I personally am not all that into finding “Types of Christ” in the Old Testament. Oh of course, I am into OT Biblical Theology, and I love to see how Christ is revealed throughout the OT (which is why I absolutely love the Jesus Storybook Bible). But “Types of Christ” aren’t my thing. But once in a while, one really grabs your attention, and in the Joseph narrative, Judah is certainly one.
Pretty messed up, this Judah. He is the one who instigated Joseph being sold into slavery. And then, he sleeps with his daughter-in-law, thinking she was a prostitute. Now, see, in this narrative, what I would highlight is the fact that this illicit affair with his daughter-in-law somehow makes it into the Line of David, and thus in the line for the Messiah (Thank you, Matthew’s Begats!). But another cool imagery is being explicated here in Genesis 44 as Judah offers to stay behind in Egypt as a slave in place of Benjamin, and here’s Don Caron’s explanation of it…
This is the high point in what we know of Judah’s pilgrimage. He offers his life in substitution for another. Perhaps in part he was motivated by a guilty conscience; if so, the genuine heroism grew out of genuine shame. He could not know that in less than two millennia, his most illustrious descendant, in no way prompted by shame but only by his obedience to his heavenly father and by love for guilty rebels, would offer himself as a substitute for them.
There are, occasionally, some chapters in the Bible that just make you scratch your head and wonder why it is that God ordained it to be there. Genesis 34 is one of those chapters. Here, one of Jacob’s neighbours in Canaan, Schechem, find his daughter Dinah and rape her. After he does so, he begs his father to get her as his wife, and so they then enter into negotiations with Jacob to do so. Dinah’s brothers, though (She’s the daughter of Leah, who has the most kids) find out about it and plot a scheme: they tell them that in order to marry into the family, they must be circumcised like Jacob’s family. The Canaanites agree enthusiastically, but
in the 3rd day when they were sore”, two of Leah’s sons, Simon and Levi, murder their entire village and then the rest of Jacob’s sons plunder it to take their wives, children, livestock, etc… Difficult chapter to understand, let alone preach on, maybe (I’ve heard very few sermons on Genesis, and certainly none on Genesis 34).
One observation before I get to Carson’s comments. This is definitely one of those chapters that opponents of the faith will point to and say “see, look, the Christian God is an amoral monster”. To which, the easy response is that the story is descriptive and not proscriptive.. In other words, it doesn’t depict a proscriptive command by God but a descriptive narrative of what God’s people did in their sin. So why include it in the Bible? Well here’s what Carson has to say…
Just because God has once again graciously intervened and helped his people (as he does in Gen. 32-33) does not mean there is no longer any moral danger of drift toward corruption. Further, once again it is clear that the promised line is not chosen because of its intrinsic superiority; implicitly this chapter argues for the primacy of grace.
A few years ago, I watched a movie with some friends called “Father of Lights”. We had to be very discerning in watching it. For one, it was being shown at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (no known as Catch the Fire), which was home to the heretical “Toronto Blessing” movement from a couple of decades ago. They’re still rather ultra-charismatic, even if they’ve softened their tone a bit from their Toronto Blessing days. Secondly, the movie itself was rather charismatic, and while all of us guys who went considered ourselves Continuationists/Reformed Charismatics, we certainly knew where to draw the line.
Anyway, there were some beautiful things about the movie, which talked about evangelism in India. One of them was this quote from Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke:
When I stand up to preach the Gospel, I often preach to people who have no idea who God is because they worship idols, very terrible idols. They spread the table for their gods, and I tell them that the Christian God does it the other way around. He spreads the table for His children. In the other religions people always seek God. In the Christian faith, God seeks man.
I thought of this quote today as I was reading D.A. Carson’s devotional concerning Genesis 28. For those who don’t know the story, Genesis 28 is about Jacob fleeing his brother Esau (under the pretence of finding a good wife among his mother, Rebekah’s family). While on the run, he sees the LORD in a vision, and as a result, sets up a memorial stone which he calls “Bethel” or, “House of God”. Carson briefly comments on how “Bethel” has been appropriated as a name by numerous churches. And so, he wanted to show the significance of the institution of this name in the first place. He writes:
One of the great themes of scripture is how God meets us where we are: in our insecurities, in our conditional obedience, in our mixture of faith and doubt, in our fusion of awe and selfinterest, in our understanding and foolishness. God does not disclose himself only to the greatest and most stalwart, but to us, at our Bethel, the house of God.
