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THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS

The book of Hebrews brings a word of encouragement to discouraged Christians. The intended readers once had a vivid sense of God's presence and later showed bold support for others during an outburst of persecution. Yet as time dragged on, some began drifting away. The author emboldens them by telling of the way Jesus the pioneer went through suffering into glory, making a way for others to follow. As high priest, Christ offered himself as the atoning sacrifice, bringing others into a new covenant relationship with God. People are therefore called to persevere in faith, knowing that God will be faithful.

Hebrews speaks to people who find that daily life seems to be far removed from the kingdom of God. The author recognizes that the gospel's message may be glorious, yet life in the Christian community and the wider society is often discouraging. Through vivid images of Israel in the wilderness, the sanctuary and its worship, and a panoramic view of t…

The Book Of HABAKKUK

The Book Of HABAKKUK

Habakkuk opens by protesting God's inaction in the face of injustice and violence: the wicked thrive at the expense of the righteous. God responds by announcing the invasion of the Babylonians to exact punishment. Habakkuk protests that God's use of the Babylonians is an injustice worse than the injustice they are to punish. God responds by announcing a future judgment of the Babylonians for their own unrighteous acts. Habakkuk, while poised to wait for the eventual judgment of Babylon, receives a vision that evokes memories of past deliverance, both historic and cosmic. The vision engenders a resolve to endure based on God's past and promised character.

The book asserts that oppressive violence is not enduring in the face of God's opposition to it. God is involved in the ebb and flow of history to provide refuge, even from God's own wrath. The book is conscious that God's action on behalf of the righteous is often not immediate or apparen…

The First Book Of The KINGS

The Book Of First KINGS

First Kings continues the story where 2 Samuel left off. Chapters 1-2 complete the presentation of the reign of David and the succession of Solomon. Chapters 3-11 depict Solomon's glorious reign, highlighted by the construction of the temple, but including his ultimate apostasy. Chapters 12-14 relate Jeroboam's rebellion, his censure by the prophets, and the resulting division of the nation into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah in 722 B.C.E. The rest of 1 Kings details the reigns of the divided monarchy, alternating between the north and the south, but with the bulk of the material considering the period of Israelite supremacy, especially under Omri and Ahab. In this period the prophet Elijah is a dominant force.

First Kings uses the history of the kings of Judah and Israel to explain the destruction of Jerusalem to those experiencing exile in Babylon in the hope that they might gain a new self-understanding. It is a sto…