Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Calvinism vs Arminianism teaching

This Sunday I went to a teacher training event at our church (it's required if you want to teach class, or continue teaching classes) and it was taught by a local high school chemistry teacher, who is some high up guy in the Elk Grove unified School District teacher training program.
He taught us the importance of learning by groups, stressed how needless and harmful lecturing is to students, and emphasized how the best thing is to empower your hearers to become 'self-feeders.' 

The problem I quickly ran into is that last time I taught the whole class to a man demanded that I cast down group work and continue to lecture them. They wanted to know who Christ was, and what He has done, and they wanted me to show Him to them in the pages of Scripture where they may have missed it themselves.

I talked with our pastor who is over teaching about how this, how they wanted me to lecture, that they wanted to know about Christ, and he responded by telling me that because they are Calvinists they are closed minded and want their egos stroked. The reason they want lectures is because they want me to tell them what they want to hear, but for their own good I should ignore them and make them do group work.

It became clear to  me then that this is a nearly universal rule that in teaching Calvinists lecture, and Arminians empower.  A Calvinist naturally begins from the lowest point, not too proud to beg for help like the Ethiopian eunuch, while the Arminian starts from the high point, already knowing and having everything they need, so no lecture is required. And if it be admitted that this viewpoint is right then its consequences are devastating, for there is really no point to preaching is there? The congregation needs to break into small group and go through the material in order to learn, the last thing they want is a Biblical exposition. Or they may be better served with a play, or a funny skit, a coloring book, or maybe, well, anything, because people don't learn from lecturing. They learn from doing.
Why not close the doors and just to mission work?

My conscience won't let me give them group work and give up exposition. My conscious prompts me to feed them when they ask me- woe to me if I don't! I must raise up Christ, I must show Him in His book and make much of Him and His work. I suspect that they are going to take away my teaching position for ignoring their mandate to give up lectures and only do group work.
Let Christ do what seems best to Him. He has made me a Calvinist.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Joab, man of blood

At 2 Samuel 19 Joab had already murdered Abner, an honorable and decent man during peacetime, 2 Samuel 3:26-27, so we know that he wasn't a very nice man. David then had to navigate the real world politics of having an evil man of blood who was interested in his own personal position of power working for him, and someone he couldn't depose. Knowing his bloodthirsty character David even used him to kill the twice honorable Uriah the Hittite.
Joab then beings to plot against David through his son Absalom, hedging his bets as it were since Absalom was his kind of king (2 Samuel 14) but Absalom decided against him (2 Samuel 17:25), forcing Joab to support David in order to keep his position during the rebellion which he helped stir up.
It is not surprising then to read the following:
2 Samuel 19:5,7- "Then Joab came into the house to the king and said, "You have today covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who have this day saved your life and the lives of your sons and your daughters and the lives of your wives and your concubines...Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants, for I swear by the LORD, if you do not go, not a man will stay with you this night, and this will be worse for you than all the evil that has come upon you from your youth until now."
This isn't a prophecy of what may happen, this is a statement of borderline insurrection. Translation: "If you don't celebrate the death of that rebellious son if yours I'm going to take the army from you, leaving you without a kingdom. Absalom rebelled against you and had some success, I guarantee that if you don't obey me I will succeed in overthrowing your life."

In light of this David has had enough, Joab has to go. He appoints Amasa, Absaloms general to lead his forces from now on (2 Samuel 20:4) to show those who followed his son he didn't hold a grudge against them, and to remove the threat to his person.
Predictably Joab kills Amasa in cold blood, (2 Samuel 20:9-10) usurps his title back (2 Samuel 20:11).
In fact, his conscious was so seared, that he thought nothing of Amasa laying on the road in a pool of his own blood dying, but his own soldiers were not happy about this (2 Samuel 20:12).

Even with all this, Joab may have had a decent remainder of his life, but he chose to defy David and support the rebellion of Adonijah against Solomon, for which Solomon finally put him to death for treason. (1 Kings 2:28).
And the record of the man of blood came to an end, as do all men who love evil and defy goodness.