As I was writing my update yesterday, I remembered that I haven’t actually done one of them yet… That is, blog about my daily Bible Reading. Now I remember making this resolution before (actually it was a little more rigorous: blog every day about my Bible Reading) and it didn’t work. Mostly because it had to be my own thoughts and stuff. But I’ve resolved that I won’t fail again this year. So I’ve got to simplify it a little. And since WordPress added a bunch of new features that I want to try, I’ve decided I’m not exactly going to blog my own thoughts only about my Bible Reading, but do things like post quotes that I like and stuff.. And so here’s the first one, on Genesis 12…
This passage, Genesis 12, marks a turning point in God’s unfolding plan of redemption. From now on, the focus of God’s dealings is not scattered individuals, but a race, a nation. This is the turning point that makes the Old Testament documents so profoundly Jewish. And ultimately, out of this race come law, priests, wisdom, patterns of relationships between God and his covenant people, oracles, prophecies, laments, psalms-a rich array of institutions and texts that point forward, in ways that become increasingly clear, to a new covenant foretold by Israel’s prophets. (D.A. Carson, For the Love of God Vol. 1, p. 10).
I am an Old Testament scholar. At least I like to think of myself as that. And this quote, I think captures exactly why I love the Old Testament so much. Don’t get me wrong. I love the New Testament, too, especially the Gospels, which tell the story of Jesus, and the Epistles (especial Paul’s) that work through the implications of The Gospel in our daily walk. But, the Old Testament, in how it points forward to these things, hold a special place in my heart. I love nothing more than reading through the stories, and prophecies, and poetry, and all the other genres of literature that’s found in it, and seeing how Jesus is foretold throughout.
The most recent sermon I preached… On August 18, 2013. At Parkway Bible Church on my 2nd last Sunday as the Worship Director.
One of the major difficulties that I came across when I first became the music director here at Parkway is that while I was quite familiar with a lot of worship songs, I came to quickly realize that I didn’t know a lot of them all that well. That is – I sometimes didn’t know the words of the songs all that well. What would happen to me sometimes, more often in rehearsal, rather than during the actual service itself … is that I would just start singing the wrong lyrics…
So, like for example, just couple of weeks ago while Kristy Mikelait and I were practicing for the service, we were just plugging along on the hymn “In Christ Alone” when all of a sudden, she just stops and kind of gives me this goofy smile. And I was like what’s up? What’s wrong? Well, I had just sung the wrong words to this song that I had used in worship maybe dozens of times in the past 10 years.
You see, I was familiar with the song as a pianist who accompanies singers. But singing it myself, I realized that I didn’t actually know it all that well. And I am wondering if when it comes to the passage that we’re going to consider this morning, that many Christians – many of us here today, are merely “familiar” with it, having heard it once in a while throughout our Christian lives, not realizing that we don’t actually know it all that well…
1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,they comfort me.
5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Dr. Marion Taylor
13 December 2011
Land and Landlessness in Genesis-2 Kings
The theme of land and landlessness is central in the books of Genesis to 2 King. In fact, it might even be said that it is a central theme in the whole Hebrew Bible, as well as in Israel’s history in general. It would be quite difficult to give an account of the major points in Israel’s history without reference to the land, and the place it held in Israel’s identity as a people and even in relationship with the Lord. Abraham’s call in Genesis 12 is at the root of this. In verses 1 to 3, the Lord makes several promises to Abraham after commanding him to leave his homeland and to travel to the land which the Lord will show him. This land is revealed to be the land of Canaan, which the Lord also then promised to give to Abraham’s offspring.
