The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. So how do we deal with some of the difficult texts in the Old Testament, how do we preach on them? It's time for the line of fire with your host biblical scholar and cultural commentator Dr. Michael Brown, your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity.
Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on the line of fire. And now, here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Welcome, welcome to our thoroughly Jewish Thursday broadcast, Michael Brown, delighted to be with you.
We're going to shift things a little today. Normally, I'll talk about a bunch of things in the first half of the broadcast and then mainly go to calls, Jewish-related calls, the second half of the broadcast. Today I'm going to be speaking with a guest at the bottom of the hour about preaching from the difficult texts of the Old Testament.
How do we not just understand them but use them to glorify God and build up the body? So we'll be doing that later in the show. If you have a question, I'm going to try to get to questions earlier if I can. So any Jewish-related question of any kind, by all means, give me a call, 866-348-7884.
That is the number. So a reminder, if you get the Ask Dr. Brown Ministries app on your phone, ASKD or Brown Ministries, if you get that on your phone and you just scroll down to Real Messiah, you'll have our Jewish website right there at your fingertips, answers to most common objections, full-length debates with rabbis, countering the counter-missionaries like Rabbi Tovius Singer and others. Right there at your fingertips, boom, click on it. So share that with your friends. It's a great resource. We're so excited to have it available for you on Apple or Android.
That's the ASKD or Brown, Ask Dr. Brown Ministries app. Okay, so before we bring our guest on at the bottom of the hour, the Kanye West situation continues to generate massive controversy. So obviously, he's been a controversial figure for many years and tremendously loved and tremendously hated and massively successful. And I am not one who has studied hip-hop in depth.
I got into it and studied in the chapter that I wrote on it in my book, The Power of Music. But I really do not have the position, background, culture, having investigated to understand some of the full appeal of someone like Kanye West. But obviously, there's something about what he's written, what he's expressed, how he's done it at different times that has really resonated with a large audience, making him as big and famous as he's been. And then as he's talked more about a conversion to Jesus and change, I have heard from some people that were fairly close to him saying it was a genuine conversion and he's really been wanting to grow. My issue has always been, even so, the fact that he's a world-famous celebrity doesn't make him a world-famous Christian. We've seen this for decades, for centuries, I'm sure, that someone who's very well-known in the world and very seasoned in the world and very experienced in the world and used to living in all kinds of environments that most of us can't imagine, when that person gets saved, we have to remember there's still a baby. Great, they have a testimony, but there's still a baby.
And they're not spokespeople and they shouldn't be looked to as leaders, and they should be covered and protected much more than put on a platform. So that was always my concern, not whether his conversion was real, but has he been put on a platform prematurely, is his voice being heard too much prematurely, and has he really grown in sanctification and understood the implications of the gospel, et cetera. And then others say, well, he's unstable, okay, I'm not making those judgments.
I'm simply just giving background. So when he made some statements recently, he was on Tucker Carlson, he said a lot of things that many of us as conservative Bible believers would agree with in terms of morals and culture and things like that, but then stuff that wasn't on the broadcast that could easily be construed as anti-Semitic, then he comes out with his death calm, which he meant to say, Def Con 3 on the Jews and so on. Well, actually, he's a Jew because he's black and blacks are Jews, but hey, these Jews that control the media and stuff, and he's going Def Con 3, but he spelled it death con, and what does that mean? And was he calling for death? And no, it just meant being already on the defensive. And Candace Owens, who's a friend, came to his defense and said, hey, we don't really know what he meant.
Everyone's going ballistic. We don't really know what he meant. Well, then he said a lot more, and it's very clear that he was saying that Jews control vast parts of the society, and you can't go against them and so on, and so there's been a backlash. Now, you say, well, aren't Jewish people being a little hypersensitive at this point?
Well, actually, can you imagine, can you imagine if, say, a prominent white leader, major, major, white figure, celebrity on a parallel with Kanye, that influential, that best-selling in his particular area, whatever it is, if that person came out with statements against black Americans, derogatory statements, statements that would be perceived as racist, there'd be a national outcry, and there would be all kinds of repercussions, and we'd expect it. Now, is it possible that we play the anti-semicard too much? Yes, of course it's possible. Is it possible that we play the race card too much?
