Grace on Display

I will take you to be my wife in faithfulness, and you will know the LORD.

~ Hosea 2:20

 

Grace is not simply getting what you do not deserve, rather, it is getting the good you do not deserve instead of the bad that you do deserve. It is receiving honour and favour when you deserve shame and disdain. It is receiving freedom and life when you deserve bondage and death. Countless times in the history of God’s people we see this definition of grace being unpacked and put on display. The opening chapters of the prophet Hosea are just one example of this. Continue reading “Grace on Display”

Blessed To Be A Blessing

May God be gracious to us and bless us;

may he make his face shine upon us

 

The opening words of Psalm 67 echo the priestly blessing found in Numbers 6 and are thus familiar to many of us. Over the centuries these words, originating in the tabernacle worship of ancient Israel, have been used countless times as part of the Christian worship service. Perhaps as you read this verse you imagined yourself standing amongst the congregation and hearing the preacher pronounce the Aaronic benediction with uplifted hands.

 

Continue reading “Blessed To Be A Blessing”

Bringing a Sword to a Spiritual Fight

Mark 14:43-52 

When Jesus came to earth to battle with the forces of evil and put an eternal end to sin and Satan, his choice of weapon is telling. Many in Jesus’ day, his disciples included, were expecting him to wield a lethal weapon and lead a mighty army. 

In his gospel, Mark recounts how Judas the Betrayer came to Jesus to arrest him. As his disciple, Judas had been a close companion of Jesus and knew of his “battle-plan” against evil: Jesus had predicted his death and resurrection as the path to victory. Yet, on that dark night, Judas approached Jesus accompanied by a mob armed with swords and clubs, a clear indication of the type of fight they were anticipating. Continue reading “Bringing a Sword to a Spiritual Fight”

Why Jacob?

In his sovereign freedom, God chose to love Jacob, but not Shechem. But why Jacob?

Malachi, and later the apostle Paul, make it plain that Jacob attained salvation because of the brute fact of God’s absolute grace and free choice to do so (Malachi 1:3 and Romans 9:13). If we take Scripture seriously, we realize God had chosen to love Jacob from before the foundation of the world. From the perspective of eternity, Jacob was chosen by God simply because of God’s sovereign grace. Nothing in Jacob attracted God to him and there was no spark of potential goodness in Jacob waiting to be stoked by the living breath of God. God makes it clear that we are born dead in our sins and our free-wills are locked in rebellion-against-God mode. God does not give us a helping hand or a boost of grace to get us going on the right track. He takes a pile of dry, decaying bones and breathes life and soul into them. Continue reading “Why Jacob?”

Something to Think About

“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”          Psalm 8:4

Do you know what a horsehair worm is? Did you know they develop as parasites in insects like grasshoppers and beetles? Do you care? Is it worth even a minute of your day to contemplate it? I know I wouldn’t. There are countless of these worms so what’s one more or one less? The only reason I know about the horsehair worm is that I read about it yesterday. Even so, as of today I haven’t gone looking for one and have no plans to do so in the future. Continue reading “Something to Think About”

…but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14:32-42 

In Jesus’ darkest moments his closest friends were asleep.

We often read of how Jesus seeks out a place of solitude away from his disciples and the crowds that he might pray to his Father in heaven. However, when Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane he brought his disciples along. As the immense weight of his task began to bear down on him, pressing out tears and drops of blood-red sweat, Jesus sought out communion with his Father and the disciples were there to “watch and pray”. Yet, in this infinitely important time in the mission of Jesus, and the future of humanity, the disciples are unable to either watch or pray. Continue reading “…but the flesh is weak.”

The Acceptance and Rejection of the Messiah

The Christmas season is generally a happy and festive occasion. The narratives of Luke or Matthew are recounted with joy and it warms the heart to think of Joseph and Mary delighting in their newborn. There is also the multitude of angels praising God, the humble shepherds, and the regal wise-men. We celebrate because the long-awaited fulfillment of God’s ancient promise is finally here. Israel’s hope has arrived on the scene. God has come down to dwell with us and be our Saviour. The perfect kingdom of heaven is beginning to overtake the broken kingdom of this world. So many reasons to celebrate! Continue reading “The Acceptance and Rejection of the Messiah”

In and Out of the Pit

Certain themes pop up time and again in Scripture and are evidence of its one Author. Many themes have their origins in Genesis and culminate in Revelation. One quick example of this would be the theme of a garden, and the associated language of trees, plants, vineyards, and land. Keep your eyes open to this type of language and you are bound to yield hundreds of passages that pick up on the broad theme of garden. Continue reading “In and Out of the Pit”

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