March 4th, 2018
Dt. 25:11-12, 17-19
“Loving Concerns – Pt 2”
Aux Text: Prov 2:1-8
Call to Worship: Psalm 111
Service Orientation: Love doesn’t take advantage of someone in their vulnerability. The fear of the Lord not only helps us love, promote justice, obtain knowledge and wisdom; but it also keeps us from eternal punishment.
Bible Memory Verse for the Week: The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death. — Proverbs 14:27
- There seems to be a clear message that stands out in all the various regulations and responsibilities dealt with in Deuteronomy 24 and 25. The message is this: The Israelites were not to be merely holy individuals; they were to be a holy nation. Therefore, Israel’s holiness of heart and mind must be authenticated by her holiness of action. In the celebrated words of John Wesley, “Christianity is essentially a social religion, and to make it into a solitary one is to destroy it. . . The gospel of Christ knows no religion but social religion; no holiness but social holiness.” (The Sermons of John Wesley – Sermon 24, Upon Our Lord’s Sermon On The Mount: Discourse Four) (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 264)
- (v. 11) a man and his brother (NIV – two men). This could mean a man and his blood brother, as in v. 5, but more likely a man and his fellow Israelite. “Brother” is a keyword linking this law to the prior law. (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 712)
- (v. 12) Eslinger thinks the different word for “hand” used for the punishment, lit. “hollow (usually of the hand or foot),” is a euphemism for the woman’s genitals. The term refers to male or female genitals elsewhere in the OT (Gn 32:26, 33[25, 32]; Cant 5:5), but since talionic punishment for damage to the testicles is impossible for a woman, Eslinger suggests a type of female circumcision. Walsh (2004) has a similar interpretation, but less severe. He agrees that it refers to the concave curves of the woman’s pelvic region, but thinks the verb (“cut off”) in the Qal means “shave” rather than “amputate” and that the punishment consists of a public genital humiliation. It would still be talionic, assuming her indiscretion did not result in permanent damage to the man’s testicles. Walsh translates: “You shall shave [the hair of] her groin.” This interpretation is certainly possible, particularly since an amputation of the “palm” leaves something to be desired. But talmudic and medieval Jewish exegetes say the woman’s hand is to be amputated. (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 712-3)
- (v. 12) The reference to the man’s genitals as “his appendage of shame” suggests the issue is the woman’s shamelessness and immodesty. Whereas verses 5-10 had involved a man who had wrongfully withheld his genitals from a woman, this case involves a man whose genitals have been shamelessly grabbed, perhaps with the intent of injury so he cannot have children. The admonition “show her no pity” highlights the seriousness of the crime and the importance of carrying out the punishment against one who threatens the integrity of the branch of the family tree represented by the man whose genitals were attacked. (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 585)
- (v. 12) Apart from the lex talionis or “an eye for an eye” law, this is the only law that calls for any form of physical mutilation, a punishment that was common in neighboring countries. This was probably a rare occurrence, so the severity of the punishment would primarily serve as a deterrent. (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 560)
- (v. 17) The Amalekites sprang from Esau’s son Eliphaz and his concubine Timna (Gn 36:15-16; 1 Chr 1:36). They were a nomadic, marauding, desert tribe living in the Negev south of Beersheba and in upper Sinai including the deserts of Zin and Shur. (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 153)
- (v. 17) The Amalekites in Israel’s history. The Amalekites resurface at several points in Israel’s later history. In the book of Judges they appear with other peoples from the surrounding deserts to oppress and harass Israel. Sometime later, following an initial valiant victory over marauding bands of Amalekites, Samuel informed Saul that Yahweh had not forgotten his earlier declaration of intent to wipe out the Amalekites for what they did to Israel (1 Sm 15:1-3). (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 594)
- (v. 17) Amalek. The OT lists Amalek as one of the grandsons of Esau, a son of Eliphaz by his concubine Timna (Gn 36:12; 1 Chr 1:36). The seminomadic clan of Amalekites is thus associated with Edom (=Esau), also the territory Edom occupied north of Ezion-geber (Mount Seir). (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 715)