And so, in these verses in Genesis, we can already begin to see the theme of land taking a central role in the history of the people of Israel even before it has even completely taken shape. We have an imperative from the Lord to go to this land, accompanied by several promises, essentially to be blessed and to be a blessing to the world. At this point in the story, however, land seems to have been of secondary consequence; that is, it would seem that the Lord’s promises of blessings came as a result of Abraham’s obedience to leave his family and his homeland to travel to Canaan. The story continues and Abraham does not stay there, but is forced to leave due to a famine. He travels to Egypt where he has an unfortunate incident (also unfortunate because it would not be his last) with lying about his wife. Upon his return to Canaan, he and his nephew Lot separate and he resettles in Canaan. At this point, the Lord seems to have elevated the land to be a part of his promise to Abraham. In Genesis 13:14-17 the Lord restates the promise to Abraham. Continue reading →
The story of the Creation and time before God’s chosen people.
Genesis 11:10 to 23:20
The story of Abraham, the man by whom God called.
Genesis 24:1 to 26:35
The story of Isaac, the promised son.
Genesis 27:1 to 36:43
The story of Jacob, whom God named Israel.
Genesis 37:1 to 50:26
The story of Joseph, who brought the people of Israel into Egypt.
Part 2: Analysis of the Book’s Structure
The Book of Genesis, at its core, is simply a story. It is the story of how God worked and moved in history: first of all to create history itself, and then also to call a particular group of people – a family – through whom he intends to bless the world (12:3). The first section of the book provides an overview of the creation story, and certain events leading up to God choosing a particular people to bless the world. The next three sections cover the stories of the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob whose family God chooses to work through. Finally, the last section concerns one of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, who was sold into slavery in Egypt, and whose story provides a natural conclusion to “the beginnings” of the people of Israel, setting us up for the next part of their history.
This structure was chosen largely because of the promise which God makes to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This promise of land, descendants, and blessing is found in each of three divisions, as it is restated to each of the patriarchs. To Abram/Abraham, God makes this promise three times, first (as previously mentioned) in 12:1-9, then in 15:1-21 in which God formalized this promise into a “covenant”, then 17:1-14 where God also instituted circumcision as the sign of the covenant. God then restates this covenant to Isaac in 26:1-5 and Jacob in 26:10-22.
Note: Hebrew is written right-to-left, but all translation to English will be left-to-right. Each slash (/) represents a new Hebrew word, which can represent multiple words in English.
Verse 1: In the beginning / to create / God / Definite Direct Object Marker (DDOM) / the heavens / and DDOM / the earth.
Verse 2: And the earth / to be / emptiness, wasteland, formlessness / and void, uninhabited area / and darkness / on, upon / the face of / primeval ocean, deep, depth / and the spirit of / God / to hover / on, upon / face of / the waters.
Verse 3: And to say / God / to be / light / and to be / light.
Verse 4: And to see / God / DDOM / the Light / so, thus / Good / and to divide, separate, set apart, make a distinction / God / between / the light / and between / the darkness.
Verse 5: And to be / evening / and to be / morning / day / one
Translation with Commentary
Verse 1: In (the) beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The first verse of the bible starts with an inseperable preposition, the Hebrew letter “Bet”. This preposition has a wide semantic range, but the usual meaning “in” is used here. It is prefixed to the Hebrew word “Re’shith” meaning, beginning. The definite article “the” does not actually appear in this first word, but is supplied as demanded by the context.
The Hebrew verb “Bara” is parsed as “Qal Perfect, 3rd Person Masculine Singular”. Its subject follows, the Hebrew word “Elohim” which simply means “God”. Interestingly, this word is in the plural form, and possibly represents the Triune God!
Two definite direct objects then follow (marked by the definite direct object marker, “eth”, which is not translated), the heavens and the earth.
Verse 2: Now the earth was empty and void, and darkness was on the face of the priveval ocean, but the face spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The Hebrew conjunction “Vav” has a really wide lexical range. It’s basic meaning is “And”, but can also be translated as “now, but, also”, etc, depending on the context. In this case, I chose the word “Now” to prevent its overuse ass it occurs multiple times in the follow clauses.
The word “Tohu” also has several meanings: “emptiness, wasteland, formlessness”. I chose “emptiness” to provide a closer synonym for the following word “Bohu” w hich could mean “void” or “uninhabited area”.