Arminians respond to Calvinism

Just yesterday at work I came upon this site, which is apparently set up by an Arminian SBC church member. 
The short question he has taken up to answer is this: God could have created all men with free moral agency and ordained it that they never have sinned because He is sovereign? (Think men being like the elect angels.) Therefore God wanted men to be sinners. As I see it, there are only three ways to answer the mail on this question:
1. God wants to save but can't.
2. God doesn't want to save everyone for another reason
3. God in reality saves everyone and nobody perishes - love wins.

Take a look at this wonderful Arminian response:
God is not an unwilling observer but a willing participant. God, according to Arminianism, doesn’t just stand there and watch, with the casual indifference of the priest and Levite according to Luke 10:30-37... God is willing to rescue. But if someone should be unwilling to call upon Him, and perish, then that is their own fault, and something for which they may have increased condemnation. So how does God escape responsibility in this scenario? Because God is willing to intervene. But in Shelton’s analogy, the person outside the burning building is unwilling.
Ah, the light breaks through the clouds! God desperately wants to save, but is really only powerless. He stands on the corner watching the house burn down, wanting to save, but being totally unable to.
It's nice to have a god who in every sense of the word wills the salvation of all men, until you need to pray to that god to save you and find out he can't. Either God is sovereign, in which case all that to say is He's God, or He is not and is a nice safe idol we can prostrate ourselves before.
And that response breaks the first commandment.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Evil is.... figs

You often hear that evil is missing the mark, like an arrow off the bulls-eye, or a kind of rebellious lawlessness, but I perfer the concept given to me by C.S. Lewis from his book Out of the Silent Plant. The protagonist Ransom attempts to learn the language of Old Solar and inquire about the Martian culture, but one of the things he can't get out of them is the word for evil, for it simply has not entered into their mind; the nearest thing he can do is the word bent to describe our world.
I've always liked that, because it speaks to the wrongness of evil, the unnaturalness of it. It paints a rather vivid word picture of a lead pipe turned into an unusable shape- something that is no longer what it was meant to be.

But better than this, I found I like the word-picture of evil given to me in the King James translation of Jeremiah 24:1-3. 
First, the English Standard- "After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the officials of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem and had brought them to Babylon, the LORD showed me: behold, two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD! One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten due to rottenness. Then the LORD said to me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" And I said, "Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad figs, very bad, which cannot be eaten due to rottenness."

Now, the King James (starting at verse two) which gives a fresh perspective (becomes it comes at us from an older, more unfamiliar culture) "One basket [had] very good figs, [even] like the figs [that are] first ripe: and the other basket [had] very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil."

Rottenness is such a perfect synonym for evil.  It's an added quality, rottenness, polluting everything, destroying what was once wholesome and good, fit for consumption and health. It causes sickness to ingest and is good for nothing but to be thrown away.  It's contagious as well, put some rotten fruit next to some good fruit and wait, only a short time later both are ruined. And best of all, there is no better word for a criminal teenager than rotten. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Matthew 13:10-15 and Calvinism

While on a facebook forum I responded to a hyper-Calvinist who asserted that God works to actively harden men's hearts with an offhand, almost throw-away comment that seemed to surprise David "The Darth Vader of Theology" Ponter, and I thought, if he hasn't considered it, perhaps I had better write it down. 
The verse in question is as follows:

Matthew 13:10-15- "Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?"And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: "'You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.'

The typical Calvinist reading here is that in an effort to keep them from salvation Jesus conceals His meaning in parables, for were He to make His meaning plain to them they would understand and then be saved, and of course Jesus doesn't want to save the reprobate. This I submit, is a terrible reading, does not fit with everything else about the nature of Jesus' earthly ministry, and is only mentioned because the reader has a prior commitment to supralapsarianism. Rather, I think the thrust of the text is on the hardness of their hearts.

His listeners have dull ears and don't desire salvation, therefore He speaks to them in parables so that they may go on deluding themselves. It's explicit: "This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."
Matthew then records that this is the fulfillment spoken of from old: "You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive." This isn't an act of condemnation ahead of time, it's a description of what will happen, of what they will choose to do when confronted with the Christ. It's not a curse, it's a foreseen choice of theirs.
How do we know that? The proof is in what comes next: "For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed." They have willfully closed their eyes, they have chosen to turn their back on Him.
So why then do they close their eyes and harden their hearts, and throw their wills against Gods? "Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them." For were they to see Him, they would have to submit to Him, accept His truth claims, admit they are not God, admit they are depraved creatures who have no righteousness to bring to the equation.  In short they must in humility crawl to Him for His imputed righteousness. This they can not stomach, so instead they close their eyes and make themselves willfully stupid.  Therefore He speaks to them in parables, because the last thing they want is to have Him show them kindness and save them, so He obliges them.

