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)
The Bible depicts Barak, a military leader during the time of the judges in Israel, as a great man of faith-so great that he is mentioned by name in the Faith Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11 (v32). Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (BARAK: CLAIMING THE FULL BLESSING)
Before grain was ground into flour, it was sifted in a sieve to remove any dirt or sand that had become mixed in with the grain during the harvesting process (see note on Ruth 3:2). The larger gain would remain in the sieve while the smaller dirt particles would fall through the sieve to the ground. Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (A SIFTING GOD)
That’s a question that people of faith, Jews and Christians alike, have been asking for more than 2,000 years. Most believers in ancient times couldn’t handle what many scholars today insist is the truth about this book. And the truth is that it’s an erotic celebration of love between a man and a woman who graphically praise the physical features of each other and trade fantasies about making love. Though their words aren’t obscene, they are unapologetically sensual. Continue reading WHAT IS A SONG ABOUT SEX-WITH NO MENTION OF GOD-DOING IN THE BIBLE?
CIVIL RIGHTS- Basis for civil rights is grounded in the impartiality of God (Deut 10:7-18; Acts 10:34; cp. Luke 20:21), in the created order by which all persons are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27-28; 9:6), and in the redemptive work of Christ (Gal 3:28). Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (CIVIL RIGHTS)
This plague consisted of a thick, heavy darkness that fell across the land of Egypt for three days (Exodus 10:22). This must have been an eerie blackness with no sliver of light, similar to the total darkness a person experiences deep within a cave when all of the lights are turned out. It was so frightening that the Egyptians did not venture outside their houses (Exodus 10:23). Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (DEEP DARKNESS)
Sometimes good motives moves us to do bad things.
Jehoshaphat was a good king of Judah who strengthened his cities and his army to the point that the surrounding kings feared to attack. He then sent his officers throughout the country with Levites and priests to teach his people the law of the Lord. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (JEHOSHAPHAT: BAD COMPANY)
The Sabbath was once-weekly rest from normal business to worship and honor God. Those who sought to gain commercial advantage during this respite were not only upsetting the community’s economy, they were also offending God. Everyone knew the Sabbath requirements, so no one in the nation could plead ignorance of this all important rule. Continue reading WHY WAS GATHERING WOOD ON THE SABBATH A CAPITAL CRIME?
Several explanations help us understand David’s minimal but adequate preparations for history’s most famous confrontation: (1) a successful first shot may have drawn out the Philistine warriors, and David wanted ammunition until his own reserves arrived; (2) Goliath’s armor bearer might require military follow-through; or (3) David was preparing for prolonged fighting, dodging the heavily armed giant while peppering him with shot. Continue reading WHY FIVE STONES FOR DAVID’S BATTLE WITH GOLIATH?
Asa set a good example for his son and successor, Jehoshaphat. As the fourth king of Judah, Jehoshaphat continued to suppress pagan worship and to encourage worship of the one true God as his father had done. He implemented a nationwide program of teaching his officials and the people of the land to practice justice and follow the Lord’s commands (2 Chronicles 17:7-9).
The king himself practiced what he preached. When confronted by a huge army composed of Edomites, Moabites, and Ammonites, he prayed to the Lord for divine assistance. “We do not know what to do,” he admitted, “but we are looking to you for help” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT).
His army marched off to battle with the words of a psalm on their lips. When Judah’s army arrived at the battle site, there was no battle to fight. The allied enemy army had been mysteriously ambushed by an unknown foe. This created confusion among the soldiers of the allied enemy army, and they began to slaughter one another. The only thing Jehoshaphat’s troops had to do was pick up the spoils the confused army had abandoned (2 Chronicles 20:22-25).
During Jehoshaphat’s reign the bitter feelings between Judah and Israel grew more cordial. He and Ahab, king of the Northern Kingdom, formed an alliance against their common enemy-the nation of Aram, or Syria. They attempted to recapture the city of Ramoth Gilead from the Syrians, but their campaign was not successful. As it turned out, the wicked king Ahab was killed in this battle (1 Kings 22:29-36).
Jehoshaphat died after reigning over Judah for twenty-five years. He was commended for his leadership because “he walked in the way of his father Asa” and did “what was right in the sight of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 20:32 NKJV).