- (v. 17) The OT knows nothing but continual warfare between Amalek and Israel, fulfilling the prediction of Ex 17:16. The Amalekites fought Israel in the wilderness (Ex 17:8-15; Jdg 10:12; 1 Sm 15:2; cf. Nm 24:20) and teamed up with the Canaanites to repel Israel on its first attempt to enter the promised land (Nm 14:43-45), a painful remembrance reported at the beginning of Deuteronomy (Dt 1:41-46). (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 715-6)
- (v. 17) We have elsewhere seen how the Amalekites were the first who made a hostile attack upon the people, and endeavored to interrupt their journey; and Moses also related the sentence of God against them, the execution of which he now enjoins upon the people. God then swore that there should be perpetual war against them throughout all ages; and, that His threatening might not be frustrated, He appoints His people to take vengeance upon their great cruelty and impiety. For when the Israelites were inflicting no injury nor loss upon them, it was an act of injustice to make war upon peaceful persons proceeding, without doing any wrong, to another land. But humanity was still more grossly violated by them, inasmuch as they did not spare their own kindred, and thus cast away the feelings of nature. It is plain from Gn 36:12, that the Amalekites were the descendants of Esau; and hence it follows that they were both sprung from the same ancestor, Isaac. (John Calvin, Commentaries, vol. III, 400)
- (v. 17) If Haman the Agagite is to be connected to Agag the Amalekite in the book of Esther, this attests to the persistence of remnants of this people. However, it is unclear whether he was an actual descendant of the Amalekite king Agag, or whether Agagite functions as a pejorative appellative for all who hate the Jews. (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 595)
- (v. 17) Haman is identified as the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and while “Agagite” could refer to some immediate ancestor or some unknown place in the Persian empire, others have proposed that the name refers to Agag, the king of Amalek against whom Saul fought (1 Sm 15:20). (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 240)
- (v. 18) The opening appeal to “remember” Amalek is characteristic of Moses’ rhetorical style. He cites three actions by the Amalekites against Israel that demand response. (1) They opportunistically “cut off” the Israelites along the way when they came out of Egypt. The attack signified unprovoked and malicious intervention in Israel’s pilgrimage to Horeb for their appointment with Yahweh. (2) The Amalekites committed barbaric and cowardly atrocities. Fearing to engage the Isrealites in a frontal attack, they let the Israelites pass by; then, when they were famished and weary, they attacked powerless stragglers at the rear. These probably involved the weak and the sick, who could not keep up with the main camp and proved easy targets for marauders. (3) The Amalekites did not fear God. Although “to fear God” sometimes bears an ethical sense, the expression should not be limited to the ethical sphere. Moses would never speak of the Amalekites fearing Yahweh, but with this comment he suggests the Amalekite attack involved direct interference in the plan of God. (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 592-3)
(v. 19) But whilst the Israelites were to make love the guiding principle of their conduct in their dealings with a neighbor, and even with strangers and foes, this love was not to degenerate into weakness or indifference towards open ungodliness. To impress this truth upon the people, Moses concludes the discourse on the law by reminding them of the crafty enmity manifested towards them by Amalek on their march out of Egypt, and with the command to root out the Amalekites (cf. Ex 17:9-16). (C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the OT Vol 3, 425)
- (v. 19) In Deuteronomy, and also in the Deuteronomic History, Yahweh promises to give his people rest in the land they are about to inherit, a rest that was achieved finally in the time of David and Solomon (1 Kgs 8:56). (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 717)
Much stress is laid upon “remembering” in Deuteronomy–remembering Yahweh, his mighty acts, his gracious leading in the wilderness, Israel’s slavery, Israel’s sin, and the covenant demands laid upon Israel by Yahweh. To be remembered here is the battle of Rephidim, in which Joshua defeated Amalek (Ex 17:8-15). (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 715)
- We are coming to the end of a long list of stipulations that formed a key part of the covenant relationship between Israel and God (12:1-26:19). The last command in this chapter is to completely annihilate the Amalekites after the Israelites have taken possession of the land. (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 563)
- The strong command, “You shall not forget,” is the last of nine such commands in Deuteronomy. (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 264)
The question to be answered is . . . What are we to learn from this text?
