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Showing posts from September 24, 2015




The worst has happened. Jerusalem is in ruins. God’s chosen people, the Jews, have lost their city and their land. Now they may also lose their nation and their faith.
The Lamentations are funeral songs for the way of life and the people that have been lost. The songs accept that this disaster is God’s punishment, and they look to him as their only help and hope.
The Lamentations give a vivid picture of a desperate situation. All the people of Jerusalem and surrounding Judea have been killed, captured or ruined. Solomon’s temple has been torn down. The city’s great buildings and fine houses have been reduced to rubble.
The poems admit that this destruction is well-deserved and long overdue. God has punished his people for their sins, by letting their enemies conquer them. But God is also merciful. His people dare to hope and pray that he will accept their repentance and restore them.

Knowles, Andrew. The Bible Guide. 1st Augsburg books ed. Minneapolis, MN:…

Depictions of Dogs in the Beni Hasan Tombs

Depictions of Dogs in the Beni Hasan Tombs
Dogs also had a mixed profile in Semitic culture. Although the dog was associated with Gula, a Mesopotamian goddess of healing, and may have been a protagonist in restorative and apotropaic rites, there is a great deal of textual evidence that dogs were scorned as curs, the bearers of uncleanness, and harbingers of misfortune (see the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary, 8:68–73, under kalbu). The dog almost always has negative connotations in the biblical text (e.g., Exod 22:31, 1 Kgs 21:23, Qoh 9:4). The dog figured prominently in a Greek legend about the discovery of the dye for which Phoenicia was reknown. When Melqart, king and deity of Tyre, was walking along the beach with the nymph Tyros, their dog bit into a large whelk that stained its mouth purple. Melqart immediately seized upon dyeing cloth with the substance and a flourishing industry was born (McGovern 1990). Although this particular legend is Greek, it must have had wide currency, be…

Tunnel, Smyrna

Tunnel, Smyrna
‎A subterranean passage in the Roman era ruins at Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey).

Malachi Pleads with the Heedless

Malachi Pleads with the Heedless
‎Malachi the last of the prophets in the arrangement of the Old Testament, and also, with the possible exception of Joel, the last in time, is a figure only dimly visible. He is himself a shadowy spiritual messenger such as his book promises shall be sent from God. His very name is in dispute, for “Malachi” is perhaps but a general word meaning “messenger.” The writer of the book was a contemporary of Ezra and Nehemiah, preaching somewhere about the year 450 B. C. He is more modern in tone than the other prophets, and more logical. He introduces dialectic methods, arguing with his people by means of question and response. Most of his brief book is devoted to matters of ritual observance, the priestly laws of the priestly government which ruled the Jerusalem of his day.
‎Yet despite these characteristics Malachi is not less spiritual than his predecessors, not less prophetic of vision, nor less high of faith. He lived in an age of discouragement. The r…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

September 24
  And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?
  Gen. 18:17
Abraham, in communion with God, knew long before Lot, in Sodom, of the destruction of that city. Oh, for more communion!


Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.

Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan

September 24: Speaking the Truth with Love
Zechariah 3:1–5:11; Acts 21:27–22:21;Job 29:1–12

Read today’s headlines and you might conclude that Christian boldness is a thin disguise for defensiveness, anger, and demeaning behavior. Believers who feel voiceless in their society sometimes respond by becoming adamant “defenders of the faith” in ways that can be destructive. In an age of instant electronic communication, our potential for good or harm has increased exponentially. But if we lay claim to special rights as Christians, we have forgotten that we’re supposed to be like Jesus.
We need wisdom and spiritual maturity to share our faith with love. Paul serves as a model for using influence in a Christ-like way. In Acts 21–22, Paul encountered an angry Jewish mob that wanted him dead. He could have responded to the crowd self-righteously, looking down on them from his enlightened position. Instead, Paul confessed that he was once a persecutor of “this Way” (Acts 22:4). He could have us…

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year

September 24th
The “go” of preparation

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there thou rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.Matthew 5:23, 24.
It is easy to imagine that we shall get to a place where we are complete and ready, but preparation is not suddenly accomplished, it is a process steadily maintained. It is dangerous to get into a settled state of experience. It is preparation and preparation.
The sense of sacrifice appeals readily to a young Christian. Humanly speaking, the one thing that attracts to Jesus Christ is our sense of the heroic, and the scrutiny of Our Lord’s words suddenly brings this tide of enthusiasm to the test.“First be reconciled to thy brother.” The“go” of preparation is to let the word of God scrutinize. The sense of heroic sacrifice is not good enough. The thing the Holy Spirit is detecting in you is the…

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.

Morning, September 24      Go To Evening Reading

         “For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.”
         — Ezra 8:22

A convoy on many accounts would have been desirable for the pilgrim band, but a holy shame-facedness would not allow Ezra to seek one. He feared lest the heathen king should think his professions of faith in God to be mere hypocrisy, or imagine that the God of Israel was not able to preserve his own worshippers. He could not bring his mind to lean on an arm of flesh in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the caravan set out with no visible protection, guarded by him who is the sword and shield of his people. It is to be feared that few believers feel this holy jealousy for God; even those who in a measure walk …