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Showing posts from 2018

Sermon Recap from April 29

Here is what you'll find: after each sermon title, there's an "audio" link that allows you to play or download that sermon's audio file. Then there should be an embedded Youtube Link to the sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!

Sermon Recap for April 22 2018

Well, first it was a disastrous day for me at the mic. Several moments of stumbling over words, but that’s the way it goes. Then, we had one too many hands on the video camera in the morning, but you can listen and imagine what I look like!Here is what you'll find: after each sermon title, there's an "audio" link that allows you to play or download that sermon's audio file. Then there should be an embedded Youtube Link to the sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!Morning Sermon:Evening Sermon

Matthew 12:30-50 #eebc2018

This section starts with a bang. Our modern society does not care much for absolutes and hard choices--after all, "only a Sith deals in absolutes" was a well-applauded line (despite the irony of that statement being an absolute)--and casting things in shades of gray has been a long-running habit.But Jesus makes it very, very plain, that anyone who is not with Him is against Him. That is not the world's way. We want to join in for some of the effort, pull out for others.The Christian life is not so--we are either fully committed to the Lord or we are involved on the other side. This is one of the errors of our modern society. We want to take a little Jesus here, try a little Christianity over there, when all the while God's Word tells us that we have to choose.This is the challenge of Christian discipleship: to understand that we live by grace. Full stop. Without grace, we have nothing. We can do nothing. Without Christ, we have no grace.The next step, though, is to r…

Sermon Recap for April 15

Well, Tax Day is upon us….here are the sermons from April 15. We observed the Lord’s Supper in the evening service, so the audio and video may seem a bit odd.Here is what you'll find: after each sermon title, there's an "audio" link that allows you to play or download that sermon's audio file. Then there should be an embedded Youtube Link to the sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!Morning Sermon:Evening Sermon:

Matthew 11:25-12:29 #eebc2018

One of the challenges we have in reading the Bible comes from something added to the text as a helpful tool: the chapter and verse markings. Apart from the Psalms, there are no divisions like this within the original text. The Psalms are all individual, and the strange case of the titles is for a post on the Psalms.The chapter divisions, if we are not careful, can lead us to make a separation that does not belong. For example, in this section of text, the well-known phrase "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:30) is in a different chapter from the events of chapter 12 where Jesus both reasserts the importance of the Sabbath and clears out the additions that the Pharisees had added to it.If we do not read carefully, we will make an artificial and unhelpful division between those two sections and miss an important point. Take a look at how these go together: Jesus promises a burden but one that is restful. The Sabbath, under the structures of the cultural situa…

Book: Biblical Leadership

Attempting to catch up on life…and not doing too well with that. Here’s one that’s up against a hard deadline, though, so making progress.As we get to today’s book, Biblical Leadership, it’s important to start with an understanding of what the discipline of “Biblical Theology” is. While the source of all the theology we do as Christians should be the Bible, “Biblical Theology” is the specific study of what the Bible has to say in certain sections about a theological topic. To that end, Biblical Leadership, edited by Benjamin K. Forrest and Chet Roden, is a Biblical Theology text regarding leadership. This is a compiled work from Kregel Academic, with various contributors focusing on different portions of the Biblical text. For example, Joseph Hellerman, author of Embracing Shared Ministry and the EGGNT volume on Philippians, handles the chapter on Pauline theology. As with any multi-author work, some of the authors are more ‘favorites’ than others. Other authors include Andreas Kosten…

Exodus 3 #eebc2018

Get to work.Seriously, get to it.You think that the flocks you pasture, the wealth you acquire, the security you have, is what God has for you to do all the time.It is not.It is not your greatest good to enlarge the financial well-being of yourself. It is not your greatest calling to comfortably relax at home at the end of the day.Your calling, based on on Matthew 28:18-20, is to go forth and make disciples of all nations. Just as God called Moses, here, and sent him out from comfort and ease, so He has commissioned every one of us to make the priority of our lives sharing the Gospel with the nations.So get to work. You are not going to get a burning bush, an engraved invitation, or a vision in the Temple, because God has already given His word.And the sooner we will be about it, the better we will find our lives to be.You may wonder, "But what about...."Realize that God is keenly aware of your needs. Who is the better provider, you or Him? Is He not able to handle the needs…

