89: P28A (Nov. 16) The Prophet Is In


For Sunday November 16. Proper 28A, Ordinary 33A, 23 Sundays after Pentecost. 

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SHOW NOTES -  11/16/2014
Episode 89: P28A (Nov. 16) The Prophet Is In

image from g-dcast video:  Deborah’s Army

For Sunday, November 16, 2014

Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the lectionary readings for the week. This is episode 89 for Sunday November 16. Proper 28A, Ordinary 33A, 23 Sundays after Pentecost.

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Introduction and Check-in

Featured Musician - Rob Leveridge, “Do a Great Work in Me” from his album
Dancing on the Mountain. Follow him @robleveridge, on Facebook facebook.com/leveridgerob check out Rob Leveridge more of his great music at http://robleveridge.wordpress.com/

Primary Scripture - Matthew 25:14-30 - Parable of the Talents
Initial Thoughts

  • Not prosperity gospel
    • “Contrary to what might be modeled by some best-selling televangelists, the parable does not justify a gospel of economic prosperity. Instead, it challenges believers to emulate their Master by using all that God has given them for the sake of the kingdom.” (Carla Works, Working Preacher)
  • Common English’s “Valuable coin,” not enough.  When we think of a valuable coin, we think of some gold piece that might be worth $100.  The valuable coin was worth 20 years wages.

Bible Study

  • Literary Context
    • Part of the second Sermon on the Mount, this one starts in chap 24, comes immediately after predicting the destruction of the Temple.
      • Written by a post-Temple audience, these parables can be read as an explanation as to why the Temple was destroyed
    • This is the third of four parables about accountability
      • The parable of the slave left in charge
      • The parable wise and foolish bridesmaids (last week’s lectionary)
      • The parable of the talents.
      • The King divides the sheep and the goats
    • After this second Sermon on the Mount is the plot to kill Jesus, and the beginning of the Passion.
  • Differences from Luke (19:11-27)
    • In Matthew, the value of the sum is drastically increased.
      • In Luke, each slave is given approximately 100 denarii.  In Matthew, the value of a talent is about 6,000.  One talent is the earnings of a 20 years of ordinary labor.
    • In Luke, each is given the same amount.
      • The three are given difference sums “according to his ability”
      • The talents are given out wisely, no one is given more than they should be able to handle.
    • In Luke they are given explicit instruction to “do business,” whereas in Matthew they are not given a mandate, yet it is implied.
  • Difficulties
    • Seems to fit too nicely with market-driven economy
    • If allegory with Jesus as master, Jesus seems more like Gordon Gecko then the Prince of Peace, or a poor migrant preacher.
    • Not much room for grace with the one that didn’t do anything.

Preaching Thoughts

  • “It is routine for Christians to excuse themselves by protesting that their gifts are too modest to be significant.  This parable insists that the gifts are precious and are to be exploited to the full.  ‘As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.’ (1 Peter 4:10, 1 Cor. 12:7, Eph 4:7).” (Douglas Hare, Interpretation: Matthew, p. 288)
  • Allegory works if you see slaves are meant to emulate their master.  The ones who did what their master did were rewarded.  The one that thought of only his own interest is left outside the “joy.”
    • We, as slaves to Christ, are meant to emulate his work.  It is not about the market-driven, capital gains, it is about following the will of the master.
    • We are given gifts by God, and are expected to do the work of God.
  • Motivation behind the slaves’ action is what drives their judgment
    • The motivation of the good slaves was to do the work of their master.  The motivation of the bad slave was fear.  When we act out of fear, we hide, maintain, and are reluctant to risk anything.  Following Christ, doing Kingdom work, takes some risk.  It means taking some chances, and not just hoarding the resources we cling to.  All of our resources are a gift.  All should be used for the master.

Rob Leveridge, “Come, Holy Spirit” from his album Dancing on the Mountain. Follow him
@robleveridge, on Facebook facebook.com/leveridgerob check out Rob Leveridge more of his great music at http://robleveridge.wordpress.com/

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Secondary scripture -Judges 4:1-7 - Deborah and and Intro to Judges
Initial Thoughts

Bible Study

  • Background on Judges
    • Twelve “Judges” or faithful leaders are presented
    • These twelve seem to be called by God to address a specific concern or situation facing the Israelites, but to rule over the Israelites
    • What is a judge? Called by God to free the Israelites, faithful to God, relies on God above all else
    • Judges over Kings - God alone is King
      • As we approach Christ the King Sunday next week- this is a good reminder that God alone is King. God calls people to save God’s people at times, but resists calling a king
      • See Judges 21:25: “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes”
  • Pattern of Judges (see Judges 3:7-11 for the Cliff Notes)
    • Israelites do evil
    • God allows them to be conquered
    • Israelites cry out to God
    • God hears and raises up a leader “spirit of the Lord is upon [them]”
    • Leader relies on God and defeats the enemy
    • Peace comes
    • repeat…
  • Leadership
    • God raises up individuals - from the least and the weakest (Gideon) to the mighty and strong (Samson), from wise women (Deborah) to sneaky men (Ehud)
    • Leaders are not called eternally but to address a concern at a certain time and place
    • Leaders are marked by their faithfulness and trust in God
  • Deborah
    • Prophet (faithful follower of Yahweh who calls Israelites back to right relationship)
    • Wife of Lappidoth (may be mistranslated, could also be of Lappidoth which means fiery or torch basically meaning a “fiery woman”
    • Judging Israel….what does this mean? Most likely people came to her to resolve disputes
    • Recognizing the gifts in others
      • Barak recognizing he needed Deborah
      • Deborah recognizing she needs Jael
      • Sisera underestimates the power of Jael to his own demise

Preaching Thoughts

  • A lot of different paths - God in the unexpected (Jael), Faithful leadership, God working through women, calling leaders, being faithful to God, God’s faithfulness outlasts God’s judgement (see Judges 6:13)
  • Even after twelve times that the Israelites fail their duty to be faithful, God listens to their cry- raises a leader to call them back to faithfulness and delivers them. How often do we lose patience with one another, while “the steadfast love of God endures forever”?
  • The bad things that happen to the Israelites are a direct consequence of their unfaithfulness. Judges presents a balance of judgments/consequence and grace/deliverance/forgiveness how do we live out that balance in our lives? Our churches?

Tasty Wafer of the Week!

TY listeners
Musician: Rob Leveridge, “Do a Great Work in Me” and “Come, Holy Spirit” from his album Dancing on the Mountain. Follow him @robleveridge, on Facebook facebook.com/leveridgerob check out Rob Leveridge more of his great music at http://robleveridge.wordpress.com/

Thanks to Scott Fletcher for our voice bumpers, Dick Dale and the Del Tones for our Theme music (“Misirlou”), Nicolai Heidlas (“Summertime”) and The Steel Wheels for our transition music(“Second of May” from their album Live at Goose Creek) and Paul and Storm for our closing music, “Oh No”.