'Israel' Tagged Posts

'Israel' Tagged Posts

OUR SUBSTITUTE

Our old teachers spoke often about “the vicarious atonement.”  We got it, because they explained it.    Churchy words such as, “justification” (to declare not guilty), or “redemption” (to be ransomed by the blood of Christ when we were held hostage by sin, death and hell), or “reconciliation” (that God made friends of us when we were His declared enemies) – these and countless other rich Bible words do not need to be dummied down to a vanilla vocabulary.  They…

“MY SOUL WAITS FOR THE LORD”

We spend our lives waiting for things big and little.  We wait for our first day of school, for our first two-wheeled bike, for our first date, for our first job, for our driver’s license, for our life’s partner, for our first child, for grandchildren and for retirement. The danger, of course, is that we spend our lives so anxious about tomorrow that we lose all appreciation for today.  The ungrudging goodness of God is something to be experienced every…

LOOKING TO THE CURSED FOR A CURE

There is a knock on the door one night.  It is Nicodemus. He wants to talk to Jesus.  Privately. As a Jewish leader he doubtless worries about guilt by association with this new Teacher on the scene who is working wonders. Amid the soaring truths about a new birth and God’s plan of salvation, Jesus points the old scholar back to the Old Testament:   “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must…

THE GREAT SIMPLIFIER

People sometimes complain that the Bible is too difficult, that they can’t understand it.  Certainly, like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. It does take faithful Bible reading habits to connect some of the dots, to see sinful man and a sinless Christ in the ceremonies and sacrifices of Leviticus, to get a handle on the numerous kings of Judah and Israel and the warnings and comfort to be found there, to use the…

OASIS OR MIRAGE?

You’ve probably seen a few mirages in your day.  Drive down the highway on a hot summer day and sometimes the pavement up ahead looks like a shiny lake – but it keeps melting away as you approach it.    It’s just a mirage. Light bends differently in the hot air near the surface of the road. Look into a glass of water with a pencil in it and the pencil seems to be broken or disconnected.  Same principle: Light…

THE CHRISTIAN’S DUAL CITIZENSHIP

The Pharisees tried to get Jesus onto thin ice:  “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” If Jesus says, “Yes,” then He comes off as siding with Rome against His own people.  If He says, “No,” then He opens Himself up to charges of revolt against Rome.   Holding up a coin, Jesus asks:  “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”   “Caesar’s,” they reply. Jesus has them pinned to the mat.  It’s too late to debate the…

LESSONS FROM THE WILDERNESS

God was no miser to His Old Testament people.  He drenched all of them with grace, an undeserved love that foreshadowed the word and sacraments in which He wraps you and me today.   The pillar of cloud and fire went before them like unto Him who said:  “I am the Light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”   They all passed through the Red Sea and emerged safely…

“JUST AS HE SAID!”

In Matthew’s account of Easter morning, the angel says to the women:  “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.” The angel knew why the women were there, what low expectations they brought with them, unmindful that Jesus would rise “as He said.” We are so used to promises that are not kept.  Others have made promises to us – big…

WHAT’S WITH ALL THIS “40” STUFF?

Did you ever notice how the number “40” shows up in the Bible history lessons we learned when we were young? 40 days and 40 nights of rain ushered in the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mt. Sinai receiving the law.  He spent an additional 40 days and 40 nights praying for the rebellious children of Israel after they had thrown God over for a golden calf. Israel wandered for 40 years…

COMMON SIN & UNCOMMON GRACE

Paul once pointed the Corinthian Christians back to the sins of Israel in their wilderness days.  He then applied the lesson: “So let him who thinks he stands be careful that he does not fall.   No testing has overtaken you except ordinary testing. But God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tested beyond your ability, but when he tests you, he will also bring about the outcome that you are able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13…

“THE BALAAM SYNDROME”

As the calendar year winds down and Advent ushers in a new church year, our thoughts focus on the future.  The Scriptures clearly tell us what awaits those who trust in Jesus and those who don’t. When it comes to the future, one writer describes what he calls “the Balaam syndrome.” You can read about the sorcerer, Balaam, in the Old Testament book of Numbers (chapters 22-25).   Hired by Balak, king of Moab, to curse Israel on its march to…

“NOTHING IN MY HAND I BRING”

What do the following have in common – the Titanic, Napoleon, Hitler, O.J. Simpson, Saddam Hussein, Bill Cosby, you and I, and Humpty Dumpty? They all had a great fall!  The old saying is: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”  The Bible echoes that: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) The Bible gives us case histories of proud souls God brought down.  On the plain of Shinar, the builders of a…