Truth and Beauty

Derek Kidner is a commentator who writes not just insightfully but beautifully. Don’t miss his commentaries on Genesis, Psalms (vol. 1 and vol. 2), Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. They are gifts to the church.

I’m not familiar with Stephen Motyer (a relation to J. Alec, I presume?), but perhaps there’s something in the British blood he shares with Kidner that adds beauty to his truth. I can’t think of easy American parallels…

While studying Jacob’s wrestling match with God this evening, I read the following from Motyer in the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology article entitled “Israel (Nation)” (emphasis mine):

Malachi is the saddest, as well as the latest, book in the OT. Malachi accuses the post-exilic community of the same sins which caused the exile 150 years previously: half-hearted worship conceived as mere performance of the cult (1:6–14); corruption among the priests (2:1–9); social and sexual unfaithfulness (2:10–17). The people have not changed (3:7). But Malachi insists also that Yahweh is unchanging: ‘I, Yahweh, do not change: therefore you, children of Jacob, are not finished!’ (3:6, author’s translation). Yahweh is still wrestling with Jacob, determined to make the new name stick. And Malachi looks forward to the coming of ‘the messenger of the covenant’, who will refine and purify Israel’s worship and bring judgment on the corrupt (3:1–5).

So the OT ends on a note of paradox: Israel is still Jacob, but Jacob is still Israel. The covenant stands, but the covenant promises both salvation and judgment, both a blessing and a curse (Deut. 28). How will Yahweh’s commitment to save Israel be realized, in the face of the nation’s constant failure to respond to him?



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Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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