Israel’s greatest problem throughout its history was syncretism-the mixing of pagan religion with worship of the true God. God judged Israel severely for failing to keep worship clean and pure. And one of the easiest inroads to Israel’s heart was through intermarriage with pagan people’s Ezra knew this well, thus his vehement and emotional opposition to taking foreign spouses. Continue reading WHY WAS EZRA SO UPSET ABOUT MIXED MARRIAGES?
In the process of baking bread, leaven or yeast was added to the dough to cause it to rise. Thus, Jesus was saying that the kingdom of God had a power out of proportion to its size that caused it to permeate and influence all of society. Continue reading THE POWER OF LEAVEN
We sometimes think of the Old Testament as a book in which God makes repeated appearances of many kinds. But when we put a time line next to the account, we quickly realize that God’s manifest presence was far more rare and purposeful than we realized. The last time God made a direct appearance in Genesis he visited Jacob in a dream (46:1-7) and assured him his family would become “a great nation” while in Egypt (v. 3). Over four hundred years would pass before God would make another recorded appearance. Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (MOUNT SINAI)
God addressed Ezekiel with an unusual title which will later become Jesus’ favorite way of referring to himself. The title is “son of man.” In the original Hebrew language, it’s literally ben Adam or “son of Adam” since Adam means “humans.” Continue reading WHY “SON OF MAN”?
- The same God who created life in you can be trusted with the details of your life. MATTHEW 6:25: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
- Worrying about the future keeps you from doing your best today. MATTHEW 6:26: Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
- Worrying is more harmful than helpful. MATTHEW 6:27: Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
- God does not ignore those who depend on him. MATTHEW 6:28-30: And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
- Worry shows a lack of faith and of understanding of God. MATTHEW 6:32: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
The rainbow is the primary biblical symbol most people can identify. Children in Sunday school learn early on about Noah’s ark and the rainbow that accompanied God’s promise to never again destroy the whole earth by flood:
Moses had asked to see God’s glorious presence (Exodus 33:18). God responded by passing in front of Moses with all His glory, What is God’s glory? It is His character, His nature, His way of relating to His creatures. Notice that God did not give Moses a vision of HIs power and majesty but, rather, of HIs love. God’s glory is revealed in His mercy, grace, compassion, faithfulness, forgiveness, and justice. God’s love and mercy are truly wonderful, and we benefit from them, We can respond and give glory to God when our character resembles His.