Carrying the Sabbath

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath…
-from Mark 2:27-
Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the 👽, may be refreshed.
Exodus 23:12

Put another way…
Just think about this concept.
Dwell in this concept,
Abide in it,
Meditate in the fields of Beer Lahai Roi, gang.
(David’s getting creepy, talking about dwelling in concepts and using alien Emoticons. I think he has been hanging around Elvis Mack for too long)
♠️♥️♦️♣️ Suit yourselves. Ahem. Giggle. Yes, I have been hanging out with him a bit long.
Here it is, do not miss it.
The Sabbath was designed to carry you, not you to carry the Sabbath.
From the Torah, it was designed to be a time of refreshment. You were meant to be carried along in rest by the Man of Rest, by Yeshua, the L-rd of the Sabbath.
Let Him and the Day of Your Rest carry you and breathe new life into you.
Let Him 🎁 you a season of refreshment and cleansing.
Let all of your beasts experience a day where they don’t have to work, but they can be.
Six days give, One day receive.
Raw materials, an extra day’s manna, deepening revelation, and extraordinary farther down in the depths of Him Whose depths cry for your depths.
And ask yourself, “Is the Sabbath carrying me or am I carrying the Sabbath?”
Carrying the Sabbath is something you were not designed to do.
It makes about as much sense to carry the Sabbath as it does to carry the Missouri River.
Your job, on the day of rest, is to just float along and let the Sabbath and the L-rd of the Sabbath surround you and cool you off.

Givers That Reject Offering, Worship, ans Stewardship in the Latter Half of Their Lives Loose Out On a Fulfilling Span

While doing some work in Genesis, I noted that, following Jacob’s offering in Bethel, the concept of offering appears only one other time before Exodus.
In Beersheba (46:1-2).
A Giver without offering (and, yes, we have talked about how Givers and Stewardship aren’t only about money) or things to effectively or rightly steward has to be miserable way to live, especially if he binds all of his future hopes to Joseph.
Givers were made to offer and steward and engage deeply with Him in worship.
I wonder if that is why Father came back, not with the name of his adulthood, but the name of his youth.

Arthur's Thoughts From "Life After Church" on Responsibility and the Clash With the Illegitimate Fivefold Ministry

This right here is worth five minutes of your time. Just as an affirmation of those who are designed to flow with the L-rd and not be subjugated to a perverted ministry Leadership structure that thinks it really is a manifestation of true Fivefold ministry.

This is Arthur Burk, from his series, “Life After Church.”

G-d Can't Be Pro-Life, 'Cause He Killed Babies…Or Can He (An Analysis of Some Texts, Using Other Texts)?

An Introduction and Some Customary Provoking Statements

Because New York passed an abortion law or some such thing, people all of a sudden have started to talk about and exegete the news.
It has been raised as an argument against those who might be pro-life that G-d cannot be pro-life, since, in the Bible, and specifically, in the Torah, he killed babies.
I rarely discuss current events at the same time they are happening. But today I will make an exception.
ollie north
Check that. Two exceptions.
#elliotabrams
bad llama gif
Some days, our exegesis boils down to making sure that the G-d in the right hand side of the Bible apologizes for the actions of the G-d in the left hand side of the Bible.
But here is how I would processionally explain the actions of the G-d on the left hand side of the book, in seven elements.

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Prefacing the Seven Elements: Is He Really As Mean As Some Say?

Consider also the fact that the “kinder, gentler” guy on the right hand side of the book, at the end of the right hand side, plagued the whole earth and wiped out a million here and there, in case we think the guy on the right hand side has more reformed ways.
Translation: parsing the Old Testament G-d and the New Testament G-d out from each other as distinct causes the whole book to fall apart greatly. Truly, they are one and the same. Revelation teaches us that. And His Judgment is His mercy.

Background Texts For Reconciling The Two Parts

G-d, on the other hand, as Scripture RELENTLESSLY teaches throughout both the Tanakh and the New Testament, gives space for people to repent and reform before He executes against them.
Cue cluster of texts that show G-d’s mercy and granting people space and breathing room to repent before He judges.

