Hi Five Oakers,
The weekend is almost here and I want to share a few things with you.
Illicit sex, multiple murders, an elaborate cover-up, callous betrayal, and self-righteous indignation all perpetrated by the man after God's own heart. That's our text this weekend: 2 Samuel 11-12.
Jewish literary scholar, Robert Alter, says the literary artistry in telling the story of David and Bathsheba is unequaled in ancient literature. Another scholar, Walter Brueggemann, writes, "The story is so massive and penetrating that it almost defies our capacity to interpret. Every effort fails before the subject itself, no doubt the way interpretation fails all great art."
What does a preacher do with a text like this? The answer: Get out of the way as much as possible and let the Scripture speak for itself.
Joshua Reich on "When Grace Isn’t What You Expected"
I’m reading The Wilderking Trilogy to my kids, which is based on the life of King David. There is a great line in the second book where the prophet describes King Darrow (representing King Saul), and he says about him, “He’s thrown away the grace he was given because it’s not the grace he had in mind.”
Mark Galli on "Hope in the Face of Intractable Racism: The church provides two gifts to the conversation on race"
Only by acknowledging the hopelessness of eradicating sin can we avoid despair. Ennobled by honest confession, empowered by a sure forgiveness, we can abandon utopian hopes and instead focus on more modest and achievable ends: ensuring that the worst expressions of racism are checked, and a creating a church in which blacks and whites enjoy a measure of reconciliation.
One More Thing
Here's the Hugh Halter quote in full from last week's sermon:
To truly appreciate what Jesus’s incarnation means to us, we have to ask the why. Why did God come to earth? Why did He go through all the trouble? Why didn’t He just forget about humanity, let it go, and start over? Why would He let His Son not only come to us but also die in the process? If you have grown up with Christian theology, you know that a perfect, holy God cannot let imperfection, or what we call “sin,” have the last laugh. Because God is in His nature both perfect in love and perfect in justice, He needed a way to remove sin from humanity so that humans could be back in relationship with Him. The only payment, or what we call “atonement,” for sin is someone without sin dying in the place of those who do sin. The only option therefore was God’s sinless Son in place of us, sinful humanity.
That makes sense at least as an equation for why God had to come and die. But the incarnation isn’t just about an equation. It’s about an emotion. God wanted us back. He wanted it the way it used to be. (Hugh Halter, Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth)