The God That Does Not Change
This week (Nov 18) on Shabbat Night Live, we say we love God, but what does that mean? Is loving God something different than we assume? Are there certain requirements of us when it comes to loving God and loving people?
Steve Siefken shares the biblical definition of love and how we are to show it.
Watch the episode — included on this blog post.
While you watch, consider the questions below. The timeline for each discussion topic in the video is noted on each question. Post your answers in the comments section, and let’s get some discussion going!
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 16:00) How do the near-forgotten words of Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I do not change,” offer a perspective on the dynamic between the so-called Old and New Covenants? How can Yeshua’s later words be seen as explications and definitions of the Law for the listeners of his time and place rather than a rejection in the manner of evangelism that focuses solely on the text of the New Testament?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 20:00) How have interpretations of scriptural references to “love” in many evangelical circles served to limit and even distort its extensive meaning as intended by YeHoVaH? How does Paul’s renowned statement in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that love is the most transcendent virtue suggest a legal dimension, one that compels the faithful to consider a range of thought and intention in our interactions to illustrate this affirmation?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 24:00) Similarly, what is problematic about the recurrent evangelical practice of presuming salvation based on mere acknowledgment of Yeshua as Messiah or belief in YeHoVaH through selected verses from the New Testament? How does this notion of “easy grace” allow for accommodation of questionable interpretation or even sinful behavior through abandonment of obedience to the Law?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 28:00) How can the exhortations in James 4 be viewed as a foreshadowing of Paul’s distinction about the curse of the law for the disobedient? How do those presumptive Christians who rationalize sinful behavior by dismissing the Law demonstrate the notion that “friendship with the world is enmity with God”? Further, how might this mysterious apostle become rediscovered by many believers for his advocacy of faith life as a covenant rather than a mere mindset?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 32:00) What are some tenable examples from our contemporary world that demonstrate this aspect of the Law as penalty? How does the extraordinary material prosperity of many otherwise agnostic individuals arguably demonstrate only an unwitting adherence to the Law that is further undercut by familiar expressions of contempt such as anti-religious advocacy and public displays of anti-Semitism?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 36:00) Why has the element of blood sacrifice in the crucifixion of Yeshua been ignored or even downplayed by many otherwise devout evangelical Christians? How has the continuity between this crucial juncture and its predecessor, the burnt offering, been all but lost through a general preoccupation with the prolonged torment and execution of the Messiah?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 40:00) How does the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution pose a challenge to all citizens of the nation that is virtually identical to the free will offered by YeHoVaH to his followers? How does our freedom to worship, speak, and publish convey both the opportunity for spiritual and cultural growth and the potential for corruption and ruin, all of it dependent upon our own maintenance of conscience?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 44:00) How has the disobedience of YeHoVaH’s followers in the so-called Old Testament been echoed within the last century by the reflex of atheism, whether institutionalized within Communism or popularized in the decadent materialism of Western capitalism? Why is the profession of belief itself viewed today as an act of rebellion or disobedience against an ill-defined standard or unwritten law?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 48:00) How has Paul’s proclamation that the gospel was preached in the Old Testament through Abraham (Galatians 3:8) been overlooked by many believers in their focus upon ancient prophecies of the life and ministry of Yeshua? Why is it essential for today’s faithful to recognize the continuity between the covenants that began with this venerable figure and extended through the Messiah, beyond recognition of his identity as patriarch of the Hebrews?
- (VIDEO TIMELINE: 52:00) Similarly, why have many believers glossed over the profound meaning of Abraham’s exchange with YeHoVaH in Genesis 15? How does the surreal imagery of this cryptic episode, particularly its detail of the burning lamp passing between the sacrificed animal parts and the “great horror and darkness” that fell upon the patriarch, demonstrate the covenantal nature of YeHoVaH’s categorical statement of his progeny and its enduring relevance for today’s seeker of salvation?