The Lively Lectionary Old Testament is a blog that reflects on the Old Testament text from the Revised Common Lectionary each week.

That New Covenant - Reflections on Jeremiah 31:31-34

This short passage from Jeremiah has long played an outsized role in general discussions of the Bible. It did not take long for early New Testament commentators to see in these words a prediction of the appearance of the documents based on the life, death, and resurrection of the one they called Messiah, Jesus, that they thought would finally and definitively replace the Hebrew Bible as the crucial sacred text for them. 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Those Snakes Again - Reflections on Numbers 21:4-9

Allegorical interpretation, a method of reading long used in Bible interpretation from its earliest days, is rarely found persuasive in our time, the problem being that anyone can make the Bible say whatever they want, limited only by their wild imagination. So, what are we preachers to do with this tale of fiery serpents and sympathetic magic? It turns out that there is something unique about this story.

Monday, March 4, 2024

I am YHWH! - Reflections on Exodus 20:1-17

Today in Lent three, we are presented with the famous Ten. I choose the first of them for examination, because it continues this theme of the character and person of the God we worship uniquely in the Lenten season. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

What’s in a Name? - Reflections on Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16

“When Abram was 99 years old,” is a most unpropitious way to begin a story of a promised baby! Nonetheless, that is exactly how the so-called Priestly author begins his tale of the coming birth of Isaac to the aged couple, Abram and Sarai. The older narrative, written by the J/E compiler, several centuries prior to P’s account, may be found in the chapters that follow. Such an absurd story is certainly worthy of more than one telling!

Monday, February 19, 2024

A Bow by Any Other Name - Reflections on Genesis 9:8-17

As we enter once again the season of Lent, we would do well to reflect on the relationship that God has to the world that God created. When we practice our prayer and meditation during this generally contemplative time in the church year, just what sort of God is it that we are contacting? 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Elijah Flies Away - Reflections on 2 Kings 2:1-12

The startling scene of Elijah’s ascension into the sky by means of a fiery chariot, drawn by equally fiery horses, is often paired with the transfiguration tale of Jesus. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

YHWH’s Wonders - Reflections on Isaiah 40:21-31

Truly, this text for today is one of the Bible’s greatest poems. Its language and cadence are unforgettable, its theological thrust unmatched, its structure a superlative example of ancient Israelite verse. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

A True Prophet - Reflections on Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Those who claim to speak for God may be believed for a moment, or even for a brief time, but over time their words and things may prove empty and hollow, given what finally comes of their words. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

The Joke’s on Us - Reflections on Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Jonah is the Bible’s best joke book. It is “Saturday Night Live,” “John Oliver,” and Jerry Seinfeld rolled into one. One simply cannot preach from this book with a straight face or without tongue squarely in cheek. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Samuel or God? - Reflections on 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Israel is in need of a new mediator, and the calling of Samuel is proof that such a mediator is at hand. The famous three-times divine call to then boy is couched in ancient storyteller language. 

Monday, January 8, 2024

A Very Large Vision Indeed! - Reflections on Isaiah 60:1-6

In Is.60 there are multiple references to “light” out of darkness: “Arise, shine, for your light has come,” he begins and continues by describing earth and its people covered with “thick darkness,” but enlightened by “the Lord,” and the “Lord’s glory.” And this great light will be a beacon for the nations, represented by their kings who will “come to the brightness of your dawn.” 

Tuesday, January 2, 2024