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Adam and Eve’s Family outside the Garden

Adam and Eve’s Family outside the Garden
Excerpt


Whereas Chaps. 2–3 recount the Life of Adam and Eve inside the garden, Chap. 4 will relate a new episode in the ongoing story of the first couple’sexperience—but now outside the garden.237 the abrupt announcement of Cain and Abel’s birth (vv. 1–2) is told so as to show the linkage between Chap.3’s intimations of continued life and prosperity (3:15–16, 20) and the beginning realization of that hope despite human sin in the garden. Sadly, the optimism of the narrative turns to the sordid account of sin’s continuing encroachment by the murder of Abel at the hands of his elder brother (vv. 3–16). Remarkably, however, the grace of God toward Cain enables Adam’s firstborn to survive and later father an impressive lineage whose members are remembered for notable cultural achievements. Unfortunately these achievements were overshadowed by their wicked accomplishments (vv. 17–24). The “tôlĕdôt of the heavens and earth” (2:4–4:26) concludes on the…

The Serpent

The Serpent
Genesis 3:1

Excerpt


Genesis 3:1 is connected with 2:25 by a Hebrew wordplay: Adam and Eve were “naked” (‘ărûmmîm); and the serpent was more crafty (‘ārûm, “shrewd”) than all. Their nakedness represented the fact that they were oblivious to evil, not knowing where the traps lay, whereas Satan did and would use his craftiness to take advantage of their integrity. That quality of shrewdness or subtleness is not evil in itself (indeed, one of the purposes of the Bible is to make believers so, according to Prov. 1:4, where ‘ārmâh, shrewdness, is trans. “prudence”). But it was used here for an evil purpose.


Ross, Allen P. “Genesis.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 32. Print.

Keep Disciples From the Evil One

Keep Disciples From the Evil One
Excerpt


Jesus’ intercession for the disciples continued with a reminder of (a) their value and (b) their coming danger. They were valuable because they had received the Word of God: I have given them Your Word (cf.“I gave them the words You gave Me,” v. 8). They were in danger because the satanic worldsystem hated them. It hated them because they are not a part of it. As believers share Jesus Christ, “Everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does” (1 John2:16) loses its attractiveness.


Blum, Edwin A. “John.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 332. Print.

God’s Grace is the Model for Forgiveness

God’s Grace is the Model for Forgiveness
Excerpt


Selling the man into slavery would recover virtually none of the loss, though it might abate some of the king’s anger: the most expensive slave recorded would sell for only a talent, the average being one-twentieth to one-fifth of that (Jeremias 1972:211). Jewish custom prohibited the sale of women and children, but Jesus’ hearers recognized that a pagan king wouldn’t care about such just technicalities (comparem. Soṭa 3:8; t. Soṭa 2:9; Jeremias 1972:180, 211; Derrett 1970:38; Via 1967:138–39). In all, the king was bound to lose at least 9,999 talents (as much as 99,990,000 days’ wages, or roughly 275,000 years’ wages for an average worker) despite the sale. Perhaps this was one reason the king canceled the debt at the pitiable sight of the fool offering to pay it all back.*


Keener, Craig S. Matthew. Vol. 1. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997. Print. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series.

Spiritual Life for Nathanael

Spiritual Life for Nathanael
Excerpt


“I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” This is one of the great cryptic statements of the New Testament. For centuries men have tried to decipher the symbolism of the fig tree. In some Scripture passages it is a symbol for peace. In many others it is a symbol for a home. Or it could be taken literally and just mean a fig tree. Exactly what it represents is not terribly important, but we will consider it as a fig tree. What is important is that Nathanael had a religious experience that no one but Jesus knew about. Maybe Nathanael had been reading the story of Jacob’s ladder. Maybe he had been contemplating being baptized by John the Baptist. Maybe he was thinking about the Messiah. Maybe he had prayed that the Messiah would reveal himself to him. The point is, Nathanael had had a spiritual experience under a fig tree and Jesus was saying, “I know about the experience you had that you shared only with God.” Jesus…

“They Will Serve God on This Mountain”

