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Christ in All of Scripture – Exodus 3:13-16

 

 

Exodus 3:13-16

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt.


Naming has great importance in the Bible. In the garden of Eden, the giving of names demonstrates lordship over the creation (Gen. 1:26–27; Gen.2:19, 23; Gen. 3:20) and can often relate to hopes (Gen. 4:1), memories (Gen. 35:18), or prophecies (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:21). In naming, one’s character is revealed.

Moses’ question is therefore supremely important: what is the name, the character, of this God of whom I will speak? God’s response seems enigmatic. But notice how the revelation of God’s name builds: “I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14a); “Say this . . . , ‘I am has sent me to you’” (Ex. 3:14b); “Say this . . . , ‘The Lord [I am], the God of your fathers’” (Ex. 3:15, 16). In other words, this living, personal God who revealed himself to Abraham and made covenant with him is the God who is moving to deliver his people now.

All of this makes Jesus’ own use of this divine name significant as well, not only in the seven “I am” statements in the Gospel of John (John 6:35; John 8:12; John 10:9, 11; John 11:25; John 14:6; John 15:1), but especially his declaration to the Pharisees that “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). In saying this, Jesus was claiming to be the same living, personal God who made covenant with Abraham, the same God who revealed himself to Moses, and the one who was now moving to deliver his people.


This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.

 

April 7, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,ESV,Gospel Transformation Bible,Uncategorized | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:30 am | 0 Comments »

Surprising Peace After My Son’s Surprise Birth

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This is a guest post by Gloria Furman. Her newest book is Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms.


A Big Surprise

The midwives on the midnight shift in the maternity wing each paid a visit to my room to encourage me. I didn’t sleep that night, but not necessarily because I was up caring for my newborn son. I was awake replaying in my mind the shocking circumstances of his birth.

My fourth child was born ten days early, at our apartment, and into my husband’s disabled arms. In the span of about five minutes, I had some pain, called my doctor (who advised us to meet her at the hospital), hung up the phone, told my husband we had to go, and the baby was born. Health-wise, both the baby and I are completely healthy. But the event left its mark on my mind for months as I continued to have flashbacks.

Neither Life Nor Death

When I realized that the baby was a moment away from being born my mind began to spin out of control. “It’s not time yet. Something must be wrong. Who will help me?” An overwhelming fear of death engulfed me, and I thought that my baby and/or I were about to die. My husband stood by asking what he could do to help me, and all I could say was, “Just pray!”

And then, like lightning breaking through the storming darkness, I heard a song that played on my iPod earlier that day. The hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” was playing in my mind and I remembered a phrase from Romans 8:38-39: “neither death nor life.” In an act of war against all the horrors of sin and its consequences, God sent his Son to redeem lost sinners out of the grip of death by shedding his own blood on the cross. “For I am sure that neither death nor life . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even death submits to Jesus, and one day Jesus is going to throw death into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14).

By the grace of God, my panic was replaced with a peace that surpassed understanding as I considered his Word. In that dire moment, I needed to be kept in God’s perfect peace and not wade around in some shallow, fake peace—the kind built on trite consolations like “just look at the bright side.” Jesus didn’t say, “Take heart and think of others who have it worse than you.” He told us to think of him: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

God reminded me that even death can’t keep him from loving me perfectly. Because of Jesus’s victory at the cross, all things—including death and life—are his servants and do his bidding. That’s the foundation for perfect peace. We cling to God’s promise in Isaiah 26:3:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Then there is the massive implication in the next verse:

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:4)

God’s peace is perfect in quality and eternal in duration. There’s no better peace you could enjoy.

The Predictable Monotony of Daily Life

Odds are you will not likely find yourself in a surprise childbirth scene such as the one I just described. But you will likely find yourself in the predictably monotonous daily grind of life, tempted to trust in yourself and create your own peace. You may routinely evaluate your circumstances and doubt God’s love for you and wonder if he cares. The intervention you are looking for in your temporary earthly circumstances may not come.

But there is one great, permanent intervention through which you are given the gift of an eternity to delight in God’s love. We may “Trust in the LORD forever” (Isaiah 26:4) because Jesus trusted his Father and went to the cross in our place. The cross is precious and central because it gives us God.

On this side of heaven, we labor in God’s Word to stay our mind on Jesus so that our minds can be renewed by his truth. Jesus said,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

The world keeps us in fearful suspense; Jesus keeps us in perfect peace. Redeeming love has purchased for us this blessed assurance: that Christ has regarded our helpless estate and has shed his own blood for our soul.


Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four young children, doula, and blogger. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. She is the author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and she blogs regularly at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and GloriaFurman.com.

April 4, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,Children & Parenting,Life & Doctrine,Marriage & Family,Women | Author: Crossway Author @ 8:30 am | (2) Comments »

Three lessons about Scripture from 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

1. Scripture is inspired.

Paul affirmed with elegant finality that “all Scripture is breathed out by God.” You can hear the meaning of the transliteration of the Greek word Theopneustos (God-breathed–Theo = “God” and pneustos = “breath”). More literally, “All Scripture is breathed into by God.” When you speak, your word is “you-breathed” – your breath, conditioned by your mind, pours forth in speech. You breathe out your words. This belief that Scripture was “breathed into by God” perfectly expresses the view of the first-century Jews about the Old Testament writings.[1]

The early church believed exactly the same thing. As Peter declared, “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20, 21). The Old Testament Scriptures were God’s breath, God’s words.

Beautifully, we see that this is also how the early church regarded the Gospels and the Epistles. In 1 Timothy 5:18 Paul uses the same word for Scripture (graphe) that he uses here in 3:16 to refer to quotations from both the Old Testament and New Testament: “For Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain’ [Deuteronomy 25:4] and ‘The laborer deserves his wages’ [Luke 10:7].”

Similarly, the Apostle Peter includes Paul’s writings in the category of Scripture (graphe): “There are some things in [Paul’s letters] that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:16). It is clear that Peter regarded Paul’s writing to be Scripture!

2. Scripture is useful.

The apostle uses two pairs of words to flesh out Scripture’s usefulness – “and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (v. 16b). The first pair – “teaching” and “reproof”– have to do with doctrine. Positively, all Scripture is “profitable for teaching.” That is why the whole of both Testaments must be studied – not just Romans, not just the Old Testament, not just the Gospels. All the didactic, poetic, narrative, apocalyptic, proverbial, and epical sections together are to make up the tapestry of our teaching. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching.”

And of course when this is done, there will also be “reproof.” Those true to the Scriptures cannot escape this duty. Together the “teaching” and the “reproof” produce the boon of sound doctrine. It is for want of both that the church has so often fallen into error.

The second pair–”correction” and “training in righteousness”–have to do with conduct. “Correction” comes from the Greek word for “straight,” which the New Living Translation helpfully renders, “It straightens us out.” God’s Word is useful in a practical way. Those who accept its reproof will begin to find their lives straightening out. Then they will be ready for the Word’s positive effect of “training in righteousness.” The righteousness that has come to the believer by faith is actualized by the training of God’s Word. In sum, the God-breathed Word is “profitable” for all of life, all doctrine and all duty, all creed and all conduct–everything!

3. Scripture equips.

Paul ends this section on the sufficiency of Scripture by saying, “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (v. 17). Paul here uses two forms of the Greek word for equip (an adjective [“complete”] and a participle [“equipped”]) to make his point. The man of God is super-equipped by the Word of God. The man of God is before all else a man of the Bible.

The testimony of God’s Holy Word is that it is his breath and that it is everything to believers. The book of Deuteronomy records that when moses had finished writing the words of the law and had given it to the Levites to place beside the ark and had sung his song, the song of Moses, he said, “Take heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life” (Deuteronomy 32:46, 47; cf. 31:9–13; 21:1–43).

This set the standard for the proper regard for the Scriptures of the old covenant. This is why the psalmist devoted the 176 verses of Psalm 119 to the celebration of the Scripture, using the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet as a structure. In effect, he said God’s Word is everything from A to Z. The Scriptures are life!

When Jesus began his ministry and was tempted by Satan, his encyclopedic knowledge of the Word enabled him to defeat the tempter with three deft quotations from Deuteronomy (see Luke 4:1–13; cf. Deuteronomy 8:3; 6:13, 16). Jesus Christ, God incarnate, leaned on the sufficiency of Scripture in his hour of need. Indeed, his summary response to the tempter was like a bookend to Moses’ declaration that the Scriptures are “your life,” for Jesus insisted that they are the soul’s essential food–”It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4; cf. Luke 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).

The Scriptures were life to Moses and food to Jesus. They cannot and must not be anything less to us. They are the very breath of God.

