While reading through 1 Samuel 3-4, I was struck by a couple of interesting things just prior to God’s call of Samuel:
1. Note that “the lamp of God had not yet gone out.” If you have a cross-reference Bible, it will probably point you to Exodus 27:20-21 to the description of the lamp in question. There, we find that the lamp was tended by Aaron and his sons (i.e., the Levitical priesthood), “from evening to morning before the Lord.” Since, in 1 Samuel, it had “not yet gone out,” we can conclude that God’s calling of Samuel happened just before dawn. I don’t know if there is any significance to the time of day, but I am still amazed by the this level of detail in the stories in the Bible.
2. The other thing that struck me was where it says Samuel was lying. “Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.” It’s not entirely clear whether Samuel was actually sleeping in the Most Holy Place, inside the veil, or simply nearby. Still, the implications are pretty staggering, especially since we are told later in verse 7 that Samuel “did not yet know the Lord.” Could this be another indication of Eli’s disregard for the holiness of the temple?
As soon as Adam and Eve committed the first earthly sin against God, one of the first things they did was hide. They hid because they were ashamed of their sin. And this is, first of all, redundant. It’s redundant because they hid from God to be apart from Him in their shame. But they had already separated themselves from God by their very sin.
Not only is it redundant, but it’s futile. It’s futile because hiding from God is impossible. There is nowhere to go where you can be apart from His presence. This is exactly what omnipresence means. He’s everywhere. As the saying goes, you can run, but you can’t hide. Anywhere. At all.
The sad thing is that we actually manage to convince ourselves that if we hide, God won’t see our sin. And this is the real reason people try to hide from God, because God is light and He exposes our sin, so in our sin, we want to get as far away as possible from that light lest anyone, even God Himself, sees our sin.
That’s why Adam and Eve hid. After their taste of sin, they thought they could hide their shame in the darkness, away from the presence of the Lord. But it just doesn’t work that way…
I was recently reading through Genesis 11 and I was puzzled somewhat by this verse:
I was puzzled because it’s not until chapter 12, in this account, that God calls Abram out of his land, to go into Canaan, and promises it to him:
12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. (ESV)
From these passages we see two things:
- In Genesis 12, God called Abram out of Haran, but…
- In Genesis 11:31, Abram and his family were already on their way to Canaan from Ur of the Chaldeans when they got to Haran
Hm. I thought Abram was called out of Ur of the Chaldeans, not out of Haran? That’s the way I always remember reading it…
Ah yes, here it is:
Nehemiah 9:7 also references God calling Abram out of Ur. So, which is it? Was he called out of Ur, or out of Haran? Stephen, through the Spirit, testifies to the complete history in his great final sermon in Acts 7:
2 And Stephen said:
“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. (ESV)
So, following the whole counsel of God, we see the sequence of events was as follows:
- God appeared to Abram in Mesopotamia (Ur) and called him to go to another land
- Terah, Abram, Lot, and Sarai left Ur and went to Haran, and settled there.
- Terah died in Haran.
- God appeared to Abram again (Genesis 12:1-4) and told him to go to Canaan.
(Note: The text is not clear whether the Lord specified Canaan as the destination when He first appeared to Abram in Ur. Therefore, I have left it the vague “another land” in my own chronology, above.)
See? By applying a little elbow grease and Strong’s (or a good search engine), the Bible is not so mysterious after all. But more on that subject later…
I recently started studying through the book of Genesis again. I’ve read through it before, probably several times. Most of the attempts I’ve made read through the Bible have tended to get bogged down in Leviticus or Numbers, so I’ve probably restarted and re-read Genesis half a dozen times.
Genesis, of course, means “origins” or “beginning.” It describes the beginning of Creation, the beginning of mankind, and the beginning of God’s plan for His chosen people, Israel.
It also presents the beginning of not only of sin, but also of God’s plan of salvation from sin.
This verse is the beginning of our hope. Scholars call it the protoevangelium. “Proto” meaning first, “evangelium” meaning Gospel. The eventual offspring (or “seed,” as it’s often translated) of the woman, Christ, would crush the head of the deceiver, Satan. Satan, likewise, would bruise the heel of our Lord by His suffering on the cross, suffering which, of course, he would overcome, “victorious over sin, hell, and Satan.”
It is amazing and glorious that even with the very first sin, God had already conceived of the plan of salvation.
Shannon and I were recently reading through Genesis 32, and I was struck by the sheer poetry of this verse. I don’t mean poetry in the same sense as the Psalms; rather, poetry in the sense of powerful imagery and skillful use of the language.
I don’t remember when I first encountered the story of this pivotal incident in Jacob’s life, but it was probably in some Bible storybook when I was very young. By the time we read this verse today, we know what is coming – the “man” he struggles with turns out to be God Himself. But imagine someone reading Moses’ words for the first time, and not knowing where the story was going… The obvious question becomes, “If Jacob was left alone, who was this man? Where did he come from?”
The drama is only heightened when, in the very next verse, after being matched evenly all night long, the man disables Jacob with a mere touch of his hip joint. Even then, Jacob holds fast, insisting that this man bless him. Why? Jacob surely recognized that this was a man of great strength and power. Just how strong and powerful, he did not yet know.
Jacob doesn’t recognize the stranger until, I believe, verse 28, when the man tells him “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
Adrian Warnock is studying Proverbs, and wonders, Are Bloggers Scoffers?:
As I was reading these proverbs through again today, I fear that we could easily switch the word “scoffer” for the word “blogger.” These proverbs have so much in them to challenge the Christian blogging community. How easily could we write — “Bloggers set a city aflame,” or “. . . a blogger doesn’t listen to a rebuke,” or “whoever corrects a blogger gets himself abuse,” or dare I say it — “Blogger is the name of the arrogant haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” I do not say this merely to rebuke other bloggers — I am only too well aware of these tendencies in myself.
Where is the line between rebuke and scoffing? Is sarcasm ever appropriate? What about the “watch-bloggers”? What about wrongful accusations of scoffing? Where is the line between humor and sarcasm?