Archive for the ‘Old Testament’ Category

What are We Doing Here?

March 10th, 2012

Job 42:1,2 reads: “Then Job answered the Lord and said, I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (ESV).

At the end of the day, with tired feet and well spent energy, one might still question what we are doing here?      We want our supporters to know  that Job 42:1,2 is a reminder of a faith that is based in God; not based in economy, politics, selfishness, avant garde,  polemics, or any other fleeting reality.   What we are doing here is all about God; it really is that simple.   Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”    What is this simplicity that leads us on every day?  What is this ultimate sophistication?   Just this, that God is (Hebrews 11:6); that he is “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1; Hebrew: El Shaddai); and that, His purposes will be maintained throughout history (Job 42:2).

This is the simple and solemn reason for our toiling in the backyard of history.   It is enough.  That is why what we are doing in Milan matters.

References in Resolution

January 26th, 2012


PSALMS: BOOK 1 (1-41)

“Kiss the Son”

(Psalm 2:12; See Jn. 5:23)

 Introduction:   Psalms: Bk. 1 (1-41) differs from the other sections of the Psalms in several different respects.   One such differentiation shows itself in how personally resolved the psalmist appears.   It may be that these references in religious resolution may point the way to reaffirm our own faith during days of modern conflicts.  We have designated the first three Psalms (examples) with important textual clues, as to meaning.

Psalm 1:2, 6 = Contrast [Re: different types; different values; different destinies] (Cominciamo in Contrasto: due uomini; due vie; due destini)

Psalm 2:12 = Why? [Re: rejection of the biblical God] (Perche?)

Psalm 3:4 = Conflict [Re: The people of God in conflict] (Il popolo di Dio in conflitto)

Psalm 4:6

Psalm 5:8

Psalm 6:2

Psalm 7:17

Psalm 8:1,9

Psalm 9:10

Psalm 10:1,12

Psalm 11:3,4

Psalm 12:6,7

Psalm 13:1,5

Psalm 14:2

Psalm 15:1

Psalm 16:5,8

Psalm 17:6

Psalm 18:46

Psalm 19:1,7,14

Psalm 20:4

Psalm 21:6

Psalm 22:1

Psalm 23:6

Psalm 24:1

Psalm 25:8

Psalm 26:8

Psalm 27:8,13

Psalm 28:8

Psalm 29:2

Psalm 30:5

Psalm 31:5,15

Psalm 32:1-2

Psalm 33:13

Psalm 34:18

Psalm 35:2,3,27

Psalm 36:9

Psalm 37:4,5,31

Psalm 38:9

Psalm 39:4

Psalm 40:7-8

Psalm 41:13

Conclusion:     Book 1 also contains a recurring phrase worth your consideration (“The Holy Hill”: See 2:6; 3:4; 15:1; 24:3).  Indeed, Calvary was a low brow, but it casts a long shadow.   May these references of  Psalms: Book 1 enable more practicing of the presence of God.

The castle

The Keats-Shelley House

December 15th, 2011


The Pantheon is larger than one might imagine and truly surreal.  Rome has been called the Eternal City for some solid comparative reasons.  However, at

base of the Spanish Steps

the base of the Spanish Steps, immediately to the right, there is a multi-level, albeit, modest home known as The Keats-Shelley House.  Bob had heard of this place some years ago.   Then, recently, in a visit to Rome, he found it just as predicted.  As Bob stood in the room where Keats died and looking out the very window that John must have peered himself many times, he was reminded of an old text from one of the prophets—“All souls are mine”  (Ezekiel 18:4).  Whereas, Shelley was lost at sea in Italy, Keats died

room where Keats died

here in Rome of tuberculosis.  Both men made lasting literary contributions. Both died relatively young. And both had to leave “the Eternal City”.

