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Seventy Times Seven

Seventy Times Seven

Excerpt


It was a settled rule of Rabbinism that forgiveness should not be extended more than three times. Even so, the practice was terribly different. The Talmud relates, without blame, the conduct of a rabbi who would not forgive a very small slight of his dignity, though asked by the offender for thirteen successive years, and that on the day of atonement; the reason being that the offended rabbi had learned by a dream that his offending brother would attain the highest dignity; whereupon he feigned himself irreconcilable, to force the other to migrate from Palestine to Babylon, where, unenvied by him, he might occupy the chief place (Edersheim). It must, therefore, have seemed to Peter a stretch of charity to extend forgiveness from three to seven times. Christ is not specifying numbers of times greater than the limit of seven. He means that there is to be no limit. “Forgiveness is qualitative, not quantitative.”


Vincent, Marvin Richardson. Word Studies in the Ne…

Saul Again Attacks David

Saul Again Attacks David

‎No Permanent peace between Saul and David was possible, though they knew it not; for God had wholly abandoned the one because of his evil heart, and had chosen the other to succeed to Israel’s throne. Yet another time the vigorous young general drew the attention of the entire country by bold exploits against the Philistines; and yet another time the king’s better mood was shaken by that “evil spirit from the Lord.” ‎David was playing on the harp for the king, as aforetime, in the palace; and Saul rushed upon the musician with his javelin seeking to thrust him through, to pin him to the wall. “But he slipped away out of Saul’s presence, and he smote javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.” That was the final break between the two men. Never again did “the sweet musician” seat himself with his harp in the presence of the crazed and jealous king.

Entrance to Jacob’s Well, and the Plain of Mukhna, looking Southeast, Palestine

Entrance to Jacob’s Well, and the Plain of Mukhna, looking Southeast, Palestine

Masada: Ruins of Fortress

Masada: Ruins of Fortress

‎The ruins of the southern fortress at Masada seen from the air at the very edge of the bare cliff, 450 meters above the Dead Sea, whose western shore is seen in the background. The Hasmoneans built the fortress here because of its geographical location, and Herod later continued and fortified it even more for the same reason. The dramatic story of Masada, which was adopted by the Zionist movement in the 30s as a symbol of heroism and self-sacrifice, appears in Flavius’ book. In the year 73 A.D., after withstanding a siege for three years, led by El’azar ben Yair, 960 zealots committed suicide together to avoid being taken into captivity by the Romans. Thus ended the last battle of the zealots—followed by total destruction.

Were the Disciples Drunk?

Were the Disciples Drunk?

Acts 2:14–15

Excerpt


To “lift up one’s voice” (literally in the Greek) may merely mean “to begin to speak in a loud voice.” In a loud voice is more often rendered simply as “to speak loudly to” or “to shout to.”

It is interesting that the Greek verb which Luke has chosen for speak is one which places emphasis on the high quality and articulate nature of the words spoken (see2.4). The word occurs here, following the charge of drunkenness, and in 26.25 after the charge of madness.


Newman, Barclay Moon, and Eugene Albert Nida. A Handbook on the Acts of the Apostles. New York: United Bible Societies, 1972. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem

‎A section of Via Dolorosa, the traditional route by which Jesus carried His cross to Calvary.

Bronze Helmet from Crete

Bronze Helmet from Crete

‎Captured in a raid or in battle, this seventh century B.C. bronze helmet ended up in an armor cache dedicated to a deity in south central Crete. The design on each side of the helmet features two winged youths, each grasping one of two intertwined snakes. Helmet styles varied widely even within a given culture, and distinct cultures showed extreme differences. This helmet, probably padded by a fabric cap, would have protected the wearer’s cranium, the back of his neck, and his forehead, cheeks, and chin. ‎1 Sam 17:5, 38, 2 Chr 26:14, Ps 60:7, Isa 59:17, Jer 46:4, Ezek 23:24, Ezek 38:5, Eph 6:17, 1 Thess 5:8 ‎Image courtesy Foto Ad Meskens, from Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Connect the Testaments

July 4: Making Distinctions
1 Samuel 8:1–9:27; James 2:1–13; Psalm 119:49–64

We’re often entranced by those who have what we don’t—riches, popularity, position, and power. We want to befriend cool moms, hipsters with ironic mustaches, and supervisors who can get us to the next step on the corporate ladder. We relate to them differently, even though we know we shouldn’t.
Our problem is one of perception. In his letter, James reprimands members of the early church community who were displaying partiality by honoring the rich and overlooking the poor. James shows them that they need to reset their standards because making distinctions in this way doesn’t reflect God’s nature, and it doesn’t reflect the grace He extends to us: “Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?” (Jas 2:5).
We shouldn’t act with partiality because God didn’t deal with us in that way. We don’t deserve God’s love, yet He, in His …

Connect the Testaments

July 2: Conflict and Certainty
1 Samuel 2:22–4:22; James 1:9–18; Psalm 119:17–32

Conflict drives fiction and riveting movies, but if we had it our way, we’d live stable stress-free lives. We might crave the excitement or change of a vacation, but we rarely welcome an unexpected complication. So when James says to “count it all joy … when you meet trials of various kinds” (Jas 1:2), we are tempted to dismiss his perspective as something that works on paper but should not disrupt our real lives.
James shows us how to internalize a faithful response to unwelcome conflict. He starts by describing a negative reaction: When difficult times come, we might be like the person who prays and then doubts that God will provide him with wisdom for the situation. This person complicates the conflict by internalizing it with uncertainty and doubt. He is “like the surf of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed about” (Jas 1:6).
The irony is that, although we only create more conflict when we doubt, we …

Morning and Evening

Morning, July 4Go To Evening Reading

         “Sanctify them through thy truth.” —John 17:17
Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God infuses into the man that new living principle by which he becomes “a new creature” in Christ Jesus. This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two ways—mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept under; and vivification, by which the life which God has put within us is made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. This is carried on every day in what is called “perseverance,” by which the Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state, and is made to abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or comes to perfection, in “glory,” when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on high. But while the Spirit of God is thus the author of sanctification, yet there is a visible agency em…

My Utmost for His Highest

July 4th

One of God’s great don’ts



Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil-doing. Psalm 37:8 (R.V.).

Fretting means getting out at elbows mentally or spiritually. It is one thing to say ‘Fret not,’ but a very different thing to have such a disposition that you find yourself able not to fret. It sounds so easy to talk about “resting in the Lord” and “waiting patiently for Him” until the nest is upset—until we live, as so many are doing, in tumult and anguish, is it possible then to rest in the Lord? If this ‘don’t’ does not work there, it will work nowhere. This ‘don’t’ must work in days of perplexity as well as in days of peace, or it never will work. And if it will not work in your particular case, it will not work in anyone else’s case. Resting in the Lord does not depend on external circumstances at all, but on your relationship to God Himself.
Fussing always ends in sin. We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are an indication of how really wise we are; it is much more an in…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

July 4

  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you … let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid
John 14:27
Dark hours come to us all; and if we have no clue to a peace that can pass unbroken through their murky gloom, we shall be in a state of continual dread. Any stone flung by a chance passer-by may break the crystal clearness of the Lake of Peace and send disturbing ripples across it unless we have learned to trust in the perpetual presence of Him who can make and keep a “great calm” within the soul. Only let nothing come to you which you shall not instantly hand over to Him—all petty worries, all crushing difficulties, all inability to believe.

F. B. Meyer

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