In many ways, God first designed to use the nation of Israel as a chosen and holy priesthood, a missional launching place for His glory and the epicenter of modeled worship. Throughout the Old Testament, examples of non-Jewish worshippers (Gentiles) prefigure the opening of the early church when all would see that YHWH was the only God, Lord Most High. Jethro the Midianite, Ruth the Moabitess, the Queen of Sheba, and Rahab of Jericho are but foretastes of the universality of the New Testament mission. Indeed, God’s heart for his namesake is often appealed to as a reason for the preservation of Israel so that other nations would not mock or lord over Israel and subsequently the Lord her God. Much has been made of Jonah’s refusal to take part in the missional work to the hostile Ninevites, which is indeed emblematic of Israel’s refusal to honor God as a priestly nation. However, an intriguing question must be posed as to the way that Israel would function as a spiritual nation: In constructing the Temple, did King David’s subsequent interpretation keep with what God truly intended him to do? A closer examination of 1 Chronicles 17 shows God’s refusal to allow David to build may not just be in part because of David’s sin of being a man guilty of bloodshed but possibly because His desire was not for an earthly temple in the first place.

When David desires to build a temple he does so on the initiative that his house of cedar he dwells is in is a better condition than the Ark of the Covenant. And while Nathan the prophet initially confirms that such a temple-building desire is good (I am not questioning David’s spirit either), notice what happens when God intercedes—God objects. And God objects not only because David is not worthy but because the Lord has not asked for such a dwelling…”for I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up Israel to this day but I have gone from tent to tent and from dwelling to dwelling” (1 Chron. 17:5). Notice that God’s first objection is that the Lord has never asked for such a dwelling.

When God does tell David that his offspring would build the Temple, he does not specify Solomon, which is of course David’s interpretation. However, Solomon was an even more ill fit for building the Temple with his forced labor, enormous taxation, and a heart that fled from God to the gods of his thousand wives and subsequently their gods.

Indeed, God the Father shows that it is the Messiah, not Solomon, who the Lord has in mind: “…I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who has before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever” (1 Chron. 17:11-14). The syntax and phrases are too alike the Messianic promises found in Psalm 2 and then requoted in Hebrews 1 to be anyone but God’s own Son Jesus Christ.

In doing some looking, these two articles have been helpful: “Why Was David’s Plan to Build the Temple Prohibited by God?” (focus on David’s bloodguit specifically) and “A Temple Made by Human Hands” (focusing on further illuminiating why constructing a temple and having a spiritual temple were two very different things).

Your thoughts are welcome as iron sharpens iron…

You will not dishonor my God. When you accuse me, you dishonor Him. When you say that His redemption was not enough, you belittle the enormity of the sacrifice of Christ. My God, I am tired of listening to your whispers circulating broken records from one temple to another! I am tired of you replaying the song again, and again, and again. I am tired of the recriminations and the regrets on how it might have been, should have been, could have been. Most of all, I am tired of being quiet and leading a life of quiet desperation.

I do not stand lightly for I know that you have power. But greater is He who is in me. Your wiles are not without savvy for I sometimes count myself better to not let myself off the hook–forgiveness is too easy. I know that such a wandering heart, discontent, of little faith, ever a step back if two steps forward does not match up to His wondrous love. I know that the two cousins–Guilt and Fancy Free–both err. Guilt whispers: He takes sin seriously but redemption lightly. Fancy Free clucks, winks, and cat calls: She takes sin lightly obviating redemption as in “C’mon, ya Catholic with all that guilt? Everybody falls short.”

O Lord, I am searching. Help me to remember you have put to death Sin and are putting to death Sin. Help me to remember that I am not the child who was once lost but am the child who is found.  Allow me to fight to not only know but also to feel that I am yours. Help me to understand that you not only love but that you like me–can I say that? Yes, I think so Father.That you begrudge me not.  Help me to rest in you knowing that it is not what I have done but O Lord what has been done for me that defines me.

May no one take away the enormity of what you have done.

I preached today on Psalm 3, “God’s Yellow Ribbon,” about finding hope in the midst of suffering. I discuss how David finds hope in the midst of pain and how God was likewise very present to me during Basic Training. The audio isn’t great, but you can hear it at Morningside Baptist on the bottom-right-hand corner where it says Latest Message: Listen.


From Fort Jackson, SC.

If anyone wants to visit this weekend, I have a couple of days off. I’ve been trying to think who is in this area that I know. Saturday and Sunday are free (JeremyTaylor@q.com). I’ll probably just do homework, but I thought I’d share this quotation from the end of Act of Valor, which I feel explains so much:

‘Your father was a good man — growing up without him is going to be hard. It is going to hurt. You will feel alone, out to sea, with no shore in sight; you’ll wonder, why me? Why him? Remember, you have warrior’s blood in your veins — the code that made your father who he was is the same code that will make you a man he will admire. Respect.

