our father.” 2 And Jacob saw from Laban’s face that his attitude toward him was not the same.
3 Then the LORD said to him, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”
4 Jacob had Rachel and Leah called to the field where his flocks were. 5 He said to them, “I can see from your father’s face that his attitude toward me is not the same, but the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I’ve worked hard[a] for your father 7 and that he has cheated me and changed my wages 10 times. But God has not let him harm me. 8 If he said, ‘The spotted sheep will be your wages,’ then all the sheep were born spotted. If he said, ‘The streaked sheep will be your wages,’ then all the sheep were born streaked. 9 God has taken away your father’s herds and given them to me.
10 “When the flocks were breeding, I saw in a dream that the streaked, spotted, and speckled males were mating with the females. 11 In that dream the Angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And He said, ‘Look up and see: all the males that are mating with the flocks are streaked, spotted, and speckled, for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 I am the God of Bethel, where you poured oil on the stone marker and made a solemn vow to Me. Get up, leave this land, and return to your native land.’”
14 Then Rachel and Leah answered him, “Do we have any portion or inheritance in our father’s household? 15 Are we not regarded by him as outsiders? For he has sold us and has certainly spent our money. 16 In fact, all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So do whatever God has said to you.”
17 Then Jacob got up and put his children and wives on the camels. 18 He took all the livestock and possessions he had acquired in Paddan-aram, and he drove his herds to go to the land of his father Isaac in Canaan. 19 When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household idols. 20 And Jacob deceived[b] Laban the Aramean, not telling him that he was fleeing. 21 He fled with all his possessions, crossed the Euphrates, and headed for[c] the hill country of Gilead.
Laban Overtakes Jacob
22 On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled. 23 So he took his relatives with him, pursued Jacob for seven days, and overtook him at Mount Gilead. 24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night. “Watch yourself!” God warned him. “Don’t say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.”
25 When Laban overtook Jacob, Jacob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban and his brothers also pitched their tents in the hill country of Gilead. 26 Then Laban said to Jacob, “What have you done? You have deceived me and taken my daughters away like prisoners of war! 27 Why did you secretly flee from me, deceive me, and not tell me? I would have sent you away with joy and singing, with tambourines and lyres, 28 but you didn’t even let me kiss my grandchildren and my daughters. You have acted foolishly. 29 I could do you great harm, but last night the God of your father said to me: ‘Watch yourself. Don’t say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.’ 30 Now you have gone off because you long for your father—but why have you stolen my gods?”
31 Jacob answered, “I was afraid, for I thought you would take your daughters from me by force. 32 If you find your gods with anyone here, he will not live! Before our relatives, point out anything that is yours and take it.” Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the idols.
33 So Laban went into Jacob’s tent, then Leah’s tent, and then the tents of the two female slaves, but he found nothing. Then he left Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 34 Now Rachel had taken Laban’s household idols, put them in the saddlebag of the camel, and sat on them. Laban searched the whole tent but found nothing.
35 She said to her father, “Sir, don’t be angry that I cannot stand up in your presence; I am having my period.” So Laban searched, but could not find the household idols.
Jacob’s Covenant with Laban
36 Then Jacob became incensed and brought charges against Laban. “What is my crime?” he said to Laban. “What is my sin, that you have pursued me? 37 You’ve searched all my possessions! Have you found anything of yours? Put it here before my relatives and yours, and let them decide between the two of us. 38 I’ve been with you these 20 years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, and I have not eaten the rams from your flock. 39 I did not bring you any of the flock torn by wild beasts; I myself bore the loss. You demanded payment from me for what was stolen by day or by night. 40 There I was—the heat consumed me by day and the frost by night, and sleep fled from my eyes. 41 For 20 years I have worked in your household—14 years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks—and you have changed my wages 10 times! 42 If the God of my father, the God of Abraham, the Fear of Isaac, had not been with me, certainly now you would have sent me off empty-handed. But God has seen my affliction and my hard work,[d] and He issued His verdict last night.”
43 Then Laban answered Jacob, “The daughters are my daughters; the sons, my sons; and the flocks, my flocks! Everything you see is mine! But what can I do today for these daughters of mine or for the children they have borne? 44 Come now, let’s make a covenant, you and I. Let it be a witness between the two of us.”
45 So Jacob picked out a stone and set it up as a marker. 46 Then Jacob said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” And they took stones and made a mound, then ate there by the mound. 47 Laban named the mound Jegar-sahadutha, but Jacob named it Galeed.
48 Then Laban said, “This mound is a witness between you and me today.” Therefore the place was called Galeed 49 and also Mizpah, for he said, “May the LORD watch between you and me when we are out of each other’s sight. 50 If you mistreat my daughters or take other wives, though no one is with us, understand that God will be a witness between you and me.” 51 Laban also said to Jacob, “Look at this mound and the marker I have set up between you and me. 52 This mound is a witness and the marker is a witness that I will not pass beyond this mound to you, and you will not pass beyond this mound and this marker to do me harm. 53 The God of Abraham, and the gods of Nahor—the gods of their father —will judge between us.” And Jacob swore by the Fear of his father Isaac. 54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat a meal. So they ate a meal and spent the night on the mountain. 55 Laban got up early in the morning, kissed his grandchildren and daughters, and blessed them. Then Laban left to return home.

