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A soft answer turneth away wrath

Why doesn’t God simply forgive us of our sins?  Why the mess and the agony of the cross?  Why the elaborate nature of atonement – prefigured through millions of animal deaths, and then purchased by the death of Christ Himself? Surely God could go to our sin folder, hit “Select all” and drag it into the […]

The words of the wise

We’ve seen Job and the Psalms, now the books of “wisdom literature” continue as we turn to the book of Proverbs.   Here we have a long and colourful fireside chat.  It’s the words of a father to his son.  Verse 1 introduces us to the father: “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king […]

Miserable comforters

The world cannot abide innocent suffering.  It unnerves us, to put it mildly.  Some of this is compassion.  But much of it is fear and selfishness. Our (subterranean) thought processes go something like this:  If tragedy really is indiscriminate, then the world really is an unsafe place to make my home.  If my careful preparations, […]

Balaam's ass

Christianity is big business today.  Speakers can command live audiences of tens, even hundreds of thousands.  Millions more can view on television or buy their books.  What should we make of their popularity?  How should we assess their ministry? Balaam’s ass is in the bible to remind us that speaking spiritual words is no guarantee […]

Taking the LORD's name in vain

Protestors will often march carrying placards: “Not in my name.”  They are incensed that their government would act in ways completely at odds with their own ethos. At Mount Sinai, the Father is similarly concerned. “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him […]

Putting words in his mouth

If you accuse me of putting words in your mouth you’re probably complaining that I’m misrepresenting your views.  Perhaps I have elaborated on your statement in a way you never intended.  “Stop putting words in my mouth,” you’ll say. But the biblical origin of the phrase is a little different. In the bible, Moses is […]