 

This post was adapted from the Preaching the Word commentary 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit by R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell.

 


[1] J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1963), p. 203.

April 3, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Books,ESV,Uncategorized | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:44 am | 1 Comment »

Midweek Roundup – 4/2/14

Each Wednesday we share some recent links that we found informative, insightful, or helpful. These are often related to Crossway books, Bibles, or authors—but not always. We hope this list is an interesting and encouraging break for the middle of your week.


1. Christianity Today reviews Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full by Gloria Furman

Set against the clutter and chaos that is modern parenting, Gloria Furman’s new book, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms, is refreshingly single-minded. In a series of 11 loosely connected meditations on the gospel and motherhood, Furman sets aside the daily details in order to help mothers more clearly see their goal. “At the end of every day—chaotic and mundane alike—” she writes, “motherhood is about the adoration and enjoyment of our great God.”

Furman’s point is simple. Frazzled mothers don’t need more time, or better strategies, or even renewed resolve. They need more of the gospel—the good news that God sent his Son to die for sinners so that their sin might be forgiven, their guilt atoned for, and their souls reconciled to God.

2. Michael Horton answers some questions about Calvin on the Christian Life

Most people who think of Calvin think of him as a (grumpy?) theologian who cares more about what you think about God than how you live in relation to God. Is that wrong?

It’s wrong.  You just have to open the Institutes to the first page to see that he thinks of our knowledge of God and of ourselves as inseparably intertwined.  His commentaries, sermons, and private letters show a man who was obsessed with God’s Word and its saving and edifying impact in every area of life.  Grumpy?  No.

3. Doug Wilson names God in the Whirlwind his book of the month

We now live in a therapeutic culture, one in which forgiveness is not needed, but treatment is. The treatment might come in those little capsules beloved of modernists, or it might come from varying doses of magnesium, randomly administered by people who want Facebook for a doctor. We want fixes, not forgiveness, and so Wells uses the phrase holy-love to discuss what God is like. When we separate holiness from love, all we get are legalisms. When we separate love from holiness, we get the therapeutic dealer offering us the joy pills.

4. Greg Thornbury reviews Noah

About that extra-biblical material. There’s a ton of it in Noah. If you go into it, saying “That stuff is not in the Bible!” you are going to be a very grumpy camper when you leave the theater. But of course we all realize that Genesis 6-10 actually underdetermines much granularity in terms of the precise details of a story. I remember as a child, my mother used to read me Bible stories from a book with black and white Gustave Doré illustrations. They were terrifying, especially right before bed. My imagination ran wild. Apparently, so was Aronoksky and Handel’s in the writing of this film.

5. Andy Naselli shares some excerpts from True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney and Nichole Whitacre

This book is for ladies, but I read it because I love and lead my wife and three little daughters. This is going to become an increasingly big deal as my daughters get older, and I want to shepherd them well.

April 2, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,Books,Midweek Roundup,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:30 am | 1 Comment »

An Interview with Gloria Furman (Part 2)

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We recently asked you to submit questions for Gloria Furman on motherhood, marriage, and treasuring Christ in the midst of the busyness of life. In part 2 below, Gloria offers encouragement on staying balanced, living far from family, the dangers and blessings of social media, and reading good books. Be sure to check out part 1 if you missed it!


What is your biggest struggle as a mom right now?

The first thing that comes to mind is putting meals together that everyone will eat. If marshmallows and multivitamins were an acceptable diet then the only weeping at dinnertime would be tears of joy.

But honestly, I think my biggest struggle as a mom right now is my penchant for playing the blame game that our first parents invented. I hate that when I get frustrated that I’m not doing the good mothering I want to do then I turn and blame my kids and my husband for my own sin.

What “baby gear” would you recommend for a new mom on a tight budget?

I don’t know what kind of baby gear is available to you where you live, and I wouldn’t want to make an assumption of what you need for your particular life circumstances.

But there is something I have learned about baby gear due to all of the traveling we do (our oldest has been on 74 flights). I hope this thought encourages you as you consider your tight budget: You and your baby need far less stuff than what the marketers/advertisers would want you to believe.

How do you balance keeping your home ready for hospitality and being present with your kids?

Sometimes, when our doorbell rings, my preschool-aged son will shriek: “Friends! Or pizza? Yay!” Either way, he is excited, and if a friend is bearing pizza then it’s doubly awesome.

