The Coffee — The coffee that I have been drinking lately is from another Missouri roaster, operating out of Kansas City, MO: Oddly Correct. I first heard about Oddly Correct in a BBC News article on the growing “craft coffee” movement. They sparked my interest when the author of the article noted that she stopped in and ordered a coffee and they did not have creamer to offer because they intended their coffee to be enjoyed black. I found some humor in this and was intrigued enough to finally look it up and order some. I was immediately drawn to their “Ethiopia Dukamo Natural” offering. I always enjoy roasts with the beans originating from Ethiopia and had some great coffee courtesy of Foster Hobbs from the specific region of Sidama where these beans were harvested. I was also drawn to the roast as the processing method was “natural”. One of my favorite coffees went through a natural process where the coffee cherries were laid out in beds and dried in the sun. All of this was enough for this roast to be an easy choice. The creative artwork on the bags helped as well as it pictures an outrageously large handlebar mustache. Grinding the coffee produced a strong aroma of berries. Upon tasting, I quickly determined that this coffee was one of the best coffees that I have tried. The notes of berry and lemon candy shine through and compliment each other perfectly, with the sweetness of the berries being followed with the bold lemon and finally finished with more a mellow berry jam. I have brewed this coffee in both my Chemex and the auto-drip and have thoroughly enjoyed it every time. I enjoyed it enough to purchase another bag as a birthday present for a good friend. It is currently sold out on the website, but I eagerly await more to be roasted so I can buy another bag.
The Theology — Many people in today’s society demand signs from God. They have ignored or not heard of the works of God from other generations. They look past the general revelation of God in the natural order of earth; and the animals, plants, and humans that inhabit it. They turn a blind eye to the special revelation of God at work among his people across the globe. It is not just the skeptics, many even in the contemporary Christian and prosperity gospel movements ignore the works of God, and focus on self-autonomy demanding immediate blessings and their “best self now”. This may seem like a modern problem. However, we see these issues throughout the history of society, dating all the way back to the beginning of time. We see this all the way back in the Old Testament within the tribes of Israel. Psalm 78 provides us with clear examples of this problem, God’s response, redemption and our response.
Psalm 78 records the great works God has done for his people. While once slaves in Egypt they were forced into labor and to kill their sons due to their population growth. There was great sufferings among the people. Their cries were heard and God rescued them. He judged Egypt for their treachery and showed his glory by freeing his people despite the stubbornness of the Egyptians. “He turned their rivers to blood, so that they could not drink of their streams”, “destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamore with frost. He gave their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts.” “Then he led his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. He led them to safety so that they were not afraid.” (Psalm 78:44,47& 48, 52& 53) “He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused them to flow down like waters.” (Psalm 78:13-16) We see that against almost insurmountable odds, the Israelites were led to freedom. However, this was not by their own doing. God kept his covenant performed great signs and works for his people to defeat the Egyptians, lead his people, and sustain them.
Despite the visible works that they had witnessed, his people rebelled against him. They questioned his provision and his good works. “Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness? He struck the rock so that water gushed out and the streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?” (Psalm 78:17-20) God was not pleased with their lack of faithfulness. “Therefore, when the LORD heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power” (Psalm 78:21:22) We can see the demanding of signs and questioning God’s providence is nothing new. The tribes of Israel were guilty of this, and the kindled the anger of God. The root of their lack of faith and their desire for self-autonomy. They thought back to the lives that they were living and did not want to follow God’s plan and commandments. They wanted their view of comfort. Despite the stubbornness of Israel, God continues to show grace and provide for his people and show further signs of his provision. “Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them grain from heaven. Man ate the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance.” “He rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas; he let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings. And they ate and were filled.” (Psalm 78:23-25, 27-29)
Despite all of this, Israel continuously rebelled and sinned against God. The anger of God grew and eventually, Israel faced his judgment as the Egyptians had in the past, “They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe, when he performed his signs against Egypt.” (Psalm 78:41-43) “Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies, but turned away and acted treacherously.” (Psalm 78:56&57) God was “provoked to anger” and “utterly rejected Israel”. “He delivered his power to the captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe. He gave his people over to the sword.” (Psalm 78:61&62) There was a high cost for Israel’s unfaithfulness and irreverence. There is still a high-cost today. God will not bless those who are genuine in their faith. Those with no faith will be judged for it.
In the Psalm, God did not leave his people without a redeemer. “Then the Lord awoke as from a sleep” “and he put his adversaries to rout” (Psalm 78: 65&66). God moves among his people, frees them from captivity, and establishes his blessing in the house of Judah and in the line of David. From this line of David comes Jesus, who calls on us to have faith in him, his atoning death on the cross, his resurrection, his ascension, his continued intercession, and his second coming. The Psalm also points us to a crucial aspect of growing and fostering this faith: discipleship. This discipleship starts in the family. “We will not hide them from our children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might and wonders that he has done.” He established his law and “commanded our fathers to teach their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God.” (Psalm 78:4-7). It is crucial for parents to biblically disciple their children and foster faith in their household.
People will still demand signs, ignoring God’s continued work among his people. There will be doubters who imitate the actions Thomas who despite being told of the resurrection of Jesus by his friends and fellow disciples, demanded signs and refused to believe without seeing. However, we should remember and reflect on what happened next. Jesus graciously appears to Thomas. He shows Thomas proof, allowing Thomas to feel where the nails had pierced his hands and the spear had pierced his side. Jesus then states: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
All scripture from ESV Bible
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