But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 1 Peter 3: 14-16
Moses had anticipated that his people might not believe him (Exod 4:1), so God had provided signs so they would believe him (4:5, 8-9). Yet now, even despite the signs, they certainly were not believing him. Moses had not wanted this mission anyway, and had obeyed only under this God’s duress...
Authors: Craig Keener...
Pharaoh requires the slaves to meet their daily quota of brick-making although he is no longer supplying some of the raw materials they need to make the bricks. He deliberately sets them up to fail, so he can pretend that their failure is their own fault. When they fail, their overseers get beaten.
After Moses demands that Pharaoh release the Israelites from slavery, Pharaoh cracks down with even harsher servitude. Now the Israelite state slaves must gather their own straw to make the bricks. Their taskmasters (the Hebrew texts literally calls them oppressors, or those pressing them to labor)...
When God gives a promise, we are right to believe it with all our hearts. Some biblical promises, though, are about collective judgment or impending hardship. These promises, too, we must take to heart so we may prepare for them (Gen 41:30, 36; 2 Kgs 8:1). This perspective may not appeal to a...
(Rerun from Sept. 2013)
Part of our Christmas story is a tale of two kings: one powerful in the eyes of the world, and the other identifying with the lowliest of people. It is the latter who is the true King, and this reminds us that we serve a God who is not impressed with power or status, but who...
Pharaoh insults God (Exod 5:2) and orders his slaves to just get back to work (5:4-5). He treats their request for a religious festival as nothing but an excuse to get off work. Even though most people in antiquity allowed for the existence of other people’s gods, Pharaoh assumes that the...
Some people don’t attend church because they were hurt by the church. That’s understandable, especially if you had people there harassing or abusing you and even doing it, tragically, in the Lord’s name. Hey, Jesus had problems with religious folk in his day, too. In a way, you might feel more access to God not being around those
Jacob faces terrible loss
Jacob obeyed God and returned to the promised land, despite the threat of violence at the hands of both Laban (pursuing him from behind) and Esau (confronting him in the land). You might think that when you obey God, even in the face of difficulty, that immediately things will get better. But that’s not what happened
When I was new in my faith in Jesus, someone worried that I wasn’t really converted because I was doubting my salvation. Can a person struggling with self-doubt have faith for salvation? Yes: The Bible doesn’t say that we are saved by confidence in ourselves, but by confidence in Jesus. Also, the Bible doesn’t say we have to
What’s the moral of THAT story?
Immediately after mentioning Reuben’s immoral act (35:22), the narrator reminds us that Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn through Leah (35:23). This helps explain how Joseph, Rachel’s firstborn who does act more virtuously, later supplants him (49:4). Reuben was undoubtedly quite young at this
After violent attacks by Islamic extremists, stupid people want to blame all Muslims—alienating more Muslims and polarizing things further; and some people who are even more stupid want to blame all religious people, thereby further marginalizing all peace-loving believers as if Islamist radicals and secular radicals are the only voices
Fulfilling God’s promise
Sometimes in roundabout ways that I could not have imagined, God has brought my life around to fulfill a specific calling he gave me years ago. We know in part, but beyond our own ability to make anything happen, God often frames periods or events in our lives with a divine inclusio. Often when God is in the process
The beloved disciple and Peter both display their devotion to God with signs of athletic prowess. Youth often offers us special strength and this can be used for the Lord.
Authors: Craig Keener
God's call and our commitment do not exempt us from hardships
Having recently escaped Esau’s wrath after wrestling with the angel of the LORD, Jacob encounters afresh the God who met him at Bethel (“House of God”) when he first fled from Esau. God tells him to return to Bethel (Gen 35:1). In preparing to return to where he first
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