Gen 32

Preparing to Meet Esau
32 Jacob went on his way, and God’s angels met him. 2 When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God’s camp.” So he called that place Mahanaim.
3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He commanded them, “You are to say to my lord Esau, ‘This is what your servant Jacob says. I have been staying with Laban and have been delayed until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male and female slaves. I have sent this message to inform my lord, in order to seek your favor.’”
6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau; he is coming to meet you—and he has 400 men with him.” 7 Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; he divided the people with him into two camps, along with the flocks, cattle, and camels. 8 He thought, “If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining one can escape.”
9 Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD who said to me, ‘Go back to your land and to your family, and I will cause you to prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness You have shown Your servant. Indeed, I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two camps. 11 Please rescue me from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid of him; otherwise, he may come and attack me, the mothers, and their children. 12 You have said, ‘I will cause you to prosper, and I will make your offspring like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”
13 He spent the night there and took part of what he had brought with him as a gift for his brother Esau: 14 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 15 30 milk camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. 16 He entrusted them to his slaves as separate herds and said to them, “Go on ahead of me, and leave some distance between the herds.”
17 And he told the first one: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to? Where are you going? And whose animals are these ahead of you?’ 18 then tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau. And look, he is behind us.’”
19 He also told the second one, the third, and everyone who was walking behind the animals, “Say the same thing to Esau when you find him.20 You are also to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” For he thought, “I want to appease Esau with the gift that is going ahead of me. After that, I can face him, and perhaps he will forgive me.”
21 So the gift was sent on ahead of him while he remained in the camp that night. 22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female slaves, and his 11 sons, and crossed the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, along with all his possessions.
Jacob Wrestles with God
24 Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that He could not defeat him, He struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. 26 Then He said to Jacob, “Let Me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me.”
27 “What is your name?” the man asked.
“Jacob,” he replied.
28 “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”
29 Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.”
But He answered, “Why do you ask My name?” And He blessed him there.
30 Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “and I have been delivered.” 31 The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel—limping because of his hip. 32 That is why, to this day, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because He struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.

Re-verse

I have to re-verse my book. I’m not making it go backwards. I have to take out all the Bible versions in the translation I have, and change them to another translation. This is the third time I’ve had to do this. Not every chapter in my book has Bible verses, but enough do that this is a real task.

I started off using the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation. I find it very easy to read and understand. The words don’t get in the way. I started using it because I’d gotten a free version of the Bible in that translation at the time I had committed to reading the Bible the whole way through. When I was writing my blog, it was easy to copy from this translation online because it was the same as what I was reading. The website “Bible Gateway” made doing this very simple.

Then I started thinking about publishing my blog as a book. I also started thinking about copyright and permissions. The Bible is old enough that it is in public domain – but not all translations are. The HCSB is new enough that I’d need permission to use its translation if I’m going to make money off of it. I’d probably also have to give them some royalties too.

I wanted to avoid all of that mess, so I did a little more research and found a website that said if the translation is older than 25 years, then you can use it with no problem. One option is the Revised Standard Version. It is fairly readable, even though there are a few examples of “thy” and “saveth” going on. I had to entirely re-write one post to make it fit this translation.

