I’m encouraged to see two of my Advent-themed posts go up recently on For The Church.
- The first asks whether Jesus was chomping at the bit to start his earthly ministry. “I don’t think the Lord has the same concept of time I do. Just look at the incarnation. Christ Jesus did not appear to us like Melchizedek in Genesis, an established priest and king of the city of peace. He didn’t walk out of the desert and begin casting out demons like a fabled dragon slayer. He came to us as an infant. He spent years growing into adulthood, asking questions of his parents, learning his father’s trade skills, and studying at the synagogue.”
- The second reflects on a great hymn of the season. “Save us, Lord, and all the nations. By your authority, we live. The doors you open, no one can shut, and the doors you shut, no one can open. Lead us through that door to heaven and bring with us the rebels, strangers, hypocrites, and refugees who have exchanged their lives for yours. Lock up the door to misery, for your name’s sake, so that we may rejoice.”
The story of Achan’s sin in Joshua 7 may be troubling to casual Bible readers. It’s the kind of story used as evidence by those who wish to believe the God of the Old Testament was all wrath and judgment, while the God of the New Testament is love and forgiveness. But we understand that the One who cut his covenant with the people of Israel is the One who raised our Savior from the dead. He is the unchanging, holy, and eternal God of heaven and earth.
So shouldn’t Achan have received some grace?
(I appreciate the opportunity to have another piece posted on For the Church.)
A new devotional on the life of Ruth will be released tomorrow, one that I had the joy to work on. Kevin Foster, a Bible student and teacher who has been a missionary of one kind or another almost his entire life, wrote a remarkable book on the ideas, culture, and themes found in the book of Ruth. He calls it The Gospel According to Ruth and broke it into 121 devotionals with many quotations from the KJV and NKJV.
From Ruth 1:2, he drew this insight. “Elimelech placed a great burden upon his family fleeing Judah for Moab from the correction of God. The famine was not for the nation only, but also for the man himself. Famine is a calling card of God, calling the man to repentance.”
The book is worth sampling, and Kevin has given readers a large sheath of options in both written and audio excerpts. The Gospel According to Ruth touches on ancient Hebrew feasts, harvest seasons, God’s blessing on Bethlehem, Christ’s foreshadowing in Boaz and other characters, and other enlightening points.
“Christ is our protector, our covering, and our shield. ‘He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler’ (Psalm 91:4 KJV).”
The Lord blessed me deeply by allowing me to edit this book and advise Kevin on getting it published. He has been a great man to work with. He has the kind of pastoral spirit you hope to see in every gospel minister.
Again, from the book: