Month: May 2012

Monetizing, verbizing and honestizing

Monetizing–don’t you love taking a noun and making it into a verb?  I call it “verbizing.”  In a few years you’ll find “verbize” in Websters and you can say you heard it here first.

I had never heard of “monetizing” until a few months ago.  When monetizing refers to a blog that usually means advertizing.  So, monetizing means creating revenue (which I call “monet“).

No, I’m not planning on adding ads to my site any time soon.  (Why not?  I don’t know how.)  Apparently smart phone users sometimes see ads when visiting my site.  These ads come from WordPress and no revenue for them comes to me.  I’m sorry about that.  (Sorry that none comes to me, not sorry that you have to put up with them).

You may not have noticed but back in February I attempted to start monetizing.  This is how it works.  I’m now a member of Amazon Associates and if you click on a link from my website (or even an image of a book cover) and go to Amazon and purchase something (purchasing is key here, not just clicking), I get a tiny little “monet“.

For the first couple months of monetizing, absolutely zero monet accrued to my account.  But eventually, something magical happened.  A few weeks ago, one of you mysterious blog readers clicked on one of the book links and then made a purchase.   After the 3 items were shipped, I finally had a monet credit ($1.06–I don’t want to calculate the hourly wage, I’ll get depressed).  To whomever you are, purchaser #1, I thank you.

Why am I telling you this?  Just to be honest with you my readers (I call it honestizing– I know it’s an adjective not a noun, but why should nouns get all the fun?).  If you don’t like the idea of supporting my website, then don’t ever click and purchase from one of my links to Amazon.  On the other hand, if you do like the idea of supporting the site, feel free to click and purchase (you can click here on God Behaving Badly or on the cover image).  I always say, honestizing is the best policy.

Do you know any other good examples of verbizing? 

Pulling on the leash (Psalm 119:32)

I run the way of your commandments,
for you enlarge my understanding
(Psalm 119:32 NRSV).

Yesterday, I took our dog Tiglath-pileser IV (named after the Neo-Assyrian ruler, TP III: see 2 Kings 15:29) along with me for a run.  We were going to leave Tig behind for the day to go white-water rafting down the Lehigh River gorge.  (It was thrilling to almost be ejected from the raft numerous times into the churning waters of level III rapids in the midst of lightning, thunder and torrential rain).

I was feeling guilty because we were going to ditch Tig, so the run together was sort of a consolation prize.  Tig loves to run.

I love to run too, just not with Tig.  While I like these activities as much as most other bipeds, I’m not quite as interested in sniffing and chasing as Tig is.  Yesterday, we saw robins, bluejays, squirrels (of course) and for a bonus, a bunny, each of which warranted the required leash tug.  “Tig, No!  Come!  Stay with me.”  Tig loves to run, but it’s hard for him to run the way of my commandments.

I wonder if that’s how God feels with us as we pull on the leash. 

While many of us are often distracted by “chasing” and “sniffing”–things that take us away from the path God has for us–the psalmist runs the way of YHWH’s commandments.  The psalmist does not just tolerate God’s laws, he runs after them like Tig runs after a bunny (no that’s not Tig in the picture, for an image of Tig click here).  Running suggests a joy and reckless abandonment in pursuit of divine direction.

Why?  God enlarges his “understanding” (NRSV above) or “heart” (ESV below).  Either translation works well.  Both communicate there’s a large blessing associated with the reckless pursuit of God and God’s word.

God help us run after your directions as enthusiastically as a dog chases a bunny.

Psalm 119:32 is the eighth and final verse in the Dalet section of Psalm 119.  After a week break, I’ll start the He (pronounced “Hey”) section of Psalm 119 (verses 33-40).  Here are links to the first post on each of the previous 3 sections:

1) Aleph (“How blameless are you?” Psalm 119:1)
2) Bet (“Got purity?” Psalm 119:9)
3) Gimel (“Let’s make a deal” Psalm 119:17)

Image from

IVP’s Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets

IVP’s final Dictionary of the Old Testament has just come out (May 17, 2012).

If you’re interested you can buy it here: Dictionary of the Old Testament: Prophets (The Ivp Bible Dictionary Series).

These volumes are great resources for any biblical library.  While most Bible dictionaries include thousands of shorter articles, this series includes longer, more in-depth articles that give the curious reader plenty of cultural background, historical context and references for further research.  Since each article has many headings and sub-headings, you don’t need to read the entire article if you’re only interested in a certain aspect of the topic.

Let’s say, you’re teaching on, or just studying the book of Haggai.  You could begin by reading the extended article on Haggai (or on any other one of the Prophetic Books).  It will be far more in-depth than what you’d find in a study Bible.  (Don’t get me going on Study Bibles; see “I hate Study Bibles“).

I use these dictionaries all the time. 

By the way, I contributed two articles for this volume (so I’m biased):

1) “Wrath” (4000 words).  I’m now the Wrath guy–I can’t understand it, but my family thinks it fits.  What does it say on the bottom of your golf club?  Mine say “Wrath.”  Need I say more?  To get the full story, read this blog post (“The Wrath of Dave”).

2) “Word of God”  (5000 words).  The word of God in the Prophets?  Isn’t that pretty much the whole thing?  Yes.  This was a difficult article to write.


Why was God so mean to Saul (1 Samuel 13, 15)? Part 3

David committed murder and adultery and he was allowed to remain as king, but Saul performed a premature sacrifice and he lost the throne.  What’s up with that?  Why was God so mean to Saul?

Here are the earlier two posts where I discuss why God judged Saul so severely.  Part 1.  Part 2.

But perhaps the most troubling aspect of Saul’s narrative involves God’s command to Saul through the prophet Samuel to destroy the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15).

Thus says YHWH of armies, “I will punish the Amalekites for what he did in opposing the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.  No go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spore them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Sam. 15:2-3).

There are two problems associated with this incident.

1) Why does God command Saul to wipe out, including women and children, all of the Amalekites?
2) Why does God condemn Saul for not completing the slaughter? 

I addressed the first problem of God commanding the slaughter in my blog interview with Frank Viola recently, so I’ll just include the link to that here.  Here is the related link to my Relevant Magazine article on the Canaanite genocide (pages 108-111).

But what about the 2nd problem–why does God condemn Saul for not completely destroying the Amalekites?  Shouldn’t God affirm Saul for showing mercy?

There are three points to make here in response to this problem.

First, Saul wasn’t showing mercy to the Amalekites.  He didn’t save the women and children.  He saved the king and the livestock.  He saved the king probably to not set a precedent for regicide (that can come back to haunt a king later on).  He said he saved the cattle to sacrifice them to YHWH, but that doesn’t make any sense because YHWH already told him to sacrifice them.  He was probably saving them to enrich his own flocks and herds.  (Although, Saul does show mercy to the Kenites.)  Saul was showing mercy to Saul.

Second, Saul was condemned for blatant disobedience.  God had told him what he wanted to do and since the execution of this command was performed by the army, the nation was aware of the command.  Saul’s disobedience was public and obvious.  He was modeling disobedience for the nation.  For a nation who struggled to trust God and obey, it was intolerable to have a ruler who could follow God’s commands.

Third, Saul had disobeyed before and hadn’t learned from it.  This was Saul’s second offense (so, two strikes and you’re out).  Even in our legal system, repeat offenders are punished more severely.  It makes sense Saul was punished for his incomplete slaughter.

Remember, God didn’t remove Saul from the throne instantly (but he did send an evil spirit: 1 Sam. 16:14–huh?), but the main punishment for Saul was that his son Jonathan was not able to rule after him.

What do you think about God sending an evil spirit to Saul?  Has God ever done that to you?