As many of you have noticed, I have not posted an article to my blog since December 2019. Much has happened since last year. These events have forced me to be inactive for the past eight months, but I am planning to return soon to post again on a regular schedule.
As I mentioned last December, I took three months off to write a book. The writing of the book is finished and now I am in search of a publisher. I will not at this time divulge the content of the book. However, I am sure that you will be interested in the topic, since it deals with the character of the God of the Old Testament.
When I began writing the book, I was planning to write a book with 10 chapters. The final product is longer than what I had planned to accomplish. It seems that the more I wrote, the more I realized that I had to expand my initial outline. Thus, the writing of the book required an additional three months of research and writing. It is finished. Now comes the hardest part of the project: finding a publisher.
My wife and I took some time off to take a cruise through the Panama Canal. We went to the Bahamas, Aruba, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico. It was a wonderful experience. My wife and I went zip lining in Costa Rica, watched volcanoes in Costa Rica, and made guacamole in Mexico. We returned home just as the Covid pandemic began.
I am planning to begin posting again on a regular basis beginning on Thursday, October 1, 2020. The reason for the delay is that my wife and I are moving into a new house and there is much to do before we can occupy our new home. After teaching for more than thirty years, there is a need to downsize and eliminate a lot of items accumulated over the years. To me, the most difficult part is to part with more than 2,000 articles that I have archived over the years. These are articles I have read, marked, and used in my teaching and my writings.
As I begin blogging again, one of my goals is to complete some of the series of topics that remain incomplete. My series on suicide, the Deuteronomic concern for women, on Old Testament mothers, and Solomon’s oppressive policies were never finished. My goal is to finish these series as soon as possible.
I want to thank you for your many emails and notes asking me when I was planning to blog again. At the height of my blogging activity, my blog was being read in more than 150 countries and territories. I hope to continue to broaden the outreach of my writing.
Also, I have not responded to the many comments left on my posts since last year. In a few days I will begin to respond to the comments I received. Thank you for your patience.
The Old Testament is under attack, primarily because people dislike the God of the Old Testament. As one writer recently asked, “Why are children brought up to call God good?” Notwithstanding the violence found in the Old Testament, God is good. He is a merciful and gracious God. As I write about the God of the Old Testament, my goal is not to defend God, but to show that there is another side of God that most people do not know. When people say that God is “a wound for which there was no medicine. God is not the cure but the disease,” then we realize that these people either do not know God or they are misinterpreting the Bible in order to emphasize an extreme view of God.
My goal is to look at the Old Testament from the perspective of the people who had a personal experience with God. In the midst of the pain and the suffering the writer of Lamentations experienced at the hands of the Babylonians, at the time Jerusalem was destroyed, this individual knew that his God was a special God. In his agony, he wrote, “this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).
This is an individual who had a personal relationship with God. Our experience with God is second hand; it comes as we read and meditate on what the writer of Lamentations wrote about God. In his pain and suffering, that individual believed in the steadfast love of God. He had hope because he knew that the mercies of God never come to an end. He experienced God’s mercy every morning.
Today, when people read the writings of that individual, they only see an angry God, a God who brought severe punishment upon his people, a violent God who had no compassion for the aged and for mothers and their children. People today emphasize the negative about God; people then looked at the merciful side of God. It is a matter of perspective. And I believe their perspective is better than the critical and cynical perspective that modern readers bring to the text. Today we have the tendency to believe and to see the worst side of God and question his motives in the actions he takes.
There is much to learn about the Old Testament and the God of the Old Testament. I hope you will join me again in this quest for knowledge.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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