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.

Father Abraham, had many sons; and many sons, Moses did not.

Rothko-9-White-Black-Wine-1958So…I had my mind blown this past week.

I’m taking this class on the idea of “worship” in all its dimensions, and we read a few pieces that gave me an entirely new framework to understand the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, and how God works in those stories. And no, I’m not exaggerating.

In Genesis 15, God makes a covenant with Abraham, and it’s a little weird, mainly because it’s entirely on God. He promises that he will be Abraham’s God. He promises he will give him many descendants. He promises to make those descendants a blessing to the world. And, most importantly, he takes all of the potential negative consequences of breaking the covenant on Himself. In essence, he makes this covenant with Himself on Abraham’s behalf.

What’s Abraham’s part in this whole thing? “He believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness”, the text says (and he’s supposed to circumcise his kids as a visible mark of his belief). This is one of the earliest and clearest depictions of the unconditional grace-driven nature of God’s relationship to humanity and the world–a relationship that would later be called “The Gospel”. In fact, the Apostle Paul would look at this moment in Genesis and say:

Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

Okay….so what?
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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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Uh-oh (a Post-Script to my previous post on Moses)


I just reached this part in the book I referenced in my post earlier on Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. This book was somewhat challenging the Documentary Hypothesis in my mind. I thought this book, in its recounting of Documentarians, was pretty fair and not too blindly fundamentalistic. But, now that he has turned from documenting the development of the field to laying out his own thoughts, I see I was wrong. Crap.

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The Pentateuch: Moses vs. the Documentary Hypothesis [OPEN MIC]

imageUpdate: I realized I was wrong.

Okay, for many of you, this will seem silly and inconsequential; others will find it blasphemous. But bear with me for this quick post.

Starting in a few weeks, I’ll be teaching a survey of the Bible class through the summer at my church (I’m going to try and record it and post it here each week). To prep for this, I’ve been delving back into seminary-land, reading about 12 different OT Surveys, OT intros, and Pentateuchal commentaries to get ready for just the Intro to the Old Testament and Pentateuch parts.

And of course, this brings up the issue of the authorship of the Old Testament. Honestly, I don’t plan on going more than 2 minutes on the topic in this class, but I want that two minutes to be fair, informed, helpful, and above all, edifying to the people in the room. I want people walking away understanding that godly people disagree on this stuff and why they do. I don’t want to caricature and criticize unnecessarily.

The main issue I’m working through is what part Moses (or any other pre-10,000 B.C. ancient authors/editors/redactors) had in writing the Pentateuch.

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