Reading Bruce Waltke's commentary on Genesis, he has a fine couple of paragraphs on page 264 where he explores how the sign of circumcision relates to baptism today. I agree with nearly everything he says, and it's so helpful that I thought I'd put it here in case it's helpful for some:
Last Sunday, I explained that Sarai and Abram attempted to solve the problem of their childlessness through Sarai offering her maid, Hagar, to Abram as a second wife.
I said that, even though we find this unacceptable today, in that day and age this was a socially acceptable way to raise an heir.
The problem with doing this was not that it was socially unacceptable but that it did not arise out of their trust in God.
I'm studying Genesis 15, in preparation for this Sunday's sermon.
Yet again Bruce Waltke is very helpful.
Here is one paragraph (from pages 239-240). The details he highlights probably won't make it into the sermon, unless they're crucial to the flow of thought in the chapter. But it's important that we see how the promises God makes Abraham in chapter 15 are precisely those that he needed after the events of chapter 14, redefining his protection, his reward and his allies.
That is one of the most fruitful questions I've asked of this familiar Psalm.
As I explained about a year ago, the book of Psalms is not 150 prayers and hymns in random order. It's sometimes hard to know exactly what conclusions we should draw from the order the Psalms are in, but that they have been carefully arranged is beyond doubt.
I'm delighted to commend to readers of this blog an upcoming day conference in North London. It is organised by Emmanuel Church in North London, where my friend Steve Jeffery is the minister. One of the things I have always appreciated about Emmanuel is the way they enjoy putting events on that will serve the wider church.
Here's some of the blurb from their website.
By relentless goodness I mean that from the beginning, God’s only intent was and still is to bless his creation. Judgement and mercy, therefore, are not two competing characteristics of Yahweh but are two inseparable consequences of his holiness. Relentless goodness is the flip side of incompatibility with evil. (Page 167)
I think I've finally worked out what is going on in Ruth 4. I'll make a note here as a place where I can come and find this again when I need it. Do comment below if I've missed something.
There are 3 Old Testament laws in play here.
Leviticus 25:23-28 says that, because all the land is really God's, should someone sell part of their land to alleviate their poverty, the buyer cannot regard it as theirs absolutely. A relative of the person they bought it from must be allowed to redeem, or buy back, that land, and the price for that is to be calculated fairly.