But, the thought that Bob would like to leave here is how he found a young British (not Italian) museum curator knitting away on the second floor of the Keats-Shelley House.  There she was in the quiet of that Italian afternoon keeping watch over the literary shrine to the memory of these two British poets.  That somehow seemed appropriate (see also Proverbs 15:3).

approaching Spanish Steps

Italian Magnum Opus

November 27th, 2011

In A Brief History of Time, Carl Sagan introduces the Cambridge Professor of Mathematics, Stephen Hawking,  by saying something thoughtful:  “We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing about the world” (ix).  Maybe Sagan was speaking more of himself than for Christians (see Romans 1:19-21).  But, it does appear that he had a valid point.  Our problem with a purely Marlamaterial position of the world is that it is strongly tilted toward a set of presuppositions which exclude outside forces  (namely the Lord God) from the git-go.    That is why, when people sometimes state, “I believe in Science,”  they are actually admitting to a higher power that is observable.  An immediate problem here involves the nature of God being spirit, not chemical or a mere force field (John 4:24).  So, end of discussion, right?

The world from a physical standpoint does have four fundamental forces: (1)  Gravitational  (2)  Electromagnetic  (3) Weak Nuclear, and (4)  Strong Nuclear.  The Bible writer to the Hebrews, in 1:3, 10-12; 10:3 , presents Christian faith as including a  cosmological view of things.  So, those forces for Hawking are contained; while for Christians they are contingent.  Allowing for this data, we may move into the discussion of God in history.

There appear to be some firm components in the mind of the apostle Paul.  One such idea is that God is at work in the world.  But, even before Paul, we may delve into what Jesus himself thought of the world.  What kind of a place is it neighborsanyway?  For, to think as Jesus thought, to feel as he felt, and to see as he saw , we will need to acquire his set of beliefs (or, belief system).  John 5:17 captures this assumption in a  few words. Jesus believed that the Father was at work in the world, and that he was also involved in this magnum opus.  When the gospel is preached and people respond in baptism, they are raised by the power of God out of the watery grave of Christian baptism.  This is the Lord’s  continuation of John 5:17.  This is furthermore a call to believers to participate in the work of God (opera in Italian), by submitting to his plan.  If it begins here, commencing in baptism, it takes the believer far away and yet nearer to the one who calls.  This may be seen in Philippians 1:6, where the work of God in history has high continuity with John 5:17 and Colossians 2:12.

Why then emphasize making new friends or teaching worldview to bambini in Italy?  Of course, it is part of the plan!  Sagan and Hawking have done their homework and have gained the plaudits of men.  But, they have also limited their world with the rejection of any divine working in cosmos or history.  That is because of the Science, right?  Think again.  Sagan may know why stars twinkle (to the human eye), but we know why they shine on (Rom. 1:19-21; Ps. 19:1-6; Mal. 4:2; Dan. 12:3).    The great Italian Magnum Opus does not belong Albertaexclusively  to Columbus, Galileo, or Fermi.  The sub-atomic level may appear random; neutrinos, for example.  But, the speed of light is still a constant (300,00 kilometers per sec.).  Dare to participate in the drama.  Jesus will meet you there (Jn. 5:17; Col. 2:12; Phil. 1:6).  Pronto?

Angela, Michelangelo, and Genesis

November 8th, 2011

My current view of Genesis is wrapped up in a song which was written by Charlie Chaplin.  Yes, the comedian, Chaplain, who knew so well how life could be (“I know why the world is smiling / Smiling so tenderly / It hears the same old story / Through all eternity / Love this is my song”).  In this post, we shall attempt to render the significance of the book of Genesis to modern-day Christians (the Lord’s people). 

street vendors

The route to church in Milan, which Marla and I take on Sunday mornings, goes right past the Italian vendors.  Sunday morning is a time for the coin dealers, stamp-collectors and artists to display their works.  The photograph (adjacent) shows the paintings of life in Italy.  It is this sense of story (history/storia) which overlaps with the lovely and often tragic stories of the book of Genesis.

