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What are Nations?

What are Nations?

Isaiah 55:4, 5

Excerpt


[Nations are] groups formed on the basis of political or social interests or on kinship. Generally, the word “nations” implies peoples of the world other than the Hebrews, although it can also include the Jews.


Elwell, Walter A., and Philip Wesley Comfort. Tyndale Bible dictionary 2001 : 937. Print. Tyndale Reference Library.

Origins of the Samaritans

Origins of the Samaritans

John 4:1–45
Excerpt


Samaritan [is] in the OTan ethnic term for the residents of the district of Samaria. The term appears only once (2 Kings 17:29) in the account of the settlement of Mesopotamian colonists in the region by the Assyrians, in the comment that these foreign people made gods of their own which they placed ‘in the shrines of the high places which the Samaritans had made.’ In the NT, however, the term is used exclusively for the members of a particular ethno-religious community based in the area, living for the most part around Mt. Gerizim (John 4:1-42) but residing also in their own villages throughout the region (Matt. 10:5; Luke 9:52), who might be encountered in villages neighboring on Samaria (Luke 17:11-19) or even on the roadway betweenJerusalem and Jericho (Luke 10:29-37).

Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible dictionary 1985 : 898. Print.

Through Love Serve One Another

Through Love Serve One Another

Excerpt


In verse 1 Paul spoke of the Christian’s freedom and warned against the danger of lapsing into slavery. Here the apostle again reminded believers of their freedom in Christ and warned against its being converted into license. Specifically, he charged the Galatians not to use their liberty as “a base of operation” for sin to gain a foothold. Rather than liberty being used for lust, the real goal should be love. Rather than being in bondage to the Law or to the sinful nature, the Galatians were to be in bondage to one another.(“Sinful nature” is an appropriate trans. of the Gr. sarx, used by Paul in that sense seven times in Gal. 5:13, 16-17 [thrice], 19, 24; 6:8.)

Having discouraged two forms of slavery as burdensome and terrible, he commended another form that was beneficial—a slavery of mutual love. In support, Paul quoted Leviticus 19:18 and stated that the entire Law was summarized in this single command to love their neighbors. Jesus affirmed th…

Satan Denies Job’s Goodness

Satan Denies Job’s Goodness

‎Job’s prosperity seemed to suggest that he was especially favored of Heaven for his goodness. So indeed he was. Having described his happy condition, the Book of Job turns next to a remarkable scene which is represented as occurring in the presence of God himself. ‎The “sons of God,” all the powers and spirits of Heaven, “came to present themselves before the Lord.” Among them came Satan, or as he is called in the Hebrew, “the Adversary.” This mocking “spirit that denies” was questioned by the Lord as to where he had been. Satan said he came “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” The Lord asked if he had noted Job? There was no other man, declared the Lord, so perfect and so upright. ‎Satan answered with open malice that it was a wise thing for Job to be good since therefore the Lord had “made a hedge about him, and about his house,” so that no evil could reach the man. Job had seen that goodness brought prosperity. “But…

Thorny Burnet (shrub)

Thorny Burnet (shrub)

‎In the Bible, various thorny plants are simply rendered as “thorns.” One of those plants (in Hebrew “sir”) is the Thorny Burnet (Sarcopoterium spinosum), a shrub that can reach a height of 50 cm. The outer branches end in sharp thorns. Perhaps Jesus’ crown of thorns was made from the Thorny Burnet, but similar other plants are also possible. ‎Eccles 7:6; Isa 34:13; Hos 2:6; Nah 1:10; Matt 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:5

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

Jesus Enters Jerusalem

Excerpt


Bethphage (v. 1) and Bethany (v. 17) were two small villages just to the east of Jerusalem on or near the slopes of the large hill, known as the Mount of Olives, which dominated the skyline of that side of town. Matthew includes the place names to remind his readers how near Jesus is to Jerusalem and perhaps also to evoke the messianic associations of the Mount of Olives (Zech14:4; see further under 24:3). Jesus is consciously making preparations to enter Jerusalem after the fashion of Zech 9:9, with echoes of Isa 62:11. Zechariah’s prophecy was widely interpreted in rabbinic literature as messianic (e.g., Gen. Rab. 98.9; b. Sanh 98a, 99a; Qoh. Rab. 1.9). As again later with their preparation for the Passover (26:18), it is not clear whether the disciples’ rendezvous stems from Jesus’ prior arrangements or from his supernatural insight. “The Lord” is, more literally, their Lord/Master and also suggests a double entendre. The disciples will act as if they a…

Peppermint Flower

Peppermint Flower

‎Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a hybrid of watermint and spearmint, both of which grow wild in Palestine. As a hybrid, peppermint is usually sterile, producing no seeds but propagating by its roots. A common garden plant in Jesus’ day, it was one of the main mint species used for medicine and in cooking. ‎Matt 23:23, Luke 11:42 ‎Image by H. Zell, from Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Connect the Testaments

June 24: It’s Simple
Nehemiah 7:66–8:18; 1 John 5:6–12; Psalm 110:1–7

I tend to complicate matters. Determined to understand the nuances of a problem, I spend more time constructing a solution than I need to. Often, delaying a simple solution is my way of avoiding action that requires me to be courageous, intentional, or perhaps admit I’m wrong.
John’s first letter addresses a complication of the gospel message. False teachers were causing division in the community by spreading incorrect doctrines about Christ’s humanity and divinity. Without understanding that Christ is both man and God, some people in the community were in danger of diminishing Christ’s saving work and confusing the gospel. John spends the greater portion of the letter guiding his readers through the murky doctrines the false teachers had introduced.
However, John’s climactic point at the close of his letter is far from complex. First John 5:11–12 contains a statement about a belief that is both simple and decisive: …

Morning and Evening

Morning, June 24Go To Evening Reading

         “A certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” —Luke 11:27, 28
It is fondly imagined by some that it must have involved very special privileges to have been the mother of our Lord because they supposed that she had the benefit of looking into his very heart in a way in which we cannot hope to do. There may be an appearance of plausibility in the supposition, but not much. We do not know that Mary knew more than others; what she did know she did well to lay up in her heart; but she does not appear from anything we read in the Evangelists to have been a better-instructed believer than any other of Christ’s disciples. All that she knew we also may discover. Do you wonder that we should say so? Here is a text to prove it: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fe…

My Utmost for His Highest

June 24th
Reconciling one’s self to the fact of sin


This is your hour and the power of darkness. Luke 22:53.

It is not being reconciled to the fact of sin that produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the nobility of human nature, but there is something in human nature which will laugh in the face of every ideal you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is vice and self-seeking, something downright spiteful and wrong in human beings, instead of reconciling yourself to it when it strikes your life, you will compromise with it and say it is of no use to battle against it. Have you made allowance for this hour and the power of darkness, or do you take a recognition of yourself that misses out sin? In your bodily relationships and friendships do you reconcile yourself to the fact of sin? If not, you will be caught round the next corner and you will compromise with it. If you reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger at once—‘Yes, I s…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

June 24

  Thy heart is not right in the sight of God
Acts 8:21
The worst of all mockeries is a religion that leaves the heart unchanged: a religion that has everything but the love of Christ enshrined in the soul.

F. Whitfield

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