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Showing posts from August 23, 2017

Marriage in the Old Testament

Marriage in the Old TestamentExcerpt ‎Most Old Testament texts about marriage reflect Israelite agrarian society in the early Iron Age. Families lived off the produce of the earth. Men, women, and children needed to work the land and to process its yield in order to survive. The family property was owned and managed by the male head of the household, who would pass it down to his sons. Sons would remain in their parents’ household, marrying women from outside the immediate family and raising their children on their father’s land (Wright, God’s People, 53–58). In order to keep the property intact, the father would leave most of the inheritance to his oldest son (Deut 22:17). Families needed children to contribute to the household labor pool, to learn how to manage the family farm, and to inherit it upon the death of the family patriarch. ‎The Bible’s first marriage story demonstrates this. Adam is a farmer and Eve is the woman who bears his children (Gen 3:16–194:1–2,25). They share a …

The Gifts of the Magi

The Gifts of the MagiMatthew 2:9–12 Excerpt What the Magi recognize as divine guidance fills them, literally, with exceedingly great joy (v. 10). They find the mother and child and prostrate themselves before him in worship. The gifts used to honor the new king were typically associated with royalty. Because Matthew has not yet introduced the theme of Jesus’ death, it is not likely that he is implying it here, even though myrrh was a spice often used in embalming. Rather, all three gifts honor the Christ child as King. Gold, then as now, was a precious metal prized for its beauty and value, an appropriate regal gift. Frankincense and myrrh were fragrant spices and perfumes equally appropriate for such adoration and worship.31 Similar visits of Magi to royalty are described in other Greco-Roman literature of the time (Dio Cassius Roman History 63.7; Suetonius, Nero 13), but more significant here is the Jewish background. The Magi appear as Balaam’s successors to witness the fulfillment o…

Wilberforce, William

Wilberforce, WilliamExcerpt ‎WILBERFORCE, WILLIAM (1759–1833) ‎English philanthropist; antislavery crusader ‎Born in Hull, Wilberforce studied in desultory fashion at Cambridge, then in 1780 entered Parliament and became a strong supporter of William Pitt, who persuaded Wilberforce to devote himself to the abolition of the slave trade. In this case, he opposed many in the empire who had powerful vested interests, and he opposed those who regarded slavery as “a natural and scriptural institution.” The reformers finally triumphed in 1807 when the slave trade was done away with, though abolition of slavery itself had to wait until 1833. ‎Wilberforce, who had been converted at twenty–five, was the most famous figure associated with the Clapham Sect, which sought to do for the upper classes what Wesley had done for the lower. They used their wealth and influence in Christian outreach. … More Douglas, J.D. “Wilberforce, William.” Ed. J.D. Douglas and Philip W. Comfort. Who’s Who in Christian His…

Elisabeth’s Reaction to Mary

Elisabeth’s Reaction to MaryExcerpt There is a great contrast between the behavior of the two women when they met in Elisabeth’s house. The elder was full of a new strange ecstatic joy. “She was filled with the Holy Ghost” (ver. 42) and spoke her words of lofty congratulation with “a loud voice” (ver. 42). Mary, on the other hand, was not conscious evidently, on this occasion, of any special presence of the Holy Spirit. Since the hour of the Annunciation and her own meek faithful acceptance of the Lord’s purpose, she had been dwelling, so to speak, under the immediate influence of the Spirit of the Lord. Her cousin’s inspiration seems to have been momentary and transitory, while here, during that strange blessed season which immediately preceded the Incarnation, was enduring. Hence the quiet introduction to her hymn, “And Mary said.” It is, of course, possible that she had committed the beautiful thoughts to writing; but perhaps, in giving them to Luke or Paul, she needed no parchment …

Connect the Testaments

August 23: God the Innovator Isaiah 45:14–47:15; Luke 18:9–19:10; Job 10:11–22 Innovators often say they learn more from their failures than their successes. The successes come as a result of repeated failures, whether in business or in life. We must learn from our mistakes if we are to expect a different, brighter future. God expects us to learn from our failures—the depths of which we can best understand in comparison to the glory of His successes. God speaks about Himself not only to remind people of His abilities, but also to explain where His authority begins and theirs ends. In Isaiah 45:1–2, God gave Cyrus a lesson in these boundaries—both by what He said and by what He did not say. Like other kings of the time, Cyrus would have thought himself godlike, but God’s detailed description of what He was about to do left Cyrus with no doubt about who was in charge: “And I will give you the treasures of darkness and treasures of secret places so that you may know that I am Yahweh, the one …

Morning and Evening

Morning, August 23Go To Evening Reading
“The voice of weeping shall be no more heard.” —Isaiah 65:19
The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone. There are no broken friendships, nor blighted prospects in heaven. Poverty, famine, peril, persecution, and slander, are unknown there. No pain distresses, no thought of death or bereavement saddens. They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified. No “evil heart of unbelief” prompts them to depart from the living God; they are without fault before his throne, and are fully conformed to his image. Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. They weep no more, because all fear of change is past. They know that they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They dwell within a city which shall never be stormed; they bask in a sun which shall never set; they drink of a river which shall never dry; they pluck fruit from a tree which shall never wither. Countless cycles may revolve, but etern…

My Utmost for His Highest

August 23rd Prayer choice and prayer conflict When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and pray to thy Father which is in secret.Matthew 6:6. Jesus did not say—‘Dream about thy Father in secret,’ but ‘pray to thy Father in secret.’ Prayer is an effort of will. After we have entered our secret place and have shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot get our minds into working order, and the first thing that conflicts is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is the overcoming of mental wool-gathering. We have to discipline our minds and concentrate on wilful prayer. We must have a selected place for prayer and when we get there the plague of flies begins—This must be done, and that. “Shut thy door.” A secret silence means to shut the door deliberately on emotions and remember God. God is in secret, and He sees us from the secret place; He does not see us as other people see us, or as we see ourselves. When we live in the secret place it becomes im…

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

August 23 I am the Lord, I change not Mal. 3:6 Our hope is not hung upon such untwisted thread as “I imagine so,” or “it is likely”; but the cable, the strong rope of our fastened anchor, is the oath and promise of Him who is eternal verity. Our salvation is fastened with God’s own hand and Christ’s own strength to the strong stake of God’s unchanging nature. William Rutherford

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