Jephthah makes an ill-advised vow to God before going into battle and then tragically fulfills it.
Three Hebrew Handholds in a Spinning Crisis
Long ago, the people of Israel began to sing words of encouragement to each other in times of distress. In their songs, the psalms, are three Hebrew words that provide stability for us. They are more than just words—each one encapsulates the way of God with his people. They serve as helpful handholds in times of stress and upheaval. The…
Judges 9:30-10:5 (Episode 208)
Abimelech gets word of the drunken threats issued against him and plans an ambush. Zebul’s eyesight isn’t any better than his judgment. The wrath of Abimelech is thorough and includes a whole lot of salt. Jotham’s fable/prophecy comes full circle…
The Dad Who Didn't Have to Be a Dad: Joseph as the Mask of God
Joseph was not the father of Jesus, but then again, he was. Jesus was the true offspring of the heavenly Father, but even the Son of God needed a daddy.
Salvation Is from the Jews: Three Ways to Recover Our Old Testament Heritage in the Church Today
The Old Testament often seems like a long lost family--and a rather weird family, at that. How can followers of the Messiah today live our heritage in the Torah, Prophets, and Writings? Here are three simple suggestions.
Judges 8:8-28 (Episode 206)
Gideon makes a 2nd threatening promise and then follows through on both of them. We learn more about his family and what may be some additional motivation in these conflicts. The people start wanting a ruler and Gideon slips into…
I Can’t Wait to Get out of Heaven
When talking about God’s ultimate destination for us, we’ve grown sloppy in our language, nearsighted in our gaze, and un-Easter in our hope. We act and speak as if dying and going to heaven is what the faith is all about. It is most emphatically not.
Judges 7:8-8:7 (Episode 205)
Gideon gets some reassurance from an interpretation of a very strange dream. He and his reduced force go into battle with trumpets and jars. Why are all these victories so lopsided and how does Isaiah talk about this battle when…
The Misunderstood Story of Bear Attacks, a Bald Prophet, and Forty-Two Mouthy “Kids”
This misunderstood story is not a moralistic tale about bald prophets and child-eating bears, designed to teach youths to honor their elders and preachers. Rather, it's a brief glimpse into the age-old war that began in a garden and ended at an empty tomb.
Where’s the Sunday School Picture of Jesus Crushing Skulls?
He is no sweet and sappy, romanticized and Disneyfied, cartoonish Christ. He is ferocious, free, untamed, and heaven-bent on not leaving the battlefield until the war is won and he makes his enemies a footstool for his feet.
Weaponizing Our Virtues
Virtue, like all good things, can easily be weaponized. And not only can, but constantly is. Indeed, I would argue that, for churchgoing, rule-following, tradition-honoring, morality-applauding people, virtue often becomes the cancer that we deem a badge of honor.
Chad Bird - Canadian Rockies Theological Conference 2020
Essential Failures of a Faithful Life