Archive for April 5th, 2007

…that I might know You, O Lord

April 5, 2007

Recently, I have been struggling with some of the texts in 2 Samuel (not to mention others in the OT). It seemed like even after serious reading, I was walking away in the mornings with nothing except battles, and fights, and chaos in David’s family. I knew that God promised that he would cause these things to come upon the house of David due to his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:9-12), yet I was still missing something. Then, as I was meditating on the Exodus narrative for a paper I was writing, I came across something that was absolutely stunning.

In Exodus 32, Israel proves to be an obstinate people, especially in breaking the covenant by their idolatrous behavior at Mt. Sinai. Nevertheless, the Lord commands Moses to bring the people up to the land promised them (33:1-2). The Lord, however, was not going to travel in their midst, since he might destroy Israel along the way (33:3). On behalf of Israel, Moses intercedes so that the Lord’s presence would instead be with them (32:31-32; 33:12-16; 34:9). In this intercession, Moses prays, “Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight” (33:13). Evidently, Moses believed that by knowing the Lord’s ways, he would know the Lord. The Lord’s ways reveal who the Lord is.

What was so stunning for me was that for weeks I had been reading of the Lord’s ways with Israel, and the Lord’s ways with David, and the Lord’s ways with the nations, and not realizing that these things were announcing to me who the Lord is! The Lord had people record the historical events I was reading so that I would know him, his character, his sovereignty, his mercy, his freedom, his justice, his faithfulness, and his great redemptive plan. O how grateful I am for this lesson in hermeneutics. I pray that you too, in observing the Lord’s ways, might come to know him. 

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Wisdom Concerning Word Studies

April 5, 2007

Recently, my Hebrew professor made some important observations and comments concerning “word studies” in exegesis that are well worth mentioning (especially for those who are acquainted with Kittle’s popular Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [TDNT]). These comments not only apply to those in seminary who are writing papers, or to those in ministry who are shepherding a flock. They also apply to everyone who listens to lectures and sermons, or who reads various sorts of Christian literature. I pray that these brief comments will grow Christians in their discernment of the interpretation of the word of God.

If you are still not on board, maybe an example will help. A good example comes from a sermon I heard on Romans 1:16, which says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes.” The preacher proceeded to explain that the word “power” comes from the Greek word dunamis, and that dunamis is where we get our English word for dynamite, and so Paul is speaking of the explosive power of God! This is not a profound statement about the power of the gospel; this is simply a fallacy of linguistics. Dynamite did not even exist in Paul’s day. Paul did not have in mind some sort of explosive force when he wrote this, but the power of God revealed in the resurrected Christ. With that being said, I will now mention the comments my professor made. (more…)