When God Lies

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A lie is “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood” according to Dictionary.com. God taught several places that lying is a no-no (Exodus 20:16; 23:1, Leviticus 19:11, Proverbs 19:5; 19:9; 21:28; 24:28; 25:18). Scriptures also teaches that God never lies (1 Samuel 15:29, Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18). Numbers 23:19 “God is not man, that he should lie,     or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it?     Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” So, when God says one thing and yet does another …

2010 Joint Service Open House and Airshow at the Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility near Washington, D.C.

Flying Upside Down – Strength and Weakness

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Dallas Willard opened his book, The Divine Conspiracy, with a story of a test pilot. Attempting a steep incline, he pulled up…directly into the ground. The pilot had somehow flipped upside down. While you and I might scratch our heads wondering how someone could not know they were upside down, this is not as rare as you might think. It’s called spatial disorientation and is a deadly threat for both pilots and underwater divers. Marines to Coast Guards, life guards to oil platform workers, and pilots to divers will usually receive …

Nakedness & Perspective: Understanding Genesis 3

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Genesis 3 has been labeled as “The Fall” or some variation thereof. The ESV heading of my Bible says so as well as the NASB and NIV. The way we have been trained to see chapter three of Genesis is as the first sin. And, truthfully, it does enormous insights on sin. But sin does not appear in this chapter – well, not the word “sin.” “Sin” first appears in chapter 4 with Cain and Abel. We have been taught the answer while never knowing the question. For many of us, we see Genesis 3 …

God saves Hagar and Ishmael

God Blesses the Tangents

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“I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.” “I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.” These blessings resonate with similarities to that of Abraham and Isaac. However, the first was given to Hagar (Genesis 16:10) and the last to Ishmael (Genesis 17:20). In fact, God’s promise that twelve princes would come from Ishmael intentionally resembles the twelve tribes that will come from Israel. Hagar and Ishmael were …

The Blessing and Kingdom of Sarah

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When we are first introduced to Abram (aka Abraham), we are told that he took a barren woman as his wife (Genesis 11:29-30). In his culture, that would not have been that big of a deal because he simply would have taken a second wife to bear him a son. But Abram didn’t. He only took Sarai (aka Sarah). In a patriarchal society, this would have been genealogical suicide. Yet Abram seems content to forego a descendant in order to remain with Sarai. Given what we know of the culture he …

Saving Sodom

Saving Sodom

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The beginning of God’s world redemption project is Genesis – not the Gospels. Of course, the Gospels are the crux of God’s redemptive work in history, but to begin there would be akin to skipping the first two thirds of a novel or movie. Paul says in Romans 5:6, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (NIV). Then again in Galatians 4:4, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son.” And in Ephesians 1:9–10, “[God] made known to …

Poussin, Nicolas - The Victory of Joshua over the Amalekites

Jesus – The Gentile King

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The book of Joshua is an uncomfortable book for most. In it we find the complete annihilation of entire communities. The modern reader is forced to wrestle with the utter brutality of it all. I feel, as the modern Christian, trapped with only two seemingly polar opposite options: boldly side with the ethnic cleansing (usually through the guise of faith and justice) or play ignorant and hope no one brings it up*. In the midst of this tension, what intrigues me is how the New Testament redeems some of these brutal Old Testament …

Shadows of Secrets Past

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“Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,     and in whose spirit there is no deceit” Psalm 32:2 A lie is a secret hidden behind a story. The story could be words, a shrug, an outburst, a lifestyle, or silence. It is the clothing we wear (or don’t), the product we hold in pride, the reaction we have when criticized, or the silent refusal of stepping out when called upon. Lying can both be proactive and reactive: we sell a bag of goods we are not or protect the real bag …

Azazel, the goat that escapes, the scape goat, scapegoat

Rams and Scapegoats as Human Analogues

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It is no secret that I am a fanboy of René Girard and his work on memetic theory. His book, The Scapegoat, while difficult to read is well worth the effort. Also, a decent podcast interview that covers this topic well is an interview with Adam Ericksen on Theology.fm. With that said, this last Sunday I preached on Leviticus 16. I had to restrain my urge to “nerd out” on memetic theory (aka Scapegoat theory) as it relates to Leviticus 16 and how Leviticus 16 relates to the whole of the biblical narrative during …

Good Samaritan Painting

Textual Context of the Good Samaritan

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Perhaps the most surprising element of the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is not the cultural norms Jesus contradicts  but rather the timing and context into which he spoke it. Sure, the Jews and Samaritans fervently hated each other. Yet, the paradoxical nature of Jesus’ parable is not all of the story. The Good Samaritan is but the ending of a longer narrative Luke started telling in the previous chapter. In Luke 9 we read of the Mount of Transfiguration as a retelling of Mount Sinai (which deserves its …