God speaks to Moses through the burning bush in Exodus 3. God has heard the cry of the Hebrews slaves, and remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The affliction and time table described in Genesis 15 has been accomplished, and God is ready to lead his people out of Egypt and to the promised land. The only thing standing in the way of Moses leading them is out is… Moses. He goes point/counterpoint with God, listing new objections as God responds to each. Continue reading
When God speaks to Moses from the burning bush, he knows that Pharaoh will not let the Hebrews go “unless compelled by a mighty hand.” God has a series of signs and wonders in store for Egypt. There comes a point when Pharaoh would have been willing to let them go and we’re told that God hardened his heart, because he was not done demonstrating his power. It was all part of God’s plan.
I did not intend to preach a sermon featuring 9/11 on the 10th anniversary. I decided to use text from Genesis 15, when God met with Abram (not yet Abraham) and renewed his covenant to make of him a great nation. God explains that it will not happen right away; as a matter of fact it will not happen for another 400 years.
Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Gen. 15:13-14
September 11, 2001. Chances are you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news. We spent the next several hours – perhaps days – listening to the radio and watching the news reels again and again. It’s been nine years, and with debate raging over a Ground Zero mosque and Terry Jones’s Burn a Koran Day the issues are still very much alive. Discussion continues over exactly what to do at the site of where the Twin Towers once stood, because everyone cannot agree on exactly how to honor those that died. One thing is as clear as ever: we will always remember that day.
In Joshua Chapter 4 the Hebrews finally get to cross the Jordan River and enter the promised land. The LORD has Jeremiah command a leader from each tribe to take one stone, and place it in the midst of the river where the priests stood bearing the Ark of the Covenant. When future generations ask what those stones mean, they are to be told the story of when God held the river and His people crossed on dry land. It will be a memorial for ever. Continue reading
Hebrews is easy to preach because its form is much more like a sermon than an epistle (letter). At the heart of its message is an impassioned plea not to leave the Christian faith for another, and so in order to be convincing the author of Hebrews makes many comparisons between Christ and all the things of the Old Testament he is superior to. We have already seen that Christ is superior to the angels, and that through suffering he becomes the perfect founder of our faith. Chapter 3 begins this way:
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Hebrews 3:1-6
I am about to start a sermon series on the book of Hebrews, and will endeavor to share those messages here. Hebrews ties together the Old and New Testaments by showing how Jesus is carrying forward into the church age the work started by God among the Hebrew people. Written to a Jewish audience, the letter to the Hebrews strives to prove that Christianity is the continuation of Judaism, and not something else entirely. If you have ever questioned why a Christian should read or study the Old Testament, this book will be an eye-opener. Quite simply, most of what God was doing in the Old Testament was meant to help us understand the work of Christ in the New. Continue reading
Memorial Day is next week (May 25), and I’ve been thinking about what that means. Memorial Day is traditionally the first long weekend of summer, so maybe for you it’s just another excuse to break out the grill and water toys. If you have to work that day, maybe it’s an inconvenience that that the Post Office and banks will be closed. Some people will simply sleep in that day and not care why. The American dream lives on.
The real reason for Memorial Day is so that we remember. In this case, we remember the men and women who died in miltary service to our country. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it began following the Civil War and was expanded to honor fallen soldiers of all wars during World War I.
So, Memorial Day is strictly American and has nothing to do with the Bible, right? Continue reading
In Exodus 16 the Hebrews wandered into the Wilderness of Sin. My Bible teacher and preacher friends shouldn’t even need me to make this analogy. There it is. They literally entered the wilderness in the region of Sin.
It could have been the Mountain of Sin, the Valley of Sin, the Municipality of Sin, but no. The place was known to people in the region as the Wilderness of Sin. How often do we willingly wander through the Wilderness of Sin knowing full where we are and how to avoid it? What an illustration, and the Bible has already made it for us.
And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” -Mark 8:27-29
I want to unpack Peter’s statement here that Jesus is the Christ. There are two questions we need to answer; 1) What does Peter mean by saying that Jesus is Christ, and 2) What does it mean to us that Jesus is the Christ. Continue reading
In Numbers chapter 20 the Hebrews are complaining to Moses that he has brought them out of Egypt into the wilderness. You see, even though they had been slaves in Egypt, the Hebrews were used to having certain things. There they had lived in houses, not tents. There was plenty of water to drink via the Nile River. And one thing they brought up a lot was the food. The Hebrews missed the pomegranates of all things. Egypt had those. Continue reading