Exodus 9 – One for the Skeptics

God doesn’t pull any punches in Exodus 9. If anything, between the livestock-slaying pestilence, the flesh sores, and the hailstorm, he ups the ante. And as I read about God wrecking shop on the Egyptians’ animals, skin, and crops, I couldn’t help thinking, “This is not going to go over well with some people.” The Shortpacked comic in which David Willis, by way of The Prince of Egypt, goes for the throat of the God of the Exodus narrative springs readily to mind. I can’t hope to resolve every difficulty with Exodus in a single post, but perhaps I can shed light on a few issues and offer answers to some questions. You know what? This one’s for the skeptics. This one’s for the skeptic in you and the skeptic in me. Let’s do it.

Genesis 27 – The Big Grift

Here it is: the Second Big Grift. We already saw the First Big Grift back in Genesis 25:27-34, in which Jacob takes advantage of his brother Esau’s hunger to trade a bowl of stew for the right of primogeniture. The Second Big Grift also involves food: as Isaac’s eyesight fails in his old age, Rebecca convinces Jacob to pose as Esau and deliver a savory meal to his father in order to secure the firstborn’s blessing as well. Living up to his name, Jacob once again plays the heel by grabbing the heel. And here’s the big question for today: is God getting behind all this chicanery?

Mark 15 – A Hard Day’s Night on the Cross

The day of Jesus’ crucifixion was a dark day in history. I mean that literally: the bulk of that afternoon saw Golgotha and its environs shrouded in darkness. It’s not clear from simply reading the gospels whether it was simply overcast, whether a solar eclipse occurred, or whether this was a supernaturally-caused gloom. Nor is it clear whether we’re looking at a localized phenomenon, a global one, or somewhere in between. Scholars have turned to outside sources to figure out just what went down, but we’ll leave it to them to sort out the details. My point is that vision rolls were taking at least a -3 darkness penalty.
Oh, and it was dark in the metaphorical sense too. You know, insofar as the chief priests killed God.

Zephaniah 3 – Sea Change, Key Change

Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt & Almonds Today’s Passage: Zephaniah 3 Here’s the third and final chapter of Zephaniah, and here’s a turning point right in the middle of it. Or, perhaps more accurately, here’s a light at the end of the Zephaniah tunnel. Here’s a spatial metaphor for the linear development of […]

Micah 6 – Blame Yourself or God

I didn’t get Friday’s post done on Friday. I just checked on timeanddate.com’s World Clock, and it’s not Friday anywhere in the world right now. So, here I am, breaking my principles and blogging on the Sabbath. Of course, my tongue is in cheek as I say that, because I don’t believe for a second that it’s inherently wrong to read the Bible and write words in any medium about it on any day of the week. And I think I can get this post out without breaking the Sabbath! All I have to do is be very careful not to do any work as I write it. It may be tricky, and it might even take work, but with determination and hard work, we can put up a Chocolate Book post without working.

Micah 2 – Highway Robbery in All Its Many Forms

It shouldn’t come as a surprise if Micah reminds us of Amos in parts. After all, the messages in these books aren’t Micah’s or Amos’s, or any other prophet’s. They’re God’s messages, and the prophet is simply a person who heard the message from God and bought into it enough to tell it to the people it was for. People are people, and at some times in history, we see people spreading a social epidemic of oppression, corruption, and exploitation of the poor. Amos lived in such times. So did Micah.

Amos 7 – God’s Policy Reversal

If you want to argue that God changes his mind, you’re probably going to turn to Exodus 32. In this well-known passage, after the Israelites make a golden calf and start worshipping it, Moses apparently talks God down from destroying them and starting a new nation with Moses. The text even comes right out and says it: “So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:14). But if you wanted to argue your case without reaching for the low-hanging theological fruit, you might opt to look at Amos 7.