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Monday, September 30, 2013

Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament

Jesus in OTYou study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me. John 5:39

I have found that the more I study the Old Testament, the more I see foreshadowings of Jesus. Some are quite clear such as the suffering servant of Isaiah 53. Others are more subtle like the offspring of the woman in Genesis 3:15.

What fascinates me though, are those passages or accounts which appear here and there without any apparently plausible explanation.

Why, for example, did Samuel anoint David as King of Israel long before Saul died and he was able to accede to the throne? It might have made sense if David was tasked with the removing of Saul who had ceased to reign in a godly manner. But he wasn't. Instead he was exiled with a band of misfits and malcontents.

That has always puzzled me. Did Samuel mishear God? Should David have taken the throne by force?

And then I heard a Jewish Rabbi explaining why Jesus could not be the Jewish Messiah. One of his reasons was, "the Jewish Bible does not have a messianic installment plan where the Messiah comes, fails in his mission and then returns thousands of years later to finally succeed."

What the Rabbi seems to have forgotten is that the meaning of the word Messiah is anointed one, not king.

There are in fact, a surprising number of parallels between the life of David, from the anointing to the throne, and the ministry of Jesus. Here are a few which immediately spring to mind:
  • anointing long before the coronation
  • rejection by his own people
  • acquiring a small band of followers
  • returning to reign as king
God knew that there would be those who would not understand that Jesus' messiahship would precede His kingship. But the life of David has always been a prefiguring, a type, of the Messiah. That is why David had to be anointed years before he became king - to illustrate that we would have to await the second coming of Jesus before He fully reigns as King.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Main Thing

The main thingTimothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 1 Timothy 1:18-19

Why is it that Christians, especially those in leadership positions, sometimes mess up in big ways? Why do some fall so far that they even lose their faith?

Of course, for each individual the story will be different. But I suspect that in the majority of cases the root cause was a failure to maintain the important priorities. As Stephen Covey once put it: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

I have seen Christians become totally immersed in interests outside the Christian community. They begin to get involved in some secular activity in order to meet people with whom they can share their faith. But they forget to guard their hearts and gradually become corrupted by the world they set out to reach.

Others have a personal passion which becomes more important than the Lord Jesus. When there's a choice between Sunday worship or their hobby, the hobby wins out every time. Little by little they lose the desire to meet with God's people for worship.

In some cases it is more subtle - an obsession with a particular ministry or doctrine. Time which should be spent in the treasure chamber of the prayer closet is spent "working for the Lord," or "studying the Bible." In reality the ministry or the study, which was founded on godly direction has become an idol. Love for the work or the study has replaced love for Jesus. The personal relationship begins to slip but everything on the surface seems fine. Nobody notices until, apparently suddenly, another saint walks away from the faith.

In all these circumstances the main thing has ceased to be the main thing.

So what is the main thing for the Christian?

It is expressed very clearly in Micah: He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8