Exodus 2 #eebc2018

One might argue that the story of Moses begins here, in Exodus 2. For narrative purposes, that would be a good statement. But really, Moses' story begins way back in Genesis. The word that we translate as "basket" in Exodus 2 is the same word that is translated as "ark" in Genesis 7. In the variety that is the English language, the "Ark of the Covenant" that we will get to later in Exodus is not the same word for "Ark." So, if you want to make a connection from Genesis to Exodus, you should make it between the boat and the basket, not the boat and the box.Which is a valuable lesson on two fronts. First, the overall Biblical languages front: we must remember that the Bible was not originally in English. English is one of hundreds of receptor languages for translations of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that the Bible was written in. Therefore, if you want to fully engage with the text you need to access those languages. I recommend a …

Genesis 50:22-26, Exodus 1 #eebc2018

Genesis ends with the death of Joseph, but not before he saw his great-grandchildren and had his descendants swear to take his bones from Egypt and bury them in the Promised Land. Worth considering here is that, apparently, some change had occurred in Egypt and the surrounding areas that prohibited Joseph from being buried like Jacob was--directly transported to the land of Canaan (remember, it's not Israel yet) and buried. Exactly what the problem may have been is not certain, but there's something going on here.That's how Genesis wraps up--from "In the Beginning, God..." to a temporary burial in Egypt. It's a narrowing scope.Exodus then begins with a reminder of who came down to Egypt. Then the news turns bad. The new Pharaoh does not "know" Joseph. There are a couple of meaning points here. First is the obvious one: Joseph is dead, so the Pharaoh does not know Joseph--he's never met him, like you've never met George Washington or Thomas J…

Matthew 10:40-11:24 #eebc2018

This segment of Scripture goes from good to bad, in just about 30 verses. We start with the positive, cheerful idea that those who support and encourage a ministry or a follower of Jesus are rewarded just as those who are encouraged and keep on in their good works. Then we finish with the idea that judgment day will be better for Sodom and Sidon than for the cities that rejected Jesus...That's a mood shift in your daily Bible reading for you. Let's take the pieces and put it together:First, there is a unifying theme in these segments: the work of spreading the message of the Gospel. The first section deals with those who encourage the messengers, the second with the discouraged messenger, and the last with those who ignore the proclaimed message. The thread of messages and messengers tracks across this set of passages.So, what about it? First, to recognize that some people are charged with spreading the message--the opening section deals with prophets, righteous people, and li…

Genesis 47:20-49:33 #eebc2018

Jacob and family are now settled in the land of Goshen. For the time being, it is their salvation from the famine and the place where their family will build its identity. Eventually, it will become something far worse. That's a truth worth considering: sometimes a place is good at one time and bad at another. It may go from bad to good, or do what occurs here and go from good to bad. But remember that one's life should not be welded to a geographic location. Instead, the relationships you have with God and with others are what should define you.During the famine, Pharaoh acquires all the land of Egypt, turning the economy to more of a serfdom-based system than it was before. After this time, the people of Egypt are not free to do as they wish, but instead must work land belonging to Pharaoh. The exceptions? The priestly groups of Egypt and...that small Hebrew family that just moved into Goshen. Their land was on loan from Pharaoh, but the flocks were their own. And their food…

Genesis 46:8-47:19 #eebc2018

This passage opens with the lineage of Jacob, showing his sons and their sons. One of the purposes here is to establish a total number: seventy people. This includes Joseph, Asenath, and their two sons. It's not a huge number of people, which is the point. This is not an invasion force, it's just a family.Next we see Joseph guide his family to settle in the land of Goshen, which is in the Nile Delta area. It is less reliable for farming, but still excellent as a grazing land. A fringe benefit? The family does not have to get all the way into Egypt, down amidst the temples and government. (There is no archaeological evidence that Joseph wanted to be far  from On, where his mother-in-law lived.)Where does this fit in Egyptian history? That's a great question. One major theory puts it during the Second Intermediate Period, during the ascendancy of the Hyksos. I prefer a date in the Twelfth Dynasty, placing these events in the Middle Bronze Age of Egypt.Joseph settles his fami…

