Something Different

“Who can find a wife of noble character? She is far more precious than jewels.”

What do you do when you get an all-expenses-paid stay in your master bedroom with your eleven-year-old son for a week? You watch a lot of movies, for starters. The original Jurassic Park trilogy, The Santa Claus trilogy, and the first five hours of the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy so far. You work some as well. And you think. For me, I tend not to think in pictures or ideas. I think in words. And with tomorrow’s being a rather special day…for which I am in quarantine…I’ve done a fair bit of thinking in that direction. Here are a few thoughts that have come from it.

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Morning Musing: Hebrew 9:1-10

“Now the first covenant also had regulations for ministry and an earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was set up, and in the first room, which is called the holy place, were the lampstand, the table, and the presentation loaves. Behind the second curtain was a tent called the most holy place. It had the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered with gold on all sides, in which was a gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. The cherubim of glory were above the ark overshadowing the mercy seat. It is not possible to speak about these things in detail right now. With these things prepared like this, the priests enter the first room repeatedly, performing their ministry. But the high priest alone enters the second room, and he does that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was making it clear that the way into the most holy place had not yet been disclosed while the first tabernacle was still standing. This is a symbol for the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worship’s conscience. They are physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of the new order.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done something you thought was necessary, but later discovered was a waste of time? It’s hard to imagine something more frustrating than that. But what if this thing you were doing actually was necessary at the time. It was even good. You needed to be doing that then. But it wasn’t good enough for your ultimate aim. It was a placeholder. There was something more to get there, but it wasn’t time to learn about that part just yet. This is what the author of Hebrews here describes the old covenant to be. It did something good and important and necessary, but there was more. The more is for us. Let’s talk about it.

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Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 8:7-13

“For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second one. But finding fault with his people, he says: ‘”See, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. I showed no concern for them,” says the Lord, “because they did not continue in my covenant. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” says the Lord: ” I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And each person will not teach his fellow citizen, and each his brother or sister, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will forgive their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.”‘ By saying a new covenant, he has declared that the first is obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old is about to pass away.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Think about your phone for a minute. Is it the first phone you’ve ever owned? My guess is that unless you’re a teenager with a fairly new device, the answer to that question is no. It’s probably not even the second phone you’ve owned. If I’m remembering correctly, my current device is my sixth. Of course, the fact that I can’t even remember very well says something all by itself. Why did you buy a new phone when you did? It could be your old one broke or was lost or stolen, but I suspect there’s a better chance it simply became old and obsolete. Let’s talk today about old phones and God’s covenant with Israel.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 8:3-6

“For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; therefore, it was necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he wouldn’t be a priest, since there are those offering the gifts prescribed by the law. These serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was warned when he was about to complete the tabernacle. For God said, ‘Be careful that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.’ But Jesus has now obtained a superior ministry, and to that degree he is the mediator of a better covenant, which has been established on better promises.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There’s an old adage that says, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The idea, of course, is that by copying something, you are making a statement as to the worth of the thing. Whatever else you think about it, you think it is worth making more of it. OF course, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you make a second version or an update of something because the first thing wasn’t perfect, and you wanted to make improvements in it. In the world of computer programming, the first version of something is called the “beta” version and is always intended to be replaced by the superior full version. When it comes to our relationship with God, the first covenant of Law was always intended to be replaced by the second covenant of grace. The new covenant is the main version, and the Law was the beta. This is something the author of Hebrews begins unpacking here and for the next little while. Let’s explore it with him.

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How to Speak When It Matters Most

Well, you never know when plans are going to be turned on their head. I was all set to preach yesterday, but wound up stuck at home. Our Minister of Students did a terrific job filling in last minute. Here’s what I would have preached had I been able to go as planned.

This week, as we continue in our series, How to Be Faithful When No One Else Is, we are exploring the next part of Daniel’s story together. Here we find a king demanding something utterly irrational and throwing a royal temper tantrum when he can’t have it. Yet it is Daniel who comes to the rescue by providing the king (with God’s help) exactly what he was seeking. That’s the part of the story that usually gets all the attention, but there was something else Daniel did along the way that is so important for us to understand if we are going to stand firm in our faith when the world is pushing back against us. Let’s explore this together!

How to Speak When It Matters Most

Have you ever thrown a truth bomb? Do you even know what a truth bomb is? If you’re on social media in some capacity, I suspect you do. A website called defines a truth bomb this way: “A truth bomb is a statement made that might seem shocking to the recipient but is the truth. It feels like a bomb because the victim…is unsuspecting of it and is usually left disoriented. Truth bombs can lead to disaster depending on the truth they reveal and how the recipient takes it.” Truth bombs aren’t so fun if you are on the receiving end of one, but we live in a day when people love throwing them at each other—especially on social media. Now, just how fully most “truth bombs” actually fall in line with the truth is a matter of some debate, but it’s always fun to feel like you’re telling people something they don’t already know and will shock them to learn it. We love the idea of speaking truth to power like this. 

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