Sermon: “A Future and a Hope?”

This is the audio (32:05, 29.3MB) of a sermon delivered at Preakness Valley United Reformed Church on June 28 entitled, “A Future and a Hope?” The text is Jeremiah 29:1-14. Dedicated readers of THTW know that I Love Ruining Bible Verses; this sermon fleshes out some ideas in that post.

Here is an excerpt:

The danger in taking the promises in verse 11 out of context and applying them directly to our lives is that we can so easily replace God’s plans, God’s future, and God’s hope with our plans, our future, and our hope. God is the sovereign Lord of all his creation, including me. He doesn’t have to conform his plans for my life to my plans for my life; he can use me however he chooses. Even when he makes promises to his people because of the special covenant relationship he has with them, he doesn’t always fulfill them as we would want them fulfilled. I’m sure that the exiles in Babylon would not have chosen seventy years, if it had been up to them.

And yet, when we accept God’s plans for our future, we can see that they are infinitely better than our own plans. Yes, God brought Israel back from exile—but things were never as glorious for them as they had hoped. In fact, the spiritual state of exile continues on for hundreds of years–interestingly, in the book of Daniel chapter 9, Daniel is praying based on this Jeremiah passage, and an angel tells him that the exile is not 70 years, but 70 times 7 years! But when the fullness of time had come, Paul says in Galatians, God came to them directly, in the person of Jesus Christ, to rescue his people from their spiritual exile and bondage to sin. That promise of rescue from exile, and a future hope of resurrection from the dead, is offered to all who confess their sin and throw all their hope and trust in Jesus.

Audio and text: ©2015 by Benjamin D. Giffone. Reproduction and distribution are permitted, providing that the author is properly credited and that no fee is charged.

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#12: Dating and Interpreting the Book of Daniel

Benj and Bekah discuss the merits of a 6th- or 5th-century date for the Book of Daniel (MT) vs. a 2nd-century date for the book, as well as the implications for interpretation and the authority of this book of scripture.

Further Reading:

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, and email us if you like the show or have questions: benjamingiffone [at] gmail. Please be sure to “like” and share our Facebook page!

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Essay: “When Nothing Arrives”

Rebekah has a great new piece at her blog, “The Doxological Life,” entitled, “When Nothing Arrives.” An excerpt:

“My generation knows it needs to find a different kind of knowing, not one that is necessarily antithetical to Christian dogma, but one that sees faith, doubt, and dogma working together. But we are often at a loss as to how to rebuild our faith without resorting to cookie-cutter answers and insincere platitudes in responses to real suffering and tough theological problems. We’re so scared of resorting to the unfettered dogmatism of our forebears that we go in the opposite direction. Uncertainty and doubt become their own kinds of dogmatism, their own creeds.”

#11: Boiling the Paschal Sacrifice, or, Inner-Biblical Harmonistic Exegesis

Bekah and Benj discuss the apparent tension between the methods of cooking the Passover sacrifice (and the type of sacrifice) prescribed in Exodus 12 and Deuteronomy 16. We address the phenomenon of inner-biblical exegesis, particularly the Chronicler’s harmonistic exegesis of these two passages in 2 Chronicles 35. Along the way, we discuss why “someone is wrong on the internet” and how to solve this problem.

The texts in question:

  • “They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire (צלי־אשׁ), and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water (בשׁל מבשׁל במים), but rather roasted with fire (כי אם־צלי אשׁ), both its head and its legs along with its entrails” (Exod 12:8-9).
  • “You shall boil (ובשׁלת) and eat it in the place which the LORD your God chooses” (Deut 16:7a).
  • The Chronicler has harmonized the two traditions by specifying that it was “boiled with fire” (ויבשׁלו הפסח באשׁ כמשׁפט).

Further Reading:

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, and email us if you like the show or have questions: benjamingiffone [at] gmail. Please be sure to “like” and share our Facebook page!

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#10: Nursing Metaphor in Isaiah

In this episode, Rebekah discusses some of her research on the use of the nursing metaphor in Isaiah. This motif, sometimes under-appreciated, turns out to be quite versatile in the book of Isaiah.

You can read Rebekah’s paper–which contains references for further reading–here.

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, and email us if you like the show or have questions: benjamingiffone [at] gmail. Please be sure to “like” and share our Facebook page!

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#9: Exile and Hope in the Deuteronomistic History and in Chronicles

After a six-month hiatus for a transatlantic move (Benjamin) and the birth of a child (Rebekah), Out of Exile is back with a new podcast. In this episode, we consider the different perspectives on the Babylonian exile found in the so-called Deuteronomistic History (Deut-Josh-Jdg-Sam-Kgs) and in Chronicles.

If you’d like to read more of Benj’s work on Chronicles, you can check out this page on his website.

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, and email us if you like the show or have questions: benjamingiffone [at] gmail. Please be sure to “like” and share our Facebook page!

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