Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sing it with Moses!: Deuteronomy 32

In Summary:

Moses composes a song for the people of Israel. It’s not a love song. It’s not a rock song. It’s a reminder song. This chapter is, primarily, the “Song of Moses.” You can connect it with the “Song of Moses” in Exodus 15. (Which Miriam taught to many and it became part of the celebration of the people.) This song, though, is not just celebratory. It is also a warning song. The layout matches a “lawsuit” format, where Moses presents God’s allegations against Israel.

The Song should be seen as a proactive warning, though, and not a reaction. At least not as of yet: Moses is presenting the past of Israel and the potential future of Israel. If they heed Deuteronomy 32:2, though, they will avoid this collapse. This is, practically speaking, the consequences side of the “Terms and Conditions,” spelling out how a breach of the covenant will be handled.

As to the poetic or musical nature of the Song of Moses, it is evidenced by the Hebrew form. Beyond that, we do not have a tune or instrumentation for the Song. Taking apart all of the imagery would be the work of much more time than we have here. One aspect that stands out is how often God is referred to as the Rock.

In Focus:

Rather than take a portion of the Song, which is well worth your time, I’d like to draw your attention to Deuteronomy 32:46-7. Moses has not written this for the purpose of indicting the people. He is striving to remind them and provide the path to walk in obedience and avoid the negative side of these events.

This is why it’s recorded in a song type. It’s easier to remember that way, and from the song that should be on everyone’s lips in recitation, they will find a reminder to go back to the Law and the full covenant. As Moses reminds them, this is not just words. This is their life, the totality of who they are as God’s people: the work God has done in their lives and the worship they owe him in their life.

In Practice:

Practically speaking, the first question for us is “What drives our music?” This is valid whether we are talking about church music, music we listen to as Christians, or music in general. What drives it? Are we driven to listen to what we ought to be? Driven to listen to what we are? Or what we shouldn’t be? Do we let what we take in bring to mind the fullness of our life or push us away from it?

Second, what is the fullness of our life? Is it the stuff we have or the relationship we have with God? And keep in mind: there is precious little here about an “individual relationship with God.” This is the stuff of a group of people walking before God together. Are we doing that? Or are we trying our hand at solo Christianity?

Third, we can look ahead and see the consequences of willful disobedience, just like the Israelites could. Do we avoid it? Or plunge right into it?

In Nerdiness:

Notice the next step is for Moses to die and hand off leading the people. I also find some interesting thoughts to the shift from “Lord said to Moses…” to “Moses spoke…” While it’s all inspired by God, there is almost a different feel to the Mosaic summary.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book: Core Christianity

Author’s note: Well, I’m a touch behind on book reviews, so I’ll be trying to catch up on them. Most of the books I will review are ones provided (given, free, not-paid-for-by-me) to me for review. None of the sources require anything but an honest review.

If you search Amazon.com for “Core Christianity,” you’ll find several books with that title. And a few others that don’t have anything like it in their title. In fairness to author Michael Horton, the full title here is Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story. Being a big fan of Horton’s The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, I wanted to read this less-than-textbook sized offering. After all, this one’s 192 pages instead of 1056…and hurts less when you drop it on your foot!

With that being said, it’s also worth noting that Horton approaches theology from a Reformed perspective. (He’s the author of For Calvinism, after all.) That being said, Core Christianity looks at theology from a broad enough perspective that even Baptists who blanch at words like “predestination” can benefit from it.

First, Horton addresses theology from a practical angle. The subtitle is not false advertising: this book is about how we as people fit in the work of God. He has taken the time, throughout, to provide background information showing how the specific doctrines of the faith mentioned are truly universally held.

Rather than dwelling on the finer points of theology, Horton has focused on central tenets such as the Trinity and the Incarnation of Jesus. That is how this attains the goal of being about “Core” Christianity. I am not quite ready to put this alongside Mere Christianity, but I can readily see it as a basic discussion text for small groups of Christians wanting to grow.

I can readily recommend this one for growth in Christ.

Free book? Y:ep. Influence? Maybe, but I did buy the much more expensive academic version of it, so it’s not like I’m a mindless drone. More like a theology book nut who somehow gets small books free and buys big ones.

Sermon Recap for May 22

Well, I was gone May 22. Ann and the kids and I were off, vacationing and stuff. Bob Fielding, a good friend and part of the Missions Team for Arkansas Baptists, brought the Word of the Lord for us at East End Baptist Church. He did well…although he should have preached a little longer. No telling when we’ll get good preaching again. Oh, wait, yes there is: July 31. David Mason from the Central Baptist Association will be preaching while I’m in Peru. (No, that’s not code for anything. I’m going to Peru.)

Then, August 24 through 28th, Dr. Emil Turner will be preaching. So there’s a couple of opportunities ahead!

Meanwhile, Bob Fielding:

 

Also, I’d like to encourage you to consider installing the East End Baptist Church App on your phone. It doesn’t get you discounts or anything, but in due time it will make it easy for you to see sermons and other content from us!

Apple:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/east-end-baptist-church/id1105686882?ls=1&mt=8
Android:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sharefaith.sfchurchapp_9b37b91d67fee657