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O Come Thou Dayspring, Come And Cheer (via Michael Kelley)

This short article on the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Michael Kelley has been published a couple of times on his blog and explains the biblical imagery used in the hymn that speak of longing fulfilled.

We are longing for what only Jesus can bring, just as Israel was longing for centuries for the coming of God’s chosen One who would be their deliverer.
And while Israel longed for a physical delivery, we know now that our physical deliverance from circumstantial tribulation is only a shadow of the greater deliverance we need, and therefore the greater longing that permeates every experience of our lives.

Read the whole post at Forward Progress.

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A Time For Everything, Eternity In Our Hearts, And The Lesson Of The Difference Between Humanity And God (via Barry Webb)

Barry Webb writes about two of the popularly known expressions found in the third chapter of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes – the ‘every season’ section and the ‘eternity in the hearts of men’ section that follows it.
In doing so he demonstrates that whenever you read something in Ecclesiastes and feel a sentimental response you’re probably reading it wrongly.
Ecclesiastes looks at life without a filter so that the reader can think about what it is that truly endures.
From Webb:

… the idea of God as the sovereign disposer of human fortunes. This issue is brought into sharp focus in chapter 3 in terms of the ‘times’ of human life (3:1-8)
Here the question of the profitability of human toil is taken up afresh in a much more explicitly theological context. The ‘time to die,’ which writes heḇel over everything, is a time determined by God. But so are all the other times of human life. This means that the worker is never in control, and can never, strictly speaking, achieve anything (3:39). It is God’s work, not his, that has enduring significance, and that is something he can neither contribute to nor understand (3:11, 14). The ‘ôlām (‘eternity’) in the human heart in 3:11 is best understood in terms of what immediately follows in the second half of that verse. It is a God-given awareness that there is something more than the particulars, an overarching scheme of things determined by God: ‘all that God has done from beginning to end’. The burden under which the human labourer toils is of knowing that this greater reality exists, without ever being able to see it clearly as God does. And this frustration is deliberately imposed by God so that human beings will always be able to recognize the difference between themselves and their Maker and defer to him: ‘God has done it so that men will revere him’ (3:14)

Barry G Webb, Five Festal Garments, Apollos, 2000, pg 94

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Ten Things You Should Know about Chaos and Cosmos in God’s Creation (via Sidney Greidanus at Crossway)

Anything by Sidney Greidanus is helpful.
His contribution to Crossway Blog’s 10 Things You Should Know… series is true to that promise.
Point 1 starts in Genesis, Point 10 ends in Revelation, with the rest of redemptive history overviewed throughout.
Here’s point 7 as a sample:

7. Jesus, the light of the world, shines in the darkness.
In the fullness of time Jesus, the victorious Seed of the woman, was born. The New Testament uses some of the same words for chaos as does the Old Testament, but it focuses especially on the contrast between darkness (skotos) and light (phos) and various synonyms. Moreover, it centers the chaos – cosmos theme primarily in the battle between Satan, the Prince of Darkness, and Jesus, “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).
In the beginning, God created light to drive back the darkness of chaos (Gen 1:3–4). The New Testament pictures Jesus as the light that drives back the darkness of chaos at the microcosmic level, healing the sick and demon-possessed. Describing the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, Matthew quotes Isaiah 9:2, “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” The parallelism indicates that darkness and death are synonyms, each referring to chaos. Matthew continues, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt 4:16–17). Matthew links the dawning of the light with the kingdom of heaven (cosmos) being at hand.
John writes, “In him [the Word] was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. . . The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:4-5, 9). Jesus himself said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness [chaos], but will have the light of life [cosmos]” (John 8:12).
With Christ’s first coming the light began to penetrate the darkness but there still remains much darkness (chaos) in this world. In terms of the light, this is the time of the “already” and the “not yet.” It’s like the dawn of a cloudless day: still somewhat dark but with the certain promise of full sunlight. Only at his second coming will the light (cosmos) completely displace the darkness.

Read Greidanus’ complete list at Crossway.

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Does It Bother You That God Barred Moses From The Promised Land? (via Trevin Wax)

Some helpful thoughts from Trevin Wax on a biblical narrative that seems troubling.

Moses did not enter the promised land, because God’s true deliverer fully embraces and fully embodies the mercy and love of God for his people.
And God’s dealing with Moses amply demonstrates mercy and grace in judgment.

From the article:

God told Moses to speak to the rock, but Moses struck it instead. The rock had always been a picture of God’s grace and generosity. And in an earlier account, God told Moses to strike it, as if God himself would take abuse in order to provide water for his people.
But now, in this case, Moses struck the rock twice, without God’s command. His anger, frustration, and self-pity overtook him and led him to lash out at God. He was doing what the faithless Israelites did when they complained and grumbled.
All our sins come down to this: we don’t trust that God is for us. We don’t depend on him as our rock. We stand in judgment over others. We get frustrated and impatient. We resent God’s grace toward others. We think that God doesn’t love us or want the best for us. Trace the sin of disobedience backward and you’ll arrive at the sin of faithlessness.
But even here—even though Moses was sinful, and the people were undeserving—God still gave them water. And he still allowed Moses the chance to look out over the Promised Land before he died. Even in judgment, God shows mercy.

Read the whole post here.

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The Biggest Story ABC Book from Kevin DeYoung and Don Clark

The Biggest Story ABC Book is an adaption by Kevin DeYoung and Don Clark of their children’s book, The Biggest Story.
Crossway have constructed an infographic of the whole book.
Looks good.

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Taking Action In Light Of God’s Word (via Kathy Keller)

Kathy Keller in a collection of messages by various people on Nehemiah, God’s Word, Our Story.

Nehemiah is interpreting the present events and his own situation and gifts in light of God’s Word and in light of the main themes of the Word. He doesn’t need to ask for a sign, lay out a fleece, request an angelic visitor, or even read a particularly appropriate devotional, like a Christian version of a horoscope. Nehemiah understands the Word and he sees where his people are in the progression of redemptive history, so he seeks to enable them to be the people of God so the Lord will continue his plan to save the world through them.
Only when we can do the same thing can we read the Bible without falling into a kind of “If I do this, God will bless me” moralism. Yes, we will see lots of lessons on how to pray or how to handle worry and face opposition, but those lessons will be tied to the gospel of salvation through Christ.
God’s Word, Our Story, D.A. Carson and Kathleen Nielson editors, Crossway, 2016, Taking Action in Light of God’s Word / Kathy Keller, pg 31.