The heavy Burden (The Enigma Sermons 5)

How are we to make sense of the enigma of life? Trying to understand a messy, often unjust world is difficult, often frustrating.  Qoholet keeps comparing this to “vapour” or “chasing after the wind.” In 1:13 he tells us that:

“It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with”[1]

The ESV translates the Hebrew word ra’ as “unhappy” this is the same word that is often translated “evil.” Is the task God has given us an evil one? Bartholomew sees Qoholet’s assessment as in sharp conflict with Genesis 1 -2. Continue reading

Advertisements

Does the Old Testament encourage abortion?

Two Bible passages have been used to suggest that the Bible encourages abortion. The first is Exodus 21:22 which says:

22 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. “

The second is Numbers 5:11-31 which is about when a husband believes that his wife has been unfaithful but there isn’t objective evidence.  In this case, the woman is given water mixed with a little dust and with the words of a curse dipped into it. If she is guilty then this is the curse:

“‘the Lord make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your thigh fall away and your body swell. 22 May this water that brings the curse pass into your bowels and make your womb swell and your thigh fall away.’”[1]

Let’s take these in turn Continue reading

What the Preacher Saw (The Enigma Sermons 4)

Ecclesiastes brings us the observations of Qoholet (the preacher) who is king in Jerusalem (1:12). He sees himself as in position to do this because of his great wisdom (1:16) and so he makes the pursuit of understanding his life project (1:13, 17). Remember that we have seen already how his perception is that life is an enigma, vapour like, hard to pin down, like chasing the wind (1:2, 14. Here are some of the things he observes about this enigma as he tries to pin things down). Continue reading

Will you remember me? (The Enigma Sermons 3)

The other week, when I wrote about the danger of anti-Semitism, I set it in the context of remembering and forgetting. Generation to generation, we are forgetful. So, we lose the significance of 6 million Jews killed in the holocaust, we forget our own nation’s sorry history when it comes to Anti-Semitism -the expulsions, the rejection, the scapegoating, the deaths – and we turn a blind eye to how serious this is and how widespread as it crosses the political spectrum. Continue reading

Should we listen to/use Bethel music in worship?

Here’s a little follow up to my article on Bethel.  One of our young men asked me a couple of weeks ago about Bethel and music. You see, one of the reasons they have a high profile is because of the music they’ve produced.  They wanted to know if it was okay to buy, listen to, use the music in worship. Continue reading

Planning, Integrity and true Purity (Proverbs 16)

Anyone been for a health check-up recently?  Eyes, teeth, heart … maybe the full MOT.  How did you get on?

Have you ever done one of those life check-ups? How’s your overall well-being? This isn’t just your physical health but how are you doing emotionally, is your life a success, what’s your status -financial prosperity etc?

One of the things that God’s Word does for us as we gather each Sunday is it provides a life check-up. Earlier this year we did a “whole church health-check when we looked at Revelation 2-3. This one is a bit more about each of us as individuals. So how are we doing against the following markers of a “healthy life.” Continue reading

The wise and foolish Builders – OT version (Proverbs 14)

Blenheim palaceThe other week, we visited Blenheim Palace. It’s an impressive tourist attraction, an elegantly designed building set in acres of beautiful parkland.  As well as being a tourist attraction, it’s actually the home of the Marlborough family. However, a number of commentators have observed that it wasn’t so much designed to be a home as a memorial to John Churchill, victor at the Battle of Blenheim.

So what does it take to make a home? Continue reading