OK, here's the plan (if God is willing):

1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years

2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).

Some other housecleaning:

A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.

B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.

C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.

D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.

As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.

[Jan 22]--Oh, That’s Just Typical

Genesis 22:1-19

This passage is one of the most meaningful in scripture for several reasons. It is the highpoint of Abraham’s obedience, and it is highlighted in Hebrews 11:17-19 as an incredible act of faith. According to Hebrews, Abraham’s reasoning process was, “Well, God has told me that I'd have lots of children through Isaac, and he’s told me to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Therefore, I guess he’s going to raise the boy from the dead.” I only wish I had faith like that.

The main reason I want to look at this passage, however, is because it’s a good point to introduce the notion of typology. This is the biblical study of Old Testament stories and images which prefigure something in the New Testament. The word type refers to the Old Testament picture, and the antitype is the fulfillment in the NT. You actually use a form of this word when you say the word typical, meaning that something is exhibiting the essential characteristics of a group: "Jerry's behavior this morning was typical of how he acts on Monday mornings."  In this narrative, Abraham is the type of our Father, who willingly sacrificed his only son. Isaac is a type of Christ up to the point where God stops Abraham, and then the imagery shifts over the ram, who was offered in Isaac’s place.

Types are pretty easy to spot in scripture, and they point us towards Christ. The book of Hebrews states that the entire sacrificial and priesthood system is meant to do this, and several stories illustrate something about Christ or his work. When Jesus was rebuking the Jews, he claimed that "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me." On the other hand, we must use caution when utilizing them.

1) First, any type that isn't specifically backed up by scripture is only our interpretation, not something on which to be dogmatic. Paul said in Galatians that Sarah, Hagar, and their respective children are typical of the law versus the gospel, so that's an inspired use of typology. The story in today’s passage is a beautiful illustration of the Cross, and it certainly looks like God put it in there for that purpose, but there are other narratives which some people have used as types with shaky hermeneutics.

2) Second, types (if legitimate) illustrate, they do not prove. We need to interpret typology by what we already know from the teachings portions of Scripture, not the other way around (just like how we interpret any narratives).

OK, enough dry theology. Let me introduce you to my favorite singer, Michael Card. This is "God will provide a lamb" which beautifully renders this story for us.

Father, your word is so rich. A child can swim in it, and an elephant can drown in it. Help me to interpret it correctly, since it’s how I hear your voice.

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