People also fasted in advance of special experiences or in connection with prayerful inquiry. Moses fasted prior to receiving the tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments on the two separate occasions they were given (Exod 34:28; Deut 9:9). Immediately after his baptism, Jesus retreated into the wilderness where he too fasted as he initiated his public ministry (Matt 4:1-2). Fasting also accompanied special inquiry of the Lord, whether interceding on behalf of aContinue reading EVERDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAST 2 OF 3)
The mechanics are unclear, as always, but the result was a special sense of divine help and presence that enabled the leader to do God’s will. In very few places in the Bible is the coming of the Holy Spirit described in any detail (Acts 2), but the spirit descends, fills, and empowers according to God’s will and purpose.Continue reading HOW DID THE SPIRIT OF GOD “COME UPON” ANCIENT LEADERS?
Today intentional abstention from food and drink for a given period of time is more likely associated with preparation for a medical test or in conjunction with a weight-loss plan than with spiritual development. But in the Bible, the physical act of fasting was employed in order to enrich an awareness of mortal vulnerability and to sharpen awareness of the Lord’s ability to provide.Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (FAST PT 1 OF 3)
King Sennacherib of Assyria had a huge army and ruled a large empire. And he was determined to add Judah to the list of nations under his control. He believed that no one could resist his demands-after all. Assyria had never lost a war, and Judah was a small nation. But Sennacherib failed to realize that Judah was different-it’s king, Hezekiah, depended on the Lord to fight Judah’s battles.Continue reading DID YOU KNOW THAT AN ANGEL ONCE DESTROYED AN ENTIE ARMY?
Mentioned in numerous Old Testament passages, the concubine was not a prostitute but an auxiliary marriage partner who was both similar to and different from the wife. She was similar in that the Bible describes her marriage partner as her “husband” and includes her along with sons, daughters, and wives as a member of the ancient household (Judg 20:4-6; 2 Sam 19:5).Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (CONCUBINE PT1)
This amazing event began when the people of Judah were threatened by armies from three countries. After God told King Jehoshaphat that he would protect Judah, the king planned for battle. He decided that a choir should go in from of the army, singing a hymn. When the enemy soldiers heard the choir, they began fighting among themselves and destroyed each other!Continue reading DID YOU KNOW THAT A CHOIR ONCE WON A BATTLE?
In an age without television or other leisure-time pursuits, the people of Bible times often used riddles as a form of entertainment. Like Samson, they would pose a puzzling or mystifying question or problem and see who could figure it out.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (SAMSON’S RIDDLE)
From an early age we are taught to respect the belongings of others even if our size and strength make it possible to take them by force. In order to understand the actions of the people of the ancient Near East, we need to make a major adjustment in this thinking. Within the cultural construct of this world, the expectation was that those who were victorious in battle had the right to seize the personal property of those defeated and even enslave the owners of that property. This practice of plundering is mentioned repeatedly in the literature of the ancient world peatedly in the literature of the ancient world and illustrated in the art of the empires that rose to power during the Old Testament era.Continue reading EVERYDAY LIFE IN BIBLE TIMES (PLUNDER)
The term divination, as used in this passage, refers to attempts to control evil spirits, to penetrate the mysteries of the universe, or to foretell the future by using magical acts, pronouncing superstitious incantations, or interpreting natural signs. Today we refer to such practices as “the occult.” “Black magic” was a prominent feature of pagan religious systems in Bible times. But God prohibited the Israelites from participating in these practices. Seven different types of divination are mentioned in this passage.Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (NO BLACK MAGIC)
Devastating epidemic that OT writers understand to be sent by God (Exod 9:15; Jer 15:2; Hab 3:5; Amos 4:10), sometimes by means of a destroying angel (2 Sam 24:16; 1 Chron 21:15). God sent pestilence as punishment for persistent unbelief (Num 14:21) and failure to fulfill covenant obligations (Deut 28:21) as well as to encourage repentance (Amos 4:10). God withheldContinue reading DEFINITON OF THE DAY (PESTILENCE)