Another conjunction ”Vav” occurs before the following clause. This time I chose to translate it as “and” to signify its addition to the description of the earth in the earlier clause. What follows is the first of two uses of the “Al-Pney” construction. The word “Al” meaning “on, upon, over, against, by” prefixed on to the word “Panim”: “on the face”. “Panim” is in the construct state “Pney”, with the word “thom” meaning “primeval ocean, deep, depth” in the absolute state. This construct chain is the way Hebrew represents the “of” relationship. “on the face of the primeval ocean”.
In the next phrase, I chose to translate the “Vav” as “But” to contrast with the previous clause. “Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was on the face of the primeval ocean; but, the spirit of God was hovering on the face of the water”. The words “Ruakh” (spirit) and “Elohim” (God) is in construct, as is the second occurrence of the Al-Pney phrase and the word “Mayim” (water). The parsing for the word “Mrakhepheth” is “Qal Participle Feminine Singular, from the root ‘Rakhaph’ (to hover).” In the absence of a transitive verb, the verb “to be” was supplied. ”The spirit of God was hovering”.
Verse 3: Then God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light.
This verse starts with the Wayiqtol/Preterite/Past Narrative form of the verb “‘amar” (to say). This is the normal “narrative” verb form – used for telling story. This indicates that the previous 2 verses can be seen as a preamble, or introductory statements to this, the start of the narrative. So, I chose to translate the “Vav” prefixed to the verb as “Then”. I just think it makes for better story telling. “God” is obviously the subject of the verb. He’s the one speaking.
The parsing for the word “Yhiy” is “Qal Jussive 3rd Person Masculine Singular”. “Jussive” is the 3rd Person volitional mood, and shares the same form as the Imperfect 3rd Person. However, we know it’s volitional because it is the first word in the clause. “Wayhi” is parsed “Qal Preterite 3rd Person Masculine Singular” and simply means “And there was”. The noun “Light” is the obvious subject.
Verse 4: God saw that the light was good. Then God made a distinction between the light and the darkness.
The parsing for the word “Wayar” is “Qal Preterite 3rd Person Masculine Singular” from the root “Ra’ah” (to see). God is the obvious subject, though the object is a little more difficult to discern. Van Pelt and Pratico explain that the words “Ci-Tov” constitute a “dependent verbless clause with an explicit subject”. Who am I to argue with them? So I translated it as “that was good”, giving the translation for the clause “God saw the light that was good”, which I changed to “God saw that the light was good” to clean up the grammar.
“Wayivdel” is a “Qal Preterite 3rd person singular” and with the subject, God, I translated as “Then God made a distinction”. This follows the typical construct “between the light and between the darkness”, which I simplified to “between the light and the darkness”.
Verse 4: God named the light, “Day”, and the darkness, “Night”. Then there was evening, And there was morning. The first day.
“Wayiqra” is parsed “Qal preterite 3rd Person Masculine Singular” with God, again, as the subject. When the verb “Qara” is coupled with the inseparable prepositon “Lamed”, it takes on the meaning “name”. So this is what I used here. Literally it is “God called to the light”. The second clause is a similar construction except the “Qara” turns into a Perfect. In this case, the perfect just takes on the nuance of the previous verb form, so I maintained the narrative flow. Literally “God called the light, ‘day’ and the darkness, he called ‘night’.” But I simplified this, as well to make it more grammatically correct. Finally, two simple statements, with the verb “Wayhi” – which has already been parsed above as “Qal Preterite 3rd Perosn Mascualine Singular” of the verb “to be” occurs. With the two nouns “Evening” and “Morning”. The closing statement, “Yom Ekhad” literally means “Day One”, which could have been kept as a cool idiomatic way to express the Hebrew into English. But I decided to stick with the traditional “The first day”.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was empty and void, and darkness was on the face of the priveval ocean, but the face spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light.
God saw that the light was good.
Then God made a distinction between the light and the darkness. And God named the light, “Day”, and the darkness, “Night”.
Then there was evening, And there was morning. The first day.