Perhaps you may be wondering why I would say that I'm done with the Christian life (which is following suit after Dietrich Bonhoeffer who states as much in the final pages of his "Cost of Discipleship"). I'm a pastor after all and shouldn't say such things...right? Before you start writing to me to compel me to not abandon the faith...please read on.
The reason I'm done with the Christian life is because I've determined not to live the Christian life any longer, but to have my life hidden in Christ. If I live the Christian life it means I have some ethic or guiding principle that seems to be culturally "Christian", but this says nothing about its correlation to the very real life, death and resurrection of Christ. I will not let my life be judged by some "Christian" standard, but by the one who is Faithful and True...who alone bears the judgment of the world. I will not be conformed to Christianity, but to Christ who is the very Image of God. I will not live for Christianity, but for Christ who gave His life for the world and has taken it up again.
I pray that I may cease living a "Christian life" and truly take up the life of Christ crucified and risen. May my baptism be a baptism into Him. May the cup and the bread be his presence and power. May my prayers be taken up into His prayer. May the spirit that dwells in me be His Spirit. May I be found hidden in Christ and crucified to the world. And may I never be only a "Christian" again...
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
is named “city of bloodshed” (see the similar naming of Jerusalem in Nahum 3:1). The making of idols and shedding of blood were violations of the two-fold sense of the commandments: love the LORD your God with all heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Nineveh therefore faced judgment at the hands of the LORD and mockery before the other nations. Jerusalem
22:6-12 – The specific sins of the “princes” of
. “Treated father and mother with contempt” (Ex. 20:12; 21:17; Lv. 19:3; 20:9); “oppressed the alien and mistreated the fatherless and widow” (Ex. 22:21-22; Dt. 14:29; 24:17, 19-21); “desecrated the Sabbaths” (Ex. 20:11; Lv. 25:1-7; Dt. 5:15); “slanderous” (Lv. 19:16); “eat at mountain shrines” (Lv. 19:26); “dishonor your father’s bed” (Lv. 18:7-8; 20:11); “violate women during their period” (Lv. 18:19; 20:18); “detestable offense with his neighbor’s wife” (Lv. 18:20; 20:10); “defiles his daughter-in-law” (Lv. 18:15); “violates his sister” (Lv. 18:9; 20:17); “accept bribes” (Ex. 18:21; Dt. 27:25); “take usury and excessive interest” (Lv. 25:36); “unjust gain” (Lv. 19:13). All of these sins were indicative of the sin of having “forgotten” the LORD (Dt. 4:9, 23; ). Jerusalem
-16 – Why would the LORD clap his hands against
? Who can stand in the day of God’s judgment? What is the positive and negative significance of the LORD scattering Jerusalem among the nations as judgment? What is the LORD’s reason for doing this? (vs. 16) Israel
-22 – The process of silver-smithing as the metaphor for judgment here refers to those who remain in
as nothing more than the dross of the process (cf. Prov. 25:4; for specifics of the process see A. Konkel, NIDOTTE “sig”). Jerusalem
-31 – Note the various classes of
and their respective failures towards the covenant (cf. Mic. 3:5-12; Zeph. 3:3-4). What is the significance of no rain? (Lv. 26:19-20; Dt. 28:23-24) Also, note how the priests are censured here concerning their failure to distinguish between the holy/profane and clean/unclean (Lv. ; 11-15). “Those who pervert ‘Thy kingdom come’ to ‘my kingdom come’ invite the wrath of God” (Block NICOT 728). Verse 30 declares that no one was found to be a righteous intermediary on behalf of the people and therefore Israel would be judged. Jerusalem
23:1-4 – A tale of two sisters: Oholah and Oholibah. Oholah (Samaria) means “her own tent” and Oholibah (Jerusalem) “my tent in her” though the possible reasoning for these names remains rather obscure, the point of the names is to identify the two as indeed sisters belonging to the same family (Block NICOT 735-6). What might be the significance of the LORD taking two wives who are sisters (cf. Gen. 29; Lv. ).
