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Showing posts from April 2, 2017

Hope Anew

We like to pride ourselves on all the advancements we have made in science, technology, space travel, automotive, health and healing. We consider ourselves more fortunate than the last generation or generations. After all, they used an outhouse, candles, and oil lamps. They did not have what we have, so we have to be better. Right? This comparison only goes so far. It looks only at the outward changes that seem to catapult us beyond our predecessors. We compare our circumstances and say we are different, but there is still greed, abuse, rebellion, disobedience, evil, war, lying, immorality and so many other heart sins. What is the answer to this contradiction? It is well stated in Psalm 78 when the writer said, "So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands." (Psalm 78:7) God has not changed and either has man. Each new generation whether that is 40 or 50 years has to examine Him on the basis of His solid past…

Hidden Path

A map shows us where to go. It gives us the perspective to see the most efficient route to get to our destination. We plan and depend on the map, on what we can see. But what happens when we don't have a map? What happens when we are led by our nose? We get lost. If we eventually make it to our destination, it's after many turns and reroutes and much later than we thought. Think about this. The almost two-million Israelites gathered all they had and walked out of Egypt following a man they had just recently come to know. They depended on his direction and expertise to get them out of slavery. He was being led by God and they had confidence in him but even Moses didn't know God's route. In discussing this the Psalmist said, "Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there!" (Psalm 77:19) Who would have thought that God would lead the Israelites through the Red Sea? As Moses led them, they came to the sea and …

A Pleasing Aroma (B)

When the Israelites became a nation, they were given laws, some that pertained to their sacrifices. The book of Leviticus details these requirements for all types of sacrifices: the burnt offering (1:9,13,17; 8:21,28); the grain offering (2:2,9,12; 6:15,21; 23:13,18); the peace offering (3:5,16; 17:6); sins of disobedience by the people (4:31; 26:31). With each description in these 17 places the statement is made about this being "a pleasing aroma to the Lord." Numbers repeats the same in Numbers 15:3,7,10,13-14,24; 18:17; 28:2,6,8,13,24,27; and 29:2,6,8,13,36, saying "a pleasing aroma to the Lord." These offerings burned up on the Tabernacle altar were the replacement animals to be shed for sins of people and the repetition of this daily with its smell cemented the essential truth into their hearts and minds that "without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22) Then Jesus Christ breaks through the heavens and descends to live a lif…

A Pleasing Aroma (A)

You walk into the house and at first breath you smell the roast cooking, and fresh bread or cookies baking. You know what it is by its aroma as the molecules entering your nose are being identified by your olfactory tract. It transmits signals to areas of the brain such as the olfactory cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, and the hypothalamus where the smells are recognized and where even memories can be triggered by them. The Bible uses anthropomorphism or the attributing of human characteristics to God. That's why it says, He sees us, hears us, is sad, is angry, and even smells the aroma of sacrifices offered to Him. W.F. Albright said, Anthropomorphic concepts were "absolutely necessary if the God of Israel was to remain a God of the individual Israelite as well as of the people as a whole…For the average worshipper…it is very essential that his god be a divinity who can sympathize with human feelings and emotions, a being whom he can love and fear alternately, and to whom he ca…

Musts and Must Nots 2

In the previous Today's Word we discussed the three "must nots" for those who would be kings of Israel. Solomon's disobedience to these "must nots" resulted in his kingdom being divided into two Israels, North and South. They warred within themselves. It also caused many nations to war with them and take their gold. And it led Israel to worship foreign gods, especially those who were the gods of the women he married. So, what would have happened if Solomon had followed the "musts" that are given along with the "must nots?" Good question. We have to go back to where both types of "musts" are mentioned in Deuteronomy. There were four actions Solomon could have taken to keep himself from war, greed, and immorality. Moses, who had lived 40 years among the Egyptian elite, wrote the book of Deuteronomy to repeat to Israel all that God had instructed them to know just before they entered the Promise Land, and was the one who discussed …