“O Adonai” | Burning Bush O’Fashioned

For each of the ancient “O Antiphon” prayers in this week preceding Christmas, I will be offering prayers and a variation on an Old Fashioned.

Today’s O Antiphon is “O Adonai”.

This antiphon points back to God revealing his name to Moses at the burning bush.The Israelites thought that name (YHWH) was too holy to say out loud, so they would substitute the word “Adonai”, which is often translated as LORD in English Bibles. On this day, we reflect on God in Jesus as our Lord, ruler, and judge, longing for him to come and sets us free from the things that bind us.

Today’s Prayer & Scripture

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai: come, stretch out your mighty hand and set us free.

The text today is Isaiah 33:22: “For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our ruler; the Lord is our king; he will save us.” For further reflection, read Exodus 3, the story of God revealing himself to Moses in the burning bush. It is such a rich and mysterious text, ripe for meditation.

As we continue towards Christmas, remember that God has revealed both himself and what way of living leads to life. Let that remind us how we fall short of that in so many ways and how we need God to come and satisfy his own judgment lest we lose him altogether. End your day with prayer and a drink.

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Who God is When We’ve Forgotten Who He is | Exodus 3.13-15

But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:

This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.

Exodus 3.13-15

Oh this could be for us. The people had been so far from there God, that they may have even the forgotten his name. I feel like this is a similar time to where we are now, with people needing to be told the name of God and reminded who he is and what he does.

God says that this is his name for every generation. Even now? Could this somehow be a model for how Christians today are to live in this world where people have forgotten the name and identity of God? What if we lived as if God is not “The One Who Must be Defended”, “The One Who Judges & Condemns”, “The One Whose Way of Living Must Be Forced Upon Societies”, “The One Who Must Be Pleased”, “The One Who Accepts All”, or even “The One Who Saves Us”.

How would our lives look if we read this Exodus passage, saw this name, title, and covenantal nature and lived embracing this name and identity: The One Who Simply Is, and Is Ours.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Our infinitely compassionate (and delegating) God | Exodus 3.7-8

Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey….
Exodus 3.7-8

Notice the verbs hear that God uses to describe how he relates to his people. He observes, hears, knows, and comes down. How intimate, tender, and powerful. Also, it’s a little funny that he says that he has come down to save if his people right as he’s commissioning Moses to do it for him.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

The Proof that God’s Right? When He Is. | Exodus 3.11-12

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”
Exodus 3.11-12

Haha. God pretty much says, “this will be the sign that I am right. When everything I’m saying ends up happening”. And so Moses’ assurance in the moment is a promise for the future.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

God’s Sovereignty, Moses’ Will | Exodus 3.4

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”
Exodus 3.4

What an interesting interplay between God’s Sovereignty and human will. The angel, or an expression of God, calls out to Moses and then waits for his response. The text then makes a point to say that it was only after God saw Moses obey the call and come to him that he begins speaking his promises and showing his identity to Moses. God here shows patience, and waits for Moses.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

A quick note on why everything you think about angels might be wrong | Exodus 3.2

There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.
Exodus 3.2

It seems that in other parts of Scripture–both Old and New Testaments–the writers seem to think that this is God himself showing up in the bush. Heck, this account itself makes that claim. So, I’m wonder if angels aren’t so much heavenly beings with their own individual personalities, but rather incarnations (pun intended) of “parts” of God. Maybe certain attributes, perhaps? And so, maybe it is the case that all the stories about angels and heavenly hosts and battles really are more symbolic of general spiritual forces rather than individual beings with their own personalities and such. Maybe they are not “representatives” of God, but are just God in certain forms. Perhaps they are like pre-incarnations? I think we need a new vocabulary to talk about this. Either way, this text clearly says “the angel of the Lord appeared” and then the rest of the story says it’s YHWH himself.

If you want an even more provocative thought. Recall Job, when the “angel Satan” does a bunch of stuff to Job? Well, Job goes on to say that the Lord has done those things to him, and both times he does this, the text clearly says, “Job did not sin with his lips or ascribe wrong to God.” “Satan” does something, Job says God did it. The Bible says Job is right.

Lastly, as a disclaimer on these Marginalia posts. These are my stream of conscious thoughts as I read Scripture. They are not fully-formed doctrinal positions. I think it beneficial not to shield people from even the craziest left-field questions that pop up in one’s mind, but to invite them into the thinking process.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Moses the Levite? | Exodus 2:1

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman.
Exodus 2.1

These are Moses’ unnamed parents. It’s interesting that the text makes a point to say they are both Levites, the priesthood branch of the family. Notice that both Aaron and Miriam, Moses is siblings, would have also come from the priesthood side of the family. I wonder if this gives Miriam a certain Priestley role in the community as well? Either way, I never noticed that Moses and Aaron are both Levites. This gives Moses a much more priestly, rather than prophetic, role in what he does, and the function he serves in the story and the community.

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

Epiphany: a great time to talk Magi & biblical errancy

advent-nativity-icon This Church season of Epiphany primarily celebrates the coming of the wise men to see the young Jesus. Now think of the popular conceptions of the “wise men”. I imagine the picture that comes to mind is much like the one above: a quaint manger, farm animals, some shepherds, and the three wise men, presenting their gifts to the newborn Jesus.

I’m not sure how many of us know how wrong this is.

The wise men did not visit Jesus in the manger, their paths did not cross at all with the shepherds (that we know of), and, contrary to some of the most well-engrained church and musical traditions, their number is not given–“three” is just a guess. This guess is probably based on the fact that three gifts were offered (though the 6th-century Armenian Infancy Gospel, the source of the Western tradition of the wise men’s names and ethnicities, lists far more than just three gifts). The Eastern Church tradition even says it was twelve.

And yet, for over a thousand years, on into the present day, these traditions concerning the Wise Men have persisted. We know the sources of these traditions, we know when they became popularized, and we know how they’ve been used in Christian preaching and church life through the centuries. Every Advent season, even the most cursory drive in the suburbs will offer nativity scenes peppered with three wise men adoring the manger-laden Christ.

This reminded me of Jannes and Jambres.
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The Way Out: a modern re-telling of Exodus (a scene) | {story#19}

This is an original fiction piece written for StoryADay September. I’m usually very insistent that a piece should be able to stand on its own with no explanation, but this being a random scene from a play, I’ll tell you what you need to know. This is from an original play called “The Way Out”. It’s a modern re-telling of the biblical Exodus. “Christopher” is the Moses in this story, “Evan” is his brother Aaron, and “Joshua” is Yahweh. Even grew up a slave in the nation and Chris was raised in the King’s house. After killing a man, Chris was exiled and met his wife, before returning to help set these slaves free. Read more about StoryADay & follow here.


You have no idea what sort of state I was in back then! Do you know what it’s like to kill a man? To feel the part of you that awakens after watching the eyes of a man grow dim beneath the weight of your own anger? Your own hands? I was beside myself! I couldn’t look at my own reflection for a month! I had no idea who I was anymore. Heck, I still don’t even know half the time. There is no way you could have any idea what that time was like!

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