Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2018

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…

Genesis 25:19-26:17 #eebc2018

We're back to the main line of the story at this point. Isaac marries Rebekah when he is forty years old--we do not know her age anywhere along the path of the story. Her details are absent--but we know that she was 20 years older when the boys were born. We get that from seeing that Isaac was 40 at marriage and 60 at fatherhood--given that Rebekah was adult enough for her decision to count in marrying Isaac, she's certainly going to be mid-30s at childbirth. I'd guess she's mid-40s, but that's all it is. A guess.And "guessing" isn't on the list of great ways to understand the truth of Scripture, so don't count that guess as worth much. We can be certain that it was still somewhat miraculous for her to have children, as 25:21 shows that Isaac and Rebekah definitely saw her pregnancy as a gift from God.Rebekah has twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau is the firstborn but Jacob is right behind him. The developments of the next few chapters revolve around…

Genesis 25:1-18 #eebc2018

Today's reading is short, and it mostly deals with some events that we don't spend much time on in churches. I grew up in church and I know I read these verses, but I was in college before I really grasped that Abraham married someone after Sarah's death.He did, though, and her name was Keturah. That's all we really know about her. She had six sons, and one of her descendants is the ancestor of the Midianites. Those folks come back into the story in the Exodus, specifically with Moses.We also get the wrap-up of Ishmael's story as we find out about his descendants and his lifespan. He lives 137 years. His children and grandchildren settle across the Arabian peninsula, staying close to his family.What do we learn from this? First, a quick note of the fact that Isaac and Ishmael stayed in close enough contact that they came together to bury Abraham. That's something--there's a time to set aside differences and be family.Second, we see that God was faithful to …

John 12:20-13:20 #eebc2018

John leaves out some details in John 12. It may seem that Philip acted swiftly in trying to introduce the Greeks to Jesus. After all, that is why they came.What got left out is that first, Philip told the Greeks that they weren't dressed quite right and sent them for different clothing. Then, Philip pointed out that they weren't quite the target demographic for evangelism. After that, Andrew came alongside and made sure that the Greeks were ready to come up with some seed money to demonstrate their faith. Finally, Andrew and Philip realized that they also had to get the Greeks on-board with the long-term political agenda of the disciples. After all, there was no sense letting strange folks like Greeks come to Jesus until they were ready to be just like those already there. Or, perhaps, John has all the details right. The Greeks come and say they want to see Jesus, and Philip (with Andrew's help) makes it happen. He gets out of the way, sets aside his own (possible) prejudi…

John 11:1-12:19 #eebc2018

There's a lot happening here, so let's get right into it. First off, you have the Lazarus story. Jesus knows Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary, though we do not have a clear picture of where the friendship started. We know that their home was in Bethany, which is not too far from Jerusalem.The story is likely familiar to any of you who are churchgoers. Lazarus is sick, his sisters send word to Jesus, and Jesus hurries to keep doing what He was already doing. After waiting long enough for Lazarus to die from his illness, Jesus goes and raises Lazarus. Lazarus spent four days dead--long enough for no one to think he was only mostly dead--and then was brought back at the command of Jesus.What do we do with this? First, notice that both sisters were fairly certain that Jesus was late. His disciples were pretty sure He was late. But Jesus was not late. He knew what He was doing, more than anyone else could have figured. He did not intend to heal Lazarus' illness. Instead…

Genesis 24:15-67 #eebc2018

We pick up the story of Isaac, and for starters I would recommend going back to Genesis 24:1 to get the whole picture. Abraham has sent his servant back to the old country in search of a wife for Isaac.The explicitness of Abraham's instructions are worth taking note of here: under no circumstances should Isaac be taken back to old homeland. This is going to be a bit of a challenge, as the prospective bride's family will have to agree to a marriage without interacting with the groom. This was most unusual.But the key here is the "make sure you do not take my son back there" in Genesis 24:6. Abraham does not want his son to marry into the dominant pagan culture, but also does not want Isaac to return to Haran. The future must be secured without compromising with the wickedness around them and without giving up and going back.What of our lives?Many of us wander about, wondering what the future holds and how to secure it. Here is the principle in this passage: your decis…

