Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Books of the Bible’ Category

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 »

What can we learn about the eternal nature of God and the fleeting nature of man from Psalm 90?

In the opening verses, we learn that God is outside of time and so time is nothing to Him. In verse 2, the Psalmist says, “before the mountains were born . . .” and “from everlasting to everlasting.” In verse 4, we read, “a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night (4-6 hours).”

We, on the other hand are so consumed with and by time. In verses 5 to 6, man is compared to grass which “in the morning . . . flourishes and springs up,” but by evening “it wilts and withers away.”

After considering that so much, if not all, of our lives are wasted doing that which angers God and brings His wrath against us, the Psalmist prays for clarity–to understand God as He is and to understand ourselves and our limitations. He prays in verse 12, “teach us to number our days, that we may cultivate and bring to You a heart of wisdom.”

May that be our prayer as well. Teach us, O God, to understand how short the time is for each of us and teach us to use our time well, for Your glory, for Kingdom business.

DSC_0009

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »