Hambre y Sed para Dios

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Como el ciervo anhela las corrientes de agua, Así suspira por Ti, oh Dios, 

el alma mía. Mi alma tiene sed de Dios, del Dios viviente; 

¿Cuándo vendré y me presentaré delante de Dios?

Mis lágrimas han sido mi alimento de día y de noche, 

Mientras me dicen todo el día:

¿Dónde está tu Dios? (Ps 42:1-3)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

La gran ironía de la fe es que nos acercamos a Dios fuera de nuestra pobreza, no de nuestra riqueza. La riqueza de Babilonia y Egipto fluyeron de su abundancia de agua y sistemas de riego, mientras que la pobreza de Israel sopló con las tormentas de polvo de sus desiertos. Sin embargo, Egipto y Babilonia se conocieron de su idolatría y pecado, mientras que Israel se conoció de su ley y profetas (Card 2005, 16). ¿Qué dicen los Libros de la Ley y los Profetas acerca de satisfacer el hambre y la sed de justicia?

Los Libros de la Ley

El hambre y la sed no eran parte del plan original de Dios lo que sabemos porque los alimentos y las aguas fueron abundantes en el Jardín de Edén, según leemos:

Y el SEÑOR Dios plantó un huerto hacia el oriente, en Edén, y puso allí al hombre que había formado. El SEÑOR Dios hizo brotar de la tierra todo árbol agradable a la vista y bueno para comer. Asimismo, en medio del huerto, hizo brotar el árbol de la vida y el árbol del conocimiento (de la ciencia) del bien y del mal. Del Edén salía un río para regar el huerto, y de allí se dividía y se convertía en otros cuatro ríos. (Gen 2:8-10)

En el Jardín de Edén, Adán y Eva vivieron en comunión directa con Dios y la rectitud fue un fruto de esa comunión, que se rompió cuando Adán y Eva pecaron (Gen 3:23). Cuando lloramos nuestro pecado y el pérdida de nuestra comunión con Dios, tenemos el hambre y la sed de la rectitud, que es una metáfora por las bendiciones y el fruto tangible de esa comunión.

La restauración de esta comunión era una meta del pacto mosaico, como se sugiere en Deteronomío:

Y sucederá que si obedecen mis mandamientos que les ordeno hoy, de amar al SEÑOR su Dios y de servirle con todo su corazón y con toda su alma, El dará a la tierra de ustedes la lluvia a su tiempo, lluvia temprana (de otoño) y lluvia tardía (de primavera), para que recojas tu grano, tu vino nuevo y tu aceite. Y El dará hierba en tus campos para tu ganado, y comerás y te saciarás. (Deut 11:13-15)

Obedecer los mandamientos implica amar y servir Dios, quien responderá enviando la lluvia en su temporada que conducente un cosecho completo y una vida abundante para tí y la tuya.

Por el contrario, el servicio renuente a Dios resultará en servidumbre, hambre, sed y privación:

Por cuanto no serviste al SEÑOR tu Dios con alegría y con gozo de corazón, cuando tenías la abundancia de todas las cosas, por tanto servirás a tus enemigos, los cuales el SEÑOR enviará contra ti: en hambre, en sed, en desnudez y en escasez de todas las cosas. El pondrá yugo de hierro sobre tu cuello hasta que te haya destruido. El SEÑOR levantará contra ti una nación de lejos, desde el extremo de la tierra, que descenderá veloz como águila, una nación cuya lengua no entenderás. (Deut 28:47-49)

La destrucción se deriva de la desobediencia: según la ley, uno literalmente cosecha lo que se siembra con respecto a la relación con Dios. De hecho, el juicio de Dios se deriva de tener hambre y sed de cosas meramente físicas, incluso cosas como la ley (Exod 17:3).

