In your hand

“The Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’ He said, ‘A staff’” (Exodus 4:2 ESV).

Anthropologists and other scientists tell us that the two physiological features that most clearly differentiate human beings from the rest of the animal kingdom are the size (and complexity) of their brains and the unique capabilities of their hands, especially because of the opposing thumbs that only humans possess. These hands allow for the efficient use of inanimate objects (i.e., tools) which almost infinitely extend the power and efficiency of human endeavors. Note that the ability of the hand to grip and use tools is paired with the ability of the brain to invent and adapt their use. Continue reading “In your hand”

God is in control

How often does it seem that God doesn’t care about what goes on in the world? Injustice seems to prevail, and laws are passed that limit our freedom. So much evil goes on yet nothing seems to happen about it. And then there is a global pandemic …

Habakkuk would have fit in with this generation – it would seem that he would fit in with almost any period of time. Listen to him as he began to talk to God about what was going on in his day. Continue reading “God is in control”

Weary hands

The eighty-year-old was tired. His hands were weary. Victory or defeat were in the balance. He needed help.

God chose Moses, a man who doubted his own abilities, to lead his people out of captivity. But Moses did not do it alone. His brother, Aaron was by his side, his strengths compensating for Moses’ weaknesses. God’s power was demonstrated through the words and actions of these men.

But the challenges Moses faced did not all drown in the sea. Different difficulties arose with the freedom of this newly forged nation. Food and water were lacking, and the people’s trust in God seemed tenuous in the best of times. Continue reading “Weary hands”

A sharp sickle in his hand

The main image of the sickle or scythe that people have is the caricature of death coming to reap (take away) life. Death is called the Grim Reaper. It is a popular image today among gamers. The sickle is an implement with a crescent-shaped blade attached to a short handle, used for cutting grain or tall grass.

In the book of Revelation, it is not Death personified, but an angel of God who wields the sickle. It is in his hand. The hand, in the Old Testament, is that part of the body “that carries out a person’s will” (Richards 324). John shares that perspective. Here, the angel is carrying out the will of God. Frank Cox noted that this angel is in the central part of seven in this part of chapter from verses 6-20 (Cox 90). It is a key section, then. This is an important moment and key action in the book. Continue reading “A sharp sickle in his hand”

He gave himself for us

Many people will sit in church meetings this Sunday and observe an occurrence they have never understood. It isn’t that they can’t understand it. It is that they have never truly considered what happened.

Before Jesus gave himself to the Jews and the cross, he explained what he was doing. Jesus told his disciples,

“The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain,” (John 12:23-24). Continue reading “He gave himself for us”

Setting God’s agenda

“Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?’” (Luke 12:13-14 ESV).

One of the most persistent human endeavors is to attempt to compel God to do our will. An observation of worldwide religious activities reveals that many of those things we call “worship” are actually attempts to persuade or coerce “god” to perform actions which we desire to be done. These include the many fertility rituals, much sacrifice, and even many prayers. Continue reading “Setting God’s agenda”

There is hope for everyone

When we think about the most wicked king of the northern kingdom of Israel the name ‘Ahab’ would quickly come to mind. Then if we would turn our thoughts to the southern kingdom of Judah there really is only one who could match Ahab’s wickedness: Manasseh.

Manasseh should have had everything going for him. He was the son of Hezekiah, who brought about change and reform throughout Judah as he turned the people back to following God. He was such a good king that it was recorded of him: “He did what the Lord approved, just as his ancestor David had done” (2 Kings 18:3 NET). High praise indeed! But this is not the way we remember his son and successor Manasseh. Continue reading “There is hope for everyone”

Everyone changed

What do those outside of Christ need? Sometimes I get the impression that Christians think those outside of Christ only need to rely upon Christ. At other times, if a disciple perceives that someone is engaged in certain types of sin then I might hear a comment about the need for repentance.

Does anything about all of this strike you as odd? It does me. Continue reading “Everyone changed”