Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Idolatry, Part 3: Hubris

The Greeks who wrote their famous tragedies tended to put ‘hubris' as the cause of the main character’s downfall. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary describes it this way: “Typically, overconfidence led the hero to attempt to overstep the boundaries of

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Idolatry (Part 2): Self-Importance

In the first post, we looked at how idolatry is described to Israel as having something before God, and/or worshipping a created thing instead of the Creator. But if we remove the limitation of the focus on some ancient local deity, or an actual carved idol, we can see more clearly how this might still be an issue in our lives. And if

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Idolatry (Part 1)

Israel as a brand-new nation was given very clear direction by Yahweh about who was in charge: "You are not to have any other gods before me" and "You shall not make any images, and not bow down to them or serve them," found in Exodus 20:3-5. These give us much of our thinking about idolatry, and the problem wasn't unique to Israel of course; Paul talks about

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"I Need Blocks"

A dear friend of mine told our pastors’ group recently about a shopping trip he and “Mimi” had with their granddaughter. As they went around the store, the little one found a bag of children’s blocks, grabbed it and put it in her little shopping cart. She said “I need blocks” rather emphatically. Her grandpa responded “let’s go ask Mimi,” as though that would change anything, and then

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Center of the Plan

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.” (Heb. 1:1-4, NLT)

Jesus Christ, through his life, ministry, sacrificial death, resurrection and ascension, is the One in whom the Father founded and entrusted his entire plan. Does that mean the earlier messengers and messages were wasted? No, for God does not waste anything. My friend Lance McKinnon compares this to pregnancy, which only foreshadows, darkly, what will be true of the baby once it is born. Pregnancy is necessary for birth. The story of Israel was the ‘womb of the incarnation’ as Thomas Torrance writes, and was completely necessary for us to understand the depth and breadth of what Jesus would do as the Son of God/Son of Man in the world.

Let’s give praise and thanks today, for the wisdom of God for us! (Rom. 11:33-36).

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Last Sunday, we looked at James's instructions on prayer in chapter 5. One note that especially struck me is in 5:17, where he describes Elijah's prayers as "he prayed in prayer," an unusual