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Showing posts from November 16, 2015

The Symbol of Fire

The Symbol of Fire
Exodus 3:2Ex. 3:4–10. In this confrontation with Moses, God commissioned him to deliver His people from Egypt (v. Ex. 3:10). Aware that it was God who was calling him, Moses responded, Here I am. The same response was given God by Abraham (Gen. 22:11), Jacob (Gen. 46:2), and Samuel (1 Sam. 3:4). God told Moses to remove his sandals (cf. Josh. 5:15) in a gesture of worship. The ground was holy not by its nature but because of God’s presence. When the LORD identified Himself to Moses as the God of his ancestors (Abraham … Isaac … and … Jacob; cf. Ex. 3:15–16; Ex. 4:5) Moses covered his face, fearful of looking at God (cf. comments on Ex. 33:11, Ex. 33:20; John 1:18).
God then told Moses He was aware of the plight of His people (Ex. 3:7, Ex. 3:9; cf. Ex. 2:24) and that He planned to rescue them from Egypt. The result of His concern is captured in the words I have come down (Ex. 3:8), an idiom describing divine intervention. God would (a) deliver them from Egypt and (b)…

Job on the Ash Heap

Job on the Ash Heap
Job on the ash heap
Reflective Questioning. Job sometimes bluntly challenges conventional wisdom. CompareJob 21:17–19 to Ecclesiastes 9:2–3.
Apocalyptic. Job has some features in common with books like Daniel and Revelation. The earthly struggle is part of a heavenly conflict between God and Satan (Job 1–2). Human foes tempt the believer to abandon his perseverance (Job’s wife and three friends). But faithful endurance leads to triumph and blessings (Job 42).
The Book of Job draws on many types of literature to set forth its message, but it does not belong to any one of these categories. It must be interpreted as unique both in literary type and message. Job is not a conventional book.
Date and Authorship No one knows when or by whom Job was written. Some have suggested it was written in the Babylonian exile, but the book does not allude to that or any event from Israel’s history. It does often allude to other biblical passages, especially Genesis 1–3 and certain p…

Herod’s Aqueduct, Caesarea

Herod’s Aqueduct, Caesarea
‎An aqueduct built by Herod the Great to carry water from springs below Mount Carmel to Caesarea, 10 miles (16 km) away.

Acrocorinth Wall

Acrocorinth Wall

Nazareth: Church of the Annunciation

Nazareth: Church of the Annunciation
‎Nazareth. At the entrance to the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation—the Church of St. Gabriel, built in 1750 over the remains of three earlier churches. The first one was built in the Crusader period and its remains are in the crypt. The source of Mary’s Well is also there, connected by an underground channel to Mary’s Well a few hundred meters away. According to tradition, the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary when she was drawing water from the well and told her that she was to become a mother.

Axe idol

Axe idol ‎During excavations in Hazor, a hoard with metal objects were found under the floor of a house dating back to the 11th or 10th century BCE. Among these artifacts was a figurine representing an idol. It had a head of an ax attached around its waist. However, originally the figurine was not part of the ax, but was added later. ‎Lev 19:4; Lev. 26:1; Deut 12:3; 1 Kings 11:5; 2 Kings 17:12

Scythian Gold Pectoral

Scythian Gold Pectoral

‎The Scythians (Col 3:11) buried a high-status individual in a tumulus (mound grave). This gold pectoral or breastpiece, from a fourth-century B.C. royal tumulus in today’s Ukraine, depicts people with domestic animals, interspersed with fantastic portrayals of griffins dismembering horses. While its full interpretation is obscure, it probably was intended as an amulet to protect the deceased in the afterlife. It is thus similar to the Hebrew high priest’s breastpiece in that both had a spiritual function but differs in that it served no known priestly or mediatorial purpose. ‎Exod 28:15–30,Exod 39:8–21, Col 3:11
‎Image by user Yakudza, from Wikimedia Commons. License: Public Domain

Rod and Staff

Rod and Staff
Psalm 23:4
שֵׁבֶט (šēbeṭ). Rod, staff, scepter, tribe. This noun commonly denotes a rod. It was used for beating cumin (Isa 28:27), as a weapon (II Sam 23:21), and as a shepherd’s implement either to muster or count sheep (Lev 27:32; Ezk 20:37), or to protect them (Ps 23:4; Mic 7:14). In Ps 23:4 it is used metaphorically of the Lord’s protection of his servant as he walks in paths of righteousness.
The rod was also used as an instrument for either remedial or penal punishment. As a corrective instrument it was used for a slave (Ex 21:20), a fool (Prov 10:13; Pr.26:3), and a son (Prov 13:24; Pr. 22:15;Pr. 23:13–14; Pr. 29:15). In Prov it is the symbol of discipline, and failure to use the preventive discipline of verbal rebuke and the corrective discipline of physical punishment will end in the child’s death. Metaphorically, the Lord used Assyria as his instrument to correct Israel (Isa 10:15) and the nations to correct his wayward king (II Sam 7:14). It is also used metap…

Jerusalem: Shrine of the Book—Interior

Jerusalem: Shrine of the Book—Interior ‎ A display case in the shape of a Torah (Biblical) Scroll, its handle rising towards the source of light, in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Qumran Scrolls are displayed in the Shrine along with other finds from the Bar Kochba period. The Scrolls, written in Hebrew and Aramaic, include prophesies, hypotheses about the coming of the Messiah and interpretations of sacred texts. They cast light on theological thought in Judea in the 1st century A.D. as represented by the members of the Judean Desert sect.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

November 16

  Not I, but Christ liveth in me
Gal. 2:20
The wonder of the life in Jesus is this—and you will find it so, and you have found it so, if you have ever taken your New Testament and tried to make it the rule of your daily life: that there is not a single action that you are called upon to do of which you need be—of which you will be—in any serious doubt for ten minutes as to what Jesus Christ, if He were here, (Jesus Christ being here) would have you do under those circumstances and with the material upon which you are called to act. The soul that takes in Jesus’ word, the soul that through the words of Jesus enters into the very person of Jesus, the soul that knows Him as its daily presence and its daily law—it never hesitates.

Phillips Brooks

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

My Utmost for His Highest

November 16th
Still human!


Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31.

The great marvel of the Incarnation slips into ordinary childhood’s life; the great marvel of the Transfiguration vanishes in the devil-possessed valley; the glory of the Resurrection descends into a breakfast on the sea-shore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.

The tendency is to look for the marvellous in our experience; we mistake the sense of the heroic for being heroes. It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want medieval haloes, we want something that will make people say—‘What a wonderful man of prayer he is!’‘What a pious, devoted woman she is!’ If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of …

Connect the Testaments

November 16: I (Don’t) Want to Hear It
1 Kings 22:1–53; Mark 12:35–13:23; Proverbs 5:11–23

My attempts to find guidance are often flawed. I long for honest appraisal of my actions, but I can sometimes be sneaky about choosing my appraiser. When those who know me present a real, raw look at my life and offer hard, helping words, I can become defensive and angry. I might pick a fresh voice instead—someone who doesn’t know my weaknesses and tendencies. “They’re not biased,” I tell myself.

When Ahab and Jehoshaphat combine forces to recapture Ramoth-gilead from the Syrians, they want divine assurance. However, they aren’t necessarily willing to receive divine direction. Ahab, king of Israel, inquires of his 400 prophets, and they assure him of victory. Jehoshaphat isn’t convinced, so he asks for “a prophet of Yahweh.”

Ahab’s response isn’t so far from my own: “Then the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man to inquire from Yahweh, but I despise him, for he never prophe…

My Utmost for His Highest

November 16th
Still human!


Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10:31.

The great marvel of the Incarnation slips into ordinary childhood’s life; the great marvel of the Transfiguration vanishes in the devil-possessed valley; the glory of the Resurrection descends into a breakfast on the sea-shore. This is not an anticlimax, but a great revelation of God.

The tendency is to look for the marvellous in our experience; we mistake the sense of the heroic for being heroes. It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want medieval haloes, we want something that will make people say—‘What a wonderful man of prayer he is!’ ‘What a pious, devoted woman she is!’ If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of…