Messianic Hope and the Gentiles–Thinking Through Romans 15:8-13

Romans 15:8-13 provides us with the apostle Paul’s theology of Messianic hope as founded upon the scriptures of the Hebrew Bible. In this significant text he builds upon the revelation of hope about which he speaks in Romans 15:4. With emphasis the apostle refers first of all to revelation twice-written, then follows up with key Scripture citations in each of the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible to demonstrate that the totality of the Old Testament testifies to the Messianic hope of the Gentiles. Not finished yet, Paul then mentions “hope” three times in the closing verses of this section (Romans 15:12-13) to drive home his point. With such amazing focus, how could we miss this truth’s importance to believers, to the Church, and to missions? May your heart be challenged as mine has been in meditating on this text in Paul’s epistle to the Romans.

As a contributor to ParkingSpace23’s blog, I posted an article about the hope the Gentiles possess in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. I hope you will click on the following link Messianic Hope and the Gentiles, read, and praise the Lord for being included in God’s redemption program from the beginning.

Blessing–Even in Affliction

Sometimes our lives seem as fragile as a bluebell clinging to its perch on an ancient chapel’s stone wall. The prophet Jeremiah caught the deep emotional pain disobedient Jerusalem must endure as the Lord brings upon her the covenant curses as discipline. Lamentations 3:1-6 reads as follows in the ESV:

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
again and again the whole day long.
He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;
he has broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead of long ago.

As I read and meditated on this significant central chapter of the Book of Lamentations, the thought came to mind that, through Christ, the believer’s experience, even in the midst of affliction–be it discipline for disobedience or just refining fire–should be markedly different. Significantly, an interior portion of Lamentations 3 (vv. 19-33) focuses on the steadfast love and mercy of God. Thankfully, we, unlike Jeremiah’s lament on behalf of disobedient Jerusalem, might sing the following (a psalm of my own composition attempting to reflect the truths of Scripture texts reflecting similar terminology and phraseology):

I am the one who has seen blessing
even in affliction–a
he has removed his wrath and protects me with his rod.b
He has brought me out of darkness
into his glorious light;c
surely his good hand is upon me
again and again the whole day long.d
He has made my flesh dwell secure;
he has healed my bones–
and kept each one from breaking.e
The LORD surrounds me all day long
and preserves me amidst shouts of deliverance.f
He is my lamp and has turned darkness
into his marvelous light.g

Footnotes:

a Genesis 33:11; Psalms 21:3-7; 144:15; Romans 4:5-9; Ephesians 1:3

b Psalms 23:4; 85:1-3; Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9

c 2 Samuel 22:29; Job 33:28-30; Psalms 27:1; 112:4; Isaiah 9:2; 42:16; Micah 7:8-9; John 8:12; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9

d Ezra 7:6, 9; 7:28; 8:18, 22, 31; Nehemiah 2:8, 18; Psalm 111:7; Isaiah 49:2; Matthew 8:3

e Job 19:26; Psalms 16:9; 34:19-20; 51:8; 73:26; Proverbs 3:7-8; Isaiah 58:10-11

f Deuteronomy 32:10; 33:12; Psalms 31:21; 32:7, 10; 125:2

g 2 Samuel 22:29; Job 29:3; Psalms 107:13-15; 112:4; Isaiah 9:2; 42:16; Micah 7:8; John 8:12; 12:35-36; Acts 26:17-18; Romans 13:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 5:7-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Peter 2:9

My Recommendations: Book of the Week, June 12

Reading the Old Testament sometimes can seem like ploughing through long pages filled with words without fully understanding their importance. Don’t miss the overall meaning, beauty, and power of over two-thirds of your Bible. Allow What the Old Testament Authors Really Care About: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible, edited by Jason S. DeRouchie, to guide you into understanding the themes and doctrinal emphases of each of the books of the Old Testament. Seventeen different writers present valuable insights about authorship, historical setting, purpose, theological themes, and ultimate message. Richly illustrated with many full-color photographs and charts, this volume will delight readers over and over again. The contributors include DeRouchie, Daniel Estes, Todd Bolen, Stephen Dempster, Daniel Hays, Andrew Schmutzer, Boyd Seevers, Preston Sprinkle, Gary Yates, Gary Smith, Kenneth Turner, Jeffrey Mooney, Chris Miller, Donald Fowler, Daryl Aaron, John Crutchfield, and Edward Curtis.

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“Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day

Memorial Day marks the national commemoration of those American warriors who gave their lives for our nation on the field of battle. We take the time to honor their memory, to decorate their graves, and to remember their sacrifice. David provided us with a wonderful song, an elegy, preserving the memory of two such warriors for the nation of Israel: King Saul and his son Jonathan. My meditation on 2 Samuel 1:17-27 was published yesterday on ParkingSpace23’s blog, Click on the following link “Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day, read, and keep on remembering those who served our nation as soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen. Do not allow their memory to die. Pass their story on to the succeeding generations. Remembering their service and honoring their memory belongs to every day of the year, not just Memorial Day.

My Recommendations: Book of the Week, May 29

A book like Jason S. DeRouchie’s How to Understand and Apply the Old Testament: Twelve Steps from Exegesis to Theology (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2017) makes an old Hebrew professor like myself wish he could go back forty-seven years and start teaching biblical Hebrew again–with this book for the the textbook in Hebrew Exegesis. Using a “Trail Guide” (a metaphor with great appeal for me personally), DeRouchie maps out the progressive sections in the volume and identifies the “Easy,” “Moderate,” and “Challenging” paths to tailor the material to the student’s level of proficiency or achievement. The book is user friendly and packed with examples. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that this volume belongs solely to the ivory tower of academics–it is a book exposing a pastor’s heart, a love for Christ, and the “holy wonder of worship” (one of John Piper’s descriptions of the book). Every student of biblical Hebrew needs this book on his desk–not just on his shelf!

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My Recommendations: Book of the Week, March 27

When Greg Harris first shared his project with me, I was immediately captivated by his passion for formalizing and publishing what he has taught consistently from his church pulpit and his seminary classroom lectern. The Bible Expositor’s Handbook: Old Testament commences his two-part publication. This first volume first appeared in a digital format with accompanying podcast videos. Now it will be published as a hard copy volume. My full review is available in The Master’s Seminary Journal.

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