Our Life’s Response to this Christ Child

On Sunday our pastor led our congregation in a study of Isaiah 11:1-12.  In this passage, Isaiah further expounds upon his prophesy of a coming child that he introduces in chapter 9, the One who will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6).  On one level this prophesy offered encouragement to the Israelite people in that time who had been taken captive and forced to leave the land God had given to them.  They could be reminded of God’s plan and his faithfulness to complete that plan.  Even though things were bleak for them currently, God would return a remnant of his people to the promised land in order to finish what he had started through them.  God had promised Eve that he would provide a seed of a woman who would crush the head of the serpent.  He then promised Abraham that this seed would come from his lineage.  Isaiah reminds the Israelite people that despite their own

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Giving to God what is Marginal

God’s rebuke of his priests in Malachi offers a sobering picture of the reality of marginal giving for the Church today.  To understand this, we must fully understand the context of this heavy passage in light of the entire biblical narrative.  In his indictment, God accuses the Priests of “offering polluted food upon my altar” when they “offer blind animals in sacrifice…and those that are lame or sick” (Mal 1:7, 8).  Now at first glance we may simply believe that God chastises his priests for the mere fact that they have broken his law, which indeed they had (see Lev 22:17-25; Deut 15:21; 17:1).  True, the priests were guilty of offering what was easy instead of what was commanded; however, the context and very purpose of the sacrificial system in which the priests participated forbids us to stop at that interpretive level.