Who was Melchizedek?

In Genesis 14, Abram returns from rescuing Lot in battle and is met by a man called Melchizedek. We are told that he is both the king of Salem (Jerusalem) and a priest of God most high. Melchizedek provides food for Abram, blesses him and blesses God. Abram gives him 10% of the spoils. Continue reading


David Cursed and in exile (Preaching 2 Samuel 14-24 part 5)

I think that 2 Samuel 16-17 is central to the Absalom story. This is the part where David goes into exile. How do we exegete this section? Well if I am looking at an Old Testament passage, here’s how I would approach it. Continue reading

Biblical Theology and Absalom’s Rebellion (Preaching 2 Samuel 14- 24 part 4)

Graeme Goldsworthy and Chris Wright have helped us to think about Biblical Theology in terms of the paradigm that God’s People live under God’s Blessing in God’s land or God’s place. How do we see this paradigm at work in 2 Samuel 14 – 24? Here are some thoughts. Continue reading

Come over and help us … and be helped

In 2010, a group of church leaders committed together to try and encourage the planting or revitalisation of 20 churches over the next 10 years. As a result of this, 2020 Birmingham was launched. In 2018, they are well on their way to their target.

2020 Birmingham encouraged us to think seriously about our wider responsibilities to see the Gospel go out in Bearwood and Beyond, to Smethwick, Sandwell and into West Birmingham in one direction and the Black Country in the other. Continue reading

End Game (Preaching 2 Samuel 14-24 part 3)

“Mercy and Grumbling” 2 Samuel 19

David is re-called as King.  He shows mercy to Shimei who cursed him and to Mephibosheth who insists that Ziba had lied about him.  At the same time things look less than rosy. Joab is unhappy at David mourning for Absalom. He expects him to show strength of leadership and gratitude to those who fought for him.  The people’s reason for returning David to the throne doesn’t seem to be based on fulsome loyalty. Yes, David had defeated the Philistines but was weak and driven out by Absalom.  Then there’s division and grumbling again when the people of Judah are seen to be taking priority in bringing David back. Continue reading

The Wrong side of history? Billy Graham, passion and priorities

Matthew Avery Sutton has written a hatchet job on Billy Graham in the Guardian . The premise of it is that because Sutton disagrees with what he perceived to be Graham’s position on segregation and racial prejudice that he was on the wrong side of history. Continue reading

The Absalom Tragedy (Preaching 2 Samuel 14 – 25 part 2)

“A short-lived Reconciliation” (2 Samuel 14)

In 2 Samuel 14, Joab seeks to get Absalom restored to court and reconciled with his father.  Is this the right thing to do? Given how we know the story turns out, we would suggest in hindsight that it looks unwise but something may be the right thing to do even if it brings painful consequences.

Joab’s methods are underhand but I also think we can detect some echoes from the past as Joab uses the wise woman to tell David a parable, we are reminded of Nathan the prophet’s appearance before David with a parable about sheep farmers following David’s adultery with Bathsheba. Continue reading