Category Archives: Old Testament

Worship and Suffering: Praising God from the Ashes

In scripture, suffering and worship go hand in hand. The greatest book on suffering ever written, the book of Job makes this connection at the very beginning when everything begins falling apart in Job’s life,

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (1:20-22)

Worship and mourning are not mutually exclusive. If we misunderstand worship to be praise conditioned upon positive circumstance then we misunderstand the very nature of worship and the very nature of God. Worship is unconditional in that we offer it to God no matter what, in all circumstances. At the same time the thing that happen in our lives have everything to do with the content of our worship. We praise God out of the reality of what is going on in our lives. The scriptures never sugar coat worship as if God is co-dependent to our “everything is fine” addiction. No. Worship in the Bible is in tune with reality because worship and suffering and not mutually exclusive. Even these words of Job are offset in the text, assuming that they are a song. Job is singing.

If there is still any doubt about this please take a moment to read the Psalms. It won’t take you long to realize that those songs frequently call out to God from troubled circumstances. This worship is a worship that recognizes God’s worth and worthiness from difficult circumstances and then calls on God’s covenant faithfulness to make things right again.

If you are suffering and down maybe it is time to try worship. It is good for the soul.

“The lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Why are Biblical Lament and Celebration Extremely Important Today?

They are important because they are rooted in history. When you look at both biblical lament and biblical celebration, especially in the psalms, they are rooted in historical context. They reach back into their history. They remind themselves and their listeners (their co-mourners/co-celebrants) that what they are experiencing has deep roots going back generations. ThereContinue Reading

Did David Prophesy the Deaths of His Own Children?

After David had an affair with Bathsheba and subsequently had her husband Uriah murdered to cover his tracks the prophet Nathan came and rebuked David for his sins in 2 Samuel 12. Nathan tells David a story about a man who only had one little lamb that he treated as his own child. He caredContinue Reading

An Important Principle in Reading the Old Testament as it Relates to the New – Fulfillment

We teach a lot more Old Testament to our children than to our adults. At least that is my experience. The Old Testament is so full of great stories that work well with the imagination of our kids. We don’t ever need to graduate out of the Old Testament. Instead we need to understand justContinue Reading

How is the Old Testament Useful Today?

The word “graphe” in Greek is used 49 times in the New Testament and literally means “writing.” In the New Testament the kind of writing that is being discussed is inspired writing which in basically every case is the Old Testament and so the word is translated “scripture.” When the New Testament writers refer toContinue Reading

Ironing Out Our Conflicting Message on the Usefulness of the Old Testament – Part 3

Next we turn to Acts 15. The Gospel had been preached among the Jews up until Acts 10. In Acts 10 we get the story of the divinely orchestrated encounter between Peter and Cornelius. Peter acknowledges God’s acceptance of non-proselyte (Jewish convert) Gentiles by the evidence of the Holy Spirit coming upon Cornelius and thoseContinue Reading

Ironing Out Our Conflicting Message on the Usefulness of the Old Testament – Part 2

It is important in this conversation that we stick with scripture itself for our guide. In Churches of Christ that is one of our mantras – that we stick by scripture even over tradition. But in the case of how we read and use the Old Testament we skip right past what the New TestamentContinue Reading

Ironing Out Our Conflicting Message on the Usefulness of the Old Testament

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard in my life that the Old Testament is irrelevant to us because it was nailed to the cross and is therefore no longer useful to Christians today. People have based this view on a number of things. First there is Colossians 2:14 that says somethingContinue Reading

Embracing God’s Gift Rather Than Twisting Our Blessings

These words from Hosea have resonated with me for nearly 20 years (Hosea 11:1-11), “When Israel was a child, I loved him,     and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more they were called,     the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals     and they burned incense to images. 3 ItContinue Reading

Psalm 51:5 Does God Create “In Utero Sinners”?

“Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.” – NRSV “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” – NIV “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” – NASB, ESV, RSV What is going on here? The firstContinue Reading

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