Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Books of the Bible’ Category

1 Halleluyah!

How happy is anyone who fears Adonai, who greatly delights in his mitzvot.

2 His descendants will be powerful on earth, a blessed generation of upright people.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness stands forever.

4 To the upright he shines like a light in the dark, merciful, compassionate and righteous.
5 Things go well with the person who is merciful and lends, who conducts his affairs with fairness;
6 for he will never be moved. The righteous will be remembered forever.

7 He will not be frightened by bad news; he remains steady, trusting in Adonai.
8 His heart is set firm, he will not be afraid, till finally he looks in triumph at his enemies.
9 He distributes freely, he gives to the poor; his righteousness stands forever. His power will be increased honorably.
10 The wicked will be angry when they see this; they will gnash their teeth and waste away,
the desires of the wicked will come to nothing. Complete Jewish Bible

Sometimes I can imagine myself just resting in the words of a psalm, basking in the beauty of what the psalmist is describing. Psalm 112, starting with a wonderful Hallelujah, is a great hammock in which to swing under the shade of a well-watered, leafy tree near a spring in a place like En Gedi or Banias. As you swing back and forth in a steady rhythm and feel the breezes blow over, you can be reminded of all the good that comes to the man or woman who fears G-d and delights in his mitzvot or commands.

  • They will be powerful and they will come into their power in ways that are honorable;
  • They will be bless and righteous in their ways;
  • They will be wealthy and successful and fair;
  • They will be generous with what they acquire, helping those in need;
  • They will be an encouragement to the others who are upright;
  • The wicked will be greatly annoyed by them, but nothing will come of their hatred, plotting or scheming.

It is a beautiful picture–what a wonder this G-d of ours! He is good, good, good! His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

If you wonder how to know God better or to just get an understanding of Him, the answer is in Proverbs 2:1-5:

1 My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, 2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

It is not as hard as it sounds. First, we must understand who is speaking in this verse. Wisdom is speaking. Chapter 2 is a continuation of chapter 1 beginning in Proverbs 1:20 and continuing through to chapter 2.

With that in mind, the commands are as follows:

Receive words of wisdom
Treasure commands of wisdom
Incline your ear to wisdom
Apply your heart to wisdom
Seek wisdom like you would search for silver and hidden treasure

Receive speaks of openness. We must have an openness to wisdom. Receive also speaks of an action on our part, e.g. allowing entry. In other words, we must allow wisdom to enter our thinking, we must not block it or reject it. We must accept it. It doesn’t sound like much, but many in our day and throughout human history have rejected wisdom because of the little it required of them–acceptance. The heart of mankind is wicked. It seeks its own–it seeks to be first, but it doesn’t always seek to earn that position.

To accept the wisdom of God, I must let go of my own wisdom, my own thinking, my own self-reliance. To receive, I must have, in the modern vernacular, available storage space for the new information.

Once I receive the wisdom of God, I must learn to treasure it. I must not put it aside like so much well-intentioned fruitcake received at Christmas from a beloved relative only to be tossed out several months later uneaten. To treasure means to value, to consider of great worth. It is the answer to the question, “What do you take with you when your home is burning and you only have a few minutes to get out? To treasure is to carry near to your heart, like a newborn child. In treasuring the wisdom of God, I must value what God says. I must consider of great worth that which God says is of great worth. I must not accept cheap substitutes for the treasures of God’s kingdom.

Incline your ear suggests being attentive. I must choose to put aside distractions, things or people that beckon me to listen–instead I must listen for the voice of God, for what He is saying to me, the wisdom He is imparting to me.

Apply your heart suggests diligence. I must be intentional in my desire to learn the wisdom of God. It’s not a passive activity. I will not absorb the wisdom of God by osmosis or pew sitting or outreach attendance or even by Bible reading alone. I must choose and pursue. I must study to show myself approved. I must be a Berean, receiving the wisdom of God with readiness and searching the scriptures to see if things are true. I must lay aside every weight and snare that may slow me down.

Seeking wisdom like one would seek for silver or hidden treasure paints a vivid picture. If I knew silver or hidden treasure lay ahead on the path, would I amble by casually looking around? No! I would be searching, pushing back bushes, looking under rocks, digging in loose ground, evaluating clues and signs. I would be motivated. That is how I should seek after the wisdom of God.

This discussion is not intended to add any burden, but to remind you. After all, God has promised that those who seek Him diligently, will find Him.

 

Read Full Post »

Know that I AM God

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

           –Psalm 46:10

This familiar verse continues to yield helpful insight about God. It contains a 2-part command and two-fold promise.