  • Jonah 3-4, where G-d relents/repents after the capital of the flaying Assyrians repents.
  • Revelation 2:21, where G-d gave Jezebel space to repent
  • Genesis 15:16, where G-d gave the Amorites space to repent, that He didn’t have to, and would have caused something to work out between Israel and the Amorites had they repented.
  • Genesis 18:17-19, where G-d debated what he would share with Abraham, knowing Abraham’s righteousness, knowing Abraham’s heart to cry out for mercy, and knowing that Abraham was able to affect G-d’s heart because Abraham was the friend of G-d in only the way Givers can be.
  • Deuteronomy 2:9 and Judges 11:17, where G-d gave Moab their land, and commanded Israel not to harrass them, even before Moab fought against Israel (Joshua 24:9). This could have led to Moab’s national repentance and a reconciliation and commerce between Moab and Israel. And even when the national reconciliation did not take place, G-d STILL played out the drama that should have been between Moab and Israel in the story of Ruth and Boaz.
  • Genesis 46:4, where G-d SENT Israel down to Egypt, and G-d DWELT WITH Israel IN Egypt, and during which season, Israel had centuries to get to know her G-d, and the Amorites had space to repent and prepare the land for the ISRAELITES, which could have happened instead of their destruction.
  • Genesis 47:6, where Pharaoh gave favor to Israel in the land of Egypt and with the pagan ruler of Egypt.
  • Isaiah 19:24-25, where the L-rd will ultimately bring about redemption of the Egyptian nation, and the Egyptian nation will occupy the first place. SECONDLY, <GASP>, pagan, flaying, barbaric Assyria. And third, Israel.
  • Exodus 4:22-23, where G-d first reveals to a pagan nation His name of “Father”. He then commands, before the first drop of water turns to blood and before the first frog touches the land and dies, Egypt to LET HIS SON GO. And then the judgments start and increase.
    • And yes, one can argue G-d kept Pharaoh from repenting, because of Exodus 4:21 and 7:3, but to merely argue that is to see only part of the whole narrative. Psalm 115:16, “the highest heavens belong to the L-rd, but the earth he has given to the sons of men.” G-d has given people free will to choose what they will or will not do. He does not always get what He wants.
  • From the point above, through the entire sequence of issues, the L-rd showed the Egyptians what they had done in infant genocide towards the men of Israel (Exodus 1:22, note the waters turning to blood in 7:17-21 revealed the death that was in the water and the blood that was on the Egyptian hands). The Tenth Plague was the progressive outflow of the response of the Egyptian injustice of Israelite genocide. Again, there are causes and effects. And when you sow the cause, you will reap the effects.
  • Let me point out also the counsel of G-d in Exodus 9:19; He told the Egyptian people to gather their flocks and herds to keep them from the hail. Some listened, and some did not. There were Egyptians who had livestock that kept them in from the hail and their livestock was spared. This opened the door for some of them to turn. G-d uses every circumstance to bring people to Him, including His judgments.
  • Recall also Exodus 12:49, which could plausibly imply that, during the plagues, there were some Egyptians in the nation that chose to follow the G-d of Israel, and chose to align themselves with Israel, and celebrated the Passover. Even if there were none that did actually align with Israel, He still made provision for that.
  • The book of Joshua is completely devoted to the destruction of whole nations while the Israelites possessed the Promised Land.

Element 1: G-d’s decisions, even those decisions that result in human death, are ALWAYS executed in the context of His mercy and His justice, which are the twin facets of His love. What will drive His children to seek Him?
Element 2: G-d’s purposes are aimed at a long-game strategy. He weighs all decisions with an eye toward redemption and how they will impact eternity and His house.
Element 3: G-d aims to eradicate sin, rebellion, iniquity, and abomination from the earth.
Element 4: G-d’s yearning desire is to walk among us, be our G-d, and for us to be His people. Whatever keeps that community from happening He may remove from us.
Element 5: G-d looks for the fruit on the tree. He looks for fresh water or salt, hot water or cold, humility or assertion, upness or downness, filiality or bridality. He looks for consistency that He can utilize. He looks for and brings organized sequence.
Element 6: Sin twists and perverts the good, and that twisting is revealed in the fruit of the tree that is planted. G-d despises things that twist and mar.
Element 7: Everything G-d is, does, or permits to happen is ALWAYS with an eye toward straightening out the twistedness.
Look, it is not like G-d on a bipolar whim massacred millions of innocent babies in an unprovoked rage.
He gave all of these nations, including Mizraim, CENTURIES to repent. And when a culture of death and murder is embraced, somewhere down the line, death is going to be result, and the empire that embraces death is going to self-devour.
He exposed the Egyptian culture for the death-bringing culture it had become. Blood was already in the waters before the first plague. He just forced the nation to see the blood that was in the water. He untwisted the reality of the waters. And in so doing, He allowed all of those baby boys’ blood to testify (Hebrews 12:24).
The Golden Calf is an example of a culture self-devouring. The Levites massacred 3,000 of their own families and so were ordained through G-d’s warring against the defiled spirit of idolatry.
National sin has national consequences. Longstanding sin has consequences. G-d even showed longsuffering toward the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities on the plain, and Lot interceded for Zoar, and as a result, G-d spared that city.
And one of the names of G-d (Exodus 34:5-6) is The L-rd Who Is Longsuffering.
G-d is not Hitler, G-d is not Pol Pot, G-d is not Stalin, and G-d is not Mao.
And it is not really the church’s job to justify the behavior of G-d to others. G-d can work in, around, and through our objections and the obstacles. But we have to recognize that the principles of Scripture do work. Sexual sin has sexual consequences, murderous sin has murderous consequences. Abortive sin has abortive consequences. Actions do have reactions. Sum of the Forces, Newtonian approximations, and all that jazz.
And Jezebel’s genocide resulted in her blood being shed.
And Naboth’s Vineyard landed on Ahab’s head.
The Principles work, without prejudice, and without caring what you think about how nice G-d or anyone else is.
And ultimately, G-d can work every situation to His glory.
But for us, now is the time to wake up, acknowledge reality in the stead of hiding from it, and bless New York, as we should have, instead of cursing it. G-d was there first, and this decision on New York’s part is not helped by cursing New York. Rather, gang, let’s not carry on with eighty-five reams of conversation, and instead work with what we know about the Giver and Exhorter design of the state and Manhattan, respectively.
Bless the Giver and the Exhorter dynamic of that state.
Just some thoughts here, gang.

A Forthcoming Review

I am receiving in the mail a book from Peter Enns, his latest, tomorrow. And it is my intent to share a full, honest, and unadulterated review of it both good and bad.

Now, as an ever-devoted follower of all things good and godly, I must say that this book is guaranteed to carry some of Pete’s trademark Teacher humor and provocative thoughts. And doubtless, some of those thoughts will raise a few eyebrows.

That said, I like to read broadly, even with things whose points I may not fully agree. The first two chapters have proven one thing: he knows how to write an engaging and entertaining work, and he excels in forcing us to see the Bible as pointing us toward wisdom and searching matters out, rather than viewing it as a magic answer book, the Instructions, or Cliffs Notes to life, which it most assuredly is not.

Furthermore, given Pete has written one of the best Commentaries on Exodus, and given the premise of this book is that the Scripture means to point us toward wisdom, I would highly recommend all of y’all grab a copy as it becomes available and see what there is in it. I look forward to reading the rest of the story. Thanks, gang.

TPH

#harperonepartner

#wisebible

#howthebibleactuallyworks

The Passover and the Fear of Death

Consider the following verses:

The L-RD said to Moses and Aaron, “This month shall be for you beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you….”
Exodus 12:1-2

So, the L-RD promised a new time line for Israel, and a feast to be celebrated every year at the same time.
Now look at the following:

“Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?”
From Exodus 14:11

So, considering Exodus 12 and 13, the L-rd told the children of Israel that this month was the start of a new time line for them, and, from Chapter 14, we see, yet, that they were obsessed with believing they were going to die in the desert.
When Father, the G-d of all Time, commands you to annually celebrate a feast, and tells you what any part of your future looks like, and he commands you to celebrate in the land where you are going, then if you have set it in your mind that death is your portion, then you have evidently and indeed begun to demonstrate you didn’t understand the implications of that command.
Wrapped up in the command to celebrate is the truth that you are going to last and live another year, and it means you will not die within the next 365 days.
If G-d intends you to celebrate Him every year forever, then that implies He has made provision to keep you alive for at least another year.
Gang, if He promises us something, a new time line, then let us, no matter how much pain we are in now and what we may not be able to see with the natural eyes, see with the eyes of the spirit and move into the new season and not complain about or obsess over death.

