Blessing and Cursing

Balaam is a fascinating character who shows up about two-thirds of the way through the book of Numbers (chapters 22-24). Out of context, his story seems strange, but if you’ve been following along in Numbers you’ve already come across God supplying Israel with a ridiculous amount of quail (11), people being swallowed up by theContinue reading “Blessing and Cursing”

Thinking About the Tithe

Tithing is one of those things that can betray our approach to and understanding of the Old Testament if we’re not careful. It’s easy to note that it meant ten percent, assign to Israel an unconscious, semi-spiritual attitude and move on to making applications to our giving today. But as Lee Corso says, “Not soContinue reading “Thinking About the Tithe”

Truth Telling

The witness section of Deuteronomy 19:15-21 should lead us to think about truth telling as it relates to the community of Christ. After all, the text isn’t addressing honesty in general terms, its specific concern is with truth telling as it relates to the community of Israel and its judicial proceedings. The judicial system wasContinue reading “Truth Telling”

Community, Justice, & Truth-Telling

We’re in a section of Deuteronomy that’s largely concerned with governing. That being so, we hear about:  In all this, it’s not hard to see a focus on those who were to lead Israel and the legal processes and standards they were to implement. Brueggemann reminds us that Israel is being given “a pattern ofContinue reading “Community, Justice, & Truth-Telling”

Jesus and Bumper Sticker Theology

I have no wish to be offensive or insensitive in what follows, but there is also no need to equivocate or be anything less than straightforward in regard to Jesus’ teaching about sexuality. Listen to what He said in Mark 10:6-8: “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reasonContinue reading “Jesus and Bumper Sticker Theology”

The Kingdom of More

Deuteronomy 17:16-17 says this about Israel’s king: The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them, for the Lord has told you, “You are not to go back that way again.” He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray. He must not accumulate largeContinue reading “The Kingdom of More”

How to be a King

It was always the plan of God for Israel to have a king. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 is one of the passages that tells us this, but there are more. As part of the blessing God speaks to Jacob in Genesis 35, He tells him that “kings will be among your descendants” (v. 11). Then there’s talk of theContinue reading “How to be a King”

In The Beginning . . .

The importance of going back to the beginning. Suppose some people are having a disagreement. Something isn’t right and they are having trouble working it out. They come to you for some help. What are you going to do (after you say a quick prayer)? You’re going to find out how and when their difficultiesContinue reading “In The Beginning . . .”

Tender Hearts and Open Hands

The Golden Gate Bridge stretches almost a mile across the San Francisco Bay, with its total length being about 8,500 feet. It is 220 feet tall at its highest point and was completed in 1937 at a cost of 35 million dollars. Building bridges was a dangerous business in the early part of the twentiethContinue reading “Tender Hearts and Open Hands”

Lord of the Manger

While we were enjoying Christmas with our loved ones on December 25th of 2021, the James Webb telescope was being launched into space. It is effectively a second-generation space telescope (it was initially referred to as the Next Generation Telescope) and “replaces” the Hubble telescope which was launched in 1990. Unlike the Hubble which orbits theContinue reading “Lord of the Manger”