Matthew 8:28-9:17 #eebc2018

The Pharisees were convinced they knew Scripture well. And they did, many of them having dedicated their whole lives to the study and practice of the Word of God. Yet they did not fully understand the facts that they knew, they did not grasp the implications of the words.This is why Matthew 9:13 records Jesus pointing them back to Hosea 6:6. The Pharisees had facts, but those facts were empty. They did not understand how the Word of God was given to them so that they could treat others differently, treat others with the mercy which God had for both the Pharisees and everyone else.The problem echoes in the question of John's disciples about fasting. The disciples of Jesus did not fast enough, did not mourn, did not weep, but instead were generally joyous and celebratory. Why the difference?It is the difference in those who know about God and those who know God. It is the difference of a life in a relationship compared to a life lived at a distance. Consider the difference in readin…

Sermon Recap for Easter Sunday

We didn’t record the Sunrise Service because, well, that was one more complication that I wasn’t up for. Here is the sermon from this morning:

Book: Readings in Historical Theology

While this is a somewhat older book (for Internet reviews), the content is fairly stable. It was a gift from Kregel Academic back in January. I’m running behind on book reviews.Before you dig into Robert F. Lay’s Readings in Historical Theology, it’s worth understanding what “Historical Theology” is. Historical Theology is the study (basically) of what the church has believed about certain things during various times. For example, tracing the understanding of what has been believed about the return of Christ in different eras is a function of “Historical Theology.” This is compared to “Biblical Theology” which examines what specific sections of Biblical texts (individual books, Old Testament, New Testament, Paul, John) teach about an issue or “Systematic Theology” which takes the whole of Scripture and sees what it teaches about specific subjects. Usually, one uses the categories from Systematic Theology to organize the other disciplines, but also uses the Bible to define the categori…

Matthew 7:15-8:27 #eebc2018

This passage wraps up the Sermon on the Mount and includes verses that belong with Matthew 7:1. 7:1 is the well-known "Judge not, lest ye be judged" passage, but didn't say that in a vacuum. He also didn't just drop it as a one-liner. Instead, He preached that as part of a sermon that also includes Matthew 7:19-20 which tells us that we will know people by their fruit.The difference? Fruit is clear and evident, it's not a judgment based on fleck of dust but on repetitive evidence seen in actions. If you are 'evaluating' someone based on what you think it means that they wore that kind of clothing, you're in the wrong. If you are judging someone as sinful because they are an abusive spouse, then you're probably judging the fruit rightly: it's bad fruit. They are in need of repentance.Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount by highlighting the importance of putting what He has said into practice. If we do not follow-through and actually do somet…

Genesis 45:1-46:7 #eebc2018

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers in this passage, and then sends for his father to come to Egypt. He provides for the practical needs of the elderly and smaller children to travel and works to reunite his family.Jacob is, naturally, a bit unsettled by all of this. After all, he has believed Joseph is dead for two decades. He determines that he will go down and see Joseph before his death.But on the way, he makes an important stop. At Beer-sheba, he makes sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. This is the first time in a while we have seen Jacob offer sacrifices. One might think Joseph's apparent death had put a hold on Jacob's relationship with God. (It is impossible to be certain, as we don't have all the details of the last 20 years.)Here, though, he takes the step back. In this incident, it is Jacob's actions that bring him back into a relationship with God. He offers sacrifices and then God speaks to him. God gives him permission to go on down to Egypt an…

Genesis 43:16-44:34 #eebc2018

Joseph now has his brothers in his power. Consider the opportunity for revenge. Consider the opportunity to take everything they have ever done wrong and jam it right back down their throats.Is that not a temptation for us sometimes as well? When we're right and we know we are right? It may have been years--after all, for Joseph it has been at least 2 years, and likely many more. Genesis 37:2 has Joseph at 17 years old and he enters Pharaoh's service at 30 (Genesis 41:46). Given that specific ages are usually mentioned to highlight when the events around them happen, that would suggest a gap of 20 years or more for Joseph, since the famine comes along seven years after he starts working for the Egyptian government.Twenty years have passed, and now Joseph has all the power. It's like the dream of every kid who was an outcast of some kind in high school: at the reunion, nobody will pick on me anymore! They'll see I was right and they were wrong! Joseph could have slapped…

