Theological Footnotes 22 - Cover Reveal and Release Date


Theological Footnotes

I am a pastor-theologian and author creating resources to help you grow as a disciple of Jesus. My goal is to make Christian theology comprehensible so that it will build up the church. I write and publish books through Peniel Press.

Hello Reader,

Christians are blessed and beloved by God, but it doesn't always look that way. Is there something wrong with us when we trust in God, but our non-Christian neighbors seem to have an easier and more successful life? No. In this issue, I want to share a lesson in patience from the Patriarchs, which should encourage us when life doesn't match our expectations.

I am also excited to reveal the cover for The Sinews of Scripture below. I'm really proud of the work we've done and I hope the book will be a blessing to many.

If someone shared this issue with you and you would like to receive it in your own inbox, you can sign up by clicking here.

The Pattern of Patience

There is a pattern of patience in the genealogies in the Bible. God’s people seem to have to wait longer for blessing than those who are not a part of God’s people. God calls Abram and promises to bless him, promises that all nations will be blessed through him (Gen. 12:1-3). God promises to give him descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore and the stars in the sky (Gen. 22:17). This is the promise — a great nation, multitudes of descendants, and eventually through the seed of Abraham, the blessing of the whole world. Abraham has God’s promise, but Abraham’s brother Nahor has twelve sons. Abraham struggles until he is eighty-six to have one son and that son is through Sarah’s slave-girl, Hagar. God even says that Ishmael is not the child of promise, not the one through whom God will fulfill his promise to Abraham. So Abraham and Sarah struggle until he is one hundred years old before Isaac is born.

Step back a second. Abraham is promised the abundant blessing of children. Nahor, who has not been given this promise, has twelve children. Abraham, after one hundred years, has two sons. Well, actually only one, since Isaac alone carries the promise of God. It all seems to come more easily to Nahor than Abraham. Abraham has to wait longer. After Isaac, the promised child, is married to Rebekah and the responsibility of carrying forward God’s covenant promise is handed over to Isaac, Abraham marries Keturah. Now Abraham has six more sons - Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. These sons have sons who, in turn, have more sons. Yet, these are not sons of the promise, these are not the children God promised when he called Abraham out of Ur. They only come after the covenant has been passed on to Isaac. Everything seems harder for those who carry the promise than those who do not.

We go to the next generation and see Ishmael, who is the not the promised child, has twelve children, who become twelve princes. Isaac and Rebekah spend twenty years barren and then have two sons. Of Jacob and Esau, only Jacob will carry on the covenant. It is only when Jacob himself has twelve sons - all of whom will be part of the people, the twelve tribes of Israel - do we finally begin to see the fulfillment of the promise. Nahor has twelve children on the first generation, Abraham has to wait three generations. Ishmael has twelve children on the first generation, Isaac has to wait two generations.

This is the pattern of patience. God’s people have to wait longer to see with their eyes and touch with their hands the blessings God has promised. Nahor has twelve sons. Ishmael has twelve sons. Faithful Abraham has two, but only one bears the promises. Isaac has two, but only one bears the promise. Over and over again, the people of God must be patient, waiting for God’s promised future. Nahor and Ishmael have their full material blessing in the present, but for Abraham, for Isaac, for the people of God, the fullness of God’s blessing lies in the future.

This pattern of patience runs contrary to the so-called prosperity gospel that has so much influence in the North American church. Prosperity gospel teachers claim that we can have our best life now, that if we simply trust God’s promise of blessing, if we name the promise and claim it for our own, then God will rain down material blessings in our lives.

This is not what we actually see in the Bible. The life of Abraham and Isaac puts the lie to this claim. Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness (Gen. 15:6), but he never lived to see the twelve tribes of Israel. He died when Jacob and Esau were fifteen. If anyone could have named the promise and claimed it, it was Abraham. If anyone could be said to have enough faith, it was Abraham, and yet he had to wait.

So we have a contrast. With Nahor and Ishmael, everything is right now. There is immediate blessing and immediate gratification. There is no need to look for the future, no need to look for anything else. But with Abraham and Isaac, they must learn to wait. They wait generations to see God keeps his promises, but this builds in them a deeper trust in the Lord and directs their gaze toward the future. God trains his people to trust his promise over what seems immediately gratifying in the present.

Cover Reveal!

On August 20, my new book, The Sinews of Scripture: A Handbook on Biblical Genealogies will enter the world. I am so grateful for all the beta readers who provided feedback and am genuinely excited for you to see this book.

The first few times I tried to read all the way through the Bible, I read through all the genealogies diligently, but without much enthusiasm. I have found as a pastor that many Christians are bored or confused by the genealogies of the Bible. The Sinews of Scripture seeks to help everyday Christian read the genealogies better and see them as a window into the whole of the Bible.

Check out the cover for the book below! I will make a public announcement of the cover in a couple days, but you got to see it first.

Pre-orders will be available soon, but you can already join the waitlist below to get more information about the book as the release date approaches.

Rooted and All Things Hold Together Available as E-books

In addition to physical copies, you are now able to buy e-books directly from our store. Rooted and All Things Hold Together are both in our store and you can save 20% when you buy them together.

Writing Updates

It has been a busy season in the church, denomination, and Christian school, which has made it difficult to get much writing done. Most of my energy has been in finalizing the drafts of The Sinews of Scripture and drafting some potential online courses (*hint hint* you might hear more about this soon). I am hoping the summer will provide more mental and emotional space for writing.

Yearly Word Count: 89,298

Goal: 100,000 words

Progress: 89%

We appreciate your prayers for the work we are doing in providing theological resources for the church. One of the best ways to support us to buy our books and tell your friends to do the same. However, if you'd like to contribute in other ways, you can always buy me a coffee.

From the desk of

Stephen C. Shaffer

Author, Pastor-Theologian


Click Here to Read on the Web

43 Stowe Terrace, Brantford, ON N3T6P2
Unsubscribe · Preferences

Theological Footnotes

I am a pastor-theologian and author creating resources to help you grow as a disciple of Jesus. My goal is to make Christian theology comprehensible so that it will build up the church. I write and publish books through Peniel Press.