Showing posts from July, 2018

The Lord Giveth…and Giveth

2 Samuel 7:1-14 This is a famous passage in the history of the Church because it is where we see the promise of the Messiah to David. God will establish David’s lineage, and one of his own shall sit on the throne of his kingdom forever. We even are treated to such words as “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me” (7:14). If you have wondered what is with all of the connections to David in the Gospel accounts and why it is so important that Jesus is referred to as God’s “Son,” then this is the answer to those questions. This passage is, perhaps, the crown jewel of christological prophecies. That is why it is so easy for us to overlook other aspects of this passage which also bear significance for us. You see, this passage began with David being at peace because of all that God had done for him, so he wanted to do something great for God in return. What a wonderful impulse! Surely, we ought to give thanks to God (Luke 17:11-19), and such thanks might even take the

A Rebellious Heart Unchanged

Mark 6:14-29 Last week’s article was from Ezekiel 2 in which Ezekiel is commissioned to proclaim the word of God to rebellious people who may or may not listen. This week’s passage seems to bear upon such a person. As Herod reminisces about John the Baptist, we learn that John spoke against Herod and his wife, Herodias. Herodias wanted to kill John for his words of judgment (rebellious, indeed), but Herod feared John (6:20). He knew that John was righteous, he knew that John’s words were hard, and yet he liked listening to John. Would it have any effect on Herod’s life? Would he repent from his ways? In answer to these questions, Mark gives us the story of one of Herod’s banquets. At such a banquet, the guests and the host likely indulged in much revelry and drinking. Eventually, seductive women came and danced erotically, as we see Herodias’s daughter do (6:22). These banquets basically were venues for physical pleasures. With the sense of euphoria lying heavily over the proce

(Re)Defining Success

Ezekiel 2:1-10 Confession time: I am a perfectionist. Tasks that I have to do can be daunting at times because I really want to complete them in the right way, down to the smallest detail. I want my vision to be perfectly expressed in my work. Even the simplest of tasks can take me a while because I am concerned to make sure that every aspect of the task is perfect. Along with my perfectionism, I am failure-averse. If I know that I am not going to succeed at something, I do not want even to try it. I do not mind taking a chance, but I want to do all the prep work to give myself every chance at success. Failure is not an option. It would be difficult for me to do the work that the Lord lays before Ezekiel in his call to service. God does not send Ezekiel on a mission destined for success, and that is clear from the beginning. Ezekiel is supposed to go to a “rebellious” and “stubborn” people, words which are used about nine times in this section. Basically, God tells Ezekiel that

In the Midst of Grief

Lamentations 3:22-33 The first few verses of this passage are the words of a popular camp song. They extol the wondrous love of God. They rejoice in his goodness toward his people. They are words of contentment in the presence of the Lord. In our Wednesday night singing last week, one person remarked that they like the happy, upbeat songs. The words of this verse in song form certainly fit such a description. How great the goodness of God towards us which spurs us to trust in him even more! You would be forgiven, then, for not knowing that these words come from the book of Lamentations. This is the book which begins, “How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become…She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave. She weeps bitterly in the night…” (Lam 1:1-2). Suffice it to say, this book is not a happy one. It is a book all about the people of Israel crying over their fate as they have been forsaken by God and sent into exile. The