Genesis 42:29-43:15 #eebc2018

We pick up the Joseph narrative with his brothers on their way out of Egypt. Well, all of them but Simeon are on the way out of Egypt. Simeon is imprisoned in Egypt as a hostage to ensure the rest of the family are not spies. On the way home, the brothers have discovered that the money they paid for grain has been returned to their sacks. In other words, they really only end up trading a brother for food.Which may have been a good trade...However, they get home and Jacob is not pleased with the results. He questions his sons about why they gave Joseph so much information, why they have brought him so much trouble. Part of this is because none of them recognized Joseph. Had the famine been shorter, they would have had a different problem. At some point, Simeon needs to get out of prison. That might have been simpler for them, but it still would have required a return to Egypt. Joseph successfully put his brothers in a bind where they will have to revisit him, where he will have another…

Matthew 6:25-7:14 #eebc2018

The Sermon on the Mount continues. Matthew records Jesus preaching about anxiety and worry. He also speaks of judgment, hypocrisy, and seeking.It is the connection of these three things that I would recommend you consider today. It is important that we not take the whole teaching of the Messiah and treat it like a collection of fortune cookie sayings. None of Scripture should be chopped up into one-liners. We do not do Proverbs justice when we do that, and it's even worse with the Sermon on the Mount.So don't look at this as separate areas. Rather, see the way in which the Master connects these ideas. Each of them are valid on their own, of course, but they were not delivered stand alone.How do they relate?First, Jesus commands us not to worry. That's right, read it again in Matthew 6:25. It's a command. When Jesus says "Do not worry," He is not giving you sage advice. He's giving you a command to obey. He then goes on to give you some reasons and support…

Sermon Recap for March 25

Well, we had a technology blunder for the morning sermon. We had made some adjustments to the audio setup in the sanctuary, and while that explains the lack of audio recording, apparently the gremlins got the video, too. I’m not sure why. I didn’t push that button, Jim didn’t push that button…So, for lack of a recording (you could watch the AM sermon, but unless you are a great lip-reader, you won’t learn much. It’s very quiet), morning is gone. Here is the evening:

Matthew 5:13-6:24 #eebc2018

Here we are in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is teaching His disciples, a message which opened with the Beatitudes and now goes on to talk about the disciples and their relationship with the world. The Sermon on the Mount deals with that subject at length, as well as the matter of the disciples' relationship with God.It is these two areas that we often think are in conflict, but Jesus makes clear that they are not. In fact, your relationship with God is interdependent with your relationship with the people around you. That is not to say that people should be your boss--only God is your God, not anyone else. But if the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 started you thinking that your relationship with God would be better if you just ducked away and never interacted, that thought should be cut off by the next two paragraphs. We are to be salt and light, clear to the world and affecting the world around us.After all, salt doesn't do much if it is not with other items. And…

Genesis 41:38-42:28 #eebc2018

Joseph is now the top dog in Egyptian agriculture. Well, probably Anubis was the top dog, but he was more a jackal-headed mythological guy. There has been some pushback in the historical world about Joseph and the lack of definite recording of anyone as a true "second-in-command" or grand vizier or prime minister in any part of Egyptian history that would fit the description of Joseph. There are a couple of possibilities that would explain that, but the simplest one is this: Joseph is made "second to Pharaoh" in the realm of agriculture/disaster preparedness. That does not put him in charge of the military or the religion or many other tasks. In a modern sense, that would make him like the Secretary of Agriculture in the US Cabinet.Except that he would have the power to execute you if you did not do what he said. That is not a power we want any single government official to have. Joseph had it, but we do not know if he misused it any. Scripture does not give us all…

Sermon Recaps!

Well, it’s been a bit chaotic around here and I am somewhere around 3 weeks behind in writing tasks. As I catch up with those, I’ll get the rest of the sermon videos edited. Microsoft’s newer video editing software was just not working out for me, so I had to shift to a different piece of software. It takes longer and has a learning curve…Anyway, enough excuses. Here’s the audio player:You can click through and find any sermon you’d like here.There’s the video from Sunday morning, March 18.

Genesis 41:1-37 #eebc2018

Joseph is still in prison. It's been two years, and he's still in prison. (A minor note: figure the "years" in Egypt are based on astronomical observations, so it's a fairly precise "year." Other cultures used a lunar year, which did not sync up perfectly and required adjustment. So there's a reason it's wise to avoid nailing a year number to the text.)How long have you been in prison? How long have you been serving where you never wanted to go? Are you ready for a breakthrough into something different?Are you prepared for it to be a disaster of major proportion for you to get it? Let's not get too caught up in the "Be Like Joseph" rhetoric as we read this: be faithful where you are, but realize that Joseph's ascension to great renown required a pretty harsh event for others. Do not be so convinced of your own delusions of grandeur that you require others to suffer for your sake.And that is how this chapter unfolds: Pharaoh has…

Genesis 39:19-40:23 #eebc2018

Joseph is off in Egypt. He started as a slave but now it's gotten worse: he has been whisked off to prison for allegedly assaulting Potiphar's wife. He's an innocent man, but that does not stop the legal system from letting him languish in jail.While he's there, though, he makes the best of his bad situation. Joseph steps up to take care of his fellow prisoners, God grants him grace in the eyes of the prison warden, and Joseph becomes one of the top leaders in the prison. It should be clear that 2nd millenium BC Egyptian prisons and the rules about them were quite different from anything modern, so be careful about applying an understanding of "impossible" to this. While he is in this role, Pharaoh gets angry at his chief cupbearer and his chief baker. So, both are sent to the prison that Joseph is both in charge of and imprisoned in. Joseph is made responsible for them, and they are in captivity for an undisclosed amount of time. Now, a few words are due her…

Matthew 4:12-5:12 #eebc2018

John the Baptist was arrested. Mark 6:17 tells us that Herod had him imprisoned for preaching about immorality in the palace, and then later has John executed. Immorality is not good in the leadership of a nation. That's not the main part of the section, but that's still a relevant lesson.The passage under review deals with Jesus calling His first disciples. Matthew highlights that this ministry opening in Galilee was a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that a great light would dawn on the people of that region. It's the first part of Isaiah 9, where we often jump ahead to "For unto us a child is born...."It is worth taking note that Jesus begins by preaching. Note that 4:17 highlights the message of the Lord as one of repentance. While His preaching also involves grace and mercy, we cannot miss that the opening message of Jesus is to repent! After beginning this preaching, Jesus calls specific men to Himself. These men will be His disciples, and they will be …

Matthew 2:16-4:11 #eebc2018

We're into Matthew and seeing the tail end of the Christmas story here. The Magi have headed back to their homeland (Persia, but not the point here). Joseph and Mary have fled with Jesus to Egypt. Herod, living in fear of the "born King of the Jews," uses his authority to call for the death of all the boys in Bethlehem that could possibly be this new king. This is a common theme in ancient history--and it never does work out right. All that happens is the death of innocent people. There's a lesson here: you cannot stomp out the will of God. There is not enough blood to spill, and if you think that more violence will bring you control, you are wrong.The next step in the narrative is John the Baptist. John preaches in the wilderness, declaring the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. He calls out religious fallacies and political nonsense. He speaks very little of hope and peace and a great deal about judgment. Eventually, this costs him his freedom and then his life. What…

Genesis 38:1-39:18 #eebc2018

Genesis 38 does not start off well. It does not end well.  And, honestly, the stopping point at Genesis 39:18 isn't a particularly happy moment, either. These narratives demonstrate the use of sexuality as a weapon. For Judah, Onan, and Shelah, it was an economic weapon: Onan declined his responsibility to his brother, Er, and Judah kept back Shelah as if the problem had been Tamar in the death of Er and Onan. It wasn't. Both of these men died because of their own sin--Er being the first person recorded as being "put to death" by YHWH for his evil behavior. Onan's sin is debated these days, and his death is given as the reason to avoid masturbation or birth control, though neither are rightly condemned from this passage. This is explicitly about his decision to serve his own needs.Also worth noting is this: Genesis is not speaking about the morality of what is called "levirate marriage." That is, this passage is not about the whether or not the cultural…