Yes, it's possible. Of course, there can be overreactions, right? But the fact that Kanye's become toxic is not a surprise, all right? But here's the problem. Here's the problem. By the reaction being so strong, and now this is costing probably hundreds of millions of dollars. Is this one stepping back and this one stepping back? I didn't even realize the degree of how far-reaching his financial empire was.
I knew it was big, but because this one's pulling back, this one's pulling back. I didn't even know some of them had relationships with him, because I'm not a Kanye West expert, all right? But now, to the anti-Semites, this confirms the narrative, you see? This confirms the narrative, aha! You see, the Jews do control everything. They control the banks. They control the media. They can control the financial realm. They control Hollywood. You see, they control social media. You see? You see? Because there are all these repercussions against them, so now that furthers the narrative that anti-Semites make, that Jews control everything in America, if not the entire world. So the plot thickens in that regard.
And then, if you're ready for the gossip column type stuff, I get an email from my dear friend Rabbi Shmooley just on his email list, not a personal email from him, and he's upset because his daughter sent out a note, what, she's in her early 20s maybe, something like that. She sent out a note and posted on our Instagram account to Candace Owens, and she had subscribed to follow Candace more closely, enjoyed her content, but she basically said, hey, Candace, don't mess with the Jews. In other words, say, look, your defense of Kanye is misguided. He said enough now to clarify his position.
It's not a good position. You shouldn't be defending him or standing with him, and look, you mess with the Jews. There are consequences. And Candace Owens, in turns, posts as if she's being threatened now, and is this right, and why would someone do this and push his back, and now Shmooley's saying, how dare you attack my daughter, and so on, and it's like, oh, oh, boy.
So the thing has blown up. Here's my perspective, because I'm not bringing it up for gossip column stuff. As you know, that's not what the show is about. I'm not bringing it up just because it's hot news, because we always want to be constructive.
We want there to be more light than heat. After all, if I'm being introduced as your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity, that's what I want to bring in the midst of this. So first, for Kanye West, my take from a distance is that he has had some type of spiritual encounter that Jesus is important to him, the Bible is important. Look, remember when he was married to Kim Kardashian, and saying she shouldn't wear certain clothes, because it's not right, it's like, whoa, something does seem to be going on in his heart. I don't know if he's walking with the Lord now, if he truly knows God.
If it's a matter of, like I said, sanctification and growth, I don't know. I'm not his judge. And here's the good news, neither are you. We lead him to God. But as best as I can see from the outside, with the same information you have, he is more misinformed than hostile.
That's just my take. I'm not demonizing him. In fact, to me, he's someone you could really pray for.
You know what I'm saying? It feels easy to pray for him, as opposed to some people you have such an attitude towards, and they're so bent on evil and destruction, Lord, I'm praying for them, but it's almost hard to pray for them. I find him to be someone that's very easy to pray for God's best, so I'm not out to demonize him, all right?
I'm not out to further attack him or say, well, hey, everybody run from him. No, this is the time when if he could have some really solid believers around him, I don't know who has access to his life, not just to help him grow in Jesus, but to deliver him from some of these myths that the blacks are the true Jews and the Jews control everything and these kinds of things. And by the way, a small minority of the world black population is Jewish. A small minority of the world white population is Jewish.
Those are realities, right? Now it so happens that white Jews make up a higher number of people than black Jews that we know, unless they're just many more of the tribes of Israel, descendants somehow that we intermingle the things that we don't know about, that the numbers have been higher and that they're more hidden Jews than we know of, but either way, either way, to me it's a matter of getting right information to him from sources that he can believe. Come on, let's be honest. We all have sources we trust and sources we don't trust. We all have friends we trust and friends we don't trust, leaders we trust, leaders we don't trust. So let's pray that God will impact his life more deeply, that it won't be a matter of him groveling to try to apologize because he's lost so much money. And my guess is he wouldn't be the kind of person to do that.
