In a world where science tells us that everything is deteriorating and we’re all one day closer to our physical death it’s nice to think that there might be something we are getting better at. The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, taught that this is in fact the essence of ethics; to find purpose through habitual improvement.
Balaam has Balak build seven altars to make sacrifices on before he goes to speak for God. Balak is not pleased with the word that Balaam gives him and decides to repeat the cycle two more times. Why seven altars? Is Balaam operating in faith or fear? Does God put true things in the mouths of false prophets? Chad and Daniel discuss all of this. Have a listen!
Many say Balaam was a prophet, but this was not so. Balaam was no prophet. At least, not a prophet of Yahweh. He was definitely a false prophet, a prophet for hire. He was a thief and a trickster who meddled with powers beyond his comprehension. For lack of a better term, he was a warlock or sorcerer.
When the apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian church, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?", he's not imagining some new way of worship. He's drawing a direct line from Israel's history to the present tense.
I got your life application right here! First off, Happy New Year! It's 2019 and there's a sense of optimism floating about in the air. Now, please allow me to continue that, and bring you more good feelings of gumdrops and cherry licorice. How would you feel if someone you knew suddenly died?
Daniel and Erick first spend some more time on verses 16 and 17. Why does Paul need to say that he is not ashamed of the gospel he preaches? What does it mean that “righteous shall live by faith?” They then move on and discuss what the law of God exposes us to be, some of the ways we spurn Him and how judgement works for those who haven’t heard the law.
If I were granted three wishes, one of them would not be to know what the future holds. I have enough trouble wrestling with today’s demons. I don’t want to know what crosses I’ll have to lug around tomorrow. As the wise Rabbi said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” And some days are so sufficiently evil that tomorrow looms like the open jaws of hell.
When one preaches the law the way the Bible does (unattainably high for the sinner), it doesn’t leave one shred of hope that we’re somehow going to cut the mustard. It strips away any illusions that our obedience or lack thereof is what will make us acceptable before a holy God.
We are introduced to a strange character Balaam. Out of fear of their numbers, king Balak summons Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam asks God twice if he should go. God is angry and sends an angel to stand in Balaam’s way. Balaam’s life is saved by his talking donkey. It’s a very odd and funny passage, Chad and Daniel discuss it all. Have a listen!
No Christian can boast that his own efforts have made him a member of Christ, with other Christians, in the common faith. Nor can he by any work constitute himself a Christian. He performs good works by virtue of having become a Christian, in the new birth, through faith, regardless of any merit of his own.
I grew up playing baseball – mostly “street” baseball, with a bunch of friends. It was one of my passions in life. I remember one day, I think I was around 11 years old, in Korea. My friends and I, as usual, went out to play baseball, right in our apartment complex in Seoul. I was in the batter’s box, ready to hit, and the pitcher threw the ball.
Daniel and Erick continue their study of Romans. Paul is eager to get to Rome to preach the gospel to people who already believe. He wishes to impart a spiritual gift to them. And he declares that the gospel is the power of God for salvation and the righteous shall live by faith. They discuss all this and more. Have a listen!
God's Word, water, and the Spirit. Always when God creates and recreates, God's Word, water, and the Spirit are in play. Whether at the beginning of it all, or in the days of Noah, in the wilderness during the Exodus, or at Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River, and at the font today
Israel comes to Edom and requests to travel through their land. The king of Edom refuses and threatens them. Israel moves on and Aaron dies on a mountain where the office of the high priest is transferred to his son. Moses is likely the last remaining person that left Egypt. Israel wins two battles on their way to the promised land. Chad and Daniel discuss all this and more.
Baptism isn't a new teaching. The past three to four hundred years have seen an increase in churchly debates about Baptism, but it isn't a new teaching. It wasn’t in Jesus' day, either. In fact, neither Jesus nor John the Baptist introduced baptism. It goes much further back.
Have you ever invited someone over to your house? Most of us have either invited someone into our homes for supper. Or, you’ve likely been invited to share a meal by a kind friend around their dinner table. Whenever you’re invited to someone’s home there’s a certain dinner guest etiquette that we all tend to follow
Psalm 51 teaches two things: mercy and sin. But aren’t we already experts in sin? Why do we need God to teach it to us? Well, we are good at pointing the finger to say, “There is a sinner!” But it takes hard schooling to say, “I am a sinner—indeed nothing but sin” and “I only sin before you.”
Daniel and Erick begin their study of Paul’s letter the Romans in this episode. They lay the groundwork for the book and take a look at his greeting. Being a bondservant, the full humanity and divinity of Christ and the Christian identity are just a few things discussed. Have a listen!
“A little while,” he says, “and you behold me no more,” for I shall be taken prisoner and they shall deliver me to death. But it will not last long, and during this short time you shall be sorrowful, but only remain steadfast in me and follow me. It will soon have an end.
Miriam dies and is buried. A lot of time has passed and most of the generation that left Egypt has died but that hasn’t stopped the people from complaining. There is no water and Moses and Aaron are again accused of bringing the people into the wilderness to die. God tells Moses to speak to a rock to bring forth water. Moses is angry with the people and strikes the rock twice with his staff. God tells Moses he will not enter the promise land.
That's the Christmas message the Church has preached, confessed, and sung for more than two thousand years. Jesus, born in Bethlehem, God's Word in the flesh, true God and true man is Lord and Savior. But who is he born for? Whose Lord and Savior is he?
Oh Come, see Him loving you before He was ever even born. (Ephesians 1:3-6) Oh Come, see Him planning our rescue. (Genesis 3:15) Oh Come, see Him being born into brokenness, poverty, and bloodshed. (Matthew 1:18-25) Oh Come, see Him living in utter obscurity as a boy, teenager, man. (Luke 2:52)
Mary snapped a pic of Jesus in the manger, chose the Clarendon filter, and posted it to her Instagram account. Two hours later, it had 24 likes. Three of her friends had commented, “He’s so adorable!” Two said, “OMG, how cute!” And one gushed, “The most beautiful baby ever!” But they were all lying.
It's almost Christmas! And that means 40 Minutes in the Old Testament and 30 Minutes in the New Testament are coming together again. Daniel, Chad, and Erick take a look at the 2nd chapter of Matthew and the passages he cites from Micah and Hosea. Bethlehem is blessed and God will call His Son out of Egypt. How are we to understand these things and why should they increase our joy? Have a listen and a merry Christmas!
Christmas is the celebration of God gifting His son to the world. A God we often view as harsh and hard giving us a gift, we never thought to ask Him for. Reconciliation and freedom. The gift of freedom comes with no strings attached. No caveats or warnings.
Jesus has a mighty weapon which is the weapon of His warfare, the sword of His mouth, the very Word of God. He is coming soon and will bring one, final, holy war down upon all they who follow after the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Will you be among the slain?