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Posts tagged "Old Testament"


Hopelessly Devoted: Second Samuel Chapter Nine Verse Thirteen

Happy Monday! Here’s your daily supplement of Gospel juju, coming at you piping hot. This one comes from DZ.

And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet. (2 Samuel 9:13, NIV)

Try saying “Mephibosheth” five times in row—it’s a mouthful! But it’s also a name that should conjure up only the most positive associations. To set the scene: After David becomes king of Israel (following Saul’s defeat and suicide), his first order of business is to find any surviving relations of his late, beloved friend Jonathan, Saul’s son, so that he might show them kindness.

r15David soon finds out that Jonathan’s sole living heir, Mephibosheth, is “crippled in both feet” and not exactly regal material. Mephibosheth seems to have internalized his disabilities, referring to himself in front of David as “a dead dog” (9:8). Yet without any hesitation, David restores to him all of his family land and issues the command that Mephibosheth is to dine at the king’s table at every meal, henceforth.

This is a touching example of grace in the Old Testament. An unworthy person receives love and favor on account of something that someone else has done. Even more, there is a deep security to the new situation—Mephibosheth will always eat at David’s table, like one of his sons. What is the result of this radical decree? We are told that Mephibosheth himself has a son. That is, hope springs where there was once desperation and life where there once was death. (Of course, the feet remain crippled…)

Sometimes we get to witness grace like this, and occasionally we even get to experience it. Even though acts of grace astound us, it is only a shadow of the real thing: the grace given by God on account of the death of Jesus.

Have you ever felt like a dead dog? Or perhaps there is something in your life that feels (or looks) like a dead dog? That’s where the voice of the King is to be heard, the voice of unconditional love that makes dead things alive and brings hope to the hopeless. The voice that says, “Because of My beloved son, you will always eat at my table.”

Why Then The Law? Part 3: Letter, Spirit and Life

Why Then The Law? Part 3: Letter, Spirit and Life

In our last installment, the argument was made that in an attempt to shore up appreciation and respect for the Old Testament—replete with its necessary connections to the history of Israel–by asserting that its importance was found in the fact that it contained the “moral law,” actually ended up helping to marginalize its truly radical claims. By the 13th Century, when Thomas Aquinas had come and reached full flowering as the towering mental giant of the Middle Ages, the 10 commandments had become the model for “natural reason,” and virtually synonymous with “natural law,” in a way that further solidified their claims…

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Why Then The Law? Part 1: A Lawful Mess

Why Then The Law? Part 1: A Lawful Mess

Throughout the history of the church, the question of the role of the law in the Christian life has been of paramount importance. Indeed, as witnessed to by the writers of the New Testament themselves, the issue was of pressing concern to all involved. In the prologue to John’s Gospel, we hear the radical profession that “the Law came through Moses, but Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” What exactly is this distinction between the two about? Why didn’t he simply say, “The Old Law prohibiting shellfish and bacon came through Moses and the New Law of Love came through Jesus?”…

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Hopelessly Devoted: Numbers Chapter Fifteen Verses Thirty Two through Thirty Six

Hopelessly Devoted: Numbers Chapter Fifteen Verses Thirty Two through Thirty Six

To tide you over until our regularly scheduled blogging resumes post-Memorial Day, i.e. tomorrow, here’s a devotion from Mbird’s own Alex Large:

While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.  And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation.  They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him.  And the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside…

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“Wake me up inside…” (part 5b): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

“Wake me up inside…” (part 5b): Karl Barth’s Doctrine of Reconciliation (iv.1.58)

(iv.1.58.4 cont.) In the doctrine of reconciliation humanity is not only confronted with the positive side of the truths in Jesus Christ, but also the negative side of the truth of sin in the world initiated by humanity and its victim. By Jesus’ atoning work, God reconciles covenant breaking humanity to Himself by Himself. Consequently, the doctrine of sin is dealt with simultaneously and in conjunction to the doctrine of reconciliation. It is not of its own ontological identity as something that “exist[s] in and for itself” as a part of God’s creation; rather it…

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When Is A Steak Not A Steak?

When Is A Steak Not A Steak?

