God Vowed to Walk There With Them

Zampieri - Adam et Ève (détail)
Zampieri – Adam et Ève (détail) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Adam stood outside the Garden, with God, in the valley of death; ashamed and defeated. God cursed the ground on Adam’s behalf, increased the pain of labor for Eve and spilled the blood of a substitute to make a covering for His wayward and fallen children. In the midst of the first evil, God promised a son to restore the lost and broken relationship that God had  enjoyed with man.

In the pain of that moment, betrayed, accused and hated by His own children whom He had given the world, God knew something profound. That all the sons of Adam and Eve would be unable to bear the burden, were too weak and broken to fight back against the dragon. God knew that the Son that was promised would be ravaged and that the battle would cost that Son his life. And God knew, God promised in that moment, at the very beginning, with the tears of betrayal fresh on His cheeks, that the Son whose blood would be spilled for mankind, would be His own Son; His only Son. Continue reading “God Vowed to Walk There With Them”

Is Jonah great?

The Sign of Jonah; Introduction

Matthew 12:41The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Jesus says he is greater that Jonah. Why? Isn’t it self-evident that He is? Why not just say I am great and Jonah is Jonah. We understand Jesus is the greater Moses, Joshua, and David. But who would call Jesus the greater Jonah? Jesus did. We need to get the big picture. Who wrote the book of Jonah? Jonah did. Jonah learned an important lesson and wants you to learn it too. Jonah’s sins were startlingly revealed to him and he took the lesson to heart and wrote a book about it.

Jonah is a humbled prophet. Jonah is great because he wrote a book in which God is the hero. Besides pointing the reader toward God’s glory, Jonah is one of the most succinct, dynamic and multi-dimensional “types” of Jesus in the Old Testament.

What is the sign of Jonah? A quick read will point us to the fish and the three days of Death, but it’s more complicated than that. To properly interpret the book of Jonah we need to understand that “the sign of Jonah” is the Sacrifice, the fish, the word and the judgment of Jonah as they foreshadow Jesus’ ministry.

The Liturgy of Covenant Renewal worship

Landscape with Noah's Thank Offering (painting...
Landscape with Noah’s Thank Offering (painting circa 1803 by Joseph Anton Koch) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leviticus 1:1-9 ESV “The LORD called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock.

If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the LORD. He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. Then he shall kill the bull before the LORD, and Aaron‘s sons the priests shall bring the blood and throw the blood against the sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Then he shall flay the burnt offering and cut it into pieces, and the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. And Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head, and the fat, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar; but its entrails and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall burn all of it on the altar, as a burnt offering, a food offering with a pleasing aroma to the LORD.”

  1. Call to Worship: God calls the worshiper to draw near. In response to God’s call the worshiper comes with the appropriate animal. Lev. (1:1-2).
  2. Consecration: God moves the priests to cut up the animal, making it fit to ascend the altar into God’s fiery presence. The worshiper/animal must not only die, but it is necessary that he be properly prepared for God’s holy presence. (Lev. 1:6-7)
  3. Commissioning: Once the sacrifice is over, Yahweh sends the worshiper out renewed and empowered for service in the kingdom. (Num. 6:22-27).

There are various ways in which this can be expressed. Jesus Christ fulfills and established the genuine meaning and practice of sacrifice and offering. Sacrificial images and rites are part of the central core of the biblical revelation of the personal relations between God and man (from Gen. 3:21 through Rev. 21:22-27). The way of sacrifice, therefore, transcends the Mosaic institution of animal sacrifice. Better yet, the sacrificial rituals of the Old Testament are not merely ad hoc arrangements,  but rather are grounded in the rich relational life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Sacrifice reveals something of the nature of what it meant for God to be personal (Father, Son and Holy Spirit relate to one another sacrificially).

In the New Testament the old animal sacrificial typology is fulfilled by Christ and in the believer who is united to Christ by faith. In union with Christ – who offered Himself as the sacrifice – we not only have the penalty for sin removed, but we are also being made in acceptable sacrifice by faith. The promise is that if we offer ourselves to the Father through Christ in the Spirit we will become what God has destined us for – men and women remade in the image of God.

Story as Catechism

Part 1: Blank Canvases

Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be defeated.” – G.K Chesterton

If God were to give you a series of blank canvases and instruct you to fill them with images of how you see the world in light of his blessings, what would you paint? How? Would you plan it out? Would you learn how to draw so your trees were trees?

What if He told you these panels would hang in your house in heaven? Your walls will not adorn Rembrandts or Van Gogh’s, but your own works. What kind of care would you take?

Continue reading “Story as Catechism”

The Wise man’s heart

To teach us God trains us with Grace as it says in Titus 2:11-12. How does God do this?

Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”

The house of mirth is a house of amusement. Think theme park or a Budweiser commercial. Now there is nothing wicked about a theme park, but if you lived there, how would ever face the more difficult and trying aspects of life?Mere amusement does not cause us to reflect on our condition as fallen men. Sorrow causes us to closely examine our lives. If your heart dwells in the house of mourning you remember who you were in Adam and who you are in Christ. Continue reading “The Wise man’s heart”

Calvin on the Law

Calvin’s Institutes, Book Second –Chapter 7

Section 1.

From the whole course of the observations now made, we may infer, that the Law was not superadded about four hundred years after the death of Abraham in order that it might lead the chosen people away from Christ, but, on the contrary, to keep them in suspense until his advent; to inflame their desire, and confirm their expectation, that they might not become dispirited by the long delay. By the Law, I understand not only the Ten Commandments, which contain a complete rule of life, but the whole system of religion delivered by the hand of Moses. Moses was not appointed as a Lawgiver, to do away with the blessing promised to the race of Abraham; nay, we see that he is constantly reminding the Jews of the free covenant which had been made with their fathers, and of which they were heirs; as if he had been sent for the purpose of renewing it. This is most clearly manifested by the ceremonies. For what could be more vain or frivolous than for men to reconcile themselves to God, by offering him the foul odour produced by burning the fat of beasts? or to wipe away their own impurities by be sprinkling themselves with water or blood? In short, the whole legal worship (if considered by itself apart from the types and shadows of corresponding truth) is a mere mockery. Wherefore, both in Stephen’s address, (Acts 7: 44,) and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, great weight is justly given to the passage in which God says to Moses, “Look that thou make them after the pattern which was showed thee in the mount,” (Exod. 25: 40.) Continue reading “Calvin on the Law”