Bible Class – September 27, 2015

Part 3  Theology of Covenant with Israel

God’s Covenant with Israel

Abraham

Genesis 11:
Joshua 24:2
Galatians 3:16
Genesis 15:18
Genesis 17:2-14

Isaac

Genesis 17:19-21
Genesis 26:2-5, 24-25

Jacob

Genesis 25:21-26
Romans 9:10-13
Genesis 28:10-15

Judah

Genesis 29:8-12

Israel

Exodus 2:23-25
Exodus 3:1-10
Exodus 13:13-22
Exodus 19:1-20
Exodus 20:1-6; 18-23
Exodus 24:1-11
Exodus 33:12-34:10
Deuteronomy 4:31-39
Deuteronomy 7:6-9
Deuteronomy 10:15
Deuteronomy 20:1
Deuteronomy 26:18
Psalm 18:6-7
Psalm 135:4
Malachi 3:17
Titus 2:14
I Peter 2:9
Deuteronomy 29:10-13

2 Comments

  1. Towards the start of class when we were talking about planning stuff and not praying about it…

    How is this done “correctly?”

    Two things pop into my head…

    The first is often when I hear evangelicals talk about this, it turns one to look for a sign from God that what you are wanting to do is “okay.”

    Or we pray half hearted (I think that is the word I want), and do what we want anyways.

  2. The strength and beauty of Lutheranism is that it always points us to God’s Word in Scripture. “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens,” (Psalm 119:89) and “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” (Psalm 119:105). His word is trustworthy and sure.

    Yes, we have a God unlike any other god anyone ever had. Our God allows his children to come to him, talk to him, even complain to him, and he listens and talks to us as well. He is not only a transcendent God who rules all things, he is a close, personal God who is intimate and caring with his children. He has a loving heart of a Father.

    How does he speak to us? “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1). And his Son has given his words to the Apostles when he says, “I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you…” (John 17:8). So in Matthew 28:20 he commands them to teach the disciples who follow to observe all things that he has commanded them. They have passed these things on to us in their writings which are the New Testament today. God speaks to us and reveals His will to us in the Scripture.

    In the class the issue was that so often we go ahead and do things whether in our personal life or in the life of the congregation without asking what God’s will is. We talk about things like finances, do we have people who can do the work that needs to be done, what is convenient or expedient for us rather than ask “What would God have us to do?” Our culture today is pragmatic; more interested in doing what will give us success or be most efficient or produce results than we are in doing what is right or what God has commanded. We are like the ten spies that Moses sent into the Promised Land and who came back and reported that the land was good, but the people were too strong so they could not enter. Only two, Joshua and Caleb came back and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it,” (Numbers 13:30). Just as David told Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel….This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…” (I Samuel 17:45-46). What I see in so many church decisions, and I imagine in the decisions in their personal lives too, is that we are often like the steward who hid the Master’s talent in the ground (Matthew 25:24).

    So how do we know the will of God? How do we know what God wants us to do? The Ten Commandments are God’s instructions to us, which he elaborates in many places of Scripture giving us specific instructions. These can all be summarized again in the words of Jesus, “Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself,” (Matthew 22: 37, 39).

    Then knowing the will of God is to love him and love your neighbor, God gives us our reason and understanding to make our own decisions about what we can do. He has also given us abilities and resources. If your friend is sick, it is up to you to use your understanding and reason to know what you can do. If you are a doctor, then there are certain things you can do that the rest of us cannot do. Perhaps you can take a pot of soup to help them when they are sick and unable to cook. Perhaps you can visit them in the hospital or send a card of encouragement. It all depends on the gifts that God has given you what you can do. And one of those gifts is your mind.

    The real issue I was addressing in the Bible Class is an attitude of the heart. Do you live to please God, or do we live to please ourselves? The real answer is to always begin every day and every endeavor during the day by asking God to lead you, direct you, and that his will be done. Then on the basis of God’s word, love God and love your neighbor, use the gifts and resources God has given you for God and for your neighbor rather than for you own selfish interests. Then trust God to produce the results he wants. That is also key. God is greater than we are, he is greater than our plans and efforts and he is even greater than our sins and failures. If we get it wrong, if we do the wrong thing, trust that he will still be able to accomplish his will. “All things work together for the good to those who love Him,” Romans 8:28. Abraham messed up trying to help God accomplish his will by having a son with his wife’s servant. He sinned, but in the end God was greater and God’s will was done, not because of Abraham but in spite of him.

    So you are in a restaurant and see someone sitting by themselves and they look sad. Does God put it into your heart to go talk to that person? Is it God’s will that you go over to them? Don’t worry about it. God’s will is to love your neighbor. He tells us that in Scripture. Do what your reason says would be the most loving thing you can do with the abilities God has given you. It might be to go and visit with the person. It might be to pray for that person. It might be so pay for his meal if that is what he needs, or it might be something entirely different. Just pray for God’s will to be done, and it will be even if you do the wrong thing.

    That is the most remarkable prayer in the world. Jesus commands us to pray it in the Lord’s Prayer. But it is at the same time a terrible prayer to pray for it is praying against oneself. In essence you are praying that your will NOT be done. That His will be done instead. This is really the whole issue I was talking about. Most of the time we pray that our will be done rather than God’s. Most of our prayers are prayers for ourselves, things that we want, or at least things that other people want. And so are all the “spontaneous prayers” that the Evangelicals tell us we should pray instead of written prayers, like the Lord’s Prayer. What the Lord’s Prayer does is makes us pray for things we would otherwise not pray for. Like may my will not be done, rather my His will be done. Or, may I forgive the neighbor I can’t stand and secretly hopes he doesn’t go to heaven because he sinned against me. Or may I die and leave this world and come into His kingdom.

    Like Jesus prayer, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

    His will is that we seek his kingdom and sacrifice ourselves for the wellbeing of others. Do that in the ways God has given you with the resources he has given you, then trust God to accomplish His will, even if that means undoing the mess you make. Don’t worry about it, just rest in his forgiveness and salvation.

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