Answer: Our actions should be based on love, justice, law and the fear of the Lord: Not by emotions and/or the vulnerability of others. There is only one crime that deserves eternal punishment: Having no fear of God.
The Phrase for the Day is . . . Fear of the Lord
What are we to learn from this text?:
I- Our actions should be based on love, justice, law and the fear of the Lord: Not on emotions and/or the vulnerability of others. (Dt 25:11-12, 17-18; see also: Ex 17:8-16; 21:18-25; Jdg 3:13; 6:3, 33; 10:12; 17:12; Ps 45:6; 89:14; 106:3; 112:5; 140:12; Prv 28:5; Isa 1:17; 9:7; 42:1-4; Amos 1-2)
Because a woman is usually weaker than her husband, and because she would be frightened to see her husband fighting with another man, she might try to help him by instantly immobilizing his opponent. But by defending her husband in that way during a short-lived brawl, she could cause permanent damage to the other man. Just as in the previous law the Lord wanted to preserve a man’s family line even if he died without children (25:5-10), so in this law God wished to protect a man’s ability to have children and maintain his family’s name. In addition, it was a shameful thing for her to touch another man’s genitals, particularly when he was so vulnerable. (Mark E. Braun, The People’s Bible: Dt, 236-7)
God’s concern for helpless and vulnerable people is coupled with a concern to punish those who oppress them. Among Israel’s historical oppressors, none figures more prominently than the Amalekites. (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 294)
They preyed on the weak and vulnerable, demonstrating that they had no fear of God. Although the Amalekites lived in the remote regions east and south of the Dead Sea and were not residents of the promised land itself, God expected Israel to deal severely with them because of their cruelty. (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 294)
The reason for the particular curse upon the Amalekites (which here probably does not refer to Ex 17:8-16 but to other unspecified attacks) ties in with Deuteronomy’s wider concern in these chapters. They were merciless to the weak. They showed total lack of compassion in attacking Israel in their extreme vulnerability immediately after the exodus. Those lagging behind would have been the elderly and the very young, the sick, pregnant women, etc. To attack such defenseless people is a sign of extreme human callousness, which in turn is evidence of no fear of God. It is interesting, here as in Amos 1-2, that noncovenant nations are still assumed to be morally accountable to God for fundamental norms of human behavior. The Amalekites are to be judged, then, not just because they had been anti-Israel, but because they had been anti-human by disregarding basic human obligations instilled by the creator God. (Christopher J. H. Wright, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Dt, 267-8)
These stragglers were easy targets for a marauding band. Lions hunt in similar fashion on the African savannah, isolating zebras and wildebeests that are old, lame, and cannot keep up with the herd, making them easy prey. After destroying Ziklag, the Amalekites left behind a servant who happened to fall sick, and he aided David in defeating them and recovering wives who had been captured (1 Sm 30:13). (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 716)
This violation of common decency can be compared with the inhumanity displayed by nations in Amos 1-2, where innocent people were brutally killed in unimaginable ways and on an unimaginable scale. Yahweh is swift to punish such evil. (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 717)
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell. (C.S Lewis, The Four Loves, 169)
The grasping in question was certainly with violent intent, and her action might render the man in question unable to produce children. Like the unwilling brother of verses 7-10, her behavior threatened Israel’s future generations; therefore, the punishment for this offense was to cut off her hand with no pity. (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 293)
Here, with her husband pinned against a wall or down on the ground, the woman approaches the attacker from behind and grabs hold of his “shameful parts”, i.e., his genitals. The term is a hapax legomenon in the OT, but its meaning is not in doubt. Though her action is understandable, she is punished by having her hand cut off. The punishment is thought by some to be for her impudence, but more likely it is for injuring or possibly injuring the man’s testicles, which could end his reproductive capacity (e. Roth 1950, 120-1). (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 712)
