Category Archives: Isaiah

Dry Bones

Ezek 37:1-14

Many know the Old Testament lectionary reading for this coming Sunday, the fifth Sunday in Lent, through the familiar spiritual. Slaves in the American Sought clearly heard in Ezekiel and his visions of a wheel and a valley of dry bones a promise of God’s power to bring life out of death, freedom out of slavery. The passage finds its place in the common Continue reading Dry Bones

Q&A: Intergenerational Guilt

Exod 20:5-6; Deut 5:9-10

A reader and long-time friend emailed me this week with a question concerning the statement in the Decalog that God “visits the iniquities of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate [God]” (Exod 20:5; Deut 5:9; my translation; cf. also Exod 34:6-7; Deut 7:9-10; Jer 32:18; and Ps 105:8=1 Chron 16:15).  On its face, this Continue reading Q&A: Intergenerational Guilt

“In whom I am well pleased”

Mark 1:11; Matt 3:17; Luke 3:22

As I write, it is Tuesday of Holy Week and the world seems to be coming apart all around me – terrorism in Belgium, turmoil in American politics, and troubled people on every horizon.  People want political answers to what they perceive to be political threats; they want forceful measures to deal with destructive forces.  People are angry and afraid.  Can

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“Outside Agitators”

In the previous entry in this blog, I argued that the most profitable approach to reading prophetic literature involves a variety of “pattern recognition.”  Yesterday, the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, I took the opportunity to re-read Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” his famed “I Have a Dream” speech, and the concluding chapter of his

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“Fallen, Fallen is Babylon” (Isa 21:9)

 The Danger of Genre Confusion

During the initial days of the First Gulf War, several local news outlets contacted me wanting to know whether events in the Persian Gulf were fulfilling biblical prophecies against Babylon. I am sure that they expected the Baptist Old Testament professor at the local college to detail an apocalyptic panorama for them.  Instead, I told them, simply,

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Christmas Prophecy

Christmas disturbs me this year.  Usually, I hear in the Christmas story the announcement that the prophetic insight encapsulated in the phrase “Immanu-el (Hebrew, “God is with us”; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23) has found ultimate expression in the birth of a child. Christmas usually reminds me that God wants communion with human beings, created in God’s image, to such a degree that God was willing come to us as an infant child.  Christmas usually reminds me that we do not have to speculate about the character of the God, mysterious and majestic, who created the universe.  Instead, God so desires to reveal

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