Tag Archives: Michael Card

Beyond the Margins

Have you ever had one of those nights when you don’t even know where to begin? Your head is swimming with thoughts inspired by the wisdom of someone you feel fortunate to have encountered. That’s how I feel right now after a 2-hour concert/walk through the Bible with Michael Card.

Where do I begin? Michael Card stated his secret purpose was to entice, manipulate…  do what it takes to inspire his audience to read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. He weaved songs together to provide a musical narrative of Scripture. By the end, I was in tears as the reality hit me. God’s greatest desire is to be with His people. I know this. But some how tonight, I got a deeper glimpse of God’s heart. And I am undone.

While I don’t know that I would pay to hear most Christian musicians preach, I could sit and listen to Card for hours. He plumps the depth of Scripture like few Christian artists could. Here are some of the things that stood out to me.

  • Card is working on a book about slavery and freedom called A Better Freedom. Card said, “The only way you will ever be free is to become a slave of Christ.”
  • Leviticus is full of details about things like warts and mold. But those details point to spiritual realities. We see Jesus in the models and stories of the Old Testament. Card said, “God is in the details.”
  • The story of Hosea and Gomer shows us our wayward hearts. Card sang a song as Gomer talking about the faithfulness of her husband despite her unfaithfulness.
  • God gave Israel a great gift called the Year of Jubilee – a time when all debts would be canceled. It was to be a year-long party every 50 years where families and individuals were restored. But there is no record of Israel every observing the Year of Jubilee. This utopia idea has its completion in Jesus.
  • In Psalm 51 after David has committed a horrible sin, all he had to give to God was his brokenness. And that was what God really wanted in the first place. David said that what God wants is broken and contrite heart.
  • Card said, “The things that have hurt you in life, aren’t wasted. They are redeemed –  God uses them  to save the world.” He pointed to the cross as a perfect example of how God turns tragedy into victory.
  • Throughout the concert, Card kept on referring to friends and mentors who influenced each song. It was clear that his music comes out of community.
  • Card said about the book of Revelation, “In the end, God gets what He wants. Do you know what God really wants? He wants to be with you – His people.” Card said that the reward of  following the Law in Leviticus 16:12 is that God will walk with His people. From the tabernacle to the Temple, the dwelling place of God was to be with His people. Jesus is called Emmanuel, which means God with us. Jesus’ last words to His disciples were, “Behold, I am with you always.” He then promised the Holy Spirit, which lives in the heart of God’s people. Card said, “What God wants the most is what we need the most.” The story ends in Revelation with complete restoration as sin, death and separation from God are forever dealt with. God is fully with His people.
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Slavery in the Bible

One of my favorite Christian artists, Michael Card, recently said at a concert that he is working on a book that explores the concept of slavery in the Scriptures. Some mistakenly discredit what the Bible has to say on the topic because it doesn’t outright prohibit the practice.

It can be easy to forget that the Bible is the redemptive story of God’s interaction with humanity. God knows that you cannot completely change everything over night, and He always meets people where they are to take them where they should be. We must be patient with societies in the past just as we will need people in the future to be understanding of us. Each new generation has its practices that future generations will find odd or outright immoral.

Here are some quick thoughts on the Bible and slavery:

  • Everyone is a slave to something or someone.
  • All true Christians are “slaves” to Christ so that we may be free from the grip of sin and death.
  • God brought the Israelites out of Egypt “the land of slavery.” But when things got tough they preferred the familiarity of slavery over the hardships of freedom.
  • God desires obedience not sacrifice.
  • Jesus didn’t have an entitlement attitude neither should His followers.
  • After the introduction of the Law, the Israelites were not to enslave each other because they were to be a nation of slaves to God.
  • God provided for humane treatment of slaves in the Law.
  • Slavery in antiquity was somewhat different than modern slavery. Some people even sold themselves into slavery to pay off a debt for a period of time.
  • Jesus came to set the captives free.
  • Paul encouraged Philemon to treat Onesimus (his slave) as a brother. This was as close to prohibiting slavery as Paul could get without completely sidetracking the greater purpose of his mission. Slavery during the Roman Empire was a central part of the world’s economic system. Calling for the outright end of slavery was something that Paul didn’t seem to want to overtake.
  • Jesus forever set aside the distinctions between slave and master.
  • The Year of Jubilee was a gift from God to the Israelities that we don’t know if it was ever practiced. This year long celebration and the forgiveness of debt is a foreshadowing of Christ’s work on the cross.