Assuming that the traditional interpretation is correct, it is often pointed out that this is the only OT law specifically calling for punishment by maiming, which is true, but one should not conclude that maiming otherwise was not practiced in Israel. Quite the contrary. If the talion principle was applied (19:21; Ex 21:23-25), a whole range of maimings would have been carried out. It was a general rule in antiquity that the part of the body committing the offense was the one to be punished (Prv 30:17; cf. Mt 5:29-30), which is what happens here. The woman commits her indiscretion with the (palm of her) hand; therefore the palm of her hand gets severed. Jewish law later did away with maiming, and the woman was simply required to give monetary compensation (b. B. Qam. 28a; Rashi; Daube 1947, 108). (Jack R. Lundbom, Deuteronomy, A Commentary, 713)
The first origin of the crime is specified, viz., because they “feared not God,” for this must not be taken in its ordinary meaning, but as expressing that they rebelled against God as it were deliberately. For the promise given to Abraham and Isaac could not be unknown to them; but, since Esau, the founder of their race, had fallen from the right of primogeniture, it came to pass that they attempted to bring God’s covenant to naught out of wicked and sacrilegious jealousy; and this is the reason why He unites them with the reprobate nations unto the same destruction. (John Calvin, Commentaries, vol. III, 400-1)
Quite apart from the ancient event described in verse 18, the Amalekites were a persistent threat to the settled population in Palestine. They were very mobile raiders, who could strike without warning (see 1 Sm 30 for a vivid account of one of their raids). They must have been as terrifying to farmers in border areas as the Vikings were to the coastal residents of much of northern Europe a thousand years or so ago. It may be that Deuteronomy names them as a reminder to the central government of Israel that it had an on-going duty and responsibility to its citizens in every part of the land, for governments have a well-known tendency to neglect “the provinces”. (David F. Payne, The Daily Study Bible Series: Dt, 140-1)
Her intention is explicitly declared: She wants to rescue her husband from the “hand” of the person who is beating him up. The scene seems strange, since women would hesitate to intervene in such circumstances. However, the primary issue here is not the fact that she would defend her husband, but her tactics: She reaches out and grabs his genitals. From the grammar and syntax of the passage as well as the severity of the punishment, this is no innocent gesture; her action is deliberate. (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 584-5)
Since the Amalekites had shown no mercy, they were to receive none. Four hundred years later David defeated the Amalekites (2 Sm 1:1), but they were not completely wiped out until Hezekiah’s day, another three hundred years later (1 Chr 4:41-43). (John C. Maxwell, The Preacher’s Commentary, Dt, 264)
On the surface, this text recalls Ex 21:18-19 and 22-25. However, while in Ex 21:22-25 she was an innocent and passive victim caught in the crossfire of struggling men, here the woman interferes in the fight. (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 584)
II- There is only one crime that deserves eternal punishment: Having no fear of God. (Dt 25:18-19; see also: Ex 17:8-16; 1 Sam 15; 30:1-20; Amos 1-2; Mt 6:14-15; 12:30-32; Mk 3:23-30; Lk 12:8-10; Jn 20:23)
This destruction rests on the same basis as the destruction of the pre-Noahic people (Gn 6:5-7) and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gn 18:20-21; 19:24-25). Their incorrigible wickedness was such that annihilation was necessary. Besides this the Amalekites, by their attacks on God’s people–and that against the weak and worn-out ones–indicated that “they had no fear of God” (v. 18). (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 154)
In these attacks against God’s people, the Amalekites showed “no fear of God” (v. 18) and so came under his indictment. The call to remember what the Amalekites had done and the Lord’s directive concerning them are emphasized by the totality of the destruction decreed: “You shall blot the memory of Amalek from under heaven,” and by the additional admonition: “Do not forget!” (v. 19). (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 3, 153)