De hecho, esta es la base de la maldición para no aceptar el pacto nuevo en Cristo. Pablo escribe: “Y así como ellos no tuvieron a bien reconocer a Dios, Dios los entregó a una mente depravada, para que hicieran las cosas que no convienen.” (Rom 1:28) Ser entregado a las propias pasiones es una maldición y conduce a la autodestrucción porque el pecado corrompe tanto la mente como el corazón.

Los Libros de los Profetas

En la Ley,  se cosecha lo que se siembra; en los Profetas, los sabios son astuto y los necios son ignorante de las maneras del mundo, como leemos:

Si tu enemigo tiene hambre, dale de comer pan, Y si tiene sed, dale a beber agua; Porque así amontonarás brasas sobre su cabeza, Y el SEÑOR te recompensará. (Prov 25:21-22)

Esta recompensa se sigue por respetar la sabiduría mundana, porque Dios creó tanto el cielo como la terreno—todos conocimiento es el conocimiento de Dios (Prov 1:7; 2 Chr 1:10-13). Entonces, los sabios dejan la puerta abierta para que los enemigos se hagan amigos al tratar su enemigos humanamente, alimentarlos, y ofrecerlos bebidas, como Jesús enseña (Matt 5:44–45).

Alimentar y bebidar encuentran usos metafóricos en los Profetas, mientras leemos: “Entonces les daré pastores según Mi corazón, que los apacienten con conocimiento y con inteligencia.” (Jer 3:15) Jesús mismo es el    buen pastor (John 10:11-16), pero este hambre se alivia metafóricamente a través de “conocimiento y comprensión”en lugar de a través de consumo físico. Igualmente, mero consumo no es el punto cuando Isaías alude a la agua abundante y alimento, evocar la imagina de un regreso a Edén: 

Todos los sedientos, vengan a las aguas; Y los que no tengan dinero, vengan, compren y coman. Vengan, compren vino y leche sin dinero y sin costo alguno. ¿Por qué gastan dinero en lo que no es pan, Y su salario en lo que no sacia? Escúchenme atentamente, y coman lo que es bueno, Y se deleitará su alma en la abundancia. (Isa 55:1-2)

Isaías ofrece agua y alimentos espiritual, al igual que su contrapartes física en Eden, se proporcionaron abundantemente. Él infiere (como lo hace la Cuarta Bienaventuranza) que al tener hambre y sed de rectitud, Dios sonreirá ante nuestros esfuerzos y el cielo no estará muy lejos  (Rev 22:17).

Referencias

Card, Michael. 2005. A Sacred Sorrow Experience Guide: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament. Colorado Springs: NavPress.

Hambre y Sed para Dios

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

Otras formas de participar en línea:

Sitio del autor: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Sitio del editor: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Boletín informativo: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 

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Water Cooler Observations, May 13, 2020

Hiemstra_FHFA_02052009

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

The first steps to re-open the economy have begun in many localities. We all recognize that the number of infections and deaths will rise, but the grim reality is that we have no choice. The cost of shutting down the economy fall too heavily on those unable to work from home.

Co-Pays Lower Risk

Christians are not fatalistic. We believe the God works through us and with us to determine our fate (Risk Takers for Christ). What we do with our lives has eternal significance because we are created in the image of a sovereign and powerful God.

A helpful parallel exists in the world of insurance. Being fatalistic implies that nothing we do matters; everything is determined by God. The Islamic expressionif God wills—captures this fatalistic concept. So during the annual Hajj to Mecca, it used to be that accidents, like tent fires, would occur during the Hajj because the tents employed did not include fire extinguishers. True fatalism allows no precautions, like insurance, to mitigate losses because they are the will of God should they occur.

The alternative to fatalism is to allow God’s influence to work through us. The insurance world employs this principle in the case of a co-pay. A co-pay reduces the cost of insurance by recognizing that the insured can affect the probability of a loss occurring by their behavior. The co-pay motivates the insured to take precautions and lower their risk. Fewer accidents occur, which lowers the overall cost of insurance.

