The Bible most often portrays the land of Egypt as the crucible in which the nation of Israel was forged. But Egypt played an important role earlier, in the lives of Abraham as well as his great-grandson Joseph. Abraham found shelter there during a famine but left in disgrace after lying to the Pharaoh about Sarai (Gen 12:10-20). Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and became not only a great blessing to the nation, but also the means by which the rest of his family was kept safe during another devastating famine (Gen 37-46). Eventually Egypt enslaved the young nation and treated them mercilessly for four hundred years. Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (EGYPT)
The disciple “James the less” is mentioned only eight times in the New Testament. Four of those times his name is in a list of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Another four times, he’s mentioned in connection with his family. Continue reading JAMES, SON OF ALPHAEUS: LESS SAID THE BETTER?
The very name Bethlehem immediately awakens thoughts of carol lyrics and the story of Christmas. Yet the tale of that little town reaches far back into history, when the Promised Land was just a promise. The village is first mentioned, almost as a sad footnote, in the itinerary of Jacob’s trip back from Haran with his growing family, only to have his beloved Rachel go into labor just outside Ephrath (Gen 35:16) and die while giving birth to the youngest of the patriarch’s sons, Benjamin. Her burial place is identified as Bethlehem (Gen 35:19). Continue reading BIBLE SIGNS AND SYMBOLS (BETHLEHEM)
People communicate in may ways. What about God? Does he have an answering machine? How does he call people, how does he lead them, and how should they respond? Many was a young woman when she was engaged to Joseph. One day the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that God had a special mission for her. The Holy Spirit would soon cause her to become pregnant, and she would give birth to God’s Son, Continue reading HOW TO RESPOND TO GOD’S LEADING