June 12th, 2022 – Trinity Sunday
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: June 13th – June 19th
Monday………………. 6:00 PM Men’s Group
Wednessday…………… 7:00 PM Council Meeting
Thursday………………. 10:00 AM Bible Study
Friday………………… Eastern District Convention (Day 1)
Saturday……………….. Eastern District Convention (Day 2)
Sunday: …………………. 10:00 AM Worship
11:15 AM Bible Study
What is Elisha famous for? The “what the heck is this about” episode is when he curses some boys for making fun of his bald head and two bears immediately come and maul them. (2 Kings 2:23-25). What is it about? I can make a guess, but the best answer is probably “the Lord works in mysterious ways, best not to trifle with them.” But there are more scenes with Elisha that makes the “Sunday School Summary” than you might think. They start with his “call” by Elijah where he sacrifices the oxen he was plowing with on their yokes (1 Kings 19:19ff) through the healing of Naaman from leprosy (2 Kings 5:8ff) ending with the strange episode after his death of the resurrection of a man thrown on Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:21). That skips the fiery chariot of Elijah, the raising of the Shunamite’s son, the floating of an axe head, the chariots and horsemen of Israel, and the King’s wimping out on “one free wish”. John the Baptist was the Elijah that was to come, which following the type makes Jesus the Elisha, the prophet of resurrections, healings, signs and wonders. Including those pronouncement of woes like “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” which ended with “not one stone atop another.” Elisha should remind us of both the mighty works of God and how little we understand His ways.
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
The Old Testament occasionally takes an attribute of God and personifies it. First off, what is an attribute of God? An attribute of God is something that God possesses or an aspect of his character. The most common ones might be his justice, love or wisdom, but it would also include His righteousness and wrath. If you remember catechism class you might remember memorizing “the omni’s” – omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. There is an entire literature dedicated to talking about the attributes of God. The Old Testament has an interesting habit of taking one of those attributes and making it sound like its own person, it personifies an attribute of God. That is what our Old Testament Lesson this morning (Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31) does with the wisdom of God. “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work (Proverbs 8:22).”
There is a long history of taking these personification of attributes as either a type of Christ or the pre-incarnation eternal son. And this is not without biblical warrant. The opening of the Gospel according to John which says “In the beginning was the Word” is the textual bridge. The Word in Greek philosophy is a complex idea. It is the report of how everything works. It is the pattern of creation. So when John writes, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made,” it sounds a awful lot like parts of Proverbs 8. For example, “When he established the heavens, I was there, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep…I was beside him, like a master workman.” As a reader of Scripture, I’m not completely against such “Wisdom Christology”. God describes himself as love and the entirety of the Gospels might be described as a personification of the love of God. We just call that personification Jesus. Jesus himself would seem to invite the Wisdom comparison in Matthew 11:19, “Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
But I do think we can only hold such identifications lightly if at all, because if we are confessors of the Trinity the so-called attributes of God are shared by all the persons. The Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. In their divine nature they all have wisdom. Such a close identification of an attribute with one person of the trinity risks splitting their unity. Strangely, when the pop phenomenon book “The Shack”, not a species known for its deep theology, introduced a character of “Justice” or “The Judge”, it shied away from a close identification with any of the persons. In that book she was a divine attribute personified. She was there for a single purpose, not either a full person of the Trinity nor the fullness of God. I’m pretty sure the author just stole it directly from Proverbs 8 changing the attribute from Wisdom to Justice. Both of which are typically represented as female.
Ok, so what does any of this mean? The hard answer is simply the delight in pondering God. Even God apparently takes delight in pondering God. “And I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.” Wisdom has its practical pursuits, but from Socrates until to today, if the truly wise speak they usually end up dead. “The wise remain silent in such a time (Amos 5:13).” Any of the practical benefits of wisdom are purely secondary. Jesus says the seek first the Kingdom and all these things will be added. C.S.Lewis echoing that wrote “aim for heaven and you get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.” And that might be the trouble with the church today. We want to be relevant. We are taught to be as winsome as possible. But in these things we are aiming for the earth, or the residents of earth. And we might even be doing it for the best of intentions. But are we missing God? The first 600 years of the church are simply arguments over the attributes and works of God. They didn’t get everything right. That is the record of all the heresies, but they wanted God. And they got the empire thrown in along the way. But even pointing that out I think betrays the point. God is not a utilitarian. In another attribute he describes himself as Jealous. God, if He is God, is a subject worth pondering in himself, something to delight in. If he is not, you have not found God. Or if somehow you are not delighted, well, see that part about jealousy.
- Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Passover & Jewish Festivals
- Confirmation: Completed Year 1, return in the Fall
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): Summer Break
- Sunday Morning: Going to continue with the Psalms for a Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
- Catechism Moment: Baptism, in your inbox