Tag Archives: History

Week 2: Acts 15:16-17


(AO) = Amos 9:11-12 and Jeremiah 12:15
(AQ) = Isaiah 43:7, Jeremiah 14:9, & Daniel 9:19 ESV

Amos 9:11-12 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom (Mount Esau) and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this.
Jeremiah 12:15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land.
Isaiah 43:7 …everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
Jeremiah 14:9
Why should you be like a man confused, like a mighty warrior who cannot save? Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by your name; do not leave us.”
Daniel 9:19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.

This kind of study and reading is still unfamiliar, time consuming and more confusing than I imagined it would be. Amos added a surprise detail with a footnote of it’s own for Edom [Mount Esau.]  Esau is thought to have founded the kingdom of Edom.  This is the same Esau who sold his birthright swearing an unbreakable oath to satisfy a temporary need.  Esau will be restored! The Lord’s compassion has reached into a sketchy past and restored a lost heritage. It’s the picture of humanity isn’t it?   Those citations were sidebar details I would have missed without believing they could become contemporary accents that confirm the purpose God has always had in mind; to be in the midst of; to hear, forgive, pay attention and act on behalf of those who are called by His name and created for His glory.

I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent these last few days floundering my way through what seems like countless rabbit trails to get to the point where I could write that one paragraph.  I can tell you when I put that period after that phrase “His glory” in that last sentence I felt like I’d just come up for air.  It’s the comfort of a recorded and cited Biblical history that includes people like me in His story today.

Wednesday with John – Your Position

John 10:22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The Pharisees faithfully celebrate the history of what they already believe.  They have dedicated their lives to the structure of their past.  They have set themselves apart to determine and define every detail of what being chosen looks like in life, faith and politics. Jesus is using miracles and truth, the same evidence God used to secure their past, to confront their present and their future.  They perceive the simple truth Jesus is telling them as a rejection of what they already believe rather than a completion of what God has already shown them.  That’s what makes Jesus hard for them to accept.  “When the pharisees in front of the temple heard Jesus saying that they were not his sheep, they have probably heard it as a complete rejection of their status as elect. But the Jews have not lost their election. In regards to the gospel they are enemies, but in regards to election they are beloved.”a

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is confronting the position of these “chosen” men with their history, not the security of their history.  He’s asking them is it their history that validates their security OR is it their security that validates their history? 

What does it say about people?
Jesus still asks that same question today in a slightly different way: Is it your life and behavior that validates your position with God OR is it your position with God that validates your life and behavior?

Is there truth here for me?
I am dedicated to defining the details of what being chosen looks like in my life, faith and politics.  Is my security my history with Jesus OR is my history with Jesus my security?  While I may struggle with the role of semantics in answering those three positioning questions because I am a Pharisee, I am also smart enough to know I am “beloved” because Jesus has completed my past and that is why I am among His sheep.   

“Now many of the Jews are enemies of the Gospel. They hate it. But this has been a benefit to you, for it has resulted in God’s giving his gifts to you Gentiles. Yet the Jews are still beloved of God because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises.”  Rom. 11:28-29TLB


Exodus [The Road Out] – Jesus

Exodus 32:7 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; RSV

It’s easy to see how obvious the idolatry of THOSE people is.  How in the world could they miss that the golden calf looked just like the idol the Egyptians worshipped? These are the same people who’d repeatedly sworn to Moses that whatever God told them to do, they would do.  These are the people who knew they were to serve God on this mountain.  These are the people who were willing to settle for making the Glory of God into their own image.

Imagine the heartbreak Moses must have felt as he began his journey down the mountain after being told by the Lord “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.”    Therein lies the lesson of how waiting, suspicion and impatience can so easily become the sin that corrupts the mind first and then the heart.  This golden calf was made from the willing offering of the people’s treasure.  Their treasure was what they chose to worship as the god that brought them out of Egypt even though only one day before that idol hadn’t even existed.  

The challenge of my mind and heart as a descendant of THOSE people, who’s inherited this sad and shameful moment as part of my history, is to find the thread that connects those truths to the truth of the Sovereign and Eternal Glory of God revealed in Jesus for believers today. “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[as a sin offering] he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8

“Fallen people are capable of great sacrifices,
but not out of love for God.”
 John Piper

The Red Thread – More than History

Mark 7 – There was a mother whose little girl was possessed by an impure spirit. She was a gentile. The story reminded me Jesus was in gentile territory. Ordinarily a Jew would walk miles out of their way to avoid being in this place Jesus had chosen to go.

Then I found this piece of information was brand new to me. “The earthly Israel had failed to gather in the people of Phoenicia; now the true Israel had come upon them. It was not a strange land into which Jesus came; it was a land which long ago God had given him for his own. He was not so much coming amongst strangers as entering into his inheritance.”

Jesus had clearly taught the right food had nothing to do with whether a person was clean or unclean. Now the true Israel tells a different story of what makes a person clean or unclean. It’s not “right” birth or right location that makes a person clean or unclean. That’s a good thing but why is his response to the gentile woman is so harsh?

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Jesus was confronting this gentile woman to consider the inferior circumstance she’d lived under her whole life. Slavery then wasn’t so unlike the slavery we’re more familiar with. If you tell people for centuries they’re inferior it takes something more than history for them to believe they have the right to deserve more and ask for it.

28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

What Jesus saw in this woman’s response was courage defined by her faith in him. That was the only thing she had to offer. It wasn’t faith determined by rules or race. She had faith that defied all the odds of her circumstance…and that mattered to Jesus.

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.