Articles worth reading

October 20, 2012

I hadn’t visited First Thoughts recently, between Internet problems, being busy with work and church, and not feeling well lately. But I stopped by this morning and found links to two excellent articles.

Putting Health in Perspective” addresses the issue of healthcare from the perspective of what priority we put on health compared to other aspects of life. All the debates about healthcare (so prominent in the current political climate), Yuval Levin points out, focus on how to make the system more efficient, but share the assumption that health is an overriding priority.

Our society – not just in the U.S. but modern Western society in general – values freedom from pain very highly. I remember, when I was young, reading about people who did not take aspirin for a headache unless it was very severe, and being astonished that anyone would put up with pain if there were an easy way to avoid it.

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A different kind of testing

October 28, 2008

I don’t read from the book of Proverbs often, but occasionally I will read whatever chapter corresponds to the day of the month (there being 31 chapters in the book). So last night I read Proverbs 27. One verse in particular surprised me. And it surprised me that I would find a verse that surprised me, since I’ve certainly read through Proverbs more than once and I’m not accustomed to finding verses I don’t remember seeing before.

Of course, when I was younger I read only in the King James Version, which was the only version used in some churches I attended, and the recommended version at others. Looking at it now in the KJV, I can see why it hadn’t registered with me previously – I can’t honestly figure out what it means with the phrasing used there.

All the versions pretty much say the same thing in the first half of the verse – The refining pot (or crucible) is for silver, and the furnace for gold … and my mind jumps ahead and I expect it to say something along the lines of “so trials refine the character of a man.” It’s a familiar enough idea in Scripture. Isaiah 48:10 says “I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 1:25, Jeremiah 9:7, Zechariah 13:9, and Malachi 3:2-3 use a similar image.

But that’s not the testing Proverbs 27:21 talks about. In the NIV, the verse concludes “but man is tested by the praise he receives.” Hmm, that sounds like a much more pleasant test than affliction. I like praise, God can test me that way all He wants! But of course, this kind of test might show that I failed, instead of being purified by it…

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