This is the same thing seen in John 12:37 - Though He had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in Him" No matter how much Christ showed His goodness to them, they chose to hate Him, and they did not believe in Him.
38 "so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" 
In other words, by giving them every opportunity to accept Him, He proved that unless He regenerates hearts (the arm of the Lord being revealed) they will never accept Him.

John 12:39- "Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.
This is substantially similar to the Matthew account, except that the blinding is attributed now to God rather than them, but because the Matthew account says they have asked for this course of action we can no longer see this as a divine exercise of sovereignty apart from their consideration.  It is both God and men agreeing on a course of action, namely that He will give them the desires of their heart. All who ask, receive- they have asked for blindness, they will receive it.
The thrust of both of these passages are on the hardness of their hearts, rather than on the mission of Christ to destroy them. They, not He, are to blame.

Traffic lights and theology

Lately my daughter has become very interested in traffic lights, calling out the rules based on their color (Daddy it's red, stop!) but yellow always confuses her. "Daddy, it's yellow, stop." "Yellow can also mean speed up."
I can see the wheels turning in her mind while she is processing how it is that the yellow light can mean one thing and it's opposite at the same time, and it amuses me. But her work is instructive to me for what she doesn't do- she doesn't write a book about how the things are parallel lines that only meet in eternity, she doesn't declare it to be impossible to understand, she doesn't just quit. She thinks it out.
And I tell her that the rule is actually stop if you can, or hurry and get through the intersection, which means that when you are going fast or the road is wet you keep going as fast as you can, and if you are far from the light and you have breaking distance you come to a stop, even when it's yellow.
And maybe, just maybe, her thinking patterns are what we need a reminder of as adult theologians. The idea is not to compare and contrast two things we know to be true, the key thing to consider is how they can fit together.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Paul as the writer of the Bible

Matthew 23:13,15,23,25 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in...Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves... Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others...Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence."

So remember that when reading Acts 23:6 "Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees"
Paul wrote 13 books of the New Testament: Romans, 1,2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1,2 Thessalonians, 1,2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and if you are of the old guard, Hebrews for 14,
because it's not enough that God choose the least and lowly, He also chooses the cursed and the self righteous. It's too light a thing to bring to Himself the socially downcast, He also brings to Himself the cursed Scribe and Pharisee as well.  And He uses them for great things too. If He was just the God who saves the homeless and the needy then He wouldn't be the God who saves the responsible and well off, and we could pigeonhole Him into a  small area, and relegate that away. But He's not. He loves the elder brother and the younger brother, He saves the people with great mental processing power and those who have little. He's God.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Worst Apologetic Argument Ever?

I happened to be reading this economist's blog, Steven Landsburg, where he posted an offhand proof against the existence of God. I have to say this is without a doubt so far the worst series of arguments I have ever seen. And I don't mean that lightly, I have never in my life seen such a terrible set of proofs against God.
I'll detach the relevant argument here, you can read it in it's entirety over at Landsburg's site.
Any system of beliefs needs a starting point (e.g. “I think therefore I am”)
Numbers are a starting point — knowledge of them is not deduced from anything
Numbers are a valid belief system
Does a bare collection of facts really make for a cohesive belief set? Oh no matter, let's keep going. First argument against God:
All Sane Christians believe in numbers
Not all sane people believe in God.
Therefore it is greater to believe in numbers rather than God.
You believe in my God, but I don't believe in yours, therefore, my God is superior.  In other words, the thing that people are most in agreement over is the thing best known as God.  Ah, but we all agree on the sun. Therefore the great ball of fire in the sky is God, greater than all! Or perhaps instead of attacking point three we go after point two and assert that those people really are insane, working against their own best interests?
Stay with it, it gets better. Second argument:
The concept of numbers is an indispensable foundation for understanding the universe. 
The concept of God may be dismissed without consequence.
Therefore God is useless, and being useless, proves his non-existence.
And you didn't think that last argument against God could be improved on.  I'm really at a loss to understand how to answer this. If you are able to consider the argument of origins and still assert point two here then you have successfully traveled beyond all logic and reason and have become impervious to this reality.
Argument three:
Numbers are complex and wonderful things, structures with structures.
The physical universe is less complex than numbers.
Once you have the existence of numbers the universe spontaneously falls into existence.
Therefore numbers explain the existence of everything else, making God irrelevant.