23:5-10 – What does the spirit of prostitution from Oholah’s days in
refer to? Her adultery with Egypt Assyria seems to refer at least to the alliance King Jehu made with Shalmaneser III of Assyria in 840BC (memorialized on the Black Stele). What are the consequences of her adulterous seeking after the Assyrians? Who is declared to suffer for her sins? (vs. 10)
-21 – What was the difference between Oholah and Oholibah? Notice that Oholibah not only saw what happened to Oholah, but committed the same adultery with
Assyria and then still went after based off of pictures of them on a wall. The adultery with Assyria seems to refer at least to the seeking of an alliance by King Ahaz with Tiglath-Pileser in 734BC (2 Kings 16:5-7); while the adultery with Babylon seems to refer at least to the attempts by King Hezekiah to allure Merodach-Baladan in 714BC (2 Kings 20:12-13). Did Oholibah’s fornication lead to either fulfillment or satisfaction? The lusting after the images of the Babylonians is similar to the idolatry committed by the elders of Babylon in the secret room of the wall of the Jerusalem (Eze. 8:9-12). Had Oholibah ever really been faithful or pure? What kind of satisfaction was she seeking? Temple
-35 – Who will carry out the judgment? In verse 23, Pekod means “punishment”; Shoa means “war cry”; Koa means “shriek”. What sorts of things will Oholibah suffer? What is the charge laid against her in verse 30? The “cup” of the LORD’s wrath is described here as elsewhere (Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15-17; 49:12; Lam. ; Matt. ; 26:39; Rev. 14:10). Again note the charge of having forgotten the LORD.
23:36-49 – The charge of adultery and murder. How did these apply? Notice that the children sacrificed were the LORD’s own, and it was His temple that was defiled and His Sabbaths that were violated. What does the LORD call Oholah and Oholibah for their adulteries? How did the LORD intend to cleanse the land? Finally it is once again stated that when all this would be accomplished that they would know the LORD as sovereign. How does judgment demonstrate this?
Thursday, June 03, 2010
-21:5 – What does the LORD mean by opposing “the south”? There was never a forest of the
Negev (one of the three terms used for “south” here and so not to be taken as referring to the Negev region specifically). The “trees” of the south appear to actually refer to the leaders of . The explanation is given in verses 1-5 (English versification): the first “south” (Heb. teman) = Jerusalem , the second “south” (Heb. darom) = the sanctuary (Heb. miqdashim lit. “sanctuaries”), and the Jerusalem Negev (or third “south/land” in some translations) = the . The unquenchable fire to be set is answered by the flashing of the unsheathed sword (cf. Gen. 3:24; Matt. ; Luke ). Whose fire is unquenched and sword unsheathed? The “green” and “dry” that are consumed refer to the righteous and wicked (LXX “unrighteous and lawless”) that will be cut off. This is best “seen as a deliberately offensive rhetorical device intended to shock, designed to awaken his audience out of their spiritual lethargy” (Block NICOT 670). Note the peculiar references “from south to north”. Why might this be phrased in this manner? Also, note the emphatic use of “all/every”. What is the significance of Ezekiel being called a teller of parables? land of Israel
21:6-7 – How might we understand Ezekiel’s prophetic groaning? (comp.
8:22-27) What will be the reaction of those who hear the news of judgment? (cf. Eze. 7:17; 9:4) Rom.
21:8-17 – The Sword Song. (cf. Lev. 26:25, 33, 36-37) Why is the sword sharpened and polished? (see Eze. 21:10) Why would
think the sword a good omen and self-referentially be called “the scepter”? (cf. Gen. 49:9-10; 1 Sam. 7:14; Eze. 19:10-14; perhaps their hopes were based upon Jeremiah 50:35-38) What does it mean for the sword to “despise”? Note whose people are to be judged? Why might Ezekiel clap his hands? (see Eze. ; ) What kind of slaughter will it be and who will ultimately carry it out? Judah
-27 – The LORD’s sword has become the sword of
. Why should Ezekiel make a signpost pointing the way to Babylon ? Likely this was at Jerusalem where one might choose either the road leading down to Rabba of Ammon or to Damascus . Three omens would confirm the signpost (cf. Prov. ). “The irony is that this use of pagan means of discerning the will of the gods is here an accurate discernment of the true God” (Duguid NIVAC 276). Verse 27 refers to the end of Zedekiah’s reign. “A ruin” reads literally “a twisting or bending” (Dan Block translates it as “topsy-turvy” NICOT 691). Who is the one to whom kingship/judgeship “rightfully belongs”? (cf. Gen. 49:10) Ezekiel’s usage of the patriarchal prophecy that pointed to a messianic figure of deliverance here is turned on its head through referring this promised one into the king of Jerusalem – Nebuchadnezzar (Block NICOT 692-3; Duguid NIVAC 279). Babylon
21:28-32 – A taunting sword song. Possibly Dan Block (NICOT 695-7) is correct in seeing verse 28 as a taunting song in the mouth of the people of Ammon. The “sword” (
) would be finally sheathed in order to also be judged by the LORD. Babylon though the sword of the LORD was not beyond the severe judgment of the LORD and would be judged so harshly as to not be remembered any longer. Babylon