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

Paule Bible Study, Theology 2 Comments

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 …

A Nation of Exiles

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In 1 Peter 2:9-12, Peter mixes two seemingly contradictory Old Testament themes. The first is that of the exodus and establishment of God’s people within the promise land. 1 Peter 2:9-10: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. These two verses are rich with allusions to Exodus, …

Judas and Jesus: the betrayal

Judas & Jesus: Love Your Enemy

Paule Bible Study, Theology 2 Comments

Several years ago, there was a woman with a skilled habit of spreading false rumors about yours truly. Surprisingly, she was not my favorite person. One fine Sunday morning, she was standing about 4 rows in front of my wife and I getting her worship on as the entire congregation was singing. This woman raised her arms perpendicular to the floor while her palms were parallel and was swaying her hips to and fro. I can vividly recall glaring at her and contemplating how great of a hypocrite she was. I mean, here she …

Sunrise on mountain road "If you’re searching for God’s presence, find someone without a tunic."

Making God show up

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Every night we read to our children from the Read-N-Grow Picture Bible and, every once in a while, it catches me off guard. It does a pretty good job of covering most of the Bible but it obviously it has to condense quite a bit. This could sound like a weakness but it actually is its strength. I have discovered patterns and themes from a child’s picture bible that I had not noticed before. Sometimes they are big and span chapters – other times they are short and only cover a few …

A Western depiction of the Pentecost, painted by Jean II Restout, 1732.

Unbabeling Part 2

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In a previous post, I looked at the specific implication of how the Tower of Babel is being unbabeled today. Thanks to one of my friends (https://twitter.com/eibcb), I want to look at another type of unbabeling. First, we find that the Tower of Babel was a merciful act of the Lord at not only preventing the spread of evil but at also preserving the diversity of mankind. The Lord’s actions were not just to prevent the oppression of people through a singular group of a single tongue but also to preserve the …

Hebrews Infographic

Epistle to the Hebrews – Infographic

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My church recently preached through Hebrews and I made a infographic thingy for our sermon series. And I thought I would make my info thingy available as a free download (link below to a 8000 pixel wide graphic). You also may listen to our Hebrews series, of which I preached a couple of weeks, here. While I hope this would be relatively explanatory, I assume that you would need to trace the lines, look up the verses (in their context), and maybe even listen to our sermons to understand and appreciate the graphic. At …

A Brief Rumination: Sprinkled

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From chapter 7 to chapter 10, Hebrews is moving us into the Holy of Holies as Jesus does the work of a priest making atonement for the people. We are then invited to also enter through the veil into the Holy of Holies but the veil has become our high priest’s torn body (Hebrews 10:20). Every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a high priest would enter through the veil into the Holy of Holies with the blood of a goat and bull and sprinkle the Ark of the Covenant. In …