Elisha was a yond man plowing his father’s fields when he first encountered the prophet Elijah. Elisha immediately dropped everything to follow him. For years, he served as an apprentice while Elijah performed his duties as a prophet-often under and lows, to his courageous obedience and crippling doubts. He observed the way Elijah interacted with kings and commoners. He studied the prophet’s personal relationship with God.Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (ELISHA “FOLLOWING A TOUGH ACT”)
Saul was a young man dutifully searching for his father’s stray donkeys. Samuel was the renowned prophet, priest, and judge of Israel reluctantly searching for his nation’s first king. When their paths crossed, the course of Israel’s history changed dramatically.
Samuel had served as the Lord’s representative leader of Israel for decades, but he was growing old. When his sons proved to be unfit to succeed him, the people of Israel demanded that a king be appointed to rule over them. They were envious of the monarchies common in surrounding nations.Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SAUL: WRESTILING WITH DEOMONS)
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)
The land of Palestine, known for its dry climate, had limited rainfall. Moisture for crop production was supplemented by heavy dews (Deuteronomy 33:13). Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS & CURIOSITIES (PATIENT WAITING)
Israel was guilty of participating in various pagan worship practices. This included actual, physical prostitution at many Canaanite shrines left standing after the conquest of Canaan. The idea behind these degrading sexual rites was that the Canaanites fertility gods Baal and Asherah would favor the participants with healthy babies and crops. Continue reading WHY THE FREQUENT REFERENCES TO PROSTITUTES AND PROSTITUTION IN THE BOOK OF HOSEA?
Judges 7:14- “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him.”
Gideon was threshing grain in a wine a press, to hide it from the marauding, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” (Jud 6:12). Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE “GIDEON”
Conservative churches that discourage or ban use of alcoholic beverages are bewildered at the production of wine as Jesus’ first miracle. Such churches have sometimes insisted that the wine in John 2 was nonalcoholic, despite the wedding guests’ unusual delight and appreciation of it. Surely, Jesus did make very good wine, yet not hint of alcoholic abuse clouds this account. Continue reading DOES JESUS’ MIRACLE AT CANA ENCOURAGE THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES?
When the Jewish people entered Canaan and took up agriculture after the seminomadic life of forty years in the wilderness, they were entering into work that went back in their own history for hundreds of years and into a country that was extremely rich in plants. Ur of the Chaldees, where Abraham had come from, was sustained by healthy agricultural system based on irrigation ditches from the river bank, stone ploughshares, and flint