Exodus 14:11 and One Point of the Wilderness

They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?

Exodus 14:11

Focus for a minute on that one question with me gang.

Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?”

The obsession with death in the wilderness is the response of a group of people who have suffered from DID and PTSD.  They cannot see the issue for their woundedness, and Moses, with his emotional issues, and spiritual issues, still brought them out.
So, why did they go to the widerness?  What was the purpose of the wilderness?  The Israelites asked “why the wilderness”.
Here is my response to that question.
First of all and less importantly, to shake the dust off of their feet, because they were OBSESSED WITH SERVING the Egyptians.
Second of all, and more importantly, to learn how to handle the top priority, the thing of first importance.  There are few things in the wilderness that are not desolate.  Few oases, few plants, few animals, few things, compared with the life in the jungle or Canaanland.
The most important reason G-d got them out into the wilderness was so they could do the one thing the L-rd told Pharaoh.
To worship G-d.
To hold a feast to the L-rd.
To connect with Him.
And come hell or high wather, they were going to learn to worship.
Look, as someone with PTSD and potentially a part or two, let me speak from personal experience that G-d is going to bring you through some travesties and into a desolate place so you can be alone with Him, and learn Him, and understand Him.
He is still Father (Exodus 4:22), even when you are generatiaonally-damaged.  And He may not always use mothers gloves to bring you out of the situation that has caused you torment.
There may be a season where He uses both father’s gloves and mother’s gloves to do His purposes.
It is a good thing, gang, when we are brought out, and so we can see Him, see the cloud and the fire, and the G-d in the Pillar.
It’s not always about how badly we hurt, and it is not always about what’s wrong with us.  Truthfully, there wil be seasons of healing and softness, but the season of deliverance and liberation that precedes that season of healing may feel harsh, and it may land harsh.
This is where the work of deliverance requires, by turns, a mothering touch and a fathering touch.
It’s not going to always be a deliverance that is done in the manner that you and I want it done.
That said, the deliverance will be effective.
In the case of Israel, they had generational PTSD/DID and maybe some Ritual Abuse as well, and they were party to watching G-d kill many of their captors.
Beyond that, they had to learn how to walk as sons, and some still did not get it.
But G-d delivered them and drove them out of Mizraim.
To a quiet, desolate place.
To the place where their focus would be undivided, in order to learn Him and learn who He was.
Why the wilderness?
To learn worship, to actually worship, and to recieve what was necessary in terms of a hundred different lessons on how to grow into a place of sonship, sufficiency, and interdependence.
Likewise, with us, He determines to lead us out in order to lead us in…into His presence.  Both/and.  Sons/Brides. Giving/Receiving, Plus/Minus, Multiplication/Division, Roots/Exponents, Grammar/Lit/Comp/Vocab.
Whole package deliverance.
Fullness.

בְּשָׁל֑וֹם

That is, wholeness.
Not just their bodies, but also their mindsets, their spirits, their emotions, their engrained thoughts that were off, their strongholds, their resistances to His influence, and their expectations of Him and the Egyptians, all of which needed a drastic overhaul and realignment.
So it may be with us.
The first place we must visit after trauma is a Trauma unit in a Trauma Center.  And they may bring pain in order to bring life.  But, just the same, it will get better, if we move towards the scary process.
May we do so with the company of a mothering peeps if possible, but if not possible, let us still move toward it with a Father who can help us in quietness, and who has an abundance of the Fruit of the Spirit.