It helps to think of hospitality as part of the life of your home. Hospitality is a giving issue, so it makes sense that my selfishness is what gets in the way in my hospitality. I’m really encouraged by the principles laid out in 2 Cor. 9:6-8 which lead me to pray that God would give me grace and cheerfulness to give in this way.

What are some practical ways my church can support missionary wives/mothers living overseas?

I’m so glad you asked this question! I think the churches that support us are models of encouragement. When they ask for reports on our family and our work they always ask about how I’m doing and they insist that I not be shy about telling them specific ways they can support me. They even spoil me with American treats in the mail.

Remember that encouragement is mutual—please make it a point to share with missionary women about the things God is doing through the women in your local church as well.

What advice do you have for someone raising children far away from the support of family?

Someone could write a book about raising children far away from the support of family. But I’ll just quote a Kenyan sister who just moved away from Dubai to Italy with her young family. She said in a “see-you-later” video message to our church members: “You all have been my mothers, my fathers, my brothers, and my sisters.” I agree with her wholeheartedly, and I know that our own parents appreciate this as well. When our folks came to visit us here in the Middle East they mentioned that they were pleased to see how well our local church cares for us.

How should a mom balance the blessing of social media with the distraction of social media?

I’ve opened up Facebook to see things posted by moms in my season of life and thought: “Thank the Lord, I am not crazy or alone.” Social media is a blessing when we use it to invest in people (because there are image bearers on the other end of those status updates and tweets). But I’ve found that my use of social media can become a distraction to me when I socialize to the point of becoming an idler, going from blog to blog in 1 Tim. 5:13-style.

Like all our relationships, the way we interact with people online is a matter of the heart. May I recommend two outstanding books that specifically address relationships and technology from a Christian perspective? Check out: The Next Story (Challies) and From the Garden to the City (Dyer).

If you were to recommend one book for mom’s to read this year, what would it be (excluding the Bible)?

Not By Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith by Jon Bloom—it’s a new book filled with short reflections from God’s Word that do some serious eternity-stamping on your eyeballs.

How do you find time to write in the midst of all the other responsibilities you have (wife, mother, etc.)?

Writing, for me, is part of being a healthy human. My husband is able to verbally process his thoughts out loud, but I need to have a keyboard at my fingertips or a pen (or a crayon—whatever is available, really) in my hand. I hunt down time to write because I have to.

It helps to make notes on an app in my phone throughout the day, and when my kids are in bed I get out my laptop for some extended writing. During this season I have discovered the hard way that if my computer is out while my kids are afoot then they post tweets in tongues that no one understands and edit my working documents with abandon.

How do you ensure that you’re spending one-on-one time with each of your kids?

I think this happy endeavor is an ongoing pursuit and a creative art. Something that has always impressed me is the flavor of the quality time that Jonathan Edwards spent with his kids each night (as described in the book, Marriage to a Difficult Man). This busy pastor would “enter freely into the feelings and concerns of his children and relaxing into cheerful and animate conversation accompanied frequently with sprightly remarks and sallies of wit and humor.” I’m so encouraged by Edwards’ perspective on quality time with his kids because it leaves a sweet taste to savor instead of a burden of anxiety or a law to check off my list.

What would you say to someone who says, “Why have kids? Say goodbye to your life!”?

I’d say that you might indeed say goodbye to your life as you know it. But, by God’s grace you will find that you would be willing to do it all over again if given the chance.

Underneath that comment is an iceberg of issues that can’t be addressed with one-liners. But if there ever was an icebreaker that could get you started, I would highlight C.S. Lewis’s remark in his essay, “The Weight of Glory,” in which he talks about human beings as God’s image bearers and their eternal destiny.

Lewis says, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” “People” includes babies, children, and teens. Think of it—you have never read a bedtime story to a mere mortal. You have never taught a mere mortal their times tables. No mere mortal has ever cried in their carseat in traffic. Because of eternity, there is serious joy to be had when you raise kids.

And, as Lewis says, “The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken.” Our children are our littlest neighbors.

May God give us the humility and grace we need to nurture life through death-defying and death-to-self-embracing motherhood.


Gloria Furman is a wife, mother of four young children, doula, and blogger. In 2008 her family moved to the Middle East to plant Redeemer Church of Dubai where her husband, Dave, serves as the pastor. She is the author of Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full, and she blogs regularly at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, and GloriaFurman.com.