The application of the principle of co-pays to the corona virus pandemic is to practice social distancing, use face masks and gloves, and stigmatize anyone that does not not take precautions. The government can help in this process by ticketing offenders and publicizing cases where people sue those that infect them, should the anti-social behavior be egregious. A further step might be to assign liability to those practicing anti-social behaviors.

No Risk-Free Life

There is no such thing as a risk-free life, but some are more prudent than others about their risk taking. An example can be made from the investing world.

A truly risk-adverse person often has trouble making money in investing. If you keep your money in cash or things like savings bonds, it is hard to earn a good rate of return. But how do you learn to invest if you are too risk-adverse? The short answer is that you need to read about investing, practice making investments, and make a few mistakes.

A prudent risk-taker takes small steps to learn about new investment ideas. My rule-of-thumb is to limit new investment ideasrisky ideas—to less than five percent of my portfolio. You will never become rich following my five-percent rule, but you will also never miss out on the opportunities that arise. What works in stock investing also works in career choices.

In a stock market today, fortunes will be made and lost on such principles. I have several friends who lost their retirement savings in the 1990s betting on tech stocks and ignoring my five-percent rule. In the Great Depression, an uncle of mine bet everything on purchasing a section of farmland (one square mile of land) in Northern Iowa and, as a consequence, was able to live comfortably the rest of his life. The bottomline in investing is that you have to take your chances and live with the consequences, both good and bad.

The question of how to re-open the economy is no different. Allowing governors to manage the response of states have shown that not all of them have the same risk-management skills and approaches. Some governors are taking baby steps to re-open while others are betting the farm on an all-or-nothing approach. Germany has taken the former approach while Sweden has taken the laterGermany currently has a 4.4 percent mortality rate while Sweden’s is 12.3 percent.

No one honestly reporting corona virus statistics has a mortality rate of zero.

Water Cooler Observations, May 13, 2020

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, May 6, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 29, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 22, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 15, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 8, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 1, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, March 25, 2020

Corona Virus Versus the Flu

Black Plague

CDC Flu Statistics

Managing Change 

Believer’s Prayer

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 

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Sande Resolves Conflicts; Makes Peace

Sande_review_20200504Ken Sande. 2005. Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Reviewed by Stephen W. Hiemstra

The word, peace, carries baggage for those of us who grew up during the Vietnam War. Those opposed to the war, called peaceniks, were known for folk music, long hair, promiscuity, smoking dope, holding demonstrations, and questioning the legitimacy of established authorities. Boomers basically bought the message and the postmodern era went prime time.  Before the war in Vietnam ended, however, college campuses became battlefields and many boomers burned their bridges with those who came before and everything that they stood for.  So when a favorite professor of mine assigned a book on peacemaking, I started having unpleasant flashbacks.

My Vietnam era flashbacks were unwarranted.

Introduction

Ken Sande’s Peacemaker:  A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflicts is not about politics or social justice or war.  It is about how we, as Christians, model Christ in our personal relations [1].

Sande (11) writes:  Peacemakers are people who breathe grace.  He outlines four broad principles of peacemaking:

  1. Glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31),
  2. Get the log out of your eye (Matthew 7:5),
  3. Gently restore (Galatians 6:1),
  4. Go and be reconciled (Matthew 5:24) (12-13).

These four principles structure Sande’s book.  Each part breaks into three chapters.  The main body of the text is sandwiched between a preface and a conclusion.  Following the conclusion are six appendices, notes, bibliography, and three sets of indices—subjects, persons, and scriptural references (7-8).

Responses to Conflict

Sande (22-23) sees three basic responses to conflict:  escape, attack and make peace.  We can escape through suicide, running away, or denial.  We can attack through through assault, litigation, or murder.  Neither response normally honors God.  We can make peace by overlooking the offense, reconciling, negotiating, mediating, arbitrating, or holding people accountable.  Sande (22) sees peace making as: an opportunity to solve common problems in a way that honors God and offers benefits to those involved.