What we do with Genesis is extremely important.  In my opinion, Genesis will influence your understanding of Romans.   In my Romans study (2008), I found myself relying on the phrase, “the human experience.”  Recently, one, Angela, asked why the players in Genesis (God’s people) were so troubled.  Little did she know that that observation is a huge insight into our own experience, as well.  In the Italian, sin is peccato.  So, when one says, “Peccato che,” the phrase becomes, “What a pity!”  Yes, peccato (sin) is a sad concept in Genesis: indeed, what a pity.   But, it is not only sad in the book, it is sad in the cross.  A fascinating study might be to trace the tears in the Genesis text; the tears at the cross; and, the tears in your own soul.  That is not at all to negate the joy.  Genesis is packed with laughter, surprise, and overwhelming burgeoning of happiness too!   Jesus, also, exhibits the whole gamut of emotions in the gospel accounts, that is, in his own human experience.

Genesis condenses well into Italian with a package of five words beginning with the letter “P”:  Paradiso; Popolo di Dio; Peccato; Passione and Promessa [Paradise, People of God, Sin, Passion, Promise].  In fact, the Genesis drama may be understood along these lines with significant progress being taken in understanding what this ancient book is all about.  Angela’s notes on Jacob (Israel), for example, find meaning not as a random story, but as a Hebrew heritage.  This is a heritage which applies to all who have the ability to understand the matter (Be sure to see Galatians 3:7, 29; 4:19; 6:16; and Romans 4:16!).

Michelangelo said something meaningful: “Io citico costruendo, quel cosa de bello” [I criticize by creating something more beautiful.]  The application being that when you encounter the pain of peccato in your own life, do realize that even though it ends with a sarcophagus in Egypt, the promise remains, “Surely I will visit you!” And, again, “Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear saying, God will surely visit you” (Gen. 50:24-26).


David’s Theological Interpretation of All Reality

June 26th, 2009

“…a man after my heart…”

(Acts 13:22)

During Paul’s address at Antioch of Pisidia (Acts 13:13-41), he states God’s assessment of David-“…I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart.  Who will do all my will.  Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised” (Acts 13:22,23).  The King James Version translates 13:22, “…a man after mine own heart…” It is the persuasion of this brief article that the primary meaning  of 13:22 is based upon David’s consistent theological interpretation of all reality. As proof of this proposition, we offer 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; David’s final recorded public prayer.

1. The LORD is supreme over all (1 Chron. 29:10-13).

2. A correct assessment of the human condition (1 Chron. 29:14-15).

3. All material possessions are rightfully the LORDS’ (1 Chron. 29:16-17). 

4. There is divine continuity to history, which links the past to the future (1 Chron. 29:18-19).

5. Religious relationships merge challenge and response (1 Chron. 29:20-22).

Think theologically!

-Robert M. Housby

A Time for Faith, A Time for Us

June 4th, 2009

“If you are not firm in faith, you will not be firm at all.”

(Isaiah 7:9)

When my wife and I were married, the music by Kusic and Snyder was played.  It is the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet. One of the phrases of this piece articulates-“A Time for Us, Someday Will Be…” This music was beyond my 21 years.  It was beautiful as haunting, but I could not fathom the emotional depths of this piece.  Now, 29 years later, I know that it was well chosen, and its depth has been felt as lived.

Today, there is a deep need among the Lord’s people in the churches of Christ to rededicate their lives.  Faith is not a mobile made in a Bible class, nor a Mobius Strip made at the university.

1.       Faith is an unseen reality of God with his people (2 Cor. 5:7).

2.       This faith has a primary focus in the Christ who always leads in triumphal procession (2 Cor. 2:14)

3.       This Christian faith results in good courage (2 Cor. 5:6,8; 1:24).

This is truly a time for faith, and a time for us! The present is indeed directed by the future.  The Lord is there (Ezek. 48:35)!

