Much of the Old Testament can seem pointless. Take Numbers 33; 31. Consecutive verses begin, “And they journeyed from.” After a brief interruption, there are 9 more verses that begin the same way. They journeyed from some place we’ve never heard of, went some place else we never heard of, and stayed there for. . . Who cares? I remember similar disappointment when I encountered my great-grandfather’s journal. But there is a point.
My great grandfather
Several years after the death of his first wife, Rev. Benjamin Franklin Morgan remarried. His new wife bore him a daughter, my grandmother, when he was 61.… Read the rest
A large store posted its core values where everyone could see them. They included friendliness and good customer service, but one clerk was providing particularly surly and reluctant service. When a customer pointed out, as gently as he could, that she was not living up to those core values, she snapped that she considered them as just words on paper.
The Beatitudes are the core values of the church. There is probably no other passage in the New Testament that is so widely known and admired. Some people even hold them up as the be all and end all of Christianity.… Read the rest
The story of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3) is one of the most familiar stories in the Bible. Pharaoh had ordered all Hebrew baby boys killed. Instead, Moses’ mother put him on a raft so Pharaoh’s daughter would find it, and then joined her household. Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s court with all of its privileges, but also with full understanding of his heritage. In his zeal for justice, he murdered an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew, then fled. God met him in the burning bush forty years later. Sometimes the story’s very familiarity keeps us from understanding its meaning.… Read the rest
“And Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hands.’” — Exodus 17:9 (NKJV)
Among the many gifts God gave Moses, his rod was a tangible object that he could use any way he chose in order to release God’s power. He usually used it wisely and with great effect. Sometimes he did not use it wisely, and it got him in trouble.
His best-known mistake came when God told him to speak to a rock so that water would come from it.… Read the rest
“Beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage,”–Deuteronomy 6:12, NKJV
Moses looked over a crowd of people who had grown up as wanderers in the wilderness. They were about to enter the Promised Land, where God would give them houses and cities they had not built and crops they had not planted. It would take hard work to occupy the land, but Moses foresaw trouble resulting from the prosperity that would follow.
Hard times can make or break our faith. People will either cling to God through a crisis or turn away from “religion” entirely.… Read the rest