Even though money's important to him, it seems that his ideologies to him are even more important. But let's pray that God would deepen his experience with him if he knows the Lord, that it would go deeper, if he's known about him but doesn't really know him, that he would really come to know him, and that he would get rightly informed. Because my view is that there should be a great coalition between blacks and Jews. That there should be a coalition of peoples who have both been oppressed, who have both been enslaved, who have both been cast out, who have both been persecuted minorities, who have a certain soul connection in that regard, who have histories that intersect more than we might realize, that there should be a solidarity of standing with each other as opposed to looking at one another as enemies. So let's really pray that God would use this situation for good and for education as opposed to deepen and heighten and increase antisemitism in America. And may God give resolution. Maybe there'll be a great family meeting with Rabbi Shruli and his daughter and Candace Owens and others, and they could have a love fest. Let it be. They're all smart people with important messages. Let's see where this goes.
All right. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Head on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.
Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. May 2023 is going to be here before we know it. Do you know how I know that? Because we're in already November. We're in November 2022.
Where did the year go? A few more days. We're in November. Boom.
And then the holidays and then new year. And before you know it, God willing, we'll be standing in Israel together May of 2023. Just got some really neat news that some more friends from a house of prayer that really prays for Israel and supports me in prayer on a weekly basis and some of the folks on a daily basis that a number of them are going to be joining us, which means we're going to have some real good prayer times.
Oh, yeah. I can feel it already. Some real powerful intercession for Israel in Israel. So join if it's worth it. You say, yeah, it costs a lot to go to Israel and stay in the nice hotels. It's a fabulous tour. Once you're actually there, you're like, whoa, you get a lot for the money. But yeah, it's a substantial investment, especially if you're coming with several people. But oh, it's worth it.
It is worth it. So if you've been thinking about it, do it because we still do have limited space. There is space left, all right, because we open up extra rooms. We still have space. But the sooner you get your deposit in, the better.
Do it on our website, astartyourbrown.org, a-s-k-d-r-brown.org. Let's go over to 1 Corinthians, chapter 1. First Corinthians, chapter 1. And let's see what Paul wrote there about the gospel and the Jewish people.
So 1 Corinthians 1, beginning in verse 18, Paul says this, for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart. Because those who are wise in their own understanding, God is going to silence. Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom. In other words, God set it up that just through being smart and having worldly wisdom, you're not going to figure out God because there needs to be that dependence, that faith, that humility. You're going to seize God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Messiah crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called both Jews and Greeks, Messiah, the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers. Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards. Not many were powerful.
Not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. Because of Him, you are in the sight of Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption. So as it is written, quoting Jeremiah 9, that the one who boasts, boasts in the Lord. So I want to think back to those words that we read. Where Jews demand signs, and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Messiah crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, to the Greeks folly, but to those of us who are being saved, both Jews and Greeks.
Jews and Greeks means Jews and Gentiles, the whole world. Messiah, the power of God and the wisdom of God. Now in the next chapter, Paul explains that he preached Messiah crucified, Christ crucified. That was the center of his message. That was the focus of his message. And it wasn't with words of human wisdom that he spoke, but in demonstration of the spirit and power, that their faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. So the point is not that there is no power, that there is no wisdom. The point is that the power and the wisdom is released through the cross. That the power and the wisdom is found in the cross. And not in, okay, here's a miraculous sign such as, let's just raise our hands and now the stars will rearrange and spell out something in the sky, give that appearance. Or I'm going to give this masterfully wise exposition of some philosophical concept that three people on the planet can understand, and if you get this right, you can be saved.
No. However, think of this. When Jesus was on the earth, he was constantly heal, sick, and driving out demons. And the religious leaders said to him, give us a sign.
That's not what they were looking for. Those were the biblical signs. That's the biblical power that's released through the cross, all right? But the sign that they were looking for was some type of messianic proof, okay, you know, right now we're going to create the temple, bring it to right here or do this or do that, you know, whatever would have been applicable with that time frame. No, he wasn't going to do that.
And he knew that was just a sensationalism. And that was just a skepticism, because whatever you do will do more. Well, that's not enough. Well, what about this? What about that?
Well, though, go even further. Don't let anyone die or don't, whatever. However, he constantly worked miracles.
Remember that. And he says elsewhere, if you don't believe me, believe based on the miracles because I'm doing the Father's work. So for those who say, oh, when we preach the gospel, if there are signs, ones and miracles, that's what the skeptics wanted, they wanted a sign.
