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June 2016

The desire of all nations

Haggai 2 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 to the Israelites in the 6th century BC: a strange kind of in-between time.  […]

From of old, from everlasting

Micah 5 How did Israel understand its Messiah? That’s a question Jesus himself asks in Mark chapter 12.  Jesus directs his hearers to Psalm 110 and asks the question: 35 How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?  36For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, “The LORD said to my Lord, […]

Sackcloth and ashes

Jonah 3-4 Is Jonah the Bible’s most successful evangelist?  In Hebrew his sermon consists of just 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.  To cover oneself in […]

Jonah and the whale

Jonah 1-2 “Arise, go to Nineveh” says the LORD.  Jonah arises and runs in the opposite direction.  There is much that is comic about the book of Jonah.  Its protagonist is something of an anti-hero.  Jonah does everything in his power to thwart God’s evangelistic mission to Nineveh.  First he runs in the opposite direction.  […]

Reap the whirlwind

Hosea 7-8 “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.  It’s simply the fruit of their lives. Hosea looks on the northern kingdom, about […]

Play the harlot

Hosea 1-3 How would you feel if your yearly work review summed up your performance as, “Unfaithful?”  You might expect negatives like “incompetent” or “lazy”.  But, “unfaithful”?  What if your your work was described as“adulterous”?  Adulterous? Surely you’re not married to your job! And yet, throughout the Bible, the LORD says to His people, “You […]

Forever and ever

Daniel 7 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 horrific cruelty.  It was a “vision by night” that left him, in his own words, “grieved in my spirit… and the visions of my head troubled me.” […]

Daniel in the lion’s den

Daniel 6 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 […]

The writing is on the wall

Daniel 5 In the Fuhrerbunker, Hitler married Eva Braun and his generals toasted the “Thousand Year Reich.”  But “the writing was on the wall”.  This phrase denotes a judgement of doom that gatecrashes the dinner party. The original party-pooping judgement happened to the Babylonian King, Belshazzar.  In all probability, the invading Medes were upon them and […]

Feet of clay

Daniel 2 It’s the biblical equivalent of an Achilles’ heel.  When a leader has a flaw that makes him vulnerable he is said to have “feet of clay.” The phrase originates in the book of Daniel which, like Ezekiel, is set in the Babylonian captivity.  Daniel, along with others, is carried away to Babylon and […]