January 31, 2007

Hot Springs Answer

I ran across this hot little gem this morning:
These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah --he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father Zibeon. (Genesis 36:24)
Seth Godin had a brief post a while back about the difference between being "a" something vs. being "the" something. His point was "it's worth an enormous amount of your time and your budget to focus on becoming the."

Here's the cool part: for Anah, this was not a matter of spending "an enormous amount of his budget" to become "the Anah." He was simply honoring his colorful father as we are all instructed by the 10 Commandments, and doing his everyday duties.

This is also the only time the Old Testament ever refers to yem, hot springs. Thus, these were probably rather rare and valuable for the people, especially in the winter.

Anah's name is a Hebrew word for "answer." It's helpful to remember that he was probably named that before he found the spring--like when he was born. Nonetheless, with this significant discovery, it was probably pretty easy for him to end up known as the answer!

Lastly, Genesis 36 isn't even about the nation of Israel. It's the lineage of Esau. This little verse is a lot like Deuteronomy 2 in that it shows God's provision for other nations in addition to Israel. Dt. 2 is even more specific about the land God gave to other nations.

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Jacob to Israel

Did you ever notice that God changed Jacob's twice?
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Genesis 32:28)

And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. (Genesis 35:10)
Also, the names Jacob and Israel are used at the same time in 82 verses.

The Terror of God

And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
--Genesis 35:5

That's the only time that word Chittah is used in the Bible. It comes from Chathath which means "to be shattered, be dismayed, be broken, be abolished, be afraid."

It's used most often in Jeremiah. Chathath is the word God used when he was telling Joshua what not to be at the same time he was telling him to be strong and very courageous!

January 17, 2007

Tips for Bible Reading

ESV Blog has some Tips for Reading Scripture today. (Actually, they got them from another blog.) I agree with their points.

This is my favorite Bible Reading/Study tip:
Q. How come the Bible is so hard to understand?
A. Often, this appears to be the case because the Bible doesn't say what we think it should say. For instance, the Bible says that we are saved by grace rather than by personal goodness (Eph. 2:8,9) and this is confusing to many who think of themselves as being good.
(From Christian Destiny)

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January 16, 2007

Our Worship

In Matthew 13:22, Jesus explains that in the Parable of the Sower, "the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." The original word there for worry is merimna, which means distraction. It comes from the word merizo, which means to divide. When we worry, we are quite literally divided within ourselves. That's bad and can lead to unfruitfulness.

However, on a corporate level, that kind of division or allocation is a good thing.

God loves to divide up his abundant blessings among his people. He did this with the promised land for the children of Israel, giving each tribe its portion. He does this with his spiritual gifts for the Church today. "God has allotted to each a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). In the rest of Romans 12, he goes into the distribution of spiritual gifts among the members of the Body.

The gathering of believers completes or perfects the distribution of the gifts. Spiritual gifts are divided and distributed out among the brethren. We are a people so that he can gather together in us through love the blessings and gifts he has scattered among his people. That's what is different about our worship when we are together! We help each other put aside our distractions and instead together form the complete image God intended us to form of Himself.

Our reason for being together is to "put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (Colossians 3:14-17).

That word admonish is interesting. It's noutheteo which literally means to know your place! That could mean both know what your place is--our gifts--and what your place isn't--the distractions! I think that's why He called us to community. We sing to admonish one another, and it's easier to admonish each other when we are together!

Our gathering is about worshiping God for Who He is, what He has done, what He is doing, what He is doing in us, how He has scattered his blessings, and why He is gathering us together as we present ourselves as a living sacrifice! That is our spiritual worship.

Bible in a Year

I've read through the Bible twice: once in the NASB, once in the NLT. Neither time did I make it through in a year.

However, this year, I'm going through the ESV, and it's with the help of their RSS feed that includes links to listen to Max McLean reading the text. It keeps me from stopping and meditating as much, but I'm finding it is very effective at getting me through the text.

As I have recently begun to splinter my content ideas across multiple blogs, this blog is going to be where I deposit observations I make about the text. (I'm a little behind, though, as last week I was tracking Congress, then launched a new blog, and finished up my first big report of the year.)

I have been making and recording these observations anyway. I've just never shared them before. As for past observations, I could share those, too. All at once ... or gradually ... not quite sure how I would work that. If you have any ideas, please comment below.

10,817 days

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