No, no, no. They wanted a different kind of sign. They wanted something that would fit their messianic expectations, okay, we're going to conquer Jerusalem and drive out the Romans tomorrow, you know, whatever.
No, he wasn't going to do that. But the healings, the miracles, that was an expression of the messianic era breaking in of the kingdom of God breaking in that continues to this moment as the kingdom of God advances, the powers of darkness are driven back as a result of which there is healing and deliverance that just happens. And the character of God has made manifest in his goodness and by healing. So when Paul says Jews demand the sign, it doesn't mean we don't pray for the sick. It doesn't mean when the gospel is preached that the sick aren't healed. What it means is that we are not going to do a demonstration according to the expectations of these religious people who want us to prove this or to prove that or to bring in some other messianic expectation into reality based on their end time beliefs.
That's not going to happen. But when we preach Messiah crucified and someone believes first and foremost is the power of God to be saved, the power of God to be delivered from sin, the power of God to be forgiven, the power of God to go from death to life, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God, that's the first demonstration of power. And with it, many other things that God does to glorify his name, including healing the sick and driving out demons and other things like that, but first and foremost, the power to be transformed. It's a stumbling block to Jews, but crucified Messiah, no, no, Messiah is going to rule and reign. Messiah is going to establish his kingdom. The things that we are expecting and awaiting Jesus to do when he returns, some of those same things are the things that traditional Jews were waiting for the Messiah to do the first time around, you know, destroy the wicked and set up the kingdom of God on the earth and bring universal peace and the whole world that remains into the knowledge of the one true God and so on and so forth. And of course, in Jewish expectation, we gather the exiles and rebuild the temple. But certainly to this moment, yes, Jews may be looking for all kinds of signs and wonders and things that, OK, prove this, prove that. The sign that's going to come is that through the preaching of the cross, you can be saved, you can be transformed, you can be set free, and you can be healed as well. This is part of what is proclaimed in the gospel and part of the power that's released. To the Greeks, it's folly, it's folly, it's nonsense, it's crucified, but that's just weakness, crucified Messiah. The lowest death, oh, be like today, oh, so you're a guy, you're a savior guy. That's the one that 10 years ago was on death row and was electrocuted for his crimes.
That's your guy? Oh, and he's the savior of the world? Oh, yeah, right. So, that's how it sounded to Greeks, display of weakness to Romans as well. But through the preaching of the cross, the wisdom of God is revealed, that he doesn't save us through our intellect as if the really smart get in and the really dumb can't and only the educated can understand God. No, no, through the wisdom of God, he saves sinners and rebels through the crucifixion of this Jewish carpenter who is actually God in the flesh. It is so transcends our wisdom and Paul writes to the Colossians that in him, in Jesus or hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And here Paul writes, yes, to the Jews, this message of Messiah crucified is a stumbling block to Greeks, it is foolishness, but to those who are being saved, both Jews and Greeks, yeah, crucify the power of God and the wisdom of God. If you don't know him, especially on this early Jewish Thursday, if you're a Jewish person and you're being pulled, you're being stirred, go right now to the Real Messiah website, real messiah.com, maybe watch a debate or get some of your questions answered and if God's really dealing with you, there's a prayer of redemption. You can actually watch where we talk about it, what it means to be born from above and have your sins forgiven, and may I quote once again, kulano kat son ta'inu ishler da kopaninu vana nahi v'giyabo eta avon kulano, one of my favorite verses I quote over and over from the book of Isaiah, all of us like sheep have gone astray. Each one turned to his own light, but the Lord has laid on him the iniquity, the guilt of all of us.
When we recognize that and put our trust in him, the guilt is gone, forgiveness comes, new life comes. We will be right back with our special guest, Don't Go Anywhere. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown.
Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH. Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Sacred words from Deuteronomy 6 here, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one, or the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Dr. Brown here, welcome to Thoroughly Jewish Thursday. I've really been looking forward to talking to the author of the book, Preaching Difficult Texts of the Old Testament. Brian Morowski is a pastor, professor, PhD from Westminster Theological Seminary. There's a whole lot to dive into here. Brian, thanks so much for joining us on the broadcast today. Thanks for having me. So Brian, did your book arise out of being a pastor and thinking through how to make the whole Bible relevant to your people, or was this just a personal journey you've been on yourself?