When it’s a value judgment! A news story of Old Testament (and Luke 15) proportions, via Nothing To Do With Abroath (ht JD):

It was a bizarre case of sibling rivalry on Monday night, when Victoria B.C. police had to break up two brothers fighting over who got the bigger piece of steak. At around 11 p.m. that night, the 17-year-old brother “went berserk” and began smashing things in their Craigflower Road apartment with a hockey stick because, despite him doing the cooking, his 22-year-old brother got the larger piece of steak for dinner, according to deputy police chief John Ducker,…

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It’s Not God Who Needs Saving–It’s Us

It’s Not God Who Needs Saving–It’s Us

I ran across a review by John Cottingham–Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading and an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford–over at Standpoint entitled: “It’s Not God Who Needs Saving–It’s Us,” that adds to the long line of arguments and counter-arguments about the verticality of Dostoyevsky’s operating thesis: If God does not exist, then everything is permitted. He reviews two books from self-proclaimed atheists who are trying to incorporate what we would call a “spirituality of the cross” into their naturalistic worldviews. Hmmm… Adding to the ongoing discussion about the Pope’s recent comments at Westminster Hall,…

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You Want Me To Do…What?

You Want Me To Do…What?

There are two messages coming from some pulpits today that I personally don’t like. I’m sure there are plenty of things being said from plenty of pulpits that could be addressed, but these two things have become so ubiquitous that I’m simply fed up, and feel I must say something.

The first of these is the admonition to “live into my baptismal vows.” The other is the admonition to “see Jesus Christ in the face of ‘the other’.” I’ll deal with the first one here, and the other one at a later date.

So you want me to live…

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A Couple of Quotes on Paul’s Interpretive Method from Francis Watson

A Couple of Quotes on Paul’s Interpretive Method from Francis Watson

I’ve been trying to take advantage of the winter break between classes (with varying degrees of success) to make a dent in the ever-growing “must-read” reading list. I did manage to get through Francis Watson’s Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith the other day. (For those who aren’t familiar with the book, a quick summary is that Watson is arguing that Paul interprets the Old Testament in light of his “discovery of the tension-laden dynamics of the scriptural narrative itself” and that this “dissonance is both uncovered by the gospel and resolved by it, since its theological function is to…

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How Will You Keep Christmas This Year? (Part 4)

How Will You Keep Christmas This Year? (Part 4)

Having considered in previous installments of this series why Christ came into the world, we turn our attention now to how he came.

Jesus came in the manner of God’s king, the Messiah, and he came in such a way that his birth, life, death and resurrection fulfilled all that had been foretold of him by the Old Testament prophets. It’s simply not possible to overemphasize the importance of the prophetic fulfillments in proving that Jesus is the Christ.

The basis for this method of testing the Messianic claim is biblical. It’s laid down in Isaiah 41, starting with verse 21: 21…

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Nick Cave Introduces the Gospel of Mark

Nick Cave Introduces the Gospel of Mark

Almost ten years ago, Canongate Books published a series of single books from the Bible with prefaces from some unlikely people. Bono did the Psalms, Doris Lessing took Ecclesiastes, and Australian post-punk/goth singer-songwriter Nick Cave introduced Mark. I hadn’t gotten around to reading Cave’s piece until recently. For those with only a passing familiarity with Cave, a musician known primarily for the dark and violent content of his lyrics, the choice seemed odd. But anyone who had been listening closely knew that Cave’s music had long been soaked in Biblical language and ideas (his recent, critically acclaimed record Dig!!! Lazarus…

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Thoughtful Faith Pieces from the New Yorker

Thoughtful Faith Pieces from the New Yorker

Over the past couple of months, I have been really impressed by a couple of different book reviews from the New Yorker that center around issues of faith. The authors have not always reached the conclusions that we might hope, but their honesty and insight have been quite striking. Below are a few quotes with links:

From an article about the recent glut of books on the so-called Gospel of Judas:

Cumulatively, the commentaries on the Judas gospel are amazing in their insistence on its upbeat character. Jesus ridicules his disciples, denounces the world, and says that most of us will…

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