Genesis 37 #eebc2018

The Joseph narrative starts here. Joseph was born back in Genesis 30:22-24, but here he actually starts being a participant. He does not start off all that well---he's the youngest of the family and also the favorite of his father.
Joseph is not portrayed well here. He's seventeen, old enough to be working with the family flocks, but rather than staying with the work, he heads home to tell his father that they were not working the way should. Now, there is actually no telling what he said or whether it was true---he could have been acting like a Schrute and being picky. Or he could have been honest.
But we know this from v. 4: he does not get along with his brothers. The brothers specifically involved were the sons from Bilhah and Zilpah, so those would have been: Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
Joseph does not help his relationship by sharing his dreams with his brothers. He has been dreaming about the future, and in his dreams he is the top dog. Many times, this gets preach…

Genesis 36 #eebc2018

We start with the family records of Esau. We find that he was no more willing to stick with the one-man/one-woman ethic of creation than his brother was. This was an unfortunate development in history that honestly is indefensible. Esau takes his large family, his many wives, and relocates to the mountains of Seir. Tradition holds that his offspring, the Edomites, were some of the first inhabitants of the valley that has become the city of Petra. A name worth noting in Esau's records is found in 36:4: Basemath, daughter of Ishmael, has a child named Reuel. that name will come back in Exodus 2:18. I would suggest that these are not the same Reuels, but that it becomes a family heritage name.The remainder of the chapter traces the lineage of Esau into the times of the Edomites. Some of the exploits and events of their history are there, but it is obviously abbreviated, especially in comparison to the lives of Jacob and his offspring.What, then, do we do with this? After all, the pri…

John 17:13-18:24 #eebc2018

We are in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night Jesus is arrested. He has been praying, speaking with His Father about what is to come. That's something we should consider: Jesus has no sin to interfere with His relationship and His understanding of God's will. He knows.He still takes time to pray. And do we?His prayer is first for the current disciples. They are going to face difficulties and Jesus is well aware of those challenges. He knows that they will be persecuted and executed for obeying Him. And this is not "you can't have a discount on your airline tickets" inconvenience but true persecution: prisons, pain, death.A key component is John 17:19 where Jesus speaks of sanctification coming through truth. We tend to think in other terms, more subjective terms than "truth." Or, these days, people speak of "their truth" as if truth is something that can shift from person to person. That's not truth. Truth is static, fixed--understanding…

John 16:5-17:12 #eebc2018

Jesus is compacting a lot into the final hours of his ministry with the Twelve (minus one). I am certain there are books written at length discussing why He waited this long to get into these topics and I'm not going to try and equal those here. What we will look at is one portion, taken from John 16:7-8.We need to look at who the "Counselor" is and what this means for us as Christians today. Let's tackle that in an exchange of affirmations and denials. This is a fairly common way to deal with theological issues, and it tends to give the boundary lines rather than all the shades of interior possibility. For simplicity sake, before we get started on that, please understand that I hold that the "Counselor" is the "Holy Spirit" (or "Holy Ghost," if you like the KJV, but that's a bad image for modern readers) and will just use "Counselor" since that's what is here.First, this passage affirms that the Counselor is divine. Lo…

Genesis 29:21-30:24 #eebc2018

As we take a look at this reading, I'd take a bit of an issue with the CSB's rendering of Genesis 29:21. While the Hebrew is a euphemism for consummating the marriage and the CSB is making it clear by presenting it as "sleep with her," I think the euphemism should be left there. And, yes, I know "sleep with her" is still less blatant than "go have sex," I'm in favor of leaving euphemisms as close to literal as possible. I think it serves us to let the text speak as close to the original as possible. So, I like NASB here, or ESV. That's a personal preference, though.This passage gives us Laban's deception of Jacob. For that matter, he seems to deceive Leah and Rachel as well. All told, he comes off a little bit sketchy here. Leah is given to Jacob first as a wife, then Rachel second. The deal is that Jacob worked seven years expecting Rachel, but Laban gave him Leah instead. I don't know how you get through the whole wedding night w…