Simply delightful. Numbers automatically create everything! By what mechanism? Who cares! But the thoughtful theist is going to chime in at this point, "But where did the numbers come into existence from? And moreover, what is a number?" Landsburg has the answer ahead of time:
Numbers can’t help but exist, and need no explanation.
The Universe needs an explanation.
Because numbers exist, which sane people are forced to believe in, numbers provide a necessary and sufficient explanation for the universe existing.
I have no need of God.
Oh. My, my my. Well! What profound depth. Who knew God could be so easily marginalized by math? Numbers are the uncaused first cause. They existed before there was a universe, they always were, and always will be. They spoke the universe into existence, and set the stars on their courses. They feed the birds who cry out to them. They stretched the plumb line across the galaxies, set the oceans in their beds, told them "this far, and no further." They set the snow into banks and bring forth the seasons each in their turn. Thou almighty numbers.
This is what Paul meant in Romans when he said "claiming to be wise they became fools." What Landsburg wants is a God under his own control, a God who created everything and then turned over all His power, sovereignty, and rule to him. He has instinctively grasped the nature and power of God, so that he is without excuse, yet he refuses to honor God, and instead attributes all the evident things God has done to his god idol, numbers.
And I say to you let us put your Number gods to the test. "bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come."Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you."

Acts Introduction


Written by Dr. Luke who joined Paul on his second missionary journey in Acts 16:8-9 at Troas.
Luke was very detailed oriented, and personally interviewed a number of people to compose his account. He wrote it while Paul was in Prison at Rome about 60-62AD, to a man named Theophilus, “lover of God” who was likely some Roman official.  It’s also my thought that Luke was saved when Paul went to the see a doctor- ah providence, how inscrutable it is, how beyond understanding are all God’s design and His works.


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the traditional way to break out Acts is as follows:
1.       Acts 1-7 - The early work in Jerusalem to the Jews.
2.       Acts 8-11 - The gospel spreads to the Samaritans and Gentiles. (9 is about Paul’s conversion)
3.       Acts 12 - Persecution against the believers
4.       Acts 13-14 - First Missionary Journey: AD46-48.
5.       Acts 15:39-18:22 - Second Missionary Journey- AD49-52.
6.       Acts 18:23-21 - Third Missionary Journey- AD53-57.
7.       Acts27-28:16 - Fourth Missionary Journey- AD59-62. A boat ride. 

Specific Purpose

My take is that Theophilus is a judge, and this is an amicus curiae (friend of the court) letter, which testified to everything leading up to Paul’s disturbance in Jerusalem. This is why the council at Jerusalem is often in view in the Gospel of Luke, and why Acts ends where it does. This letter would explain historical Roman president in dealing with Paul, and would give an account of the personality of the opposition and defense of Christianity.  For this reason Luke includes the beating at Philippi and the council’s reaction of repentance (obviously indicating the right thing was to let him go free).  It also shows the positive reaction of a number of high ranking officials (Eunich, King of Samaria, Cornelius, Sergius Paulus, Gallio) and the negative result of a negative response (Bar Jesus, Simon, Sanhedrin)

My Outline

Acts can be divided into two sections. Before Luke the book is largely a collection of sermons.
After Luke joins Paul it is largely a record of what was done. This is much like a miniature of the Old Testament, where the Prophets record what is said (Isaiah, Jeremiah, 12 minor prophets) and the histories record what God did (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra). In Acts the first half of the book has 15 gospel proclamations, the last half has only 5.

