Every word in the Bible is in there because God wanted it there. (Kevin DeYoung, Taking God at His Word, 118)
And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my wrestling and limping and weeping in prayer in my war room are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. (Genesis 47:9-10 Scott Nonstandard Version)
“It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.” (Hebrews 7:7 ESV)
Often faith allows you to pass through evil and trials, because it is a far greater, more glorious, and more life-giving victory to pass through them than it is to have them removed (Hebrews 11). Jacob’s trials literally brought salvation to the whole world through Joseph (Genesis 41:57).
Six years ago, I combined several blogs into this one. But the juxtaposition of technical and personal-theological interests is awkward at times.
Today I’ve separated some of my technical posts into a new blog, which I am somewhat whimsically calling “full valence”—
From the Heidelberg catechism:
Question 105. What does God require in the sixth commandment?
Answer: That neither in thoughts, nor words, nor gestures, much less in deeds, I dishonor, hate, wound, or kill my neighbor, by myself or by another: but that I lay aside all desire of revenge: also, that I hurt not myself, nor willfully expose myself to any danger. Wherefore also the magistrate is armed with the sword, to prevent murder.
Question 106. But this commandment seems only to speak of murder?
Answer: In forbidding murder, God teaches us, that he abhors the causes thereof, such as envy, hatred, anger, and desire of revenge; and that he accounts all these as murder.
Question 107. But is it enough that we do not kill any man in the manner mentioned above?
Answer: No: for when God forbids envy, hatred, and anger, he commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves; to show patience, peace, meekness, mercy, and all kindness, towards him, and prevent his hurt as much as in us lies; and that we do good, even to our enemies.
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37 ESV)
Sire, it belongs, in truth, to the church of God, in the name of which I address you, to suffer blows, not to strike them. But at the same time let it be your pleasure to remember that the Church is an anvil which has worn out many a hammer. — Theodore Beza to the King of Navarre in France (1561)
After Abraham defeated the Shemite king Chedorlaomer, he brought a tithe to the priest-king Melchizedek, who served him a meal of bread and wine (Gen. 14).
Similarly, in a preliminary fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, the nations of the world brought their wealth to Joseph, who gave them life by providing them bread (Gen. 41:53-57). In addition to this, Joseph seems to have had a position of cupbearer-advisor to Pharaoh (Gen. 44), so that it could be said that Joseph had become both chief baker and cupbearer (Gen. 40), the man of both bread and wine.
Thus, weekly communion: week to week we bring tithes, offerings and tribute to our priest-king (1 Cor. 16:2), and we find that Jesus, the greater Melchizedek (Heb. 5-7) and “son of Joseph” (Luke 4:22, John 6:42), is more, not less, prodigal than the shadows and types that came before him:
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says Yahweh of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Mal. 3:10)
One of the things that is happening in the Lord’s-day worship service is that the church is conducting spiritual warfare. We see this throughout the book of Revelation, where it is the church’s songs and prayers that call forth God’s powerful action. We see it, too, in that God uses even the singing of babies to silence his enemies (Ps. 8:2 taken together with Matt. 21:16). Jesus prepares a table for his church in the very presence of her enemies (Ps. 23).
Thus, weekly communion: for when is the church not surrounded by enemies, and she must always find a table and an overflowing cup there.