Sande sees eye logs as a big problem.  He (78) observes that: people usually treat us as we treat them.  He (80) divides issues as either material (property, money, rights, or responsibilities) or personal (what goes on inside or between persons).  He (84-89) cites 5 attitudes recommended by the Apostle Paul:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always,
  2. Let your gentleness be evident to all,
  3. Replace anxiety with prayer,
  4. See things as they really are, and
  5. Practice what you have learned.

Like Jesus, Sande sees conflict beginning in the heart (James 4.1).

Restoring brothers and sisters in Christ requires sensitivity.  The biblical principle in restoration is:  to keep the circle of people involved in a conflict as small as possible (186).  Sande (186-193) lays out the 5-step process in Matthew 18:15-17:

  1. Overlook minor offenses,
  2. Talk in private,
  3. Take one or two others along,
  4. Tell it to the church, and
  5. Treat him [her] as a nonbeliever.

Sande oulines an 8-step process for a church to become intentional about peace-making (198-199).

Peace not Optional

Sande makes the point that peace-making is less an option than a requirement for the Christian.  The reason is simple—out relationship with God is affected directly by our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Sande starts by citing a story of Jesus:

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (Matthew 5:23-24 ESV).

The allusion here is to Cain murdering his brother, Abel, in Genesis 4:1-16.  The point is that when we, as Christians, turn our backs on resolving interpersonal conflict, the culture develops a blind spot that opens the door to wider conflict.  Hence, Sande does have something to say about Vietnam, albeit indirectly.`

Assessment

Ken Sande’s Peacemaker addresses an important blind spot in the life of the church–applying biblical principles to conflict resolution.  Interpersonal conflict tears at the fabric of our society and secular efforts to deal with it are ad hoc and neglect the spiritual problem at the heart of it.  Peacemaker fills this need.  Still, Peacemaker is more of a manual to apply than a book to read.  Pastors may want to train leaders (www.peacemaker.net) before launching into a sermon series or small group study on conflict resolution.

Footnotes

1/ Sande states his purpose in writing as:  how God can help you as an individual Christian throw off worldly ideas about resolving conflict and become true peacemakers (15)

Also see:

Books, Films, and Ministry

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

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Passion: Monday Monologues (podcast) May 11, 2020

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Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on passion. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Passion: Monday Monologues (podcast) May 11, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

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Petition to Grow Faith

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Precious Lord,

In our finitude, our sin, our brokenness, we yearn for your righteousness, oh God.

As the hungry grasp for bread and as the thirsty cry for water, we search for your justice where no other will do and no other can be found.

Your Holy scriptures remind us that you are ever-near, always vigilant, and forever compassionate.

Through the desert of our emotions and in the wilderness of our minds, bind our wounds, relieve our pains, and forgive our sins.

Through the power of your Holy Spirit, grow our faith even as our strength fails us.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Petition to Grow Faith

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

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Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Pida para Crecer la Fe

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Precioso Señor,

En nuestra finitud, nuestro pecado, nuestro quebrantamiento, anhelamos tu rectitud, oh Dios.

Mientras los hambrientos se aferran al pan y los sedientos claman por el agua, buscamos su justicia donde nadie más pueda hacer y no se pueda encontrar otro.

Sus Sagradas Escrituras nos recuerdan que usted está siempre cerca, siempre vigilante y siempre compasivo.

A través del desierto de nuestras emociones y en la sequia de nuestras mentes, ata nuestras heridas, alivia nuestros dolores, y perdona nuestros pecados.

A través del poder de tu Espíritu Santo, haz crecer nuestra fe incluso cuando nuestra fuerza nos falla.

En el precioso nombre de Jesús, Amén.