We discussed the reasons why these nations “devoted to destruction” needed to be exterminated in our discussions of Dt 7 and 20. Just like the people during Noah’s time (Gn 6:5-7) and in Sodom and Gomorrah (Gn 18:20, 21; 19:24, 25), “their incorrigible wickedness was such that annihilation was necessary.” (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 563)
Apparently the Amalekite wise men had determined astrologically that this was the time to attack; besides which, they knew that Israel was not yet worthy of the blessing Isaac gave to Jacob in Gn 27:29, “Be master over your brothers” (remember that Amalek was a descendant of Esau). Their insidious plan was to destroy Israel before that blessing could come true–which is why the Lord commanded that they be blotted out (Gersonides). (The Rubin JPS Miqra’ot Gedolot, The Commentators’ Bible, Dt, 170)
When people don’t believe in a final judgment, they don’t feel ultimately accountable for their actions. There is no firm leash holding back sinful impulses. As the book of Judges puts it, there is “no fear of God” in their hearts, and everyone does what is right in his own eyes.
The doctrine of hell is not just some dusty theological holdover from the Middle Ages. It has significant social consequences. Without a conviction of ultimate justice, people’s sense of moral obligation dissolves; social bonds are broken.
People who have no fear of God soon have no fear of man–no respect for human laws and authorities. (Charles Colson, A Dangerous Grace, 21-2)
The Amalekites deserve this fate because they violated fundamental principles of warfare: attacking the Israelites from the rear when they were exhausted and famished, and focusing particularly on those lagging behind. Because of their immoral conduct in war they may be rightly condemned.
However, reducing the present prescription to a moral rather than religious or spiritual issue clouds rather than clarifies the problem. Moses insists on eliminating the Amalekites because they defied God, not only by stifling the fear of divinity that is common to all civilized people, but also by daring to interfere with God at a critical moment in the history of salvation. Yahweh had just rescued the Israelites and was leading them to Sinai, where he would formally confirm them as his covenant people. All this was preparatory to delivering into their hands the land of Canaan so they could flourish there and become his agent of blessing to the whole world. Moses hereby in effect declares, “Woe to any who interfere with the plan of God.” (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 595)
While these observations reflect a realistic interpretation of the present text, there is some virtue in interpreting this text paradigmatically. With roots in the identification of Haman as “the Agagite,” Jewish interpretive tradition often perceived the Amalekites as symbols of anti-Semitism. More generally, inasmuch as the Amalekite attack interfered with God’s mission of mercy to the world through his chosen people, they represent the forces of evil arrayed against the kingdom of light and salvation, and their doom is also decreed. In the meantime, the people of God do battle with all powers and principalities that are hostile to the kingdom of God. They do so not with military armaments or material resources, but with the armor God has provided and marching forth in the strength he provides (Eph 6:10-20). (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 596)
The reason given for their extermination is the terrible way in which they attacked Israel when they were passing their area. This battle is described in Ex 17:8-16, which tells how Joshua defeated them while Moses prayed with his arms outstretched with the aid of Aaron and Hur. (Ajith Fernando, Preaching the Word: Dt, 563)
“Why should that sin be unforgivable? (Mt 12:30-32) What differentiates it so terribly from all other sins? The answer is simple. When anyone reaches that stage, repentance is impossible. If people cannot recognize the good when they see it, they cannot desire it. If they do not recognize the evil as evil, they cannot be sorry for it and wish to depart from it. And if they cannot, in spite of failures, love the good and hate the evil, then they cannot repent; and if they cannot repent, they cannot be forgiven, for repentance is the only condition of forgiveness. It would save much heartbreak if people would realize that the very people who cannot have committed the sin against the Holy Spirit are those who fear that they have, for the sin against the Holy Spirit can be truly described as the loss of all sense of sin.” (William Barclay; Commentary on Matthew: Vol 2, 52)
