Over the last three weeks in our Sunday gatherings, we’ve been studying the portion of the Whole Story of the Bible known as “The Wisdom of Israel.” It’s important to remember how we’ve been thinking about wisdom as we do so. Namely, wisdom is applied skill and competence. It is an understanding that Yahweh himself has hardwired wisdom into all of creation and all of humanity (Proverbs 8:22-31). It is the inner logic for how everything works, and the ‘secret code’ to discovering a good life. Therefore, in the words of the Bible Project,
The wisdom books of the Old Testament offer three different [but complementary] perspectives on how to live well in God’s good world. They reveal the collected wisdom of generations of godly people, and invite us to consider the complexity and simplicity of living wisely.
The three books they are referring to are Job, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs, which we’ve now completed as the first part of our exploration of wisdom. But there are two books yet to go, which make up the lyrical wisdom of the Old Testament—Psalms and the Song of Songs.
Now, why should you care about these books? Because we all want to live a good life. We all want our lives to mean something, and to be spent well for a greater purpose. And we all desire peace, happiness, contentment, and joy as we invest the precious moments of our living that God has provided. What we’ve been discovering is that wisdom is the path to a good life.
So, if you’d like to study further—and I hope you do—I recommend you listen to this latest installment in The Whole Story, my sermon on Ecclesiastes. In particular, the introduction provides a metaphor to understand how Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes work together and balance each other.
Then, head on over to The Bible Project to watch their Wisdom Series on these three books. Just click on the image below to open yourself up to three beautifully done short films that bring clarity to this foundational part of the Scriptures, as well as a wealth of additional resources.
If you’d like to study Ecclesiastes in particular, you can peruse additional study resources here.
I’d like to remind you that this coming Sunday we will be making our way into Psalms. If you’ve been following along with the Read Scripture app, you’ve already read through Psalms once this year, so I’m not asking you to read all 150 chapters in preparation! Rather, my plan is to spend a little time with an overview of the Psalter, and then dive into Psalm 34 as an example for how to understand and apply this lyrical wisdom to our lives. If you’d like to prepare, check out the Bible Project page on the Psalms.
Finally, if you haven’t already, you should download thenew Calvary app. It is the fastest way to access all of these sermons and articles. And, if you’ve been blessed by the ministry of Calvary, it also provides an easy way to give electronically right in the app. It is the generous support of people like you that make this content available, that you might mature as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Samuel Johnson was born on September 18, 1709, and was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer.
How Can We Pursue A Long Repentance In The Same Direction?
This last Sunday, in Calvary’s morning gathering, we studied the book of Haggai together as part of God’s Whole Story. Together we heard God speak through his prophet to his people after the exile, challenging them to remain faithful and to rebuild the temple.
The book of Haggai is the second shortest book in the Old Testament. It has 4 oracles (think: sermons), 2 chapters, and about 1,100 words.
In the book of Jeremiah we read of God’s intention for Daniel and all of those with him who have been exiled from the land of promise.
We are in a sermon series called The Whole Story, so named because we started off with the assumption, and belief really, that the whole Bible is a unified story that leads to Jesus. Each and every book is a bit like a chapter that contributes to the overall story that God is telling.
We Are Calvary
To say that we live in times of rapid change may be the very height of understatement. Our culture, and its norms, is changing at an unprecedented rate, making it increasingly challenging for the church to remain relevant—and faithful—in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God, in a way that will bring about the expansion of that kingdom.
This past Sunday we (finally) made it out of the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, and stepped into the Return from Exile of the people of God. Our first look into this aspect of the redemptive drama comes via three courageous servants of Yahweh—Zerrubabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. There story is found in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah (although our English Bibles separate them, through the centuries the Jewish people have always treated them as one book; so we will too.)
Especially When You Don't Feel Like It
Sunday is just about my favorite day of the week (“just about”…because my day off each week, our family’s Sabbath Saturday, is a tie or really close second). I love getting up that morning, making my smoothie, sitting in my favorite chair in our fireplace room, and pulling my Bible onto my lap. I relish the time spent listening to my Father speak, and I delight in those moments spent talking with him about the morning’s ministry, the people in our gathering that I hope he will transform, as well as the eleven other pastors (and their congregations) on whom I pray his blessing every Sunday.