Pida para Crecer la F

Ver también:

Oración del Creyente

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Passionately Pursue the Kingdom of Heaven

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101Honored are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matt 5:6)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

The Fourth Beatitude taps into deep physical and spiritual needs expressed in the words: “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Hunger means both “to feel the pangs of lack of food, hunger, be hungry” and to “desire something—strongly, hunger for something” while thirst means both “to have a desire for liquid, be thirsty, suffer from thirst” and “to have a strong desire to attain some goal, thirst, i.e. long for something” (BDAG 2051). Righteousness means the “quality or state of juridical correctness with focus on redemptive action, righteousness” (BDAG 2004.2) that we hunger and thirst for in a sinful world.

The theme of hungering and thirsting—deep need and abundant provision—runs throughout in John’s Gospel. Jesus first reveals himself to a couple of newlyweds in danger of being stigmatized for their poverty, lacking sufficient wine to meet community hospitality standards. Our insufficiencies are contrasted with God’s super-abundant provision—of wine (John 2:1–11), bread (John 6:5–14), and fish (John 21:3–13)—that displays God’s trademark generosity.

God’s generosity is remembered in the Festival of Booths (John 7:2) that commemorates Israel’s desert wanderings after leaving Egypt (Lev 23:34-43), when Jesus says:

Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

The bread here refers to manna and the water refers to God’s miraculous gift of water at Meribah (Exod 17:1–17).

Reminding temple worshippers of God, Jesus stood up and cried out:

If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37-39)

The symbolism of water and bread both point to God’s abundant and everlasting provision that we commemorate in the sacraments of baptism and communion.

More generally, to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” speaks of suffering, where basic human needs are withheld or remain absent, as in songs of lament in the Book of Psalms. There we read: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1) and “How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?” (Ps 89:46). It is ironic that God reveals himself most clearly in the deserts of life (Exod 7:16; Card 2005, 16).

Modern atheism feeds from this painful stream. Modern atheists question God’s provision and goodness. They argue that if God is all powerful and all good, then the existence of suffering and evil suggests that God is either not all powerful or not good or not both—he does not exist.  In contrast, Jesus testifies that those who passionately seek righteousness will be satisfied. The Greek word here for satisfy means “to experience inward satisfaction in something or be satisfied” (BDAG 7954). Far from deserting us, in life Jesus suffered alongside of us, on the cross paid our penalty for sin, and in resurrection became our guarantor. “While some continue to argue that Auschwitz disproves the existence of God, many more would argue that it demonstrates the depths to which humanity, unrestrained by any thought or fear of God, will sink.” (McGrath 2004, 184).

In our deserts of suffering and need, Jesus gives us permission to pray for the simplest needs in life. He says: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11), displaying God concern for us just like when God clothed Adam and Eve, even as he expelled them from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:21). Even in judgment God’s eye is on care for his people: The righteous are separated from the wicked by their attitude about and care for those in need (Matt 25:31–46).

Brueggemann (2009, 31) contrasts the YHWH economy with Pharaoh’s economy providing insight into the Ten Commandments. In the YHWH economy, those who keep the Sabbath need not dishonor mother and father, kill, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet. In other words, do detestable things for the sake of money. In the unending race to pursue wealth of Pharaoh’s economy we are pushed individually and collectively daily to neglect or break these commandments.

Our needs will be met and expectations exceeded, we are reminded in the Fourth Beatitude and later in the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says:

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matt 6:31–33)

Listen to the phrase—”seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness”—do you hear an echo of the First Commandment? (Exod 20:3) God’s righteousness on earth is embedded even in the invitation to share God’s peace.

References

Bauer, Walter (BDAG). 2000. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. ed. de Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. <BibleWorks. v.9.>

Brueggemann, Walter. 2014. Sabbath as Resistance: Saying NO to the Culture of Now. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Card, Michael. 2005. A Sacred Sorrow Experience Guide:  Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament. Colorado Springs:  NavPress.

McGrath, Alister. 2004. The Twilight of Atheism. New York: DoubleDay.

Passionately Pursue the Kingdom of Heaven

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

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Busca el Reino de Dios Apasionadamente

Vida_en_Tensión_front_20200102

Honrados los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia, pues ellos serán saciados.

