Recapitulation – Hosea 11:1

candleIt is not so strange really that I was not able to find a Christmas song or even a poem on the connection between Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:15.  The escape to Egypt is not usually a feature in our Christmas celebrations. the nature of the fulfillment is a challenge.  Hosea speaks of the nation and Matthew speaks of Jesus – how can that be a fulfillment?  It is because Jesus life is a sort of recapitulation of the History of Redemption.  There was a first Adam and a Second (Romans 5), there were shepherds and the Shepherd, there were kings and the King.  The temptation of Jesus was in the desert just like the testings of Israel (Matthew 4).  So I put together this piece called:


Adam, born of dust and Breath

            Jesus, of Mary and the Spirit.

Adam brought death.

            Jesus bought life.

 Building a tower to the stars

            Nations began to babble.

Abraham counted the stars

            And blessed the nations.

A star pointed the way.  

             From Babel to Bethlehem.

 A shepherd became king

            faced a giant with a sling.

He built a nation like no other

            And taught us to sing.

Shepherds came to see

            A Shepherd among sheep.

He is King and Lamb

            Who rules by love and word.

 Abraham’s kin found refuge

            Then slavery in Egypt

Moses brought a staff

            To lead them to a new land

Jesus in danger

            escaped to Egypt.

Israel and the Son

            Called out of Egypt.

 Lambs and bulls slain

            To atone for men

Until a Lamb was slain

            For all of them.

They made a tent that led

            Through the lands ahead.

The Word came with glory

            That dwelt in a tent of flesh.

 What happened before,

            Has happened again.

First early then late

            Events recapitulate.

Darkness will end

            In the glory of the One.


David Carlson – 12/11/2014

Christmas and the messy Family Tree

advent.wreathThis Advent I am preaching twice on the genealogy of Jesus found in Matthew 1:1-17.  It turns out to be pretty interesting.

In verse 1 and 17 Jesus is linked to Abraham, David and the Babylonian captivity.  This is how the family tree breaks out in the verses between.

  • Abraham to David is where the history of Israel goes from start to golden age.  We could call this section of history “creation” in the sense that God created and shaped a nation to be a blessing to the world.
  • David to Babylon is where the history of Israel falls on hard times.  David is both the high point and the dividing line, because of his adultery and murder, the House of David starts a sharp descent.  The kings that follow are mostly bad, even the good kings such as Solomon, Hezekiah and Josiah are flawed. This section of the history could be called the “fall”.
  • Babylon to Christ is the story of Restoration – slowly with many starts and stops – the nation is restored under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. But it ends in the birth of the Messiah.

So the family tree shows a parallel to the history of salvation;  Creation, fall and restoration.

There are three important titles:  son of Abraham, son of David and Christ.   Jesus was born to fulfill the calling to Abraham to be a blessing to the nations, he is to be a good ruler from the line of David who brings peace to the nations, and he is the Anointed one – the Messiah who was promised from the prophets on.

Then there are these odd additions to the family tree.

  • Tamar who was tricked by her father in law out of her rights who then turned a trick on him.  This Gentile adulteress-trickster is int he line of Christ.
  • Rahab was a prostitute who put her trust in the God of Israel
  • Ruth was a gentile who took the faith of her husbands people as her own.
  • “the wife of Uriah” is Bathsheba, who was the “other woman” in David’s life, yet she is also the mother of Solomon and in the line of Christ.
  • Mary, an unmarried young woman who carried a child under very unusual circumstances.

So the Gospel comes as a fulfillment of the historic promises of God to Abraham and David.  It is also a promise that the Messiah comes as part of the history of sinners.  He did not come to a world that looked like most Christmas cards, but to one that looks like the real messy world we actually live in.

The mission of Jesus is for messy people.  Good thing that.

Story in a story – David and Psalms

I once heard an author say that the best novels have a story within the story.  In Harry Potter, there is the struggle with V…., but then the friendships at the school.  In the Hobbit, the quest and the fellowship of the ring.  Of course in Seinfeld, nothing happened, but there were the characters that kept people watching.

I was looking up the concept of Goodness and ran into the verse from Psalm 34 – “Taste and see that the Lord is Good.”  It is an acrostic psalm attributed to David and linked to an event in his life recorded in I Samuel 21.  Some see no value in these comments introducing the psalms.  However, Bruce Waltke, suggests that they are ancient and represent something significant. (An OT Theology, p. 871ff).

So what I found in a quick study was how much trouble David was in, and how he called to God for help, or testified afterward to God’s faithfulness.  This might be grist for an interesting study or sermon series sometime.  If I don’t get attacked, zombie apocalypse like, from all the OT scholars here in Madison.

Here is the list and OT Text

  • Psalm 3, 2 Sam 15:14-17 – when David fled from Absalom
  • Psalm 7, “the words of Cush”, not in scripture
  • Psalm 18, 2 Sam 22, Rescued from Saul
  • Psalm 30, I Chron 22, Dedication of the Temple
  • Psalm 34, I Sam 21, Escape from Abimelech
  • Ps 51, 2 Samuel 12, Nathan confronts David about Bathsheba
  • Ps 52, I Sam 22:9, David and Abimelech
  • Ps 56, I Sam 21, 22, Philistines seize David
  • Ps 57, I Sam 22, Hid from Saul in a Cave
  • Psalm 59, I Sam 19:11, Saul sends men to kill David
  • Psalm 60,  2 Sam 8, 10; I Chron 18, Battle of Valley of Salt
  • Ps 63, 2 Sam 16:14, 17:2,29; In Wilderness
  • Ps 142, I Sam 22 (Ps 57); In Cave
At first glance it looks like David learned the art of prayer in the school of hard knocks.
Does that sound familiar?


God’s Sense of Humor – 2 Samuel 7

So we find that David wanted to build a “house” for the Lord.  In this case “house” means a house of worship – made of solid materials and luxurious – suited to bring Glory to God.  However, the Lord, through Nathan says to David, “So you, whom I plucked from behind the sheep, want to give me a house?  I will give you a house.”  In the second use, “house” means dynasty. 

That is, folks, a pun.  Some call puns the “lowest form of humor.”  So the Almighty stoops to puns to communicate!  I wonder if he laughs at his own jokes.  When you stop reading the bible as if it is to be read by a newscaster you will find that there are many bits of humor like this – OT scholars call this “word play.” 

So David wanted to make a name for himself by building a house for God.  God had a better idea, David’s name would endure with glory, because it is attached to the one king who can fulfill the eternal promise of this text – I think you know who we mean.

2 Samuel 7:16 
    And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.

Luke 1:31-33
    And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. [32] He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, [33] and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.