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June 2011

The Desire of All Nations

There is a limit and a longing to us all.  And that interaction between the limit and the longing defines our human condition.  We are finite creatures, and yet this finite world does not satisfy. The prophet Haggai wrote in the 6th century BC to the Israelites in a strange kind of in-between time.  They […]

In the twinkling of an eye

[Apologies for this post out of sequence] What have been the decisive moments in your life?  Can you pinpoint certain choices or “chance encounters” that have shaped your destiny?  One single piece of news, good or bad, can change everything.  Sometimes our whole world can turn “in the twinkling of an eye.” When the Apostle […]

Sackcloth and ashes

Could Jonah be the most successful evangelist in the Bible?  In Hebrew the report of his sermon consists of 5 words.  And yet, in response, the 120 000 residents of Nineveh cover themselves in sackcloth and ashes and turn to the LORD. Sackcloth was the clothing of mourning.  Ashes were also a reminder of mortality.  […]

Reap the whirlwind

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Paul’s saying from Galatians 6:7 is a common biblical theme.  The judgement which befalls the wicked is not an alien imposition.  It is the way they’ve been heading all along, the destination of their course, the fruit of their living. Hosea looks on the northern kingdom, […]

Play the harlot

How would you feel if you had your yearly work review and the verdict on your performance was, “Unfaithful.”  You might expect negatives like “incompetent” or “negligent” or “unqualified” or “lazy”.  But “unfaithful”?  What if your boss said your work was “adulterous”?  “Adulterous”?  You might well protest: “Hang on, I’m not married to my job […]

For ever and ever

Given the suffering of this world, how can anyone believe in a good God or a happy ending? In Daniel 7, the prophet has a vision of the most terrible cruelty imaginable.  It was a “vision by night” that left him, in his own words, “grieved in my spirit… and the visions of my head […]

Daniel in the Lion's Den

The bible is all about dramatic reversals. Perhaps Mary said it best when she was told that the Mighty Christ would be born into her humble circumstances: “He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath […]

The writing is on the wall

In the Fuhrerbunker, Hitler married Eva Braun and the generals toasted the “Thousand Year Reich.”  But the writing was on the wall.  The phrase denotes the judgement of doom that gatecrashes the dinner party. The original party-pooping happened to the Babylonian King, Belshazzar.  In all probability, the invading Medes were already upon them and so […]

Feet of clay

It’s the biblical equivalent of the Achilles’ heel.  When a leader has a flaw that makes him vulnerable he has “feet of clay.” The phrase orginates in the book of Daniel which, like Ezekiel, is set in the Babylonian captivity.  Daniel, along with others, is carried away to Babylon and then hand-picked to serve in […]

Thus saith the LORD

“Says who?” Children learn that phrase very quickly.  A sibling tells them to set the table.  What happens next depends entirely on the source of the command.  If the reply comes: “Thus saith mum!” things might just get moving. Hundreds of times the bible contains this phrase:  “Thus saith the LORD.”  Even when it’s the […]