The Identity of Israel: New Humanity in a New Eden

November 9, 2022

Texts: Genesis 12:1-3, 7a; Exodus 6:2-8; Exodus 19:3-6. Days 14-16 in Around the Bible in Eighty Days. Who is Israel, and what is her purpose? It is a new humanity in a new Eden to continue and further the mission of God in the world. Following the collapse of the world into violent imperialism and […]

1 Peter 1:1-2 — Exiled, But Chosen

May 11, 2015

Everyone wants to be chosen, especially those who feel marginalized or undervalued. Many of us remember what it feels like to be the last one chosen in a pickup game of basketball or uninvited to the school party. Sometimes we feel like outsiders, and sometimes we are treated like outsiders. Sometimes we simply are outsiders. […]

Amos 2:4-5 — Amos Addresses Judah

January 23, 2013

The first major section of Amos addresses the nations, including Judah and Israel (Amos 1:3-2:16). The writer begins with Damascus (Syria) in the north, then moves southwest to Philistia. Afterwards, the text moves due north to Tyre and then southwest to Edom. This is followed by Ammon in the north and then Moab south of […]

Malachi 2:10-16 – “Faithlessness” Subverts “Oneness”

July 26, 2012

“Faithless” is the word that dominates this section of Malachi. It occurs five times in Malachi 2:10-16 (10, 11, 14, 15, 16) and only here in Malachi. “Faithless” comes from the root bagad that means to deal with another treacherously. This word characterizes Israel’s covenantal relations and thus epitomizes what is broken in the life of post-exilic […]

Zechariah 8:1-17 – God Remembers Jerusalem

March 16, 2012

In December 518 representatives from Bethel came to Judah and asked the leaders whether they should continue their lament fasts over the fall of Jerusalem (Zechariah 7:1-3). Zechariah responded with four distinct oracles (identified by the phrase the “word of the Lord came to me/Zechariah” in7:4, 8; 8:1, 18). He first questioned their motives for […]

Hungering For the Joy: Lenten Reflections on Joshua 5

March 9, 2010

Text: Joshua 5:9-12 [This is part of a small group series for the Woodmont Hills Church in Nashville, TN, which is prepared in conjunction with Dean Barham’s homilies that are based on the Lectionary texts for Lent.] A new generation had emerged during the wilderness trek. Their parents had refused to enter to the promise […]

Hear the Invitation (Lenten Reflections on Isaiah 55)

March 2, 2010

Text: Isaiah 55 Come, listen, look and seek. Those are the main imperatives of Isaiah’s invitation. The message of Isaiah since chapter 40 has been deliverance. Just as God liberated Israel from Egyptian slavery, so now God is acting to deliver Israel from Babylonian exile. God’s chosen servant has suffered the punishment of the exile (Isaiah […]

Hungering for the Future (Lenten Reflections on Genesis 15)

February 23, 2010

Text: Genesis 15:1-18 [For an amplified narration of Genesis 15 read my previous post.] Abraham waited for a child. And then his descendants waited 400 years in slavery for the land. Waiting is part of every believer’s journey. The Psalms overflow with the language (e.g., Psalm 25). “Wait for Yahweh,” the Psalmist writes (Psalm 27:14). […]

An Amplified Narration: Genesis 15

February 21, 2010

[Genesis 15 is one of the Lenten texts in the Lectionary this week. Studying and reflecting on this text, I developed an expanded narration. I offer it here in preparation for my Lenten reflections on the this text which I hope to post mid-week. Blessings.] Text: Genesis 15:1-18 After these things….after Lot had separated from […]

The Land as Our Inheritance

October 21, 2009

When God called Abraham, he promised blessings through which all the nations would be blessed (Genesis 12:2-3). Included in those blessings is the land promise (Genesis 12:6-7). The promised land is part of the Abrahamic promise. This land promise is both overplayed as some identify the contemporary state of Israel with this land promise and […]