-Robert M. Housby

The Kingdom of God in Luke’s Gospel

May 29th, 2009

(1:32-33;  2:4; 34-35; 3:31; 4:43; 6:20; 7:28; 8:10; 9:2; 10:23-24; 11:2, 17; 12:31-32; 13:20; 14:15; 16:16; 17:20-21; 18:15-17; 19:12; 36-40; 22:14-16; 23:1-3; 35-43)

“…and of his kingdom there will be no end”

(Luke 1:33)

The word kingdom is meaningless to most people.  It may evoke certain ancient images of swords and jousting, but there will be no ultimate personal relevance.  In the face of this casual approach to kingdom, one is confronted with Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Luke.   What should one make of this startling kingdom which is anything but casual?

1.       The Kingdom of God provides a context whereby one may discuss and perceive God in history [bear in mind, your history!].

2.      The primary meaning of “kingdom” is royal power. It more often carries the force of dominion (see Dan. 4:31, where dominion is departed, but not domain); more reign than realm.  In Luke, the ideas associated with Kingdom are heightened (see the Luke references above).

3.       For God’s people (who seeing-see and hearing-understand, Lk. 8:10), it is not the past which determines the future, but the future which directs the present.  For the Christian, the Lord of history is not prominent, but preeminent (Col. 1:16-18).

-Robert M. Housby


May 14th, 2009

(100-600 Levels)

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

but the earth he has given to the children of man”

(Psalm 115:16)

On the 100 Level, providence involves-

1.    Definition

2.    Usage (Acts 24:2, from pronoias)

On the 200 Level, providence involves-

1.        A reference to God in the world (Eccl. 3:1-11)

a.   Hebrew world view believes in purpose on earth (3:1)

b.   And, transcendent purpose in heaven (3:11; Isa. 55:8-9)

2.        Christian world view unites God’s purpose in Christ (Eph. 1:10)

On the 300 Level, providence involves-

1.         A long and loud praise of God’s universal providence (Ps. 104)

2.         Psalm 104 begins and ends with a summons for the individual to participate in this providence (104:1,35).

On the 400 Level, providence involves-

1.         The comprehensive terminology of heaven (shamayim; ouranos)

2.         Our deepest reality is that we were meant for heaven-made for earth (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

On the 500 Level, providence involves-

1.         Kingdom of God in personal dailiness (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31)

2.         Kingdom of God in personal discernment of kingdom reality (Matt. 13)

On the 600 Level, providence involves-

1.         Living 100-600 level revitalization (Finding your place in His plan)

2.         Revelation 11:15!

-Robert M. Housby

Providence 101

May 8th, 2009

“…Tertullus began…saying, Seeing that by thee [Roman

procurator, Felix] we enjoy great quietness, and that very

worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence…”

(emph. mine, RMH)

(Acts 24:2, KJV [the term providence, here, is pronoias; it is the only such reference in the Bible; and, here, in a secular sense. Of course,  the concept of providence is everywhere in the Scriptures] )

Providence is a reference to God in  the world (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11).  To have a Christian world-view is to believe in purpose on earth (Eccl. 3:1) and transcendent purpose in heaven (Eccl. 3:11; Isa. 55:8-9).   Christ Jesus merges these two concepts (Eph. 1:10); so far as is practical (Deut. 29:29).

Jesus, himself, lived with a strong sense of providence, and encouraged others to do the same (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31).  Jesus’ view of providence was undoubtedly influenced by his earthly instruction in the Bible.  This would have included Psalm 104.  This is a long and loud praise of universal providence.  It begins and ends with a summons for the individual to recognize and participate in the providence of God.  The recurring phrase which marks the beginning and the ending of Ps. 104 is “Bless the LORD, O my soul!” (Ps. 104:1,35).  Further resources of providence include: Ps. 33:21; 97:10; Prov. 16:33; 20:24; and Gen. 45:5.

The Kingdom of God is an excellent context for discussing Divine Providence.  Kingdom is about God in history (Lk. 10:11).  The perception of God in history will influence how one characteristically  looks outward on the universe.

Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, kingdom, Old Testament, providence, Psalms Tags: