Digging in Deeper: Micah 5:5

“He will be their peace. When Assyria invades our land, when it marches against our fortresses, we will raise against it seven shepherds, even eight leaders of men.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever try and look at one of those Magic Eye pictures? I remember having a couple of different books of them when I was growing up. The cool thing about them was that if you just looked at them they were kind of cool-looking designs. But if you looked deeper, an entirely new image appeared and in 3D to boot. My trick was always to cross my eyes and slowly uncross them. The first glance was neat, but bland. It was the second, deeper look where things got interesting. Well, we could call this a Magic Eye verse. Let me tell you why.

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Morning Musing: Joel 2:27

“You will know that I am present in Israel and that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other. My people will never again be put to shame.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

My wife and I used to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition every single time it was on. We loved that show. The premise was that in each episode a different family got home makeover that involved completely tearing down their old one and building an entirely new one in its place. It was always such tearjerker of a show too. The producers were generally really good about picking families who were particularly deserving of the gift they received. The homes themselves were always amazing and I rarely finished watching an episode without thinking to myself at least once: Why couldn’t it be me getting that?

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Morning Musing: Jeremiah 29:10-14

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Promises like these in the Old Testament are encouraging almost beyond words.  To find ourselves in the midst of a truly difficult season–especially one in which we are reaping the bitter fruits of time spent sowing unrighteousness in our lives and the lives of those around us–and to encounter these kinds of reassurances to a people who were in just that kind of a situation, gives us hope that the mess doesn’t need to be our end either.  But in this hope and encouragement that God is for us, these promises were intended to accomplish something even more important. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Ezekiel 11:19-20

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them.  I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them.  And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is one of the great promises of God in the Old Testament.  Apart from Christ, people lack both the will and the ability to pursue a relationship with God.  It’s not just that we want to, but can’t, or even that we are able, but don’t really want it.  We couldn’t do it even if our heart desired it. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Psalm 103:8-12

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

For anyone who would argue that the God of the Old Testament is somehow different from the God of the New Testament by being much angrier and more focused on judgment, you have to explain away passages like this one.  And this is not the only time this characterization appears in the Old Testament.   Read the rest…