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February 2012

Test of faith

Genesis 22:1-19 What is the Bible? Sometimes Christians are the worst at answering that question.  Many will reply: “The Maker’s Instruction Manual.”  Or “God’s Road Map.”  Most often religious folk will see it as, essentially, a moral guidebook for right living.  But if ever there was a story to explode that misconception it’s this one.  Abraham […]

Fire and brimstone

Genesis 18:16-33; 19:23-29 These days the phrase “fire and brimstone” is more associated with a style of preaching than with the reality they preach.  “Fire and brimstone” preaching is what our culture fears.  Rarely does it occur to us to fear fire and brimstone itself. “Fire and brimstone” continually describes the judgement of God in the […]

Sodom and Gomorrah

Genesis 19:1-14 The mention of “Sodom and Gomorrah” conjures up images of unbridled lust and debauchery.  They were the original sin cities.  And their judgement is constantly held up in the Bible as a cautionary tale for all.  But both their sins and their judgement aren’t as straightforward as some might present it. Almost the […]

Circumcision

Genesis 17:1-27 “Miss!” asks the inquisitive Sunday School-er, “What’s circumcision?”  Miss turns the colour of an Englishman on Bondi Beach.  “Don’t worry about that,” she flusters.  “That’s for grown-ups.” But it’s not.  According to Genesis 17, circumcision is for 8-day-olds.  It was a “sign of the covenant” given to Abraham and his seed.  So from […]

Covenant

Genesis 15:8-21 Yesterday we considered the first half of Genesis 15.   We thought about the LORD overwhelming the fears of Abraham with even greater promises.  Today we’ll think about the climax of that process. Abraham has trusted the LORD Christ and been pronounced “righteous” in God’s sight (v6).  It’s wonderful news but Abraham asks […]

Fear not

Genesis 15:1-8 “The word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’” What overwhelms you?  Either for good or ill – what knocks you off your feet? According to the Bible, either life overwhelms you and we call that fear.  Or […]

Abraham

Genesis 12:1-9 In Australia, where I’m from, it’s not uncommon to give people joke names.  So a giant of a man might be nicknamed “Shorty” or a red-head will be called “Blue.” The LORD seems to have a similar sense of humour.  In Genesis 17:5, childless Abram is re-named “Abraham” which means “father of a […]

Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:1-9 When I was 11 years old I invented a religion.  Except that there was nothing new about it.  I imagined a god who demanded moral goodness and punished shortfalls.  And with a combination of carrots and sticks my god would prod me towards some kind of “better place.”  I wasn’t the first to […]

Rainbow

Genesis 9:1-17 Not a rain-arc.  Not a rain-wheel.  Not a rain-dome.  A rain-bow.  Why rain bow? Here’s what God says after the flood-waters abate: “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, […]

Olive branch

Genesis 8:1-22 A previously hostile nation offering terms of peace.  A business competitor bringing a promising deal.  A chastened husband presenting a bunch of flowers.  Any of these cases might be called “bearing an olive branch.” There are different views about how the olive branch became associated with peace.  But its importance in the flood […]