(Matt 5:6)

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

La cuarta bienaventurada aprovecha profundas físicas y espirituales necesitas expresada en las palabras: “Hambre y sed de justicia.” Hambre significa tanto “sentir las punzadas de una falta de alimentos, hambre, ser hambre” como “desear algo—fuerte hambre para algo” mientras que sed significa tanto “un deseo de líquido, tener sed, sufrir de sed” como “a tener un fuerte deseo de alcanzar alguna meta, es decir, añorar algo” (BDAG 2051).⁠1 La justicia significa “la calidad o estado de correctidad jurídica con enfoque de acción redentora, justicia” (BDAG 2004.2)⁠2 para que tenemos hambre y sed en un pecaminoso mundo.

La tema del hambre y sed—profunda necesidad y abundante provisión—se encuentra en todo el evangelio de Juan. Jesús se revela a un pareja recién casada en peligro de ser estigmatizada por causa de su pobreza, careciendo de vino suficiente para cumplir con los estándares de hospitalidad de la comunidad. Nuestras insuficiencias se contrastan con la provision súper abundante De Dios—de vivo (John 2:1-11), pan (John 6:5-14), y pescado (John 21:3-13)—que muestra la marca comercial generosidad de Dios.

La generosidad de Dios se recuerda durante el Festival de las Cabinas (John 7:2) que conmemora los vagabundeos por el desierto de Israel después de salir Egipto (Lev 23:34-43), cuando Jesus dice:

 Jesús les dijo: Yo soy el pan de la vida; el que viene a mí no tendrá hambre, y el que cree en mí nunca tendrá sed. (John 6:35)

El pan aquí se refiere al maná y el agua se refiere al milagroso don de agua de Dios en Meribah (Exod 17:1-17). Recordando a los adoradores del templo de Dios, Jesús se levantó y gritó: 

Si alguien tiene sed, que venga a mí y beba. El que cree en mí, como ha dicho la escritura: De lo más profundo de su ser brotarán ríos de agua viva. (John 7:37-39)

El simbolismo del agua y el pan ambos apunta a la provisión abundante y eterna de Dios que conmemoramos en los sacramentos de bautismo y comunión.

En términos más generales, a “hambre y sed de justicia” habla de sufrimiento, donde las necesidades humanas básicas se retienen o permanecen ausentes, como en las canciones de lamento en el Libro de Salmos. Allí leamos:

“Dios mío, Dios mío, ¿por qué me has abandonado?” (Ps 22:1) y “¿Hasta cuándo, SEÑOR? ¿Te esconderás para siempre?” (Ps 89:46)

Es irónico que Dios se revele más claramente en los desiertos de la vida (Exod 7:16; Card 2005, 16).

El ateísmo moderno se alimenta de esta corriente dolorosa. Los ateos modernos cuestionan la provisión y el bondad de Dios. Argumentan que si Dios es todopoderoso y todo bueno, entonces la existencia de sufrimiento y el mal sugiere que Dios no es todopoderoso o no es bueno or no es ambos—no existe. En contraste, Jesús testifica que aquellos quienes buscan justicia apasionadamente estarán satisfecho.  La palabra griega aquí para satisfacer significa “experimentar satisfacción interna en algo o ser satisfecho” (BDAG 7954).⁠3 Lejos de abandonarnos, en la vida Jesús sufrió junto a nosotros, en la cruz pagó nuestra pena por el pecado, y en la resurrección se convirtió en nuestro garante. “Mientras algunos continúan argumentando que Auschwitz refuta la existencia de Dios, muchas más argumentarán que  demuestra la profundidades lo que la humanidad, sin restricciones por ningún pensamiento o temor de Dios, se hundirá.” (McGrath 2004, 184)⁠4

En nuestros desiertos de sufrimiento y necesidad,  Jesus danos permiso para orar por las necesidades más simples de la vida. Él dice: “Danos hoy el pan nuestro de cada día” (Matt 6:11), que demuestra la preocupación de Dios por nosotros igual como cuando Dios vistió Adán y Eva, incluso cuando los expulsó del Jardín del Edén (Gen 3:21). Incluso en el juicio el ojo de Dios es sobre cuidado de su pueblo: Los justos se separa de los malos por su  actitud y cuidado para aquellos en necesidad  (Matt 25:31–46).

