Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

First Day is Goldingay

We begin the month with a look at John Goldingay’s Israel’s Gospel (OT Theology), chp. 8, focusing on the period from Joshua to Solomon and the theme of God’s accomodating himself to Israel and life on planet earth.
How about … aren’t some of the stories from Joshua until Solomon some of those stories we don’t preach on, we don’t particularly like, and frankly don’t always know what to make of them?
It is like Goldingay to dive right into these.
We’ve got a monarchy and a temple now and neither of these are exactly according to God’s plan to rule over the nation without Temple and without King. This is the theme of accommodation.
We’ve got one people and one God, but we’ve got a people that abandons God. And God abandons the people. Israel cries out; a leader arises. God intervenes; the land is back at rest. The “egalitarian” (his word) society is disorderly. The egalitarian arrangement, he says, doesn’t work.
He has a lengthy suggestion on leadership — the Hebrew word for “judges.” Often YHWH chooses the odd person: we are taught to “resist social convention and resist eldest-ism, able-ism, racism and sexism” (540). These people are not very relational and not very insightful and they need a king but there is a problem with kings. But God gives them a king.
He traces (races through) Samuel and Saul and David and Solomon and the Temple.
For me the best section of this chp begins with 8.6 Being Human where he deals with the stories we find uncomfortable. Like Jephthah and Samson and Saul. How to explain?
1. YHWH’s plan for his people transcends these odd individual stories.
2. Maturity and goodness develop in response to contingent experiences and pressures.
3. Saul … and others … are not examples. They dramatize real human life, but not as examples.
Then he dwells on “being men” and “being women.”
Finally a section on YHWH’s Acting:
1. People do things without YHWH being involved.
2. People act and YHWH was behind the act.
3. People act and YHWH makes things work out in accordance with peoples’ aims.
4. People act and YHWH strengthens them.
5. YHWH may use the natural thing.
6. YHWH may take an overt initiative.
7. YHWH’s spirit may come on someone.
8. YHWH may act directly.

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Tyler Braun

posted November 1, 2007 at 1:08 am

So far so good for me. I’m in the middle of a project on the Prophets in my Old Testament class for seminary. I think the biggest theme that Goldingay seems to hit, God working in ways contrary to our thinking, is very key to a lot of the Old Testament.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 4:13 am

YHWH, the God of the Bible,and of Jesus Christ,is the God who actually meets us in the messiness of life wherever we’re at.YHWH is faithfully idiosyncratic, with an idiosyncrasy of love;but we try to make YHWH into an idol which is in conformaty to what the “world” is,as the pressures that weighed on the Isrealites to clamor for a king. YHWH can even deal with that!

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posted November 1, 2007 at 10:54 am

Great points, Scot…about God not favoring the obvious choices. He was, and remains, all about empowering the obedient. Period. What we can do with all our gifts and ability may appear awesome…but not compared to what God can do through tarnished Eikons who humbly seek to be used by him for his purposes.

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posted November 1, 2007 at 11:40 am

I’m preaching through Joshua this week and am struggling with knowing how to understand “the ban” as it is presented in Joshua 6-7. It is one thing to say that God accommodates to the human situation, it is quite another to understand how God orders the wholesale extermination of men, women, children and animals as an act of “devoting” those creatures to his glory as Victor in battle.
Does Goldingay deal with this subject?

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Scot McKnight

posted November 1, 2007 at 11:46 am

Not directly; war is not in this section. Herem warfare, etc., is discussed in the previous chp pp. 475ff and I posted about that last month.

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tim atwater

posted November 2, 2007 at 6:27 pm

I still agonize over the herem parts…
I know Prof Goldingay’s (and most good OT profs) will say don’t run on to Jesus to interpret backwards… but — i see only two ways to go here — 1) Jewish reading methods, which, like it or not, virtually always depend upon supplementing the written Torah with the oral Torah (Talmud, targums, midrash etc) — and we should note that most (nearly all?) orthodox Jews have interpreted herem out of usage for a long, long time (much like they have also interpreted away levirate marriage)– or —
2) Fulfillment in Christ… (eg Joshua did not give them rest, as Hebrews says…and all those who went before in faith didn’t get to the full rest til Jesus)… This doesn’t have to become superseccionist (sp?) — from a humble Christian perspective, i think its just saying JEsus incarnate, crucified and resurrected IS our oral tradition who fulfills all the law and prophets and writings… (2 Cor 5 — all have died so all may live for him — is Christ fulfilling herem nonviolently…
grace and peace,

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tim atwater

posted November 2, 2007 at 6:35 pm

i’m very keen on the section re when YHWH is and is not acting…
as in Joshua — is God indeed always? often? or sometimes? at work? The angel of God says he is not a partisan for Israel, which for me at least puts the whole project into asterisked territory….

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