“They Will Serve God on This Mountain”
Exodus 3:12

Excerpt


The verb תַּעַבְדוּן (ta’avdun, “you will serve”) is one of the foremost words for worship in the Torah. Keeping the commandments and serving Yahweh usually sum up the life of faith; the true worshiper seeks to obey him. The highest title anyone can have in the OT is “the servant of Yahweh.” The verb here could be rendered interpretative as “worship,” but it is better to keep it to the basic idea of serving because that emphasizes an important aspect of worship, and it highlights the change from Israel’s serving Egypt, which has been prominent in the earlier chapters. The words “and they” are supplied to clarify for English readers that the subject of the verb is plural (Moses and the people), unlike the other second person forms in vv. 10 and 12, which are singular. More


Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2005. Print.

Seraph, Seraphim

Seraph, Seraphim
Isaiah 6:2–6

Excerpt


Angelic beings mentioned only twice in the Bible, both occurring in the same chapter of Isaiah (Is 6:2, 6). The word seraphim is plural in number, but it is impossible to say from Isaiah’s vision just how many he saw. The prophet spoke of them as though they were quite familiar spiritual beings, which seems a little curious since they are not mentioned elsewhere.

Isaiah described each seraph as having six wings: two shielded the face, two covered the feet, and the remaining pair enabled the seraph to fly. The most that can be said from the available evidence is that they were exalted spiritual entities who were occupied constantly in the praise and worship of God. Most probably the seraphim were an order of celestial beings comparable in nature to the cherubim and engaged in a somewhat similar form of service around the divine throne. More


Elwell, Walter A., and Philip Wesley Comfort. Tyndale Bible dictionary 2001 : 1179. Print. Tyndale Reference Libr…

Connect the Testaments

February 17: Finding Sustain-ment
Exodus 39:1–40:38; John 6:52–71;Song of Solomon 5:5–9

Following Jesus isn’t like developing a crisis-aversion system. So often, it’s tempting to treat our faith in this way—relying on Him when things get tough or when others expect us to do so. But He wants us to rely on Him continually.

After Jesus miraculously fed the crowds, He told them that He was the bread of life. But they were fickle. They wanted evidence—another sign. Instead of feeding their transient desires, Jesus delivered hard teaching: “The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me and I in him” (John 6:54–56).

For the Jews, this teaching would have been shocking and strange—drinking blood was forbidden by Old Testament law, and He was speaking about His own body. They followed Jesus because they wanted a sign, a pro…

Morning and Evening

Morning, February 17      Go To Evening Reading
“Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi.”           — Genesis 25:11
Hagar had once found deliverance there and Ishmael had drank from the water so graciously revealed by the God who liveth and seeth the sons of men; but this was a merely casual visit, such as world-lings pay to the Lord in times of need, when it serves their turn. They cry to him in trouble, but forsake him in prosperity. Isaac dwelt there, and made the well of the living and all-seeing God his constant source of supply. The usual tenor of a man’s life, the dwelling of his soul, is the true test of his state. Perhaps the providential visitation experienced by Hagar struck Isaac’s mind, and led him to revere the place; its mystical name endeared it to him; his frequent musings by its brim at eventide made him familiar with the well; his meeting Rebecca there had made his spirit feel at home near the spot; but best of all, the fact that he there enjoyed fellowship with the livi…

My Utmost for His Highest

February 17th
The initiative against depression


Arise and eat. 1 Kings 19:5.

The angel did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable; he told Elijah to do the most ordinary thing, viz., to get up and eat. If we were never depressed we should not be alive; it is the nature of a crystal never to be depressed. A human being is capable of depression, otherwise there would be no capacity for exaltation. There are things that are calculated to depress, things that are of the nature of death; and in taking an estimate of yourself, always take into account the capacity for depression.

When the Spirit of God comes He does not give us visions; He tells us to do the most ordinary things conceivable. Depression is apt to turn us away from the ordinary commonplace things of God’s creation, but whenever God comes, the inspiration is to do the most natural simple things—the things we would never have imagined God was in, and as we do them we find He is th…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

February 17

  I will help thee, saith the Lord
  Isa. 41:14
O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the united Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The eternal God is thine helper!

Spurgeon

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