Be still and know that I am God is a command. The phrase be still can be understood desist from or stop what you are doing. The command know that I am God can be understood also as a command to recognize I am God. To say it another way, give me the authority and reverence due to me. Know could also be translated understand. To understand that He is God is to know His character, His track record, all that He has done and thereby know that He is sovereign over all things–there is no other God. The LORD our God is one–the only one.

It bears noting I AM, may have been the tetragrammaton, the four-letter Hebrew name for God, Y-H-W-H. This name for God was used by God when Moses asked what name he should use in telling the Israelites about God. It emphasizes His self-existence, that He has no beginning or end which would also contribute to our understanding of His sovereignty.

The next two phrases are promises. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth! Take it to the bank. God will be exalted among the nations, in the earth if He isn’t already. This again speaks of God’s sovereignty over the whole earth–over everything and everyone.

Know God.

IMG_0529

Read Full Post »

The Fragrance of Messiah

In 2 Corinthians 2:14-17(CJB), Paul says the following: thanks be to God, who in the Messiah constantly leads us in a triumphal procession and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of what it means to know him! For to God we are the aroma of the Messiah, both among those being saved and among those being lost; to the latter, we are the smell of death leading only to more death; but to the former, we are the sweet smell of life leading to more life. Who is equal to such a task? For we are not like a lot of folks who go about huckstering God’s message for a fee; on the contrary, we speak out of a sincere heart, as people sent by God, standing in God’s presence, living in union with the Messiah.

So according to Paul, we (the believers) spread the knowledge of Christ (but not without some pomp and circumstance–he says we are part of a triumphal procession led by Jesus. As this procession moves, it spread the fragrance of Christ–the Promised One.

Let’s stop for a moment to unpack the idea of the Fragrance of the Promised One. Isn’t it the fragrance of hope–hope of an eternal future with God made possible by the shed blood of Jesus and His resurrection from the dead.

If hope had a fragrance, perhaps it would smell like us as we proceed through life leaving in our wake the fragrance of the One who knew no sin and became sin for us–the fragrance of a perfect offering.

According to the apostle John, in 1 John 2:2 (AMP), He [that same Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins [the atoning sacrifice that holds back the wrath of God that would otherwise be directed at us because of our sinful nature—our worldliness, our lifestyle]; and not for ours alone, but also for [the sins of all believers throughout] the whole world.

As the atoning sacrifice for us, Jesus’ is the fulfillment of the law. He is the ultimate offering. What is it that God so enjoys about the offering? We’re told many times. The offerings are “a sweet aroma to the LORD.” And so too was Jesus’ sacrifice a sweet aroma unto God. His sacrifice made the way for many to have relationship with God. His sacrifice atoned for the sin of the whole world. Hallelujah! What at Savior! Sweet is His perfume!

And as we allow Him to fill us with His Spirit and to sanctify our lives, we take on His fragrance–the aroma of death to self–the sweet aroma that is so pleasing to God.

IMG_0580

Read Full Post »

Coming upon the story of David and Goliath in our study of 1 and 2nd Samuel, I was reminded of my recent visit to Tel Azeka in Israel.

Tel Azeka gives us a vantage point over the valley of Ela (Elah), the area where the story of 1 Samuel 17 took place. Looking west from the Tel, we can see where the three coastal cities of the Philistines would have been, Ashkelon (to the Southwest), Gath (the inland Capital), and Ashdod (to the Northwest).

The Philistines wanted the mountains in the area surrounding Tel Azeka because they wanted oil–olive oil. The pictures give you a glimpse of the fertile land on the low hills in this area.

P1040434

View of Valley of Ela from Tel Azeka

P1040437

View of Valley of Ela from Tel Azeka

P1040435

View from Tel Azeka

From the photos above, you can view the valley of Ela (Elah) where the armies of Israel met the armies of the Philistines. The open area between the hills is where the armies were faced off.

Being on that Tel, it wasn’t hard to imagine the scene that day. It was probably sunny and bright as it was the day we visited. David would have traveled down from Bethlehem to bring supplies and to get news for his father.

The story opens . . .

Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle and were assembled at Socoh, which belongs to Judah; and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together and they camped in the Valley of Elah, and assembled in battle formation to meet the Philistines. The Philistines were standing on the mountain on one side and Israel was standing on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.  I Samuel 17:1-3.

The rest is, as they say, history.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

Outside of Jerusalem as you travel east, you will find Wadi Qelt. A wadi is a common feature in Israel. It is a ravine or stream bed that dries up until the raining season when it may become a rushing river or a generous stream depending on the rainfall, the run-off and the ravine itself. Wadi Qelt is such a ravine that originates near Jerusalem and extends to the Jordan River near Jericho.

