The Shepherd is less likely to blame the sheep than we are.
As established in the beginning, the kingdom of God consists of the whole earth under heaven’s management, with humans as God’s agents providing his care to the rest of creation. How we care for the animals is therefore a great analogy for how God cares for us:
Matthew 18:12-14 (original translation, compare NIV)
12 What do you think? Say someone had a hundred sheep, and one was misled from the others. Wouldn’t he leave the ninety-nine on the hills, head off, and search for the misled one? 13 And if it can be found, I tell you truly that his joy over this one is greater than over the ninety-nine that were not misled. 14 None of those who gather around your Father in the heavens want any of these little ones to come to ruin.
This is God’s heart for the whole human family. Neither the Sovereign himself nor any of the angels who gather around his throne and read in his face how he feels when humans mistreat each other (18:10) want any of God’s children to come to harm.
Continue reading “The shepherd’s heart (Matthew 18:12-14)”
Dinah’s brothers defended her honour by killing the Shechemites. Were they justified in making a stand for righteousness?
Were Simeon and Levi justified in standing up for righteousness by killing the Canaanite prince who raped their sister, along with all his people? We’re examining how later Jews judged their actions. Continue reading “Were Simeon and Levi justified? (Genesis 34:30-31)”
How can God’s rescue plan work when the problems that shattered humanity in the beginning threaten to destroy Abraham’s family?
You’ve advertised for help with a bakery in a country town. Two people apply. The first asks prying questions about your business model, disquieting questions that leave you feeling you can’t trust him. The other doesn’t bother showing up for the interview. You have to call him and remind him. So, who do you hire? The one you can’t trust? Or the one who couldn’t care less?
Continue reading “Abraham’s family disintegrates (Genesis 27)”
When the people on your team cause a problem for others, whose side do you take? Which matters more: loyalty or justice? There may be a hint in the way God handles us.
We’re reading Genesis as the story of the kingdom of God. As people rebelled against God’s kingship they grasped power for themselves, turning violent. The heavenly sovereign permitted earthly government to avoid anarchy, resulting in nations. To bring the nations back under his authority, God established his own nation through Abraham. But he still takes responsibility for the nations: we just saw him act against the injustice of Sodom, and now we see it again as he acts against a Philistine king. Continue reading “God stands with his flawed people (Genesis 20)”
YHWH called Abram to found his nation. Abram obeyed, leaving the Babel region behind, travelling to the land YHWH chose. There Abram constructed altars—symbols of YHWH’s authority.
But there are constant threats to the fulfilment of YHWH’s promise. A famine drives Abram out of the land, into the jaws of Egypt—the most powerful kingdom of the region (12:10). Abram knows that the rulers of earthly kingdoms take whatever they want, even if they have to kill to get it. He fears they will kill him to take Sarai (12:12). Continue reading “What if we’re unfaithful? (Genesis 12:10-20)”