Someone once remarked that growing old isn’t a battle but a massacre.
Sadly, in most cases this is all too true. If we live long enough, we are forced to grieve a lone, painful series of losses. As we age, we say farewell-usually to our careers, often to our health, sometimes to our memories, always to the independent lives we once knew. And the older we get, the more often we will have to stand in funeral homes and cemeteries and say goodbye to beloved family members and dear friends.
From a historical perspective, it seems that Daniel came of age at exactly the wrong time in Israel. He was born just in time to see his once-great nation fall to the Babylonians. As punishment for their centuries unfaithfulness and disobedience. God allowed his people to be defeated by their enemies. Daniel, along with other young, strong, and capable people in Israel, was carried away into captivity in Babylon.
Scholars have debated the interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 for centuries. Three primary views tend to dominate the discussion. One view holds that the prophecy “the virgin will conceive” refers to a young, unmarried woman of marriageable age (the literal meaning of the Hebrew word translated “virgin”), who actually lived an married in the time of Isaiah and then gave birth to a son. Thus, this was not a “virgin birth” but a normal instance of marriage and childbirth.
Elizabeth, mentioned only in Luke’s Gospel, was married to a priest named Zechariah. “Both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord” (Luke 1:6).
Yet in a culture where children were viewed as a primary evidence of God’s blessing, they were also childless. Elizabeth was unable to conceive. This barrenness was a source of deep disgrace to her (Luke 1:25). Only those who’ve suffered through fertility issues can fully appreciate the sting of all those unanswered prayers, the piercing pain of an empty nursery. Since Elizabeth and Zechariah “were well along in year” (Luke 1:7), it’s not unreasonable to assume that they had given up the hope of ever becoming parents. Continue reading WOMAN OF THE DAY (ELIXABETH: THE MOTHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST)→
We all have someone in our lives with whom a close relationship seems impossible. Maybe it’s a sibling, a parent, a child, or even a spouse. For whatever reasons, we just can’t seem to get along. Outside of our families, most of us have other difficult relationships-with bosses, neighbors, business associates, coworkers, clients. Continue reading WOMEN OF THE BIBLE (RUTH: THE DREAM DAUGHTER-IN-LAW)→
In Bible times, many containers for liquids as water, olive oil, and wine made from the skins of animals, particularly young goats. After the head and feet were cut off, the skin was stripped in one piece from the animal’s body. These skin retained the shape of the animal, with the neck sometimes serving as the channel through which the container was filled and emptied. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (ANIMAL SKIN CONTAINERS)→