Leah’s father, Laban, was a piece of work. It wasn’t being his oldest daughter. Her greater burden, however, was being the older sister of Rachel.
Everybody noticed Rachel. And why not? the Bible bluntly says she “was shapely and beautiful” (Gen 29:17); we can be sure family members, neighbors, and adolescent men raved nonstop about her. Meanwhile, poor Leah is described only as having “ordinary eyes.” The idea is that next to her head-turning sister, Leah was all but invisible.
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.
The Gospel writer Luke precedes his account of Jesus’ birth with that of a lesser (though still prominent) figure in Jewish prophecy: the forerunner who would prepare the way for the Messiah and announce his arrival.
The circumstance of this forerunner’s birth were memorable. His mother, Elizabeth, was a relative of Jesus’ mother, Mary. His father, Zechariah, served as a priest in the temple. One day the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah to announce that he and his wife would have a son. When Zechariah asked how that could be possible, since he and Elizabeth were well past the age when most people become parents, Gabriel told him he would be mute until his son was born because of his unbelief (Luke 1:5-20).
Shortly after Bathsheba’s son Solomon succeeded his father David, as king of Israel, God appeared to him in a dream. In it, thing Solomon requested-wealth, long life, revenge on his enemies-God would grant him.
And Solomon replied, “You have shown great and faithful love to Your servant, my father David, because he walked before You in faithfulness, righteousness, and integrity. You have continued this great and faithful love for him by giving him a son to sit on his throne, as it is today. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SOLOMON: GET WISDOM)→
The Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego runs parallel to that Daniel. Like the prophet of lions’ den fame, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Jewish captives living in Babylon. Like Daniel, they earned positions as wise and trustworthy advisers of the king of Babylon. And like him, they inspired envy and enmity among their Babylonian counterparts in the king’s government. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO: INTO THE FIRE)→
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those words would have made a good motto for Israel during its period of the judges. The seemingly endless cycle in which the Israelites found themselves went like this: The people of Israel would rebel against God, so God would allow their enemies often the Philistines-to mistreat them. After serval decades of oppression, the Israelites would call out to God for help. Then God would send a judge-a military leader-to deliver them from their enemies. One of the last of these judges was Samson. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SAMSON: A STRONG AND WEAK MAN)→
For all we know, Thomas may have been the boldest of Jesus 12 disciples-a paragon of courageous service and unshakable loyalty. The New Testament offers evidence to support the notion. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, some of the disciples were reluctant to return to Judea, where an attempt had been made of Jesus life. Thomas was the one who finally said, “Let’s go so that we may die with Him” (John 11:16) Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE “THOMAS: BELIEF INTERRUPTED”→
Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, traveled from his home area to bring his daughter Zipporah and her two sons back to Moses. After a joyful meeting, Moses told Jethro all that God had done to Egypt’s pharaoh and for Israel. Jethro praised God and recognized that He was above all other gods. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE “JETHRO: WISE FATHER-IN-LAW”→