The Crossings

The crossing of Moses. Deuteronomy 34:5 is one of the saddest verses to me in the OT, “And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said.”  Forty years!  Forty years of wandering through the desert with all the heat, dirt, sand, and rocks.  Forty years of mana (where’s the beef!).  Forty years of bearing the burden of leading and managing this large nomad city.  Forty years of constant complaining day in and day out.  Forty years of ministering to the people of God as a humble servant.  Forty years of worshiping God.  And one moment of frustration and arrogance.  Let’s be honest, it just doesn’t seem fair!  These are the moments I find my humanity clashing with His deity.  Yet, one thing has been very clear in our journey so far, God is Holy! So Holy that he buries his servant Moses in the valley there in Moab and does not let him enter the promised land.  This is why only one sacrifice, only One,  would be sufficient to appease His holiness and our depravity (Is. 53)

The crossing of the people of Israel. Forty years of wandering in the wilderness is about to end.  Israel stands on the bank of the Jordan river as God once again prevents the water so they can cross over.  When all the people had finished crossing, Joshua instructs one person from each tribe to go into the river and pick up one stone.  With these stones he builds a memorial that is “to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”  You see the stones tell a story, a story of what the Lord had done for His people.  It amazes me, here we are today retelling the story of the stones and our God.  But something strikes me about this memorial, what’s missing from the story.  The memorial has very little to do with the people of Israel, all their failings, their complaints, their sin, why they ended up in the wilderness in the first place.  The memorial instead has everything to do with their God!  I can’t help but think of Jesus, you see he has become the greater memorial.  Our gatherings to celebrate the Lord’s table, communion, are to be a time for us to “re-tell” the Gospel, the story of Jesus Christ. And yet I find that these times tend to be consumed with the individual and their experience.  Both the stones and the elements of the bread and cup are to be making much about Christ.  So the next time you hold the elements in your hands remember . . . not your past, not your present, not your future . . . remember Jesus who has now become your past, present, and future.

Advertisements

best kids program

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates —  Deut. 6:4-9

Shema is a term given to a set of daily prayers recited by members of the Jewish faith. They are affirmations of the sovereignty of God, and the singular nature of God.  It is recited twice a day, during both morning and evening prayers. Shema literally means “hear.”  We believe in one God, who has revealed Himself in the Bible, in nature, and in man’s conscience as the Creator, Lawgiver, and Judge; existing eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. By His sovereign power God continues to sustain His creation, and by His providence He orders the affairs of men and nations according to His wise, eternal plan. He is infinite in His wisdom, unchangeable in His attributes, righteous and loving in all His ways (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3; 10:30; Acts 5:3-4; Ephesians 1:3-14)

So what does the Shema and these commandments have to do with parenting? I find myself at a new stage in my life, the parent of a senior in HS.  It is quite terrifying at times to be perfectly honest.  While his mother and I have worked very hard in preparing him and us for this moment, it seems like there is still so much more to do.  I honestly don’t think I could ever feel perfectly prepared for this, not even sure if we are supposed to be.   But today I was again reminded of my greatest responsibility as a dad, to impress upon the hearts of my sons to Love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and strength.  I had the chance to have lunch with one of my sons today.  As always we laughed alot, we ate alot, I tried to embarrass him as much as humanly possible, we talked about how school was going, and then we spent the rest of the time doing my favorite thing . . . talking about God and life.  So what have I impressed upon the hearts and lives of my 2 sons?  This is a haunting question for me.  It should be a haunting question for you as well.  What is the greatest impression that you are making on the hearts and lives of your children?  What do they see written across the doorframes of your life?  What consumes your conversations and time spent with them?  What is your greatest concern for them? What is your greatest hope for them?   So today and all our tomorrows, may we live the Shema with our children. May loving and knowing God be the consuming passions of their hearts.  May it first be ours!


Two Testaments. One Story

The Bible.  Two testaments.  One story.  Understanding this is so important to your journey through the 105.  It’s hard to believe that by the end of today we will be done reading the book of Genesis and beginning our discovery of Exodus.  So much has already happened.  Now I am no prophet for sure, but I bet that many of you have these questions spinning around your head.  What’s with all the polygamy, sex, and violence?  How did God allow all this stuff to happen, especially in the OT?  Why are some people who are wicked permitted to live and others who are really wicked killed on the spot? How could a godly person like Joseph be  falsely accused and unfairly imprisoned for so long? These are great questions that I am not going to answer, well, at least not now.

Instead I want to focus on a word, a concept, that we come across for the first time in Genesis 6:18, “But I will establish my COVENANT with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.”  The concept of covenant is essential to your understanding of the Scriptures. The idea is found both explicitly and implicitly throughout the entire Bible. God’s work in and with His creation is typically expressed in covenantal terms. The definition of this term is difficult to express simply because there are many nuances to the idea. A “covenant” is an agreement between two parties to fulfill obligations made one to another. The Hebrew word literally means “to cut.”

In our journey so far we have encountered 2 major covenants.  The first is the Noahic Covenant which we find in Genesis 6:18 and Genesis 9:8-17.  Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:  “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth.  I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  The sign of His covenant is the rainbow.  When God brings clouds over His creation and the rainbow appears, He sees it and remembers His everlasting covenant between Himself and all living creatures and humanity on the earth.

The second is the Abrahamic Covenant.  The Abrahamic Covenant, like the Noahic Covenant,  is an unconditional covenant. God made promises to Abraham that required nothing of Abraham.   The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.  2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  (Genesis 12:1-3)  There are 3 aspects to this covenant:  The promise of land, the promise of descendants , the promise of blessing and redemption.

Both of these covenants are pictures of deeper expressions of a covenant that is to come in the gospels, the covenant of Christ.  If we don’t understand the importance of this idea of covenant, we will miss the coherence of the bible, the unity of God’s redemptive design, and the centrality of the Christ of the covenants, who is the primary focus of this incredible book called the Bible.  I have attached a video from Tim Keller.  My prayer is that you will begin to understand what I set out at the beginning of this post.  The Bible. Two testaments. One incredible story.

 

The Journey Begins . . .

I find myself in the middle of an incredible story.  Abraham, one of the major characters to this point, has just died and something big is developing with two of his grandsons.  I am looking forward to where this journey takes me today!  I hope you are enjoying your journey in The 105.  The 105 is about seeing the big picture of the Bible and viewing it as a complete story.  It is also an opportunity for many to read though the entire Bible maybe for the first time in their journey with Jesus. Chris and I are planning to blog on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week sharing some of the highlights of our personal journey through the Scripture. You might be thinking right now, wow, this is a lot!  Take a deep breath.  Pray.  And just, well, read. Allow yourself to become lost in an incredible story that will change your life forever.  In case you lost your reading schedule I have attached one at the end of this post. Enough for now, I just really want to get back to this story!

the105 schedule