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Theological Help Posts

Blessed Barrenness

God turned Hannah’s barrenness, in the midst of Israel’s barrenness, into blessedness (1Samuel 1:4-20) inviting us to bless God also in our barren times. Hannah’s barrenness parallels Israel’s barrenness. Judges, immediately preceding, describes a national cycle whose overall trend was down. After the people entered the Promised Land they prospered as long as they remembered how hard won were their blessings. But as soon as those died who remembered warfare, prosperity took its toll; they fell away and they brought on themselves all the curses that Moses had predicted in Deuteronomy. When judgment fell, they repented, they called on God, and God sent them a judge who freed them from their enemies. As long as that judge lived they had…

Better Reward

“…thou shalt never envy the luster and glory of the great lights of worldly men, which are great by the infirmity of others, or by their own opinion, great because others think them great, or because they think themselves so, but thou shalt find, that howsoever they magnify their lights, their wit, their learning, their industry, their fortune, their favor, and sacrifice to their own nets, yet thou shalt see,  that thou by thy small light hast gathered Pearl and Amber, and they by their great lights nothing but shells and pebbles.” (Donne)

Out of Our Hands

“So we stand in our parched and barren present, looking forward with confidence to God’s redemption. . . Sure, because of the Spirit’s presence …Our destiny is no longer in our own hands but in God’s hands, who is all powerful, loving, and whose purpose is redemption … The presence of the Spirit shows what final confirmation will be … The fact that the future is in God’s hands where we neither placed it nor from which we can take it away, Paul understands to be the basis of confidence and joy, rather than of fear and pain… because we are in God’s hands, the kind of God who sent his own Son for us (5:6-10) all things will finally…

Complete Tolerance = Contempt

“No deeply religious man is satisfied with a universal tolerance of religion, partly because, if his convictions are profound, he is so keenly aware of the terrible mistakes, intellectually as well as practically, which can be made in the name of religion. The truly religious man knows that we cannot responsibly state a faith unless we claim that it is true, and that we cannot responsibly claim that it is true unless there is some means of disproving it…. Complete tolerance, therefore, is not a mark of respect, but rather a mark of contempt.” (Trueblood)

Gospel Hawkers

“[The word] will … not stoop to overcome resistance with bargain counter methods. Promoters’ successes are sham victories; their crowded churches and the breathlessness of their audiences have nothing in common with the word of God. Yes, indeed, the word of God has a particular message for every individual; it addresses men quite personally, quite directly. But when a man does not lend his ear to it of his own free choice, he shall not hear the word of God at all.” (Barth)