The Witness of History

July 18, 2019

Every nation has a history, and each tells their stories. National stories shape how they understand themselves and see their role in the world and in history. Israel is no different. The prophets were Israel’s storytellers. Typically, we think of prophets as preachers but they were also historians.  More specifically, they were covenantal messengers. When […]

The Oracles of God

July 15, 2019

Though Paul does not mention this gift in Romans 9, he earlier noted that Israel was entrusted with “the very words of God” (Romans 3:2). Israel was the keeper of the record of God’s mighty acts. Scripture does not “drop out of the sky.” On the contrary, the collection of holy writings called “Scripture” grow […]

God’s Gifts to Israel

July 11, 2019

The most gut-wrenching expression of Paul’s love for his own nation Israel is found in Romans 9:1-5. Israel, though gifted by God with wondrous privileges, had rejected God’s Messiah. Paul was heartbroken as he listed the gifts in an overflow of praise for God’s grace toward Israel. He names six gifts. The first is adoption. […]

God’s Torah: A Path to Life

July 8, 2019

Psalm 19 identifies two forms of divine speech. One is non-verbal, natural, and experienced through the natural wonder present in God’s creation. The other is verbal. God has spoken in history and entered into covenant with Israel. That story is in the Torah. Those words are read in the assembly of God’s people. Israel had […]

God Dwells With Israel

July 4, 2019

Mount Sinai must have been an impressive, even startling, sight. Enveloped in darkness with flashes of lightning, Israel heard the thunder and even, on one occasion, the voice of God. They felt the rumblings of God’s presence in tremors that rippled through the earth’s crust. This was God’s holy mountain. God descended upon it, and […]

Israel as a Royal Priest Among the Nations

July 1, 2019

Between their exodus from Egyptian slavery and their entrance into the new Eden, the land of promise, Israel encountered God at Mount Sinai. At God’s holy mountain, God commissioned Israel as a royal priest among the nations. At Sinai, God announced the good news of divine grace and entrusted Israel with a vocation. The good […]

Israel as New Humanity

June 27, 2019

God led the descendants of Abraham into Egypt where they were eventually enslaved. Pharaoh oppressed them and killed Hebrew babies in order to suppress their numbers. Israel found itself living in the moral chaos of Egypt’s imperial power. But God heard their cry and sent Moses to lead Israel out of their slavery into freedom, […]

The Promise to Abraham

June 24, 2019

Whereas the empire of Babel determined to make its own name great, God decided to make Abraham’s name great. This contrast illustrates the two paths humanity might pursue. Babel chose ambition, pride, and self-actualization, but humanity’s authentic path is found in God’s promise and gracious work. Abraham heard God’s call, believed God, and trusted God’s […]

Humanity Degenerated: Creating an Alternative Story

June 20, 2019

It seems God is a realist when it comes to humanity. The power of sin is deeply entrenched in human hearts. Even when God rebooted the creation through a flood, it did not cure the human heart of its ancestral sin. God knew violence would reappear because of sin’s strong grip. God, therefore, issued a […]

Humanity Tumbled: Violence Entered the World

June 17, 2019

East of Eden death lies ahead for everyone in Genesis except Enoch. It seems we’ve already hit rock bottom with nowhere to go but into the grave. Death isn’t good, but it isn’t the whole story. There is more to this picture. Things can get worse. Some things are worse than death. Sin is worse […]