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Fire as Symbol and Imagery

Fire as Symbol and Imagery
Exodus 3:2, 4

Excerpt


Fire is a common symbol of holiness and in some cases of protection (cf. Zech. 2:5). It represents divine action, with God himself presented as ‘a consuming fire’ (Heb. 12:29; cf. Deut.4:24). Fire is God’s servant (Ps. 104:4; Heb. 1:7), and his word is like fire (Jer. 23:29). In reference to God’s action, fire is most frequently a symbol of destruction associated with the wrath ofGod and his jealousy. As a metaphor of God’s holiness, however, it may also purge or purify. The Babylonian exile is described as purification by fire (Ps. 66:12; Isa. 43:2), and certainly, the Day of the Lord will purify Israel (Zech. 13:9; cf. 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

Fire is a central element of the description of theophany throughout biblical literature.God’s appearance for the covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:17), the appearance in the burning bush (Exod. 3:2), the leading of Israel with the pillar of fire by night (Exod. 13:21-22), and the appearance in fire on Mount S…

To Your Offspring...

To Your Offspring...

Excerpt


The smoking furnace and the burning lamp, probably represented the Israelites’ severe trials and joyful deliverance, with their gracious supports in the mean time. It is probable that this furnace and lamp, which passed between the pieces, burned and consumed them, and so completed the sacrifice, and testified God’s acceptance of it. So it intimates that God’s covenants with man are made by sacrifice, Ps 50:5. And we may know that he accepts our sacrifices if he kindles in our souls pious and devout affections. The bounds of the land granted are stated. Several nations, or tribes, are spoken of, that must be cast out to make room for the seed of Abram. In this chapter, we perceive in Abram faith struggling against, and triumphing over, unbelief. Wonder not, believers, if you meet with seasons of darkness and distress. But it is not the will of God that you should be cast down: fear not; for all that he was to Abram he will be to you.

Henry, Matthew, and Thom…

The Structure of John 13:31-14:31

The Structure of John 13:31-14:31

John 14:1–14

Excerpt


In contrast to a number of scholars, including Segovia, Beasley-Murray, and Carson, who view 13:31–14:31 as a unit, I regard chap. 14 as clearly divisible after 14:14.81 As I indicated above, I consider 13:31–38 to be a major summation or conclusion of the first part of the Farewell Cycle (13:1–38), but I also think that it serves as a preface to the discourses that follow. Since Jesus was going away and since Peter and his colleagues could not follow, at least for the present (13:36), the stage was set for a critical separation of Jesus from the disciples.

Borchert, Gerald L. John 12–21. Vol. 25B. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2002. Print. The New American Commentary.

The Pentateuch

The Pentateuch

Excerpt


‎Authorship of the Pentateuch has traditionally been attributed to Moses in religious Jewish and Christiancommunities, but since the Middle Ages, some interpreters have questioned that association. The Pentateuch may have been compiled over a period of centuries as multiple authors or religious communities produced distinct versions of Israel’s early history and laws. Julius Wellhausen articulated the most influential version of this theory, identifying four source documents in the Pentateuchcalled J, E, D, and P. This model for the origin of the Pentateuch is called the “Documentary Hypothesis.”
‎The Documentary Hypothesis asserts that distinctions in style and content can be used to identify the material originating in each source document. For example, the creation narrative of Gen 1:2–2:4 is believed to derive from P, and the stories of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel (Gen 2:4b-4:16) are from J). Most of Genesis through Numbers is believed to come from P, with s…

Be Hospitable

Be Hospitable

Excerpt


Hospitality (philazenos, “love of strangers”) is a telltale virtue of the people of God. Paul told the Roman church to “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13). “Practice” means “pursue” or “chase” and sometimes means “strenuous pursuit.” Christians and especially leaders are not simply to wait for opportunities for hospitality but are to pursue them. They are to do it “without grumbling,” as Peter says (1 Peter 4:9).

Today’s elder must be a joyous host. He must invite people to his table. His home must be open. Hospitality is all over the New Testament. And the writer of Hebrews offers an enchanting motivation: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (13:2). These are God’s thoughts on hospitality!


Hughes, R. Kent, and Bryan Chapell. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000. Print. Preaching the Word.