I think I would say a little bit of both. The book, the idea came up as I was in the pulpit preaching, and I'm an expository preacher, so I'll pick a book of the Bible and work my way through it. And what I found was, in every book that I was preaching, there were always challenges that I really couldn't find a good homiletical solution to. I would find answers to them and maybe some commentaries and some hermeneutical suggestions or interpretive suggestions, but I continually found myself asking the question, how do I preach this? In particular, the genealogy of Genesis is what really struck me initially, preaching through Genesis and having this genealogy sitting there before me and thinking, I've never been taught how to preach a genealogy before, but they're all over this book.
I don't want to ignore it. I believe it's part of Scripture, and therefore it ought to be preached. And by the way, folks, the table of contents here reads great.
Let me just take a moment to go through it. You'll want to get this, preaching family trees, preaching devilish details, preaching geography, preaching law, preaching blood and guts, preaching PG-13 texts, preaching in tongues, preaching theologically loaded texts, preaching parallel texts, preaching the Goliath. Now, Brian, you say, and I want to quote this directly, all Scripture points in some way to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Bible clearly points to Jesus, and it's we who are at fault for not seeing it. So in your mind, honestly, do you really believe that the Old Testament is just as inspired in terms of being God-breathed in God's word as, say, the gospel of John is? Are they inspired in the same way?
Absolutely. And I wouldn't say just in my mind, I look at that text from 2 Timothy 3, 16 and 17. All Scripture is God-breathed. And notice how Paul connects that right in Chapter 4, he flows into this thought that therefore preached the word, preached this word that is all inspired. But when Paul wrote that, there were some books in the New Testament that were written.
Maybe we could even say the majority, but not all. His primary reference there is the Old Testament, that the Old Testament Scripture is inspired, still useful, and one cannot help but read the Old Testament in the New as you're reading the New Testament. There's not a book you can get through in the New Testament without having some sort of foundational basis in the Old and whether through the quotations, the allusions, just the foundational theology that is there, it's clear that the New Testament authors believed the Old Testament was just as inspired and relevant as the stuff that was getting put out that day. Yeah, and the new idea was the stuff that was getting put out that day was also on the same par of what had come before, because that was already established to them as first century Jews, and this was Scripture. So when they got up and preached Jesus, that's the Bible they had, and that's what they're preaching from.
All right, so let's work through a few areas here. And again, friends, to get the full content, because we just touch on things, preaching difficult texts of the Old Testament, Brian Mirowski spelled M-U-R-A-W-S-K-I. The genealogies, have you ever seen where people go through the Hebrew names in Genesis 5, and oh, that's preaching the gospel, you've got to read a lot into that to make it and jump over some other things, you're not talking about some artificial, you know, playing around with the text to get the gospel out of it, you're talking about something much deeper and more true to the text, so what do you do with the genealogies? That's right, I'm glad you said that, the genealogies are just as much part of the theology of the book that you're reading as any other text around it. So one of the things I encourage people to do is to say, if I took this genealogy out of Scripture, what would change in the author's argument? And that's one way, I think, to get at the point of that genealogy, to get at the meaning behind it, it's not by digging into the names and figuring out what does this name mean, what does that name mean, and we can find Jesus in that, it's by saying that these genealogies are part of the flow of the narrative. You never see a book of genealogies in Scripture, in other words, you don't have a book of the Bible that's just a list of names, they're always found embedded within narrative, which means that they're flowing into the narrative, or they're flowing from the narrative, but they are part of the story that the author's telling, they're positioned in the particular place that they are to tell a story and to continue the theology of the narrator. So thinking about that Genesis 5 genealogy, it's not that we look behind the names and try to figure out what do they mean, some secret code there, we recognize that flowing out of Genesis 3 and Genesis 4, this theology of death, that spin brings death, then you get to Genesis 5 and you see this pattern of so and so lived this many years, they had this kid, they lived this many more years, and died, and died, and died, and died, all the way until you get to Enoch, who of course then he was not, he walked with God, and he was not, and then everyone else died, died, died. So the idea here is that this theology of walking with God helps us to avoid death, I think it's part of what you see in Genesis chapter 5 in that genealogy, and that flows right from Genesis 3 with Adam and Eve not walking with God in the garden, and of course death is a result, and then right into the text that are to come, Genesis 6, you meet this guy named Noah, who also walked with God, he avoids death. So the theology of this genealogy really rises to the surface when you treat it seriously within the narrative context that it's situated in.
All right, let's just go a little deeper then. First Chronicles, when someone starts reading that, it's like okay, maybe it's a chapter of name, well no, it's two, it's three, now you do have a couple of little anecdotes, the famous Prayer of Jabez became famous because of the Bruce Wilkinson book, you know, in the fourth chapter, or a notice like in the fifth chapter that many died in the war because the war was of the Lord, or a fascinating statement about Joseph in the first one, but most like, what's that about? But anyway, you're like 10, 11 chapters into the book, so what are the genealogies doing there? I guess if we don't have that, and we just, let's just start with David, what are we missing? Yeah, I think that's a particular challenge for people, especially when they're reading the Bible through the year, you know, you get the Chronicles and then you've got a week of this genealogy, but one of the things I do with my Bible students here at Cairn University is I put up on the screen an outline of the genealogy of 1 Chronicles 1-9, and what you see there is you see the chronicler, we'll call whoever wrote it the chronicler, we see him highlighting the themes that will become much more clearly evident throughout the rest of the book in the book of Chronicles. So David, his tribe gets a massive genealogy, he gets 70-something verses of the genealogy, whereas some of the other tribes, like Naphtali, gets like a verse, and that's it. We don't care about Naphtali in 1 Chronicles because we're focused on David, we're focused on Judah. Saul's story, he gets a chapter, a little smattering here and there, Benjamin gets a little bit because Saul's from Benjamin, but really it's just to kind of point the way to David because part of the theology of Chronicles is that the true Judean kings are the true Judean kings, they are the true kings of Israel. We're not toggling back and forth like the book of Kings does between northern kings and southern kings, we're only focused on southern kings, the Judean kings in Chronicles. And the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1-9 actually point towards that theology in both subtle and very big ways. So you strip out that genealogy, I think one of the things that you see is that you don't have the pedigree for David that you would otherwise. That the genealogies kind of used as a way of bolstering his legitimacy to that throne. That he is true king of Israel and his descendants are what matters. And of course that ultimately points to the Messiah, right?
Points to Jesus who is from the tribe of Judah and that true Davidic king that the Old Testament anticipates. What I find interesting, Brian, is the last few years I started listening to the Bible as well as reading it and studying it just to use time in my car. And what I realized was that I really, I'll read through the genealogies at a different pace than other parts. But when I'm listening, you realize, well, that's a lot of stuff there and there's got to be a reason for it.
So we got a couple minutes before break then, a bunch more questions if you can stay on. But the details, you know, you're reading through the book of Numbers maybe and it says, okay, in this, the Israelites, this tribe brought A, B, C, D, E sacrifices. And then this tribe brought A, B, C, D, E. It's like, just say the same. Each one did this, you know, why, why repeat it? Obviously it was important to the authors and God chose to put that in Scripture.
What do we make of it? There is an import to the repetition in Numbers. You can easily, yeah, some of that could have easily been summarized in two, three verses and we're moving on to the more fun narratives, right?
But part of the function of that repetition is to get us to slow down and to recognize this is really serious stuff to God. When I was a teenager, my mom taught me how to do the laundry, right? And she would at first kind of walk me through, okay, did you, did you put the, did you separate the colors? Did you put the right colors in? Did you put the laundry detergent in?
Did you turn it on 60 minutes? You know, she would walk through that whole thing every single time and that would help me to realize I'm not missing any steps here. So some of the function of the repetition is to make sure that we're recognizing the seriousness of this material. And some of it is also in recognizing the meticulous obedience that the Israelites at times had. They weren't exactly known for their obedience in the Old Testament, but there were times when they were meticulously obedient in the way that God desired, like when God gives them the tabernacle instructions. I spent some time with the tabernacle in my book and talk about how some of those chapters, they look forward to, here's what you need to build Moses in exquisite detail. And then some of the chapters, as you go, look backwards and say, okay, now the Israelites did exactly what God said. And it repeats all that detail to let you know they didn't miss anything.