Brueggemann (2009, 31) contrasta la economía de YHWH con la economia de economía del Faraón, proveyendo información sobre los Diez Mandamientos. En la economía de YHWH, , aquellos que guardan el sábado no necesitan deshonrar a la madre y al padre, matar, cometer adulterio, robar, dar falso testimonio o codiciar. En otras palabras, haga cosas detestables por dinero. En la carrera interminable para perseguir la riqueza de la economía del faraón, somos empujados individual y colectivamente a diario a descuidar o romper estos mandamientos.

Nuestras necesidades serán satisfechas y las expectativas superadas, se nos recuerda en la Cuarta Bienaventuranza y más tarde en el Sermón del Monte, cuando Jesús dice:

Por tanto, no se preocupen, diciendo: ¿Qué comeremos? o ¿qué beberemos? o ¿con qué nos vestiremos? Porque los gentiles (los paganos) buscan ansiosamente todas estas cosas; que el padre celestial sabe que ustedes necesitan todas estas cosas. Pero busquen primero su reino y su justicia, y todas estas cosas les serán añadidas. (Matt 6:31–33)

Escuche la frase—“busquen primero su reino y su justicia”—¿escuchas el eco del primer mandamiento? (Exod 20:3) La justicia de Dios en la tierra está incrustada incluso en la invitación a compartir la paz de Dios.

Notas

1 Hunger means both “to feel the pangs of lack of food, hunger, be hungry” and to “desire something—strongly, hunger for something” while thirst means both “to have a desire for liquid, be thirsty, suffer from thirst” and “to have a strong desire to attain some goal, thirst, i.e. long for something” (BDAG 2051). 2 Righteousness means the “quality or state of juridical correctness with focus on redemptive action, righteousness” (BDAG 2004.2). 3 The Greek word here for satisfy means “to experience inward satisfaction in something or be satisfied” (BDAG 7954). 4 “While some continue to argue that Auschwitz disproves the existence of God, many more would argue that it demonstrates the depths to which humanity, unrestrained by any thought or fear of God, will sink.” (McGrath 2004, 184)

Referencias

Bauer, Walter (BDAG). 2000. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. ed. de Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. <BibleWorks. v .9.>

Brueggemann, Walter. 2014. Sabbath as Resistance: Saying NO to the Culture of Now. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press.

Card, Michael. 2005. A Sacred Sorrow Experience Guide: Reaching Out to God in the Lost Language of Lament. Colorado Springs: NavPress.

McGrath, Alister. 2004. The Twilight of Atheism. New York: DoubleDay.

Busca el Reino de Dios Apasionadamente

Ver también:

Gospel as Divine Template

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Water Cooler Observations, May 6, 2020

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

One of the quiet changes of recent weeks has been the rediscovery of private space. It is hard to get lost in the crowd when there is no longer a crowd to get lost in.

While some still try to drown out the drearies with alcohol or streaming videosales of both are up, sales of spiritual books are also up. Personal reflection and the still, small voice of God is being given more space.

One of my favorite woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) is the Knight, Death, and the Devil. The woodcut shows the knight on a stately horse in his armor followed by his dog and being tempted by the devil. Far from being tempted, the knight ignores the devil and continues on his journey. Meanwhile, the dismal landscape around them is littered with skulls, a symbol of death and destruction.

The photograph above shows me playing in the snow around 1955 on my grandfather’s farm in Oskaloosa, Iowa. The farm today is overgrown with weeds and trees. The buildings have long since disappeared. The only reminder of the feedlot is a dry tap from the well. The farmhouse belongs to the neighbor and has been rented out to local kids that neglect it.

