Advent Readings – 25 Promises from Isaiah

We all received these on Sunday in the bulletin.  If you would like to follow along during the days of December, these are 25 passages that found fulfillment in Christ.

You can download the handout here – 25DAYS.web

Advertisements

ESV Literary Study Bible – Isaiah 63-65

I have been using the ESV Literary Study Bible.  At first I was underwhelmed in that the format does not have a lot of information compared to other study bibles.  However, what I do like is that it is set up for reading.  for example the Lectionary passage for Advent is Isaiah 64:1-9, but the LSB has placed that in the context of two chapters of lament (Is 63, 64) followed by a response from the Lord (Is 65).  This was just enough information for me to see how the parts fit and what general context they address.

“Where are your zeal and might?” 63:15

“O Lord, why do you make us wander from your ways? and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?” 63:17

“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would quake in your presence…” 64:1

“Will you keep silent and afflict us so terribly?” 64:12

“I was ready to be sought by house who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.  I said ‘Here am I, here am I.’  to a nation that was not called by my name

I spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way not good….” 65:1-2

Seen in this light, these passages remind me of the disputations between Job and his comforters and finally between the Lord and Job.  Isaiah seems to raising a complaint/lament and God seems to be answering. Isaiah says, “Where are you in our distress?”  The Lord answers, “I have been here all along, but you have sought others.”

The other thing is that the paper is rather thin as is the color of the printing ink – so read with a good light!

Give Thanks to the Lord

A mentor from my college days used to say, “a good teacher repeats basic lessons.”

Psalm 136 (ESV)

    Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who alone does great wonders,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who by understanding made the heavens,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who spread out the earth above the waters,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who made the great lights,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

the sun to rule over the day,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

the moon and stars to rule over the night,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

10  to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

11  and brought Israel out from among them,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

12  with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

13  to him who divided the Red Sea in two,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

14  and made Israel pass through the midst of it,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

15  but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

16  to him who led his people through the wilderness,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

17  to him who struck down great kings,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

18  and killed mighty kings,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

19  Sihon, king of the Amorites,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

20  and Og, king of Bashan,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

21  and gave their land as a heritage,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

22  a heritage to Israel his servant,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

23  It is he who remembered us in our low estate,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

24  and rescued us from our foes,

for his steadfast love endures forever;

25  he who gives food to all flesh,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

26  Give thanks to the God of heaven,

for his steadfast love endures forever.

Murmuring in the Tent –

So dear readers, with the holiday season fast approaching – and I am not referring to anything having to do with the NFL – the postings will be sporadic at best.

“Is that a change?” You ask.

Let’s say, even more sporadic.

I am enjoying this work by Alister McGrath.  What is it about British Evangelicals?  Their academics are accessible (maybe it is the importance of reading widely over there that makes them good writers) and their pastors who write are scholarly.  Too often American evangelicals are either academic and irrelevant or too much “how-to” with chest thumping to be of much help.

I am also thinking that the Gospel stories need to be told, not summarized, analyzed, abstracted and alliterated.

I’ve decided that jazz and art classes ought to be added to the seminary curriculum – one needs a strategy of diversion to get to the message sometimes.

and, about that murmmuring….i am not a fan of the cultural mish-mash of Christmas or is it Xmas, but have come to look forward to Advent each year.

Here, for fun is something you can cut up in December to keep your thoughts Advent like, and them make a paper chain. Print this on colored paper and you have art.  Put on some Jazz and you are set.  adventchain.numbered

 

Ephesians 2:1-10 – Whose Biography is that?

The flow of Ephesians 1 was Praise followed by Prayer.  Chapter 2 turns to biography.

You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy….  (NRSV)

That does not sound like me.  I was more a church raised kid who did not get into a lot of rabble rousing or immerse myself in the pleasueres of the flesh.  But then I found this comment in the ESV Literary Study Bible, “The first half of the chapter (vv. 1-10) is a corporate spiritual biography that tells the story of Gentile salvation.”

So if we read the Bible as a personal note to ourselves, we will meet these issues:  “That does not sound like me!”  However, if we read it as a book written directly to others but of indirect value to us, it makes more sense.  This is the story of the gospel coming to those who had been excluded from the Lord’s work with Israel.  It is not so much “my story” as “our story.”

What were my ancestors up to in the year 50 AD?  Were they even in the land we call Sweden at that time?  Were they planting, harvesting, brewing, and dancing to the sunrise and solstice?  Were they whacking one another with clubs?  I have no idea.  But the transformation of the Scandinavian people from the religion of Thor to that of the Lord can be seen in their art – from Dragons to Christ.  Often the “Stavkirke” or Stave Churches show outside art with dragons, with inside art with Christian symbols.  The door to the church marks the transition from the old to the new.

Check out this Stavkirke – especially the dragons!