They did exactly what God wanted them to do. So that detail has a narrative and a theological function that if we just skim over it or skip over it, we can really, I think, sometimes lose the import of what we're studying. Yeah, all right. I'm going to jump in here. We've got a few more minutes with Brian Morosky.
Check out the book, Preaching Difficult Texts of the Old Testament. We'll be right back. It's The Line of Fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on The Line of Fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.
Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Thanks friends for joining us a little early, a day early for Shabbat Celebration. I'm joined by Pastor and Professor Brian Morosky, his new book, Preaching Difficult Texts of the Old Testament. Brian, it's one thing for a believer to be able to explain to a non-believer or a Christian struggling with doubt, what do we do with these texts about drive out the Canaanites?
What do we do about these texts that seem harsh in their treatment of prisoners or Israelites couldn't slave a foreign prisoner or something like that? It's one thing to try to explain it in a way that might be satisfactory, but you're saying we need to go beyond that and preach these texts for edification and ultimately glorifying Jesus. So let's dive in.
Again, friends, all we're doing is touching the surface to get the full import. That's why books are written. But Brian, help us navigate that. Some of the most difficult texts of the Old Testament, Samuel's command to Saul to slaughter the Amalekites, things like that, what do we do with them and how do we preach from them in an edifying way?
Sure. We do so with a careful view towards their context. In fact, just this past Sunday, I was teaching a Sunday school class on that first Samuel 15 where Saul is told to go and slay the Amalekites. And one of the first things we did was we walked back to Deuteronomy. We walked back even before that to Exodus and saw how these Amalekites had a long history with Israel and how there was a reason that God was saying you need to go wipe these people out. And it was something that had a profound import in Saul's kingship and then later David's kingship as that transition happened between one and the other. So when we're preaching these texts, we want to do so with a great sensitivity to the audience that we're preaching to, realizing there are people who have probably come from very violent homes, very violent situations. So we want to be sensitive to that. But we also want to make sure that we're not watering down the violence in the text or making it say something it's not. It's not always easy to preach the Old Testament.
All right, so let's dig a little deeper. Why was it right for these people to be put to death? And what has a child ever done to deserve a penalty like that because of what previous generations did? Yeah, that's a very challenging question that I think if I can begin to unpack a little bit of it, back in the book of Exodus, the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites, kind of came out of nowhere. And God said to them, once you get to the land, once you get to the land, you've got to wipe this tribe out. Their influence is no good.
This is a group of people who were just ungodly to the extreme. And part of the nature, the function of the Israelite king was to show the people the way to root out that sin in the land. So when God tells them to wipe all these Amalekites out, including the kids and including the animals and everything from soup to nuts, part of what God is doing here is symbolically showing the Israelites, this is the way to eradicate sin from this land.
How is it right for the child? I think there's a lot of different ways that we can answer that. I think what gives me comfort is knowing that God as creator has the ability to take life, to give life, and we can rest in some of that sovereignty and that idea that God knows even greater than we do. And also recognizing if those kids were to grow up in the Amalekite household, they were destined to a life of paganism, a life of ungodly behavior, and there was really no chance for them to accompany the Lord in that way. Yeah, and I think Brian, also, we have to say these are difficult texts to them.
The honest list, we just seem oblivious to human reality, human suffering and pain and things like that, or how it would seem to be carried out today. At the same time, to me, it's always so helpful to emphasize the character of God as revealed in the Old Testament. In a Psalm like Psalm 103, his incredible mercy and compassion and long suffering, that's the same God.
It's not like he suddenly switched. That's the God and Father of the Lord Jesus. It's not a different deity, as Marcion or others would have emphasized.
One last... Yeah, go ahead, please. Sure, I was just going to say, even if we don't fully comprehend exactly why God gave that command, by looking at his character elsewhere, we are very clearly to trust in the goodness, the fairness, the justice of God. So we might not fully figure out 1 Samuel 15 theologically, but we can trust in his goodness.
