These are the ruins of a military outpost and possibly palace that king Hezekiah had built in between Jerusalem and Bethehem. It was destroyed by Sennacherib- but the Lord miraculously protected Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 19). Even though God will allow trouble in our lives, we do not need to despair. Trouble will never go further than God allows in his sovereignty.
Nabal kept sheep in Carmel (1 Samuel 25), and there still are sheep there today. But the story of Nabal, the fool, and his wise wife Abigail reminds us that wealth is not in material possessions, but in wisdom and obedience to God.
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28)
There are some realities about you that the Bible does not want you to miss. One, you are a sinner. Two, if nothing is done about your sin problem, you will have to face judgment with no one helping you. Three, Jesus has sacrificed himself for the sins of many – including yours, if you are willing to trust him for that.
‘And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.’(Hebrews 8:11)
Imagine that the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God. Each and every person knows him intimately and desires nothing but pleasing him. There would be no illness, drugs, murders, cheating or debts. A world like that would be filled with joy, sunshine and life! It seems our present world is far removed from this Utopia.
“ I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down”, Proverbs 24:30-31.
Working hard is the means that God has assigned to achieving success.
A structure in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher built over what is believed to be Jesus’ tomb. Whether or not it is the right place, “He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:6). Hallelujah, Jesus lives!
This very well may be Rachel’s tomb, close to Ramah in Benjamin’s territory.
Rachel was weeping for her children, because the Israelites were led into captivity (see Jeremiah 31). Yet God said “there is hope for your future”, like there is hope for ours. The condition: repentance from our sins and obedience to God.
Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Hebrews 7:27)
The author of Hebrews paints two images that are high in contrast: the priests of the past and Jesus, the new high priest. The priests of the old covenant were ordinary people, just like you and me. They could only serve for a number of years and eventually they would die, just like you and me. When they offered sacrifices for the people, they first had to offer sacrifices for themselves, because they were sinful people, just like you and me. The sacrifices had to be offered again and again because they never really sufficed to take away sin. This image looks imperfect and dull in color.
Jesus says: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
Jesus is our shepherd. Let us listen to his voice.