Marksmen we could use

What would we say if we found out that the people from whom we expect deadly accuracy were repeatedly missing the mark? Perhaps nothing, due to shock.

The 700 stone-slinging men in the army of the tribe of Benjamin were probably also the kind of guys you want to have at a stoning. Ideally, when it came to war with neighbours, Israel needed only march and praise God with the covenant tokens out front.

I say, we need to call on the marksmen with a solid reputation.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

It would be great if we who are marksmen can stand in our place and say “I present you with the certainty, free from my opinion, of what is written”

Personally Responsible But Absent

Actions in the Old Testament have not only tense, mood and voice. They have stems (7 or 8 of them!) that each arranges the subjects in a unique relation to the action. For example the stems of to walk (halak) can mean (a) walk, (b) walk about, (c) make [someone or something] go [away], and (d) go to and fro.  In Exodus 3:8 the Lord is causing the deliverance and the ascent from Egypt.

The causation plays out either in the action or the outcome. The deliverance and ascent of Exodus 3:8 are action causatives. It was Moses and Joshua who were God’s agents on the ground delivering and conveying.

and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Exod 3:8

We know that the personal arrival of God did not occur until the Word became flesh and live among us, so “I have come down” is to be understood in limited sense in that the interactions are accomplished through human or angelic agents.

Christ had no helpers in atoning for human rebellion. He was all alone in the passion, resurrection and exaltation.

Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. Acts 7:53

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. Gal 3:19

Out of the Box

The title is a variation of out of the gutter, the gutter being the place where the waste fringe our necessary process are channeled away from us. I think that few people want to be in a box, or dependent on a box, and definitely not terrorized by a box. However, life is stranger than human imagination. Box theology is the basis for a large portion of beliefs regarding spiritual things. How it eludes the seeker that there is no merit for doing nothing that offends is part of the mystery. The distinction of being perfectly harmless and sinless belongs to Christ. The rest of humanity needs to admit that Christ has brought that debate to a conclusion.

No life except from Christ

The ark and its contents may attract a great deal of attention in our times, just as other groups have sacred objects with which they invest a lot of confidence, but it was prophesied a long time ago that people will not ever even remember it or speak of it. The warrant then for all the talk about the commandments of God and especially those commandments that were written on stone must be satanic.

Our pledges, determination and commitment to not offend God do not bring a single ray of sunshine to our lives, yet this is where most Christians claim to live.

Puffed up and ready to pop

There is a genuine lack of humility which may be due, in part, to the idea that God fixes everything when he gives us access to his riches. Imagine the present world to be free of illness, tears, hungry people, death and sorrow, and we are in prime Christian territory. When we ask believers if they are holy or unholy, sinners or perfected humans, we begin to see what box theology has done to cripple those seeking the Way to God.

Which of the ten words in the ark gives life to the dead?

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 2 Corinthians 3:7-8

Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me? John 7:19

Three strikes – nix the box

If the people who studied and praised the law for hundreds of years failed to do what it says, there is no hope for a sound interpretation of what the law says.

  1. Few people who can actually read it intelligently.
  2. To what end is our interest in what was a fading glory when Moses mediated it?
  3. None of the ten words gives life to the dead

Second-hand Secretaries

The specter of US officials choosing not to examine the evidence regarding the murder of Saudi journalist Khashoggi is disturbing to the popular expectation that government has a vital interest in facts for everyone’s welfare. The conundrum is also a familiar one. There are many gatekeepers who have neither expertise nor experience in the business – electric power generation, supporting people’s personal needs, elder care – they are charged with supervising.

The familiar is also deadly. I know preachers who repeat a sentence or clause 70 times in 30 minutes and what they do not know is that people who have a habit (and immense privilege) of returning to look at the evidence know that there is not a lot of familiarity with the evidence behind such performances. The loud and repetitious presentations are a lot of hot air.

There are enough nurses and caregivers who have far too little compassion for needy and dependent persons. There are far too many people in positions of accountability who have little grasp of the material that they are charged with interpreting.

The world does not run on secondhand information despite the millions who, in 2018, have no firsthand relationship with the evidence. They read the translations of others like the US officials read the transcripts. They prefer to eat beef than to eat grain. They prefer 17th century English to 21st century Canadian-English and that only helps shatters the facade of the miraculous second-hand secretaries.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:14-15