Genesis 28:10-29:20 #eebc2018

Jacob leaves. It's time, after all, before Esau's anger turns to direct plotting. I read one commentary that suggested Esau had no intentions of acting on his anger, because later on, he does not kill Jacob. That flattens the narrative: there's around 20 years that intervene between Jacob's departure and return. In that time, Esau had the opportunity to mellow, Isaac and Rebekah had the opportunity to help build the bridges needed.Meanwhile, Jacob's on his way back to Haran. This is the land Abraham insisted Isaac not go back to--but Isaac hadn't tricked Abraham out of anything, either. The cover story is that Jacob is going in search of a bride from his mother's family, and since the principle of "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is timeless, who could object? Esau could not have said "No, he needs to stick around so I can get revenge!"Jacob goes to Haran, meets Rachel, and finds out that he's not the only one willin…

Genesis 27:1-28:9 #eebc2018

Isaac is getting up in years and recognizes that his death may be soon. While he is accurate, he's also being a tad pessimistic. Isaac will live many more years--long enough to see many of the consequences of these chapters. A good resource for you as you study the Bible is a good timeline--Logos Bible Software has one built-in, many good study Bibles have them. You'll see that many estimates place Isaac's death well into the time after Jacob's return to the Promised Land. He passes away shortly before the family relocates to Egypt.Now, what happens here is related to inheritance. It was not uncommon for the patriarch of a family to divide the wealth of the household before his death. The expectation was that the oldest son, since he received the bulk of the material possessions, would use his blessing to provide for his father and mother until death. But, having the division beforehand ensured that any disputes about amounts or choices could be solved by the still-liv…

John 15:1-16:4 #eebc2018

Mondays!Agricultural illustrations are all over the New Testament. It's to our detriment that we are so far removed from growing things that it has become difficult for us to grasp these. It's worth your time to read up a bit on how gardening and growing plants. You can find some good ones that weave both agriculture and Biblical interpretation, though keep in mind that books like The Trellis and the Vine move beyond facts and into opinions of the meaning of Scripture.Which does not automatically make the opinions wrong. Just opinions--though well-researched opinions are very, very helpful.Now, Jesus goes on to teach about remaining in fellowship with Him. He explains to the disciples that trouble is coming to them. They will face the people who have been their family, their nation, and those old friends will attack them. 16:2 brings out that those who do this will believe they are serving God by killing those who follow Christ.Let that sink in: as a follower of Jesus, everyth…

John 13:21-14:31 #eebc2018

Well, nothing like being a day late and a dollar short.We start at the Last Supper. It's not a completely happy occasion. Jesus announces to the disciples that He is going to be betrayed...and by one of them! That's not a case for happiness.Unfortunately for the disciples, they are all clueless about who it could be. Well, except for Judas, the one it is. Either the other eleven had never noticed anything strange about Judas or they just could not fathom that any one of them would deliberately betray Jesus. I think that was some of it--they never saw it coming that any of them could betray the traditions of hospitality and the bonds of brotherhood like that.But Judas would. Why? That's a question for the ages, and the reasons will never be clear to us. It was not a surprise to Jesus, and was necessary for the situation to work out as it did. The rest of this section includes Jesus' explanation of eternity and his statement that "I am the way..."The opening of…

Genesis 26:18-35 #eebc2018

It's another short read today, opening with Isaac's troubles with the Philistines. The Philistines were a migrating people who came, it appears, from the Mediterranean regions. There are points where they attempt to settle in Egypt but are driven off, and they settle on the coastlands of what is now Israel.These folks are probably related to the ancestors of Ancient Greeks and Phoenicians, but that's beyond what we're doing here. I'd pick up Alfred Hoerth's Archaeology and the Old Testament for a starting place, although resources like The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook will have some good information as well.The main point is that the Philistines were moving in, and there were plenty of them to go around. When you compare that to the size of Isaac's household, it's no wonder that he chose to move rather than fight over water rights. At times, surrendering a right may be better than fighting over something--I recall learning to drive and being told th…