Tag Archives: Dead Sea Scrolls

Weekly Favorite Links (June 5-10, 2015)

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Some friends and I recently went to The California Science Center to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. I mentioned in this post a couple months ago that I was excited to see it (and sadly, no, I did not watch Jerusalem 3D narrated by my favorite Cumberbatch). While I looked forward to behold the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, I also wondered what else would be on exhibit.

I think one of the most memorable artifacts that stood out to me, perhaps more than the manuscripts themselves, were the household fertility gods that I saw. They were small figurines, probably made out of clay and were no bigger than the size of my hand. These little man-made idols made a lasting impression because it’s relevant to what I’ve been reading in the Bible. For the past month, I’ve been studying the book of Hosea with some friends. We’ve been reading about how Israel has been unfaithful to God, and how they turned to other idols for help. Their hearts did not love God, and they engaged in practices that were in outright rebellion against him.

My favorite verse so far comes from Hosea 6:6: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” I believe that this is the central theme of the entire book. God desires his people to worship and love him only. Even when God charges Israel and Judah with a list of grievances, prophesies judgment against them, you still read about how God wants to redeem them from their adulterous ways. It was easy for me to laugh at how ridiculous those small clay idols were at the exhibit. How could the Israelites place their hope in fertility gods and follow other deities worshiped by neighboring nations when they’ve seen of the marvelous handiwork of God himself? How could they forget about how God rescued them from Egypt and how he brought the seemingly impossible walls of Jericho to come tumbling down? It seemed absolutely ludicrous.

But then I look at my own life. I may not have physical idols scattered in my home, but I have idols hidden in my heart that I worship apart from God. I worship things that are just as ridiculous and silly as those fertility gods that I saw. The only difference is that the idols we may worship today may be more ambiguous and subtle. We may not bow down and pray to those things, but those idols emerge in our conversations and are evident from how we spend our money to how we utilize our time.

I’m thankful that I left the exhibition with more than a glimpse of historical artifacts. While the Dead Sea Scrolls were cool and I’d go see them again, I went away humbled at the daily grace that I’ve been given and a reminder of just how undeserved I am of God’s patience and love when I’m constantly so disobedient. Amazing grace, indeed.

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Weekly Favorite Links (March 19-25, 2015)

I miss fall.

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I recently took an assessment test for work. Ever since I discovered the Myers-Briggs test several years ago, I’ve been intrigued with taking personality assessments and learning more about myself. It’s interesting that there’s still so much to unravel about my personality as I get older, including all my strengths and weaknesses. It surprises me that there are parts about myself that remain a mystery, and will only be revealed over time. After all, we’re constantly maturing and changing, too.

Before taking the test, there were certain traits that I sort of knew I had, but it wasn’t until after the report came out that there was greater awareness and clarity in terms of pinpointing exactly what some of those traits were. One of the newfound realizations from that assessment, though, was that I’m very adaptable in social situations and am always eager to assist others. This could be an asset and a weakness. It’s a strength in situations where it involves caring and serving people, and making sure that all their needs are taken care of. I have a pretty assertive and proactive nature; I’m unafraid of taking initiatives in any environment. On the flip side, it can be a potential weakness when it comes to conflicts and confrontations, depending on the circumstances.

I tend to anticipate possible issues and will want to do my best to deter them. In situations where conflicts do arise, my first instinct tells me to run and avoid all possible conflicts, even if I know in my head that it’d be better for me to take care of things as soon as possible. Or I’ll withhold speaking my mind and sharing my personal thoughts in order to avoid conflicts, thereby preventing any sort of negative impact on others. I guess another way of looking at it, perhaps from a more scriptural standpoint, is that I fear man and want to please man. I am afraid of ruffling feathers, afraid of failing to meet the expectations of people — even random strangers. My pride gets the best of me and I seek to preserve my image. I will adapt to cater to people because I want them to affirm and praise me, and I get anxious when it’s a challenge to do so.

Taking this assessment was a blessing because it helped me recognize areas that I needed further growth in. Thankfully, the realizations also came at the perfect time, since I was being thrust into situations where I just. couldn’t. please. everyone. But through this learning experience, I’ve come to appreciate the help of wiser, older family and friends on how to confront and deal with conflicts, even if it’s hard. Now that it’s all passed, I can look back and praise God for how blessed I am for having gone through that entire difficult, complicated ordeal. God is so good. Why do I ever doubt that truth in the first place?

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