PSALMS OF ASAPH are featured this week in our Old Testament study. Once again, we find that what appears on the surface to be a–dare we say–relatively ordinary hymn of praise or supplication turns out to be something far more exciting when you actually take the time to read it and start peeling away layers.
We also find hints of the ultimate schism in Israel that created the two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. And since Asaph lived through the period of turmoil and intrigue that marked the transfer of power from David to Solomon, we suspect there will be some more hidden gems among his Psalms in the weeks and months ahead. Continue reading →
TODAY WE discuss a test of faith most of us hope we never experience: God, in the form of the Angel of Yahweh (another Old Testament Christophany), chose Gideon to lead Israel against the armies of Midian and Amalek, which had been oppressing the Israelites for seven years. Then He ordered Gideon to send home more than 90% of the troops so that the forces of Israel were outnumbered 400-to-1 (instead of just 4-to-1).
Map of the judges – click for larger version
We look at the rise and fall of Gideon’s son Abimelech (a name that means “my father is king”, a hint that Gideon’s pride may have gotten the better of him in later life), more minor judges, and the foolish vow of Jephthah.
WE BEGIN our study of the second of the Historical Books of the Bible. Judges is named for the twelve leaders who were raised up by Yahweh at critical points in Israel’s history from the late 13th century to the mid-11th century B.C., and it chronicles Israel’s slide into apostasy and chaos, showing the need for a godly king to lead them.
Today, we look at the first five judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar (who may have been a devotee of the Canaanite goddess of war), Barak, and Deborah.
We also discuss a few interesting aspects of the Song of Deborah (Judges 5), especially the curse by the Angel of Yahweh (Jesus, if you’ve just joined us) against Meroz. According to a Jewish tradition, Meroz was a group of supernatural inhabitants of the second heaven who refused to fight for Yahweh against the Canaanites.