'Jacob' Tagged Posts

'Jacob' Tagged Posts

OUR SUBSTITUTE

Our old teachers spoke often about “the vicarious atonement.”  We got it, because they explained it.    Churchy words such as, “justification” (to declare not guilty), or “redemption” (to be ransomed by the blood of Christ when we were held hostage by sin, death and hell), or “reconciliation” (that God made friends of us when we were His declared enemies) – these and countless other rich Bible words do not need to be dummied down to a vanilla vocabulary.  They…

“MY SOUL WAITS FOR THE LORD”

We spend our lives waiting for things big and little.  We wait for our first day of school, for our first two-wheeled bike, for our first date, for our first job, for our driver’s license, for our life’s partner, for our first child, for grandchildren and for retirement. The danger, of course, is that we spend our lives so anxious about tomorrow that we lose all appreciation for today.  The ungrudging goodness of God is something to be experienced every…

THE GREAT SIMPLIFIER

People sometimes complain that the Bible is too difficult, that they can’t understand it.  Certainly, like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. It does take faithful Bible reading habits to connect some of the dots, to see sinful man and a sinless Christ in the ceremonies and sacrifices of Leviticus, to get a handle on the numerous kings of Judah and Israel and the warnings and comfort to be found there, to use the…

PILGRIM’S PROGRESS

1500 years ago the church father, Augustine, wrote his classic work – The City of God.   He compared the worldly “city” founded by Cain’s descendants with “the City of God” belonging to believers. 300 years ago an imprisoned British preacher named John Bunyan wrote a book called Pilgrim’s Progress.  It’s the story of a man named Christian who sets out from the City of Destruction to go to the Celestial City – that is, Heaven.  The book tells of all…

GOD’S SECRET SERVICE

On Jacob’s homeward march to the land of Canaan, the Bible tells us that “the angels of God met him.” “Angels” are still a trendy subject in the tabloids, magazines, bookstores and television.  A number of years ago, TV favorites included Highway To Heaven and Touched By An Angel.  In the theaters, Christopher Lloyd helped win ball games as an angel in Angels In The Outfield.  A holiday favorite from years ago was It’s A Wonderful Life.    The underlying idea…

“THE BALAAM SYNDROME”

As the calendar year winds down and Advent ushers in a new church year, our thoughts focus on the future.  The Scriptures clearly tell us what awaits those who trust in Jesus and those who don’t. When it comes to the future, one writer describes what he calls “the Balaam syndrome.” You can read about the sorcerer, Balaam, in the Old Testament book of Numbers (chapters 22-25).   Hired by Balak, king of Moab, to curse Israel on its march to…

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

In the next few months we will go back to the beginning, to the opening chapters of Genesis.  The first eleven chapters of Genesis take us back to when the world was young. Dr. Martin Luther wrote a massive commentary on Genesis – 8 volumes when translated into English.  He continued to polish that work until shortly before he died.  He called Genesis “the most beautiful book in the world.” The last century or so has not been as kind…

“TAUGHT BY GOD”

In a world that had largely lost the Bible, the goal of Luther and others was that all of God’s people might be Theodidacti – “Taught by God.” To that end, Luther wrote The Small Catechism as a short summary of the very basics that every Christian ought to know about God – His law in the Commandments, His gospel in the three articles of the Creed, how to pray with the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, how to apply…

“THE LEAST OF THESE”

A fellow tells this story from his college days: “During my second month of school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. “I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one:  ‘What is the name of the woman who cleans the school?’ “Surely this was some kind of joke.  I had seen the cleaning woman several times.  She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50’s, but how would I know her name?…

“LOOK AT THE FIELDS!”

The disciples show up just as Jesus has finished talking to a shady lady at Jacob’s well.  She has gone back to the village with her tale of a man who told her everything she ever did, a man who offered her living water, a man who must indeed be the Messiah, the Christ of God! Pointing to the fields of grain blowing in the breeze, Jesus reminds the disciples of their own daily small talk about crops and weather…

THE TRIALS OF THE GODLY

In Genesis 37 we are told that the young Joseph, favored son of his father, Jacob, was sold into slavery in Egypt by his own brothers.  The sacred text tells us how faithful Joseph was – to God and everyone around him.  How many 17 year old young men, betrayed and sold by his own brothers, kidnapped by slave-traders, sold into servitude in a land far from home, would function with such faith?  How many instead would use these traumas…

DIVINE SERENDIPITY

Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell the story.  On the road to Jericho sit two blind men.  Mark and Luke focus on one of the men in particular.  Mark tells us his name is Bartimaeus.   The day for these two men began as all of their days must have begun.  They were led by some kind soul to their usual spot on the roadside to beg – the only form of social assistance in those days.   They expected…