THEY Dealt With Israel Arrogantly

For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the L-RD.
Exodus 12:12
Now I know that the L-RD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people
Exodus 18:11

What is the pronoun antecedent for “they” in 18:11?
Pronoun antecedent: the word preceding a pronoun to which the pronoun refers.
Look closely at the verse.
It’s not “the Egyptians” who dealt arrogantly per this particular text.
Rather it is “the gods”.
The spiritual rulers of the Egyptians were those about whom Jethro/Reuel was speaking.
It was ultimately the principalities and powers against whom Adonai was fighting, per 12:12 as well (Ephesians 6:12).
Though real Mizraimites died in the Reed Sea/Red Sea, and though they were indeed affected by the plagues, it was the spiritual enemy that was the primary source of Father’s contempt.
I think this is neat.

From the Desk of Peter Lee, Concerning Esther

The Book of Esther: A Silence so Loud, it is Deafening

In recent days I have spent a good amount of time studying the Book of Esther and I have fallen in love with this amazing book once again.  It is regularly treated like the annoying younger sibling who constantly tags along when we want to hang out with our friends.  Regrettably, the value and even the canonicity of Esther is regularly called into question.  According to Karen Jobes, not one commentary was written on Esther during the first seven centuries of the Christian church.  Some biblical interpreters, like Martin Luther, wish out loud that the book had not come to us at all.  John Calvin himself did not write a commentary on Esther nor apparently did he ever preach from it.  I wonder how often the book is preached from pulpits today.
Perhaps the neglect is somewhat understandable.  After all, the book presents significant problem in the fact that he God is not mentioned explicitly anywhere in its story.  The divine name (YHWH) does not occur, nor does the Hebrew word for God ’elohim, nor do any other names of God.  He is not addressed formally in prayers, praise, or dedications.  In fact, there are no prayers in the book of Esther at all (though, to be sure, there is a fast in Est. 4:16).  The absence of God is even more glaring when we examine other ancient versions of this book.  The version that we have in our English Bibles is based upon the Hebrew text of Esther found in the Masoretic Text (MT).  There are, however, Greek versions of this book, in which God is not only mentioned by name but is directly involved as an active participant.
So why is explicit mention of God noticeably absent from our canonized version of the book?  Why is God incognito?
The answer to that question can be illusive.  Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that the narrative takes place in foreign land, a Persian urban center, and not in the normal dwelling place of God in the temple, in Jerusalem.  Perhaps, the establishment of Purim as a new Jewish festival cannot be too closely associated with God since Purim is not regulated in the legal texts of the Old Testament?  We cannot be too confident in any answer since all are highly speculative.  We can, however, safely assume that any Jewish text, even one that does not mention God overtly, in the post-exilic era would have some theological significance.  For a people living during this period of restoration, who were so cognizant of the Lord and His covenantal promises (Chronicles) and concerned with a return to Mosaic orthodoxy and orthopraxy (Ezra/Nehemiah), to adopt a literary work that did not have some theological significance strains credulity.
Consider also the events in the book.  The Jewish people are threatened with genocide due to the manipulative deceit of Haman, “the enemy of the Jews” (Est. 3:10; 9:24).  Had Haman’s malicious plan succeeded, the theological, not to mention human, impact would have been catastrophic.  Recall that since the days of the garden, the Lord promised that a “seed of the woman” would come to crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15).  The history of salvation traces the line of that seed through the line of Seth (Gen. 5:3), Noah (Gen. 5:28-29), Abraham (Gen. 15:3-5), and the Judean king David (2 Sam. 7:12).  Simply put, the blessed “seed of the woman” would come through the line of the Jews. If there are no Jews, then the line of descendents would be cut off.  If that line is cut off, then there is no “seed of the woman,” no coming son of Abraham, no future son of David.  No Messiah, no Jesus!  If there was ever a time for the Lord to be directly involved in the affairs of His people, it is now.  Yet, He is never mentioned!