The proud private space that my grandfather’s farm represented has physically been lost, but it is not forgotten by those that once lived there. The space we now occupy is better heated and has conveniences that we might never have imaged in 1955. Yet, the temptations remain. The death and destruction seen once on battlefields of the past and represented by the cold, snows of winter also remain. The question is whether we still have the fortitude like the knight to give the devil a cold shoulder.

Water Cooler Observations, May 6, 2020

Also see:

Water Cooler Observations, April 29, 2020

Interview about the Corona Life in English and Spanish with Stephen W. Hiemstra, April 24, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 22, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 15, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 8, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, April 1, 2020

Water Cooler Observations, March 25, 2020

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Stott Outlines Gospel; Speaks Plainly

Stott_review_20200427John Stott.  2008.  Basic Christianity (Orig pub 1958).  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

The Apostle Peter reminds us:  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15 ESV).

Our ability to respond to Peter’s admonishment is clearly challenged today.  Outside of the criticism of our faith arising from the advocates for modern science, we are confronted in our shrinking postmodern world with a host of alternatives to Christianity from other religions and from complex and confusing voices in secular society.  In the midst of this whirlwind of controversy, John Stott’s book, Basic Christianity, offers us a plainspoken starting point.

Introduction

Stott outlines the Gospel in eleven chapters.  After a brief introduction, he presents has four parts:  1. Who Christ Is, 2. What We Need, 3. What Christ Has Done, and 4. How To Respond.  The first part focuses on the claims, character, and resurrection of Christ.  The second part focuses on sin.  The third part focuses on Christ’s death and salvation.  The fourth part brings us to count the cost, make a decision, and live the Christian life.

Background

John Stott (1921-2011) was rector (pastor) emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London and founder of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.  He was one of the authors of the Lausanne Covenant which started as a 1974 Christian religious manifesto promoting active world-wide Christian evangelism and continues to influence missions work today.  My first acquaintance with Stott came in 1983 when I visited Bonn in Germany as an economics student and a friend gifted me with Stott’s book—Gesandt Wie Christus (1976).  At the time, I assumed Stott was German.  Needless to say, Stott is still one of the world’s best known evangelical writers.

Apologistics

Stott acknowledges the enormity of the task of defending the faith–apologetics.  For example, he recounts a conversation with a young man having trouble reciting one of his church’s creeds because he could no longer believe it.  Stott asked him:  If I were to answer your problems to your complete intellectual satisfaction, would you be willing to change the way you live?  The answer was clearly no.  His real problem was not intellectual but moral (25).  This conversation is not an isolated event–advocating a disciplined life-style today is a tough sell. Why give up self-control to Christ and live a disciplined life when in Alice’s Wonderland every headache can be solved with a different colored pill?

Children Expected to Grow

Stott’s final chapter on being a Christian is most interesting.  He writes:  Our great privilege as children of God is relationship; our great responsibility is growth.  Everyone loves children, but nobody…wants them to stay in the nursery (162).  We grow in two dimensions—understanding and holiness—which work out in our duties to God, to the church, and to society (163-166).  This growth includes growth in our prayer life.  Stott advises readers to respond to God in prayer in the same manner that he speaks to you—do not change the subject.  If he talks about his glory, worship him; if he talks about sin, confess it; if scripture blesses you, thank him for it (164).  Stott’s comments about the spiritual practice of daily examine flow right out of this discussion.  In the morning, commit the details of your day to God’s blessing and, in evening, review what happened during the day.

Assessment

John Stott’s Basic Christianity provides a well-ordered accounting of the Gospel that is worthy of study and reflection.  His summary—God has created; God has spoken; God has acted—is brief but compelling (18).  The Apostle Peter’s admonition sounds initially like evangelism.  But, if the truth be known, the accounting of our hope in Christ benefits us at least as much as anyone we meet.

Stott Outlines Gospel; Speaks Plainly

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