Learning by preaching

Life continues to be busy with lots of things that it isn’t appropriate to blog about; not least the church’s search for an associate minister. But in the midst of the routine I’ve spotted something I’d not noticed before.

Preaching thematically this term about putting God first, I thought it would be appropriate to start by looking at some passages where God reveals something about who God is. (Exodus 3:1-15, 6:2-12 & 34:4-7).

In Exodus 6 Yahweh claims that the patriarchs only know God through his appearing at God Almighty (El-shaddai). So what’s shaddai mean? Whilst many commentators seem to suggest it is related to mountains, thus the God of the mountains, with connotations of might, power etc. But there is also another stream of thought that suggests it is related to breasts suggesting and different image of protection, nurture and provision.

In Exodus 34 Yahweh speaks as the God who is full of mercy, grace, love etc. Here the suggestion is that merciful is related to the noun womb and therefore speaks about the inclination a mother has towards her child.

Not being a Biblical Scholar, and having a dire ability to read Hebrew (despite Debra Reid’s best endeavours) I find it hard to critically evaluate these claims. Nevertheless they point to the way that Yahweh’s nature and character needs to be understood in a manner more deliberately positive about the way male and female are both in the image of God.

They also show that preparing sermons sometimes teaches you things you hadn't expected.

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