Monday, April 07, 2003

Not Gleanings from Hebrews

I indicated that I would begin a series on the book of Hebrews this morning. I will not be doing that just yet. This weekend was filled with taxes, birthdays, and a time change. This combination ate away at the time I needed to begin writing the series. So I will briefly outline the nature of the series and give a short mediation on the war.

I will not be writing a commentary or line by line exegesis on Hebrews. Instead, I hope to give you tools to read the book with increased understanding. I will be looking into how the author used the Old Testament, his development of the person and work of Jesus Christ in Hebrews, and the phenomenal change the New Covenant has made in the life of faith. I expect the series to take a month.

Of Kings and Kingdoms

This weekend, I began a series of lessons in Daniel at church. While studying for this, I came across these verses in which Daniel thanks the Lord for revealing Nebuchadnezzar's dream to him:

Then in a night vision the mystery was revealed to Daniel. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven, saying, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to him. He changes times and seasons, deposing some kings and establishing others. He gives wisdom to the wise; he imparts knowledge to those with understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things. He knows what is in the darkness, and light resides with him. (Daniel 2:19-22, The Net Bible)

Daniel writes, "He changes times and seasons, deposing of kings and establishing others." As of this morning, the war news continues to be remarkably good for the coalition forces. It appears as if our military is strong and that we have good strategists and planners. But we must never forget, that by the Lord's hand the few and weak have put to flight the many and strong. Deborah and Barak saw aid come with a flood that disabled the chariots of their enemies. Gideon's ridiculously small army routed an enemy whose confusion turned its soldiers on themselves. David and Goliath, Jonathan and his armor bearer, and Jehoshaphat with his singers are more examples of the same.

Daniel reminded me that any success that we have in this war is at the Lord's discretion as He moves history toward His goals. This is true for the small and the great changes of regimes or administrations.

If you are a republican glad to see Clinton gone or if you are a democrat dismayed at Bush's policies, know that each was placed by the God of Heaven. Who is Clinton or Bush compared to Nero under whom Paul wrote these words?

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of the authorities but also because of your conscience. For this reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants devoted to governing. Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Romans 13:1-7)

If Paul saw the Lord's hand on Nero, how much more can we trust the Lord with a Bill Clinton or a George Bush?

Who is Clinton or Bush compared to Pilate to whom Jesus said:

Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me at all, unless it was given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of greater sin.” (John 19:11)

Let us, therefore, view any war success with thanksgiving and humility. And let us continue to seek the Lord's favor and entreat Him for victory.

Tomorrow: Hebrews

<>< Test Everything. Cling to what is good. ><>

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