Genesis 22:1-24:14 #eebc2018

Now we come to the biggest demonstration of God's grace you'll find in the Abraham narrative. (Remember, "narrative" is just a fancy word for "story," but we use it sometimes with Biblical texts because it makes clear that this is true.) Abraham's life now seems like it's coming together. He has the son he was promised by God. The extra child, Ishmael, has been sent off into the wilderness. Sodom and Gomorrah are gone, Lot has gone off into the wilderness.Abraham has covenants and treaties with the people around him. Everything should be just fine, it's time to watch the sheep multiply, get Isaac set up with a good wife, and retire.Then God speaks.And suddenly, everything changes. Abraham is told to take Isaac and sacrifice him. And he obeys---leaving me with more questions than answers. For example, what do you tell Sarah? I can imagine taking my son and heading off to a mountain three days away, carrying firewood, a big knife, and a bunch of r…

Genesis 21:9-34 #eebc2018

We have a sad story to face today. During the celebration of Isaac's weaning, Ishmael, the son of Hagar, is seen to be mocking him. What does that mean? We actually don't really know. We can just see that Isaac's mother, Sarah, does not like what is being said.It's clear, then, that it's not a simple brother-brother harassment. Sarah persuades Abraham to send Hagar away, but the "away" here is more of a death sentence than a relocation. The two are lost in the wilderness and likely to die. God intervenes and saves them.What do we learn from that? I think there's a basic warning: Hagar has a child because Sarah suggested it. Now, Sarah's own actions come home to roost but she wants Hagar and Ishamel to bear the burden of it. We do the same thing at times: we make choices and then refuses to take the responsibility for what happens. Yet we are the ones who caused it. Be aware: your actions will have results, and you gain nothing by forcing others to…

Sermon Recap for February 4

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: Exodus 20 (audio download)

Evening Sermon John 9 (audio)

John 9:13-10:42 #eebc2018

John 9:13-10:42 We have a man who was born blind...and now he's not. That should spark the awe and wonder of the people and the religious leaders...and it does not. What do we do with that?First, remember that the opening section of the reading goes with the earlier part of the chapter. You have to read John 9:1-12 so that you know who John 9:13 is referring to.From there, we see the development of the story of this man. The Pharisees do not know how to handle the fact of his healing. Here is Jesus, violating their understanding of the Sabbath, healing a man. Which is not something that medicine could do--they knew full well that nothing in human means could heal someone born with blindness. What do they do with that? Try to ignore it. That was all they could come up with, ignore what God had done.  Not the best approach.We continue into John 10 and you can see what Jesus says here. He's talking about the unity of the flock, with Him as the Good Shepherd. There are callbacks h…

John 8:1-9:12 #eebc2018

The first thing we need to address are those awkward brackets/italics/footnotes involving 7:53-8:11 in most newer Bible translations. What does it mean when it says that "The earliest mss do not include" these verse? Why does anybody tinker with the Bible?To wrestle with this takes a minute or two, so bear with me. As a foundation, I would remind you that I believe the original text of Scripture, in its original languages, is divinely inspired and without any mixture of error in its content. That is, what John wrote in the language John wrote it is inerrant. We start there.Now, the challenge comes as we examine what the original text actually was. We have no "originals" (known as "autographs") in our possession. What we have are copies. Lots of copies, to be certain, with more copies of the New Testament than of any other ancient writing of similar age. These are in the form of full copies, partial copies, comments by ancient Christians, and quotations. T…

Genesis 20-21:8 #eebc2018

Abraham's on the road again in this chapter, which has to fit tightly between the promise given in Genesis 18 and the closing events here with the birth of Isaac. After all, along with the promise, Abraham was circumcised, and the promise was that the promised son would come within about a year. So you've got just a few months that this could happen during.Abraham travels to the Negev, which is the wilderness just outside of the more fertile areas of the Promised Land. And there, he replays his behavior from Egypt earlier in the story (see Genesis 12:10-20). God again protects both Abraham and Sarah, though Abraham again puts them at risk with his choices.God, however, protects them despite the repeat offense. He defends Sarah and her honor, and through this His promise is protected. What do we do with this story?First, we take note that Abraham's new name does not make him perfect. His covenant with God still relies on God's grace, because he still struggles with the …