Monday, October 5, 2009

10/5 Hosea 11:1 Christ in Egypt

(Out of Egypt- Hendrick Goltzius 1558-1617)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Hosea 11:1-9

1 "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 But the more they were called,
the more they went away from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. 3 It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. 4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. 5 "Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? 6 Swords will flash in their cities, will destroy the bars of their gates and put an end to their plans. 7 My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them. 8 "How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. 9 I will not carry out my fierce anger,nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a human being— the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities.
[Matthew 2:15- And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” ]

Calvin abridged: God here rebukes the people of Israel for their ingratitude. God had embraced them from the very beginning even when there was no merit or worthiness in them. The birth of the people was their coming out of Egypt. Egypt was like a grave- without a spark of life; and their condition worst than a thousand deaths. His calling them out of this grave of death shows his love before they were even born. Matthew says that this prophecy [“out of Egypt I have called my son”]was fulfilled when Jesus escaped Herod going into and coming back from Egypt. In a way, Matthew has more deeply considered the purpose of God in that Christ’s body (the Church) is mutilated without the Head. It is a proper thing for the Head to experience what the body experienced. God in His wonderful providence intended that his on should come out of Egypt, that he might be a redeemer to the faithful; so he shows that a true, real, and completed deliverance was finally effected when the promised redeemer appeared. As it was the nativity of the people of God in the Old Testament when Egypt was delivered, so it was the full nativity of the Church when Jesus was delivered. Christ is a different kind of Son of God than the people of Israel- for Abraham’s seed was adopted, but Christ is by nature the only- begotten Son of God. The difference in the sonship is also found in that the ingratitude of the posterity of David did not apply to the Christ. They were but types and shadows, but Christ is the real Son of God.

Thoughts: When you read Calvin’s commentaries, something really clear stands out- he did not doubt the scripture as so many commentators do today. Even the good commentaries of today are busy handling the severe doubts by others (like- did Jesus really go into Egypt?). So Calvin focuses clearly on the text itself, and how we can get meaning out of it and apply it to our lives. There was a sense in which all the Church- all those who believe were there with Christ. Paul said this “as in Adam all die, so in Christ have all been made alive.” Theologians called this the “federal headship” of Christ. I just finished watching the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” in which the king of Jerusalem (Baldwin IV) said, “I am Jerusalem.” When the king went out with his army the muslim general sent a message that “Jerusalem has come.” This is an older concept that has been watered down into representation. In certain things the president speaks for or represents America. In some ways the congress votes for all America. In other ways the federal Supreme Court makes the final decision “for” America. So there is a sense in which the Head of the Church represented all of us- going down into Egypt and coming back out. It was another sign that Jesus would be our deliverer- the Passover lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that you suffered at the hands of kings to show us how to suffer. Thank you that you that you also show us your deliverance and hope.

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