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments


The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17)
TheTen Commandments, in their present form in Exodus 20, reveal signs of later development and expansion from an earlier form. It is likely that the original form was very brief and much easier to memorize. Some believe that all of the commands were negative at first, even though two of them now are expressed in the positive. (Seeverses 8 and 12.) This Decalogue, as it is called, has been inserted into the narrative at this point in order to prove its divine authority and its connection with Moses. In this way, these commandments become a summary of “the people’s obligation” in the covenant that was established at Mount Sinai.
There is a close parallel account of the Decalogue in Deut 5:6–21, and the translator should be aware of the similarities and differences. Both accounts have the same form of law that is quite different from the laws listed in “The Book of the Covenant” (20:22–23:33). Here the laws are expressed as demand…

Aquinas on Unjust Laws

Aquinas on Unjust Laws
Reply Obj. 2. Human law has the nature of law in so far as it partakes of right reason; and it is clear that, in this respect, it is derived from the eternal law. But in so far as it deviates from reason, it is called an unjust law and has the nature not of law but of violence. Nevertheless, even an unjust law, in so far as it retains some appearance of law, though being framed by one who is in power, is derived from the eternal law; since all power is from the Lord God, according to Rom. 13:1.
Reply Obj. 3. Human law is said to permit certain things, not as approving of them, but as being unable to direct them. And many things are directed by the Divine law, which human law is unable to direct because more things are subject to a higher than to a lower cause. Hence the very fact that human law does not meddle with matters it cannot direct, comes under the ordination of the eternal law. It would be different, were human law to sanction what the eternal law condem…

My Utmost for His Highest

September 7th
Springs of benignity


The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water. John 4:14.

The picture Our Lord gives is not that of a channel but a fountain. ‘Be being filled,’ and the sweetness of vital relationship to Jesus will flow out of the saint as lavishly as it is imparted to him. If you find your life is not flowing out as it should, you are to blame; something has obstructed the flow. Keep right at the Source, and—you will be blessed personally? No, out of you will flow rivers of living water, irrepressible life.

We are centres through which Jesus can flow as rivers of living water in blessing to everyone. Some of us are like the Dead Sea, always taking in but never giving out because we are not rightly related to the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive from Him, He will pour out through us, and in the measure, He is not pouring out, there is a defect in our relationship to Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything that hin…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

September 6

  The church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood
Acts 20:28
Surely He may do what He will with His own. The price He has paid to make them His own is a sufficient guarantee that He will never make light of anything in which their welfare is at all concerned. We are precious to Him by the virtue of the blood which He has shed for us, and for Him to be found at any time wanting in solicitude for our happiness would be for Him to treat that blood of His as the sinners of this world treat it. The persuasion of Christ’s love must be graven in our hearts so deeply that no semblance of indifference on His part will ever make the slightest impression upon us. This is the victory which overcometh the world.

George Bowen

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

September 6th

Diffusiveness of life



Rivers of living water. John 7:38.

A river touches places of which its source knows nothing, and Jesus says if we have received of His fulness, however small the visible measure of our lives, out of us will flow the rivers that will bless to the uttermost parts of the earth. We have nothing to do with the outflow—“This is the work of God that ye believe.…” God rarely allows a soul to see how great a blessing he is.
A river is victoriously persistent, it overcomes all barriers. For a while it goes steadily on its course, then it comes to an obstacle and for a while it is baulked, but it soon makes a pathway round the obstacle. Or a river will drop out of sight for miles, and presently emerge again broader and grander than ever. You can see God using some lives, but into your life an obstacle has come and you do not seem to be of any use. Keep paying attention to the Source, and God will either take you round the obstacle or remove it. The river of t…

Connect the Testaments

September 6: Faith for Every Moment
Hosea 13:1–14:9; Acts 6:1–15; Job 17:1–16

Sometimes it’s tempting to imagine ourselves as the hero of a dramatic scene where we’re called upon to give an account of our faith. But in real life, every action and every moment of our lives is a witness—even the ordinary ones. Stephen, a leader in the early church, knew this to be true.

Stephen was appointed by the apostles to care for widows in need because he was “full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5).
People recognized his witness because he was faithful when no one was watching. His devotion brought him to a place of influence and leadership in the community.

But Stephen didn’t limit his witness to one area of leadership. In the next verses, we find him witnessing about Christ by performing great wonders and signs. That’s when he came under fire, and his response was above reproach: “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking” (Acts 6:10). His opp…

Morning and Evening

Morning, September 6 Go To Evening Reading
“In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” —Philippians 2:15
We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions. Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Saviour, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God’s Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness. Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals,a lighthouse is sure to be erected. Christia…