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“To be or not to be…”

April 23, 2015

Today’s Word

Bits of Information & Inspiration

Today in History

1616 – Quotes and phrases of William Shakespeare, the greatest of all English writers have become part and parcel of our culture and speech, but much about the man’s life and beliefs remains mysterious. Even the date of his death is not certain, although it is generally thought that he died on this date, April 23, 1616. This would have been almost on Shakespeare’s 52nd birthday (he was baptized the 26th of April, 1564 probably a few days after his birth).

Was Shakespeare a true Christian? Some of the anecdotes about his life make that doubtful. Nonetheless, a month before his death, he wrote his will, which he concluded by saying, “I commend my soul into the hands of God my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour to be made partaker of life everlasting.”

“To be or not to be — that is the question.”

Shakespeare also seems to have been a faithful member of the Church of England. Though he never wrote a play on a Biblical story, the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer were the most frequently quoted sources in his work. He quotes or alludes to passages from at least 42 books of the Bible; and phrases from the morning and evening prayers in the Book of Common Prayer are frequent. Of the books of the Bible, Shakespeare quoted from Matthew 151 times and from the Psalms 137 times.

Some have speculated that the King James Version of the Bible contains a cryptogram for Shakespeare. If you look at the 46th psalm in the King James translation, the 46th word from the beginning is “shake” and the 46th word from the end is “spear.” Interestingly, Shakespeare was 46 when the translation was made in 1610! Did Shakespeare help with the translation work? There is no serious basis for such conjecture.

Indeed, there is serious scholarship that argues that Shakespeare did not even author the works attributed to him. One way or the other, Shakespeare took his secrets (spiritual and otherwise) to the grave with him when he died around this date almost 400 years ago.


Inspirational Words

“None can sing a new song who has not the new life. But many who have the new life seem to have lost the song. The first thing that goes when we begin to backslide is the joy of the Lord.”
– Evan H. Hopkins

Today’s Word

Praise the LORD, O my soul. I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Psalm 146:1-2 (NIV)

Thoughts on the Word

“Hallelujah!” This is a hallelujah Psalm! The Hebrew verb “hallal” is an exhortation to praise, give thanks, and express joy. In English we might say “Hail” which is commonly used to express great honor. The name of God Jehovah in Hebrew is expressed as “Yah” in the phrase hallelujah. “Praise the LORD” is our translation for “Hallelujah!” What I love about this Psalm are the dimensions of praise given here: my soul, all my life, and as long as live. That is pretty all-encompassing. Our lives are to be a “holy praise” to the LORD as long as we have life! So how’s your praise? Only been letting it out at church? Do not delay… it’s time to let the rest of your life have a few hallelujahs!

Prayer for Today

I praise you, God of Israel and God of the Covenant, for your mighty work bringing salvation through Israel to all nations through Jesus Christ. My heart praises you for your joy and comfort, my head praises you for all your wondrous creation, and my soul praises you for your abiding presence through the Holy Spirit. Please hear my life, my heart, and my voice and they all cry, “Hallelujah!” to you, who alone are God! In the name of the Messiah Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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