Some have suggested that David may have been thinking of such a ravine when he wrote Psalm 23:4 (CJB), Even if I pass through death-dark ravines, I will fear no disaster; for you are with me; your rod and staff reassure me.

This very familiar verse reminded me of God’s guidance and correction in my life and how they prove His love for me. Moreover, my love and acceptance of God’s correction speaks of His imprint on me. In that I can see that He has brought me to this point of sanctification. I also know that He will continue to sanctify me until I am made perfect when I see Him face to face.

P1010361

Wadi Qelt

P1010354

Wadi Qelt

P1010355

Wadi Qelt

IMG_4012

Wadi Qelt

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

I don’t know about you, but in this time of great confusion and conflicting views of the important truths of our day, I find the need to seek the truth that transcends–the truth of God. Wisdom is distilled into pithy, bite-size morsels in the Book of Proverbs. As usual, it keeps its promise to provide guidance for life.

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Proverbs 4:20

In Proverbs 4:20, we receive the imperative, “Give attention to my words.” The Hebrew writing style is evident here, namely the second part of the couplet is a reiteration of the first, “incline your ear to my sayings.” The repeat of the information is an emphasis–as if the author is saying, “hey, this is important, so I’m going to repeat myself.”

If we are looking for wisdom, we need to listen to God. We need to listen to His Word. This will be the only way to survive the pandemic without losing hope or faith or our witness.

But even more than an admonition to listen, God is asking for intentionality and diligence in our approach to our relationship with Him. He is asking us to apply ourselves to the systematic study of His word.

Consider the exhortation of Paul to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

In order for us to “rightly divide the word of truth,” we must know all of it. We must know the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as well as the New Testament. We must know the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) as well as the Prophets. We must know the history of both the Jews and the church.

If we are to rightly divide the word of truth, we must understand its nuance, its context, its geography, its characters. We must exert some energy–get outside of our comfort zone.

It is not a once-a-week passive attention to a sermon. It is not working through a book written about the Bible–it is reading and studying the Bible for yourself. We must let God speak to us. We must meet day by day with the Creator and Author.

Read Full Post »

One of the best short books of the Bible is the book of Ruth.  It can be easily read in one sitting.  The story begins with Naomi and her husband leaving Bethlehem, their hometown, during a time of famine to go to Moab, a land occupied by the enemies of God.

While in Moab, Naomi’s husband and both of her sons die, leaving her with her two daughters-in-law.  One of her daughters-in-law chooses to stay in Moab, but Ruth, her other daughter-in-law, returns with Naomi to Bethlehem.

With nothing to show for her travel abroad, Naomi returns to her hometown with the clothes on her back.

DSC_1000

Shepherd’s fields of the Bethlehem region

In the day in which Naomi lived, the fate of a widow was a difficult one.

After her husband and sons die, Naomi is left without a means of support in Moab. Without hope,  Naomi returns to the land of her forefathers.

In doing so, she avails herself of the promises and protections of God’s people. God takes care of His children’s every need, physical, emotional and spiritual.

If you are struggling with your situation and are seeking the land of God’s promise, open His word. Study it systematically and with a heart to know Him better, and He can lead you home, to the land of promise.

Consider using one of our verse-by-verse Bible studies in the Words of His Mouth Series to help you on your way–maybe even the study through the Book of Ruth.

If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

34857624_201435477340473_855160484356161536_n

Read Full Post »

Read Exodus 17:8-13
1. What instructions does Moses give Joshua about the battle in Exodus 17:9?

2. What are you told about the battle in Exodus 17:11? Exodus 17:12?

3. Copy Exodus 17:13 here. Meditate on this in light of the battle strategy of Moses, Aaron and Hur. Record your thoughts and impressions.

4. What does Moses do according to Exodus 17:15?

5. Summarize the battle strategy used in Exodus 17 against Amalek.

6. What do you learn from the following verses?
Psalm 133

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Philippians 2:1-4

7. What application can you make from the battle strategy used against Amalek to the spiritual battles you face in your life?

P1040499

Read Full Post »

If we obey

22 For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: . . . 25 No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you. Deuteronomy 11:22-25

When I obey God–that is, when I lovingly walk in all His ways every day and hold tightly to Him–He promises to eliminate my enemies and give me the land wherever I walk as my possession.

Moreover, He promises that no human will try to oppose me because God will cause them to fear me. This passage is not speaking of heaven, but rather of life on Earth, in time–the abundant life. This is the life I desire.

Father, teach us to walk in the paths you have laid for us. Let us be worthy and ready to take–and fully possess–the land you are giving to us.

Alaska

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »