Morning Musing: Hebrews 2:11-12

“For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying: ‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; I will sing hymns to you in the congregation.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How are we supposed to understand the Old Testament? That is a pretty hotly debated question in some circles. It’s certainly not something to which the general public gives much attention, but if you are at all interested in getting a relationship with Jesus right, the question matters a whole lot more than you might think. If we are going to get it right, a good place to start is with how the various guys who contributed to the New Testament thought about it. This passage offers some interesting insights.

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Morning Musing: Hebrews 2:2-3

“For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever read a note meant for another person? There’s a good chance that note made reference to things you weren’t able to fully understand without some additional context. Often, reading things in the Scriptures can be a little like that. We can understand all the words (at least, we can once they’ve been carefully translated into the language we actually speak), but without additional context, it is not immediately apparent what they are talking about. Let’s add some more context to what we see here to make sure you understand it.

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Morning Musing: John 15:9-10

“As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We hate hypocrisy and people who take up contradictory positions. And this is not without good reason. Seeing someone claim one thing to be true – and in such a way that they are actively seeking to force others to live up to these standards – and then to see them live in such a way as to betray a belief that it isn’t really true is to witness a lie. It is to see someone creating a fantasy world into which they are trying to force others, but in which they won’t live themselves. It’s disgusting. Because this so bothers us, critics of the Scriptures are always on the lookout for hypocrisy and contradictions in the them. As people who would uphold the integrity of the Scriptures, we need to be ready to explain why places like this aren’t examples of it.

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Morning Musing: 2 Chronicles 7:14

“and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is perhaps no verse claimed as a mantle for American exceptionalism and a guarantee of God’s blessing for our nation than this one. Politically conservative Christians have claimed this verse as a cherished promise for many years. Whenever the culture wars begin to intensify, or some moral tragedy begins to unfold, we are told that if we will just get on our knees and seek God again like we did in some nostalgia-tinged fantasy image from our past, everything will be better. God will make everything better. But what if we’re wrong? Let’s talk this morning about the uncomfortable truth of this verse and what is real.

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Digging in Deeper: Psalms 119:27

“Help me understand the meaning of your precepts so that I can meditate on your wonders.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Granting you’re doing at least a little bit of this right now, but when was the last time you made a good faith effort to engage with the Scriptures? Notice, I didn’t say, “read your Bible.” We usually think in terms of the latter, but the first is more helpful. Either way, if you’re like most people who give the notion of following Jesus some part of the time of day, it’s probably something you’ve tried at least once or twice. And if you’re like most people who fit into that category, you probably got started pretty well, but then gradually fell off the wagon. The odds are better than average that the reason you eventually quit is that you ran into something you didn’t understand. Engaging with the Scriptures can be tough. What the writer of Psalm 119 – which is entirely dedicated to extolling the virtues and worth of God’s word – offers us here is a strategy for staying engaged even when it’s hard. Let’s talk about it.

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