Ashamed?

Some people are ashamed of their parents. Some parents are ashamed of their children. Some are ashamed of their family, or where they came from, and some are ashamed of their church. Some people are ashamed of the place they live or their income or their job, or lack of a job. Some people are…

Blood Guilt

In the story of Jericho two spies were sent by Joshua, the Israelite commander, into the city before the invasion of Canaan began. In Jericho the spies found an ally in Rahab the prostitute who recognized the divine power behind the army of Israel and wanted to save her family. A simple bargain was struck…

In Paradise

When Jesus was dying on the cross, one of the robbers crucified along with him that day asked Jesus to “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus’ answer was, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). Jesus promised that the hours of agony on the…

Composing The New Testament

The New Testament of the Bible consists of twenty-seven “books” written by several authors including Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Jude. It isn’t clear who wrote the book of Hebrews, and some of Paul’s letters include Silas and/or Timothy as co-writers, but altogether we have about a dozen human authors who produced…

Joshua, Jericho, Achan, and Ai

In Joshua chapter 2, we have the prelude to Israel’s first battle in Canaan to conquer the land God had promised centuries earlier to Abraham. Their first conquest would be Jericho, which was strongly defended in a strategically critical location. Israel’s leader, Joshua, secretly sent spies across the river to look over the land, especially…

Choosing Kindness

Aesop told a story of a lion startled by a mouse. The lion slapped a paw over the mouse and was about to lick it up when the mouse pleaded for her life, promising that someday she would repay the kindness. The lion was amused by the idea of the little mouse ever helping him…

Who Will I Be?

When the patriarch Jacob thought his young son Joseph was dead, he believed that in death they would be reunited, “he refused to be comforted and said, ‘No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.’” (Gen 37:35b ESV). “Sheol” is the Hebrew word for the abode of the souls of the dead,…

The King’s Justice

The story of King David’s adultery with Bathsheba, his attempts to cover it up, and the murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite, is told in 2 Samuel 11. The last statement in the chapter is “But the thing David had done displeased the Lord.” Afterward, the prophet Nathan, who had always been a staunch…

When God Became A Man

John taught that God became a man: “the Word was God… And the Word became flesh” (John 1:1, 14). When did the Word become flesh? “Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a…

Not Like the Pagans

Jesus and his chosen disciples were Jewish, living under the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets.  As such, most of Jesus’ teachings during his ministry were built upon principles already known by Jews familiar with the Old Testament.  On four points, Jesus specifically instructed his disciples not to be like the Gentiles…