David Lipscomb: A Sermon at the Penitentiary (1900)

May 14, 2014

This sermon by David Lipscomb appeared in The Nashville American (February 21, 1900, p. 5). I thought it was interesting to read what Lipscomb said to those incarcerated at the “State Prison.” I thought the reference to “character” rather than status, place or position was a veiled reference to looking at the heart of a […]


Joel 2:28-32 — I Will Pour Out My Spirit On All Flesh

May 7, 2014

Joel’s lament liturgy in the first half of the book envisioned the devastation of Israel by a locust plague (or perhaps an invading army). That impending disaster also represented a future apocalyptic disaster. Joel is working at two levels–the immediate moment but also a future cataclysm. Israel’s response to such news, as with all other […]


Micah 1:2-7 — Yahweh is Coming!

September 9, 2013

The small-town prophet receives a big-time message from Yahweh. Micah announces that Yahweh is coming to Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom Israel. This, however, is about more than Israel. It is  Yahweh’s witness against the nations even though it is the nations who devastate Israel. The opening address functions as a lawsuit where […]


Revelation 12:1-6 — Two Signs in Heaven

September 5, 2013

The drama of the second (Revelation 4:1-16:20) has not yet ended. We are yet in the middle of it. Heaven has opened the seven seals (Revelation 6:1-8:5) and sounded the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:6-11:19) but we have not yet seen the final, climatic bowls of wrath (Revelation 15-16).  sandwiched between the trumpets and the bowls is the dramatic […]


“Never Again Uprooted From the Land” (Amos 9:15)

May 15, 2013

The last verse of Amos promises Israel that once they are planted in the land they will never again be uprooted. The “never again” language is striking and parallels other promises such as the “new heaven and new earth” text in Isaiah 65 where “never again” (same Hebrew terms) will anyone weep or infants die. […]


James Interprets Amos 9:11-12 (Acts 15:13-18)

May 10, 2013

The previous post explored the meaning of the only fundamentally positive text in Amos–its ending, Amos 9:11-15. The text of Amos envisions a future time when Yahweh would rebuild the “tent of David” with the result that Israel would “possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called” by Yahweh’s “name.” This […]


Amos 6:1-14: The Second Woe

March 28, 2013

This is the second of two woe oracles in Amos. The first (5:18-20) was followed by a legal indictment (5:21-27). The second (6:1-7) is followed by a judgment pronouncement (6:8-14). Together, as the third major section of Amos, they lament Israel’s sin and warn the nation about impending doom. The woe oracle in Amos 6 itself falls […]


Amos 4:1-13: “Yet You Did Not Return to Me”

March 4, 2013

This is the second of Amos’s three prophetic speeches against Israel. They each begin with “Hear this word” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1). The first announced God’s coming visit in judgment against Israel while the third will voice lament. The second highlights divine patience and persistence in seeking to turn Israel from its sins. While this second […]


Amos 3:9-15 — An Oracle of Divine Punishment, Part 2

February 28, 2013

The second major section of Amos (chapters 3-5) contains three oracles describing the punishment, sin and lament of the northern kingdom of Israel. Each begins with “Hear this word!” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1). In many ways, this is the heart of Amos’s work as it lays out Yahweh’s case against Israel. We might even imagine Amos […]


Amos 3:1-8 — An Oracle of Divine Punishment, Part I

February 20, 2013

The first two chapters of Amos set Israel’s sins within an international context.  As they heard Amos condemn one after another of their regional neighbors they were no doubt alarmed that Israel was included in the list and received the most attention. Israel is the focus of Amos’s concern. The second major section of Amos […]