·         Peter at Pentecost Acts 2:14-40
·         Peter in the Temple Acts 3:12-26
·         Peter before the council Acts 4:8-12
·         Peter before the believers in prayer Acts 4:24-30
·         Peter before the council (again) Acts 5:29-32
·         Stephen before the council Acts 7:2-56
·         Peter to Simon Acts 8:20-23
·         Philip to the Ethiopian Acts 8:35-37
·         God to Peter Acts 10:13
·         Peter to Cornelius Acts 10:34-44
·         Peter to the Jewish Christians Acts 11:5-18
·         Paul to the Jewish synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia Acts 13:16-41, 46-47
·         Paul to Lystrian Gentiles Acts 14:15-17
·         Peter to the First Jerusalem council Acts 15:7-11
·         James to the First Jerusalem council Acts 15:14-21
176 of 560 verse are gospel proclamations – 31%

·         Paul to the Athenians Acts 17:22-31
·         Paul to the Jews at Jerusalem Acts 22:1-21
·         Paul to Felix Acts 24:10-21
·         Paul to Agrippa Acts 26:1-27
·         Paul to the Roman Jews Acts 28:20,25-28
72 of 447 verses, which are a mixture of gospel presentation and personal court testimony. 16%

The Larger Picture

The Gospels are the fulfillment of the promises to us about Christ. The Acts of the Apostles are the fulfillment of the promises about the Gentiles and the establishment of His everlasting Kingdom.
Romans 3:29 – Is He not the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also
How do you know this is true using just the Old Testament? How do you know Acts is part of an organic whole of scripture?
·         Genesis 12:1a, 3cNow the LORD said to Abram…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed
·         Genesis 26:3b,4b- “I will establish the oath that I swore to Abraham your father…in your offspring all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”
·         Genesis 28:13b,14c- “…I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac… in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”
Now is obvious, the promises were to the Jews, so that the nations of the Earth would be blessed. Paul takes up the meaning of these three verses predominantly in two places:
Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Romans 4:9-11 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also… 14-16
For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
And we might conclude with this thought: Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
·         Deuteronomy 18:21 - I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry
·         Deuteronomy 32:21 They have made Me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are no people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation   (See Acts 17:4-5)
·         Deuteronomy 32:43 Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people."  
·         Psalm 18:49 Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people."  
·         Psalms 117:1 Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol Him."
·         Psalm 138:4-5 Psalms 138:4-5- “All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.”
·         Isaiah 42:4The root of Jesse will come, even He who arises to rule the Gentiles; in Him will the Gentiles hope”
·         Isaiah 49:6- And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
·         Isaiah 52:15 “Those who have never been told of Him will see, and those who have never heard will understand” see Romans 15:22
·         Isaiah 65:1 I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me
·         Zechariah 8: 23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
·         Amos 9:11-12  In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
That then is what Acts is, we are watching the fulfillment of these prophecies.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

After Batheeba, the covenant

2 Samuel 12:24 "Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the LORD loved him."
The interesting thing here is that after Uzziah dies David goes to Ammon and finishes the conquest (v29). David's son then dies, the and couple soon after have another son- Solomon. Then David finishes his conquest against Syria, Moab, Zobah, see 2 Samuel 8.

Then we read in 2 Samuel 7:1 "Now when the king lived in his house and the LORD had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies..." which means that David's sin with Bathsheeba comes well before the great coventinal blessing in 2 Samuel 7:13.

It's only after David sinks to the very bottom and understands his sins fully does God give him the unconditional promise of His love.
Which is a lot like us in fact.

Debt and Satisfaction Analogy

I checked out a kids book from the church library- baby Noah and the Ark. I checked it out, let my daughter read it, then promptly lost it when I got home. I scoured everywhere, even the garage and it's like that book never existed, except now I owe them their book. Not money, not an equivalent weight in books, not a stack of papers, not even a replacement book, I owe them that book with the sticker which reads "property of First Baptist Church" on it, and the edges of the pages flayed from age and abuse. I am hopelessly unable to deliver on my debt.
But what if someone were to pay that debt? They couldn't come in and throw money at the librarian, since she's under no obligation to accept that. But! But if someone were to come in with the same copy, a working perfect equivalent and that person was able to negotiate (or persuade) the librarian to accept the new book in place of the old and I agreed to it and any other terms the librarian laid down, then, (and only then) would I be absolved of my debt.
And the cross is just this way. Christ pays our debt on a substutionary basis, which does not mean that He paid for my and only my sins, but that He is a qualified substitute for me.  The father is pleased to accept the arrangement, and when I accept Him by faith I meet His terms and receive eternal life.

Orthodoxy Chapter 5 - The Flag of the World

So it’s beyond question that our world is a fairy tale, but there’s also no denying that something is seriously wrong with it as well, becau...