We expect God to be mentioned constantly and persistently, but he never is.  Given the significance of the narrative in the history of salvation, the need for the presence of God and reminders that He is in divine control of matters is overwhelming.  Too much is at stake.  The author of the Book of Esther easily could have written a literary work where direct references to God can be found in every sentence on every page in abundance, or the author could take the radically opposite approach to communicate the exact same message—which is what we have here.  We expect God to be actively and explicitly involved in the account, which is what makes the author’s silence in this regard so loud, so deafening.  The expected theological bomb-blast is heard in its overwhelming, unexpected silence.  In other words, the author of Esther creates an awe-inspiring sense of the presence of God by not mentioning the overt presence of God at all.
This may also be the reason for the name of the Jewish heroine, Esther. Some have suggested that the name “Esther” (whose Hebrew name is Hadaasah) is based on the Persian word for “star” or possibly (though unlikely) the Egyptian goddess Ishtar.  Consider another alternative, one made by my dear friend Stephen Fix in his personal studies of the book.  The Hebrew consonants for “Esther” ?str are the same consonants as a Hebrew verb form which means “I am hiding” (for you students of Hebrew, it’s the first person common singular of the imperfect form, niphal stem, see Gen 4:14; Job 13:20). Thus it is possible that the name “Esther” creates a double entendre for the verb “I am hiding.”  If this is so, God is implicitly saying to the readers, “I know it may be hard not to read about me in a direct and obvious way, but do not be discouraged.  I would not leave you at a time when you need me the most.  I am still here, orchestrating all these events for the good of my people.”
Read this way, the Book of Esther has more in common with the life of Christians today than any other book of the Bible.  After all, we do not live in a day when God brings fresh manna that falls from the heavens (Exod 16) or supernaturally provides life-giving water from a rock (Exod 17).  We don’t see the dividing of large bodies of waters (Gen 1; Exod 14; Josh 3; 2 Kings 2) nor do we see the Lord riding on a glory-chariot (Ezek 1).  Although our day is without these extraordinary visuals of God’s presence, we should not be discouraged.  The absence of any direct reference to God does not equal a true theological absence of God.  The Lord works in the life of His people in subtle yet still powerful ways.  It is more like the days of Esther.  He is there. He is always there, even if we don’t see Him.  During those times in life when it is difficult to discern the presence of God and thus we wonder about His providence in our lives, remember the Book of Esther and remember what it teaches us—He is there, He is always there, and He is always working for our well being, even if you can’t see Him.
As I ponder Esther, I am reminded of another time in the history of salvation when God seemed absent.  Like Esther, we would have expected the complete opposite.  When God’s only begotten Son hung innocently on the cross, he was silent. Was He present?  Absolutely!
Just as foolish as it would be to say that God was not there at the cross of Christ, so it would be to say that God was not there with His people in the book of Esther.  God was silent in both times….a silence so loud, it was deafening.  But God was actively involved and faithfully working for the redemption of His people.  For this reason, not only is this book meaningful for the Jews as it describes their preservation (thus the Jewish philosopher Maimonides ranks it equal to the Pentateuch), so it is meaningful for Christians as it describes the providence of God in preserving an ethnic line that would ultimately give birth to the Savior of the world.
I thank God for the Book of Esther because it reminds me that He is constantly behind the scenes in every aspect of every day of my life, even when I can’t tell that He is there.  And He is working for my good.
 


Peter Lee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Reformed Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.

Link to the original article here.

 
Some thoughts as I read this article, specifically where I agree and disagree.  First of all, that G-d works behind the scenes is absolutely true, even when He is not explicitly mentioned.  The lack of the mention of G-d’s name does not mean G-d is incapable of working.  To be sure, it is precisely when He works and we don’t have to necessarily point it out at every moment, but rather, when unbelievers are able to point it out, that they are brought face-to-face with Him, and must give an account.
Secondly, where I disagree explicitly is specifically where Lee dives off into a cessationist, Reformed rage, as with others of his ilk.  It is unfortunate, because so many  Reformed theologians are exceptionally deft at handling the text until it comes to the point where they separate how G-d used to behave in terms of miraculous acts from how He behaves now (Hebrews 13:8).  Namely when the argument turns to water not being supernaturally provided from a rock, or other miracles.
G-d can and does still work in a boatload of ways.  He wants to provide, and he wants to do so in a supernatural fashion.  He wants to multiply bread, and he wants to remind us that we will still do greater miracles than the ones he did.
Just saying…