Digging in Deeper: 2 Corinthians 3:7-11

“Now if the ministry that brought death, chiseled in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites were not able to gaze steadily at Moses’s face because of its glory, which was set aside, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry that brought condemnation had glory, the ministry that brings righteousness overflows with even more glory. In fact, what had been glorious is not glorious now by comparison because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was set aside was glorious, what endures will be even more glorious.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What is the relationship of followers of Jesus to the Old Testament? Let me put that another way. What does the old covenant have to do with members of the new covenant? That sounds different and probably would generate different responses, but it’s the same question. And it is a question that has generated no small amount of response and debate over the centuries of the church. It is also a question we aren’t going to be able to answer rigorously in this one post. But Paul’s words here do afford us the opportunity to do something thinking about it. Let’s take a few minutes together today and do just that.

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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: 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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Morning Musing: Genesis 11:3-4

“They said to each other, ‘Come, let’s make oven-fired bricks.’ (They used brick for stone and asphalt for mortar.) And they said, ‘Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let’s make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What are you building right now? That may sound like a strange question, but bear with me. I love building. I think I’ve passed that love on to my boys too. They all build different things – one builds amazing buildings and models, one builds incredible stories and songs, and the other builds exciting fantasy worlds of great imagination – but they are all builders. In a bigger sense, everyone is building something. The question is not whether, but what and why. One more question is who the building is for. In an interesting little story that falls right near the end of the creation story arc in Genesis, we’re reminded that why we build matters as much – or even more – than what.

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Digging in Deeper: Jeremiah 29:12-13

“You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Finding God is easy when times are good. But what about when times are hard? That’s often another matter entirely. Perhaps we get so tied up in our circumstances that we don’t ever even bother to look up. But most people instinctively reach up when things are hard. This starts to show itself from the first moment an infant reaches up to his mom and dad to pick him up when he’s crying. That is a response that has to be programmed out of us by life and experience. Yet God wants to be found. He wants to help. He desires to be desired. The prophet Jeremiah once reminded the people of Israel of this truth. The way he said it is both comforting and hard. Let’s explore why and what it might mean for us.

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