Put your pain in a box — lock it down; like those people in those paintings your father used to like. Real men, made up of boxes — chambers of loss and triumph of hurt and hope and love. No one is stronger or more dangerous than who can harness his emotions — his past.

Use it as fuel, as ammunition as ink to write the most important letter of your life.

I’m going to start training away after a LONG trip. I started out from Sioux City and got to see the sights and sounds of St. Louis–Cardinal Stadium, etc.–all from the van. I just kept driving and driving. I slept just after Nashville in the back of the van on the floor having eaten a carton of M&M’s and shortbread cookies per my no-healthy-food-for-a-week plan if that’s what I can call it. I found a hundred billboards for peaches, pornography, and pecans along the way juxtaposed against the stunning beauty of God’s green earth rolling in green cauliflower-like waves over the Smoky Mountains. And I thanked God that everything I take for granted he still sees fit to provide me with.

 Update: After reading Ephesians 3:1-10 this morning, I am stunned by the master narrative of opening up His grace to me. I have been repeating in my head what I need to learn more and more: that His grace is enough; that I have been crucified with Christ; and that I must press on (being never alone nor forsaken).

Senate File 93 was the domestic strangulation bill,The bill had passed the Senate, 50-0 in 2010 and the full House Judiciary Committee before dying by funnel. The bill passed the Senate again 48-0 in 2011 but was not taken up in the House despite widespread support from the State Bar Association, Attorney General’s Office, County Attorneys’ and Sheriffs’ Associations, and domestic abuse advocacy groups.

At issue is enhancing the penalty of strangulation in the domestic abuse statute (708.2A) to an aggravated misdemeanor (up to 2 years and a $1875 fine) or a Class D felony (up to 5 years and a $7500 fine) if bodily injury is present. The reason that the legislation is important goes to the preventative nature of the law, past strangulation being the single greatest predictor of lethality in the arena of domestic abuse. Of 135 women murdered in Iowa in the last decade, 20 were killed by strangulation and studies show that 56% of women lethally strangled had previously been strangled before. Such tough on crime legislation sends a message, puts in enhanced penalties for subsequent abuse, and truly protects victims.

For a few on the political Left, giving greater penalties and proving this particular crime prove worrisome. However, the burden of proof always rests with the prosecution and law enforcement education in the 26 other states where felony strangulation has become law has given heightened awareness to this particular crime. For a few on the Right, creating a specific crime within the domestic abuse statute is problematic because “everyone should be treated equally,” e.g. if a husband strangles his wife versus another man in a bar fight, why should they be treated differently?

The reason for differentiating is that I know of no case where two men fighting at a bar has subsequently resulted six weeks later in one them “finishing the job.” Because of the cyclical nature of abuse, the domestic abuse statute carries greater penalties for subsequent acts and includes a mandatory arrest (allowing a 24-hour cooling off period) and a batterer’s education course.

After a lengthy caucus discussion by both sides, the bill passed on January 26, 16-2 out of the House Judiciary and faces one final floor vote before heading to the Governor’s desk. One hurdle remained: avoiding an amendment which would either weaken the penalty or place it outside of the domestic abuse statute. Such an amendment would result in the bill bouncing back to the Senate and jeopardize nearly five years of work on a bill that recognizes Iowa’s domestic abuse statute is weak in this area.

The end? Without amendment, as is, Governor Branstad signed the bill that passed 95-1. He turned to give me the pen for having floor-managed the bill. I gave it to Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City) and said, “You worked a lot harder on it than I did.” And that was true. I only had a year and a half trying to get it through–she’d been working on it for five years.

Today, Vicki Lensing and I were two of four Iowa lawmakers honored by the Iowa Council Against Domestic Violence–it’s nice that some things do get done and on a bipartisan basis.

Belief does not necessarily imply faith. According to Dustin Morrison of New Market, Iowa, believers merely assent to God’s existence while followers devote their lives to discipleship. For Morrison, it took walking through the valley of the shadow of death to understand the difference.

On April 11, 2011, Morrison, an infantryman with Bravo Company of the 1-168 INF, rolled out on mission in the Paktia province of eastern Afghanistan in a mine-resistant armored protected vehicle (MRAP).

“The last few things I remember are going to sleep the night before, rolling out on the mission, and then rounding a corner,” Morrison, 21, told me. “When I finally came to, I was at Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland.” Several weeks passed before Morrison regained consciousness. What Morrison didn’t know is that his MRAP triggered one of the largest IED explosions in the history of Operation Enduring Freedom, instantly killing one soldier in the gunner’s turret and severely injuring another. Read on…