On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus comes to the oasis town of Jericho, a thriving city known for its year-round fruits and vegetables. He has about another 20 miles to go, a full day’s walk. Zacchaeus lives in this crossroads town near what is now Israel’s eastern border, a few miles from the Jordan River. He’s in charge of collecting taxes throughout the region, including trolls for produce and other goods shuttled in or out of the city.Continue reading THE TAX MAN UP A TREE
Clothes were not easy to come by for most people and were very costly. The poor had only the clothes they stood up in. It was therefore realistic to trade a person for a pair of shoes (Amos 2:6), and it was quite revolutionary for John Baptist to tell people to give away spare coats (Luke 3:11). It is therefore interesting to see that in their codification of the law in the firstContinue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (BASIC CLOTHING)
The grape juice was allowed to stand and ferment in the collecting vessels for about six weeks. A sludge known as lees formed at the bottom of the vessels. The wine was then tipped up gently into jars without disturbing the sediment (Jer 48:11). The jars were sealed with clay, but there was a small hole by the handle that allowed the gases released during the remaining fermentation to escape. When the process was complete, the hole was sealed with a blob of wet clay and the owner’s name or seal was put on the clay. It was possible to put the wine in wineskins (goatskin bottles), but if the gases, then it would burst and the wine would be lost. This is the point of Jesus’ illustration in Matthew 9:17.Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (WINE-MAKING)
Because most people in the ancient world constantly lived on the edge of starvation, obesity was neither an option nor, for most, something to be avoided. Only the rich could afford the luxury of being fat, and for this reason fatness became a mark of status and wealth.Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (OBESITY)
Most other Bible prophets lived before God punished the Jews by exiling them to Assyria and Babylon, in what is now Iraq. So those earlier prophets warned the Jews where they were headed if they didn’t stop sinning. But even those prophets offered hope, promising that God would bring the Jews home one day.Continue reading BIBLE BOOK OF THE DAY (ZECHARIAH)
Lot thought he made a good choice when he moved to Sodom. He and his uncle Abraham agreed to separate to their huge flocks wouldn’t have to compete for pasture and water. Lot chose the fertile plains of the Jordan River valley.Continue reading LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT SODOM
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.Continue reading SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY (MATTHEW 19:23-30)
Some Christians actually preach this idea, and many people become disillusioned when their experience turns painful. The only people who can claim to live trouble-free are those who redefine “trouble” into a word that describes absolutely nothing.Continue reading WILL GOD ELIMNATE ALL TROUBLE FROM OUR LIVES?
God’s concern for the poor is also demonstrated in this law (see notes on Deuteronomy 24:10-11 and Deuteronomy 24:12-13).Continue reading BIBLE CUSTOMS AND CURIOSITIES (OLIVES FOR THE POOR)
The request that God speed His intervention is not a complaint about slowness so much as a free expression of the writer’s acute sense of need. Everywhere the Bible encourages believers to speak openly with God about feelings, moods, and attitudes. The God of the Bible is not likeContinue reading IS IT ALL RIGHT TO ASK GOD TO “SPEED IT UP”?