Yeah, absolutely. And that's even with issues of heaven and hell and loved ones that didn't know the Lord, that's where we land, that ultimately we know this God is Father and who is extremely merciful and compassionate, that waits to carry out certain judgments to give time to repent. That's the God we're dealing with. All right, one last question, obviously we could go on for hours, but give us one nugget that we'll find in the book of kind of a discovery of Jesus in the Old Testament or an emphasis, something that has really blessed you over the years, so that it's blessed your congregation or your university students as you've taught. Sure, the work that I do, I have a whole chapter on preaching the law, the law of the Old Testament, and that chapter, I think more than any other, has been very helpful for me. I've actually preached all the way through Exodus, I've preached through Leviticus, and the principles that I give there in that chapter, recognizing how God is seen in the law, in His character. The law is not just given arbitrarily, but each law demonstrates how we can love God, how we can love others. It demonstrates the character of God, it points to the gospel ultimately. That has been very, very helpful for me in uncovering and understanding how some of these Old Testament texts, like the law, can still be applicable to a Christian today. So just to follow up on that, when Paul writes in Romans 3, does this faith abolish the law? In fact, it establishes, what do you think he meant there? It's not that we throw the law out as Christians, it's fulfilled in Christ. Christ perfectly fulfilled the law through His righteousness and His obedience to it, but we can still take the principles of the law and some of the truths that we find in it in regard to the character of God, the character of humanity, and those are the things that we can apply today.
Got it. Yeah, and with that also, it reinforces that the just live by faith. Again, when you say, take out the genealogies and what's missing, right? So the same way, take out, just even the thought of it, take out the Old Testament base from the new. I mean, it's so interwoven in every respect.
You can't do it. So regaining that appreciation is a wonderful thing. Hey, thanks for putting in the work to do this.
I've worked with Hendrickson, they do a great job putting out a great product. So keep getting the truth out, appreciate it, Brian. Thanks for having me. You bet.
All right. Again, the book, Preaching Difficult Texts of the Old Testament. And we get stacks of books pretty much every week with potential authors to have on. And if I had several hours a day of radio, then I'd probably do more interviews with other authors. But there's so much I want to talk to you about, we want to have time to take your calls. I've got things we've just put out, we want to share with you.
So we're very selective about this. But this is one of these topics, as someone who did special scholarship in Old Testament and doing Jewish apologetics all these decades interacting with rabbis and things. And this is the turf that we have in common, the Hebrew Bible called the Tanakh, the Old Testament.
It's a joy to have something practical like this. Oh, by the way, by the way, maybe some of you aren't familiar with the term Tanakh. So since I've got a minute before we're done, so it is three letters in Hebrew, T and then K. But when the K is after a vowel, it becomes ch. So Tanakh, all right? So it is the Jewish way of referring to the Hebrew Bible. A religious Jew will refer to Tanakh. They won't say the Hebrew Bible, that's what academics say.
They won't say the Old Testament, that's what Christians say. So them is the Tanakh. So the first, the T is Torah. And you have these acronyms, it's just very, very common in Jewish literature, that you put the letters together into a word. So the first T, that's Torah, first letter Torah.
That is the first five books. So the Pentateuch, five books of Moses, same as in our English Bibles. The next letter, N Nivi'im, that's prophets, the former prophets, the latter prophets.
You say, what does that mean? In the Hebrew Bible, the division is different of the books. So this is Joshua, Judges, first and second Samuel, first and second Kings. That's the former prophets, it's believed that these books were written by prophets, these historical books. Then the latter prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the 12 minor prophets. That's the middle section called Nivi'im, prophets.
The last section is K'Tuvim, K'Tuvim. So K'Tuvim means writings, that's everything else. So the historical books, we didn't have included such as Esther, such as first and second chronicles. Other books like Daniel, not part of the prophets, but part of the writings. And then wisdom and poetry literature, Psalms, Job, and then Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ruth is among the historical books. So all those books are part of K'Tuvim. So the exact same books, but different order than we have in our Old Testament, which follows a different ancient Jewish order that's found in the Septuagint, where you have the law, the historical books, the writings, poetry, wisdom, literature, and then the prophets. So same books, different order. So Tanakh, Torah, Nivi'im, K'Tuvim. And if you hear religious Jew refer to Nakh, that just means the rest of the books outside of Torah.
So Tanakh, Old Testament, Hebrew Bible, identical, except different order in some of the books in Christian Old Testament versus Hebrew Bible slash Tanakh. Just so you want to know that, did you download the app yet? What? Have it? Ask Dr. Brown, ASK, Dear Brown Ministries. Download it today.
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