Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Jesus urges us to count the cost of discipleship. Many of the patriarchs had to make hard choices, as do we.
No one has felt more rejection than Jesus Christ. He was rejected by those of His hometown, and His own physical brothers rejected Him because they did not believe.
The twin sons of Isaac, Esau and Jacob, are a classic model of sibling rivalry, and their contentious relationship has had a tremendous impact on history.
We know a lot about Joseph, but we tend to know precious little about his younger brother Benjamin. Here is what the Bible shows about him.
Paul refers to the church as 'the Israel of God.' Why not 'the Judah of God'? Why did God not inspire Paul to call the church "the Jacob of God"?
Jacob's son Joseph receives the least criticism and the most praise, a sterling record of character and human accomplishment surpassed only by Jesus Christ.
An entire chapter of Genesis is devoted to the sexual violation of Dinah and its consequences. Who bears the responsibility for this grievous crime?
God frequently bypasses the firstborn, selecting for His purposes another sibling. Jacob selected Joseph's second son, Ephraim, to receive the blessing.
By studying eating in the experiences of those in the Bible, we plumb a deep well of instruction from which we can draw vital lessons to help us through life.
Feelings and emotions may throw our faith off course. Our moods are mercurial and we must control them with daily prayer and Bible study.
Joseph was an extraordinary type of Jesus Christ. His life and character parallels Christ's in at least 16 ways, which God purposefully foreordained.
Ryan McClure, reflecting on the oft-repeated Rodney King quotation, "Can we all get along?" asks us how we are doing with our relationships, dealing with people with whom we find it difficult to get along. The Scriptures provide many examples of how difficult relationships were dealt with by humility, deference, and …
The Hebrew word used to mark appointed times connotes a pilgrimage. The Hebrew year contained five steps or seasons, corresponding to God's holy times.
It is easy to follow in Satan's footsteps, courting his daughter Envy, reaping the disquiet which accompanies her. Envy comes from pushing God from our thoughts.
John Ritenbaugh, citing the maxim that 'the apple doesn't fall very far from the tree,' suggests that the nation of Israel and the Israel of God, having the same aggresive, controlling, and contentious spirit as their forefather Jacob, must learn to let God provide blessings rather than, through crafty scheming, grabbing them …
Even though Joseph was born into a highly dysfunctional family, he nevertheless had a "high batting average" when it came to making the right moral choices, even when the consequences appeared initially to his own detriment. Joseph stayed the course, doing good even when it became a stumbling block with his associates, …
At times, God has to ignite our conscience and undermine our self-confidence to get our attention in a similar fashion as he did to Joseph's brothers.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the book Final Exit by Derek Humphry, a work exploring the prevalence of suicide and its impact on the survivors, warns us that this is the time to get our ducks in a row, making the most of what we have experienced, establishing our spiritual priorities, and reflecting deeply on why we gave …
Martin Collins, continuing the series on the awakening of guilt in Joseph brothers, focuses on a message by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, who proclaimed that Moses never just said, "Let my people go" The second part of this request was "that they can worship God in the desert." Egypt has long served as a metaphor of …
How can we evaluate whether our Feast is 'good' or not? God's criticism of Israel's feasts in Amos 5 teaches what God wants us to learn from His feasts.
Many churches understand tithing but do not believe that God commands them for today. However, tithing has always been God's way of financing His work on earth.
In the Bible, eating can be a symbol of fornication. Like Jacob and Christ, we must learn to curb our appetites, learning to distinguish holy from profane.
Richard Ritenbaugh, addressing our current scattered state as a form of exile, asserts that exile has been a form of punishment God has used from the very beginning, with our original parents through the patriarchs, through the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, right up to the present time. God exiles to punish for sin, …
A spiritual Israelite undergoes a metamorphosis in which his own self-centered will is broken so that God's creative work can be completed within him.
Even when we exercise free moral agency, God engineers circumstances and outcomes so that we are virtually forced to make the right decision.
Richard Ritenbaugh, continuing on the topic of the creative imagination, reminds us that this capacity begins at age two, and allows children (of all ages) to transcend their current surroundings, enabling them to put themselves into other situations beyond normal reality. Dr. Jerome Singer suggests that children who use their …
John Ritenbaugh reveals that the reason Jacob succeeded and Esau failed had nothing to do with personality, but Jacob was elected from the womb (Romans 9:7-11). God gave Jacob the edge. Likewise, we can do nothing to gain the favor of God before our calling, but we are empowered by God to carry out a particular part of His plan …
Joseph's example proves that even the most difficult temptation can be resisted and overcome, though this skill must be developed incrementally.
With godly hope, we need to envision the successful accomplishment of God's purpose for us, realizing that God has bound that promise with an oath.
Martha used her gifts, but to an excessive extreme. Jesus had to reel her in, setting her on a more productive course. We must use our gifts responsibly.
Martin Collins, focusing on the myriad forms of humor in the Bible, including God's own wry sense of humor and wit. Paradoxically learning to laugh makes us see more seriously. The Bible contains many examples of subtle humor, including situation comedy, intoxication humor, picaresque humor, satiric humor and taunt songs, verbal …
We have to exercise faith, realizing the timing will be right for us, enabling us to accept His provisions and decisions for us without fear or anxiety.