God’s command to Israel to “remember” (v. 17) and “not forget” (v. 19) the murders of Amalek may strike casual readers of the Bible as a contradiction of the commands of the NT to forgive (cp. Mt 6:12, 15-16; Eph 4:32; Col 3:13). There is no indication in the text, however, that Israelites were to act out of spite or hatred in carrying out what was a judicial decree of God. Israel was not to remember in the sense of holding personal grudges. Their responsibility to remember was an act of obedience that they owed to Yahweh, in whose name they would be acting. (Doug McIntosh, Holman OT Commentary: Dt, 296)
Here Moses admonishes the people to take care of some unfinished business. Two imperatives frame this paragraph (v. 17a; 19c), which divides into two parts almost equal in length. In the first Moses charges the Israelites to “remember” the Amalekites’ past hostilities (vv. 17-18), and in the second he charges them to “blot out” their memory from human history (v. 19). (Daniel I. Block, The NIV Application Commentary: Dt, 592)
Worship Point: Fear the Lord and worship Him Who alone can help us to understand what it really means to love. Not a superficial, syrupy love, but a love that is genuinely concerned about the welfare and well-being of others.
Opposed to spiritual worship is superstitious worship. Superstitious worship is motivated not by the Spirit but by dread of God, by un unholy fear of God and an anxiety about his will toward us. The worship of an “unknown God” is superstitious worship that tries to appease a shadowy, dark divinity seen from the standpoint of the guilt of those who have not kept his commandments rather than from the standpoint of grace, the standpoint of the thousand generations of those who know him and keep his commandments. (Philip Graham Ryken, Give Praise to God A Vision for Reforming Worship, 427)
Gospel Application: Jesus not only promoted and encouraged justice and concern for the vulnerable, but He died for them as well. If we are honest, before God, we are all vulnerable and deserve eternal punishment before God because we lack a proper fear of the Lord.
Surely one of the reasons in these days for low moral standards is the lack of awareness of the majesty and holiness of God and of our accountability toward him. To a certain degree the same deficiencies can be seen among professing Christians. One of the marks of spiritual decline is that “there is no fear of God before his eyes” (Ps 36:1). Instead we fill ourselves with confidence in our own sufficiency. This is the complete antithesis of holiness. (Kenneth Prior; The Way of Holiness, 21)
Spiritual Challenge: Endeavor to seek God and nurture and encourage a proper fear of the Lord. (Ps 34:11; Prv 2:1-8; 23:17)
The sin of presumption is the antithesis of the fear of the Lord. It is the harbinger of future defeat. (Francis Frangipane, The Three Battlegrounds, 142)
Alpine climbers revel in the thrill of scaling the majestic heights but must never lose sight of the awesomeness of the mountain. Deep-sea fishermen toil with joy and garner a harvest in the foaming waves, but they know they must never treat the mighty rolling ocean with anything but respect. Small aircraft pilots, they tell me, come in two varieties: old ones and bold ones. There are no old, bold ones. Those who enjoy the freedom of flying like a bird do so conscious of the awesomeness of the heavens in which they soar.
The fear of the Lord involves glad submission to his gracious majesty. (Stuart Briscoe; Choices for a Lifetime, 44)
So What?: Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prv 1:7), wisdom (Ps 111:10; Prv 9:10; 15:33), and obedience (Ps 19:9; Prv 16:6). If we want to enjoy life in all of its abundance (Prv 14:27; 19:23; 22:4; Isa 33:6; Jn 10:10) we must have a proper fear of the Lord.
In the biblical view, the wise are righteous and the righteous are wise: these are people who love and fear God, affirm God’s world, live gladly within its borders, and make music there according to divine time and key signatures. The wise are always “in order.” Insofar as they live right, they also live well. (Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, 115)