That was the least of my troubles, though. My book as it was assembled was 76K words. That is 76K words I had to wade through, find all the Bible verses and switch them out from HCSB to RSV. That took a long time. That was really boring. I wanted to quit the whole idea of publishing and move on to something else. There were more posts to write. I couldn’t be bogged down in re-versing this whole book. I doubt I’m even going to make money off this thing. Why am I spending so much time on it?

I had to really fight with myself over this. I decided that even doing a little a day was better than doing nothing. It wasn’t going to do itself. Every day I’d work on re-versing one post. Some days I could fix two or three. Meanwhile, I was still writing a new post every day. This is in addition to running a household and working a full-time job.

Finally I was done. I started looking around for help in formatting. I have a friend who has self-published books and I thought I could hire her. She told me that she’s gone out of the book business, so she gave me the name and contact information of someone she worked with. I dislike contacting new people, but I finally worked up the courage. Turns out she too was unavailable, so she gave me the number and contact information for yet another person. By this point I wanted to do it all on my own or give up, again. But I pushed on.

His price was too high. I couldn’t get how I should be expected to give a stranger $500 to make my book look pretty on the inside. I had done all the work putting it together – he was just going to polish it. He didn’t even have to edit it. He wasn’t going to touch the words – just tweak the margins and put page numbers and headers in. I shopped around for other people who provide this service and found similar amounts. I even edited out 10K words of it to reduce the cost. I figured I could publish those chapters later in a second book, depending on how well this one does.

Remember that I still don’t think I’m going to make money on this. I still don’t have any spare time to do all of this. I’m shoehorning all of this into everything else I have to do to pay the bills.

Then I hit another snag. I found out that the RSV translation is fine to quote from only under specific circumstances. I was looking up the exact wording on how to cite my use of it, and the citation said “Used by permission”. It turns out that permission is automatically granted up to 500 verses. After that, you have to contact the copyright holder and get written permission. That is The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. I looked up their contact information and emailed them. I still have not heard a response, and it has been a week.

I am not going to take the time to count how many verses I have used, but I’m certain it is over 500. Time is slipping by. I’d like to publish this by Christmas.

Sure, in a way, it is already published. It still exists on my Betsy Beadhead blog. I created a second blog called “The Empty Cross Community” in order to put it together in a logical order. The words are out there. People are reading it and commenting on it. Two posts have been published in the Huffington Post. But it isn’t the same. It isn’t a real, physical book. I want that. Maybe some of that comes from having grown up in libraries. Maybe some of that comes from having an English degree. Books are special. Sure, the words are special – but there is something about having an actual printed book with real pages to turn that is satisfying and substantial.

Even the title was up in the air. I’d thought about using “The Empty Cross Community” for it, but found that there is a sculpture of a cross called “The Empty Cross”. There is a “trademark” symbol after that name. I wrote the group that is connected to the sculpture to ask for permission to use the name and didn’t hear back. This was yet another thing that blocked my forward progress. I’ve since contacted them again and found that they have the trademark on their design for the cross, but not the name. They can’t trademark the name (they tried) because it is not unique. I’m free to use it for my book title if I want, but by now I’ve committed to using another name. It is “Leaving Church, Finding Jesus”.

Meanwhile, I’ve started re-versing this book once again. I’ve saved it as a separate file, just in case the copyright holder gets back to me. Once again I’m grateful for the Bible Gateway website for making this a not-so-painful process of copying and pasting. There are a lot more examples of “thy” and “-th” at the end of verbs in the American Standard Version. There is nothing I can do about it. I’m using this version because it was put out in 1901 and is most certainly in the public domain. Anybody can use it for anything, with no restrictions on the amount of verses used.

Sometimes I feel like I’m in the story of Balaam with his donkey. Is there something in the way that is preventing me from moving forward that I can’t see? In that case an angel stood in his way and only the donkey could see it. He beat the donkey but it refused to budge, keeping him alive. Or is this entire ordeal like the struggle of Jacob wrestling with the angel all night long? He got blessed in the morning because he didn’t give up.

Maybe it is a little of both.