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Crucified Before the Foundation of the World

"Crucified before the foundation of the world." What does that mean? How could that even happen? Historians and archaeologists ta...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Value of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs is often over looked because there is no continuing story or historical account, but it is filled with the Wisdom of Solomon. Sometimes it's possible to create a story to explain the proverb, to retell it in your own words.

The preamble in verses 1-7 describes the value and benefit of listening to the wise words of a wise man. Verse 7 gives the supreme instruction: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Then he adds the notation that fools despise wisdom and instruction.

In verse 8 he encourages a young man to listen to the wisdom of his father and not reject his mother's teaching for they will be a "garland of grace on your head." He continues to warn the young to avoid violence and deceit. 

In verse 20 the emphasis shifts to the call of Wisdom. Wisdom almost taunts the young saying "How long will you love ignorance? How long will you enjoy mocking?" Then Wisdom acknowledges the need for discipline, but without it, the calamity and terror will strike those who did not heed her call. Waywardness and inexperience will kill them, but whoever listens to Wisdom will live securely and be free of danger.

Chapter 2 again speaks of wisdom and its rewards. Wisdom comes from the Lord and understanding comes from fear of him. It is the wise who value integrity and justice. Wisdom comes from the Lord, and with it comes success. 

Read Proverbs and find wisdom for your needs and life in the Lord and share this knowledge and understanding with those around you.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Jacob's Problem

Jacob had two wives. He didn't want two wives, but his father-in-law, Laban, tricked him. Laban had two daughters, and he didn't want the younger to marry before the older. I'm not sure what the tradition of marriage was. It seems that there was no ceremony for public view, but Laban escorted the bride, discreetly veiled, to the groom at evening and the marriage was consummated. In daylight, Jacob saw that his bride was not the girl he thought he had married. Laban agreed to give him Rachel too, after the first week of marriage to Leah. I can't imagine that Rachel was very happy with the arrangement, but she was the one he wanted in the first place, and Leah wasn't very happy about it either. Leah did have the consolation of her children as time went on, but Rachel couldn't get pregnant. 

Rachel thought her only advantage was to give her servant to Jacob and have children through her. Leah had made that substitution with her maid, too, when she thought she wouldn't have more children. Jacob thought he was enough compensation for Rachel since he did love her first and apparently he was more attentive to her. But this rivalry had been brewing a long time and, Rachel couldn't let it go.

One day in the field Reuben, Leah's first son, found some mandrakes and brought them to his mother. The plants were held in high esteem in ancient societies for their medicinal uses. Rachel saw him and appealed to Leah to give her some of them. Leah became outraged. "You took my husband and now you want the mandrakes, too?"  

Leah disregarded her part in the marriage scheme, but Rachel prevailed and Leah shared the mandrakes. Leah met Jacob at the gate when he came home from work and said, "Tonight you are mine. I bought you with some of the mandrakes."
I really love the plot twists of Jacob's story. He was a shrewd character and he brought much of his trouble on himself. God had plans for him that he could not imagine, but even the deceit and ill-feelings in the family did not destroy God's plan. Read it for yourself and find the places where God stepped in to make his story blessed. 

Genesis 25 begins the story of Jacob and Genesis continues with the story of his marriage to Rachel. Genesis 30 tells the story of the mandrakes. Read on to find out how he ended up in Egypt.