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Tag Archives: Torah

The Oracles of God

From a biblical perspective, an oracle refers to a priest or priestess acting as a medium through whom advice or prophecy was sought from God. Whenever a forefather, judge or king was about to make an important decision in the Old Testament, prophets and seers were requested. Depending upon the oracle received, these leaders would base their ultimate decision upon these words of wisdom.

Then what advantage remains to the Jew? [How is he favored?] Or what is the value or benefit of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, to the Jews were entrusted the oracles (the brief communications, the intentions, the utterances) of God, Romans 3:1-2.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul uses logic and reason to justify the Jewish practice of circumcision. As individuals follow the Torah, Old Testament laws relayed to Israel from Moses, spiritual insight is gained. However, this process is exercised by talking steps of faith, not by sight. As the faithful follow their spiritual convictions, brief communication, intentions and utterances from God are received.

And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice, 1 Kings 19:11-12.

It’s not uncommon to feel like the prophet Elijah in the passage above. There are moments, periods and time when God is silent and believers feel all alone, desperate for comfort and direction. During this ordeal, Elijah withdrew to a cave to contemplate his next step, In the minutes that followed, a series of weather related events got Elijah’s attention. Despite the wonder and awe of these natural disasters, God was not behind these events. As Elijah’s spirit grew impatient, an oracle of God appeared in the form of a whisper. May this story encourage you to be ready for the next oracle to be spoken via the power of the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

Words Written in the Sand

The Sunday Morning Television talk shows are notorious for setting up conservative minded individuals.  Prior to an invite, politicians are hopeful for a good showing, looking to get their name out on a national stage.  Yet, when the questions begin, many feel like they are on trial, attacked and bombarded for possessing Bible based beliefs.

They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger, John 8:6.

This atmosphere was normal for Jesus during the first century.  Whenever He interacted with Pharisees, religious leaders and teachers of the Torah, Jesus often endured a game of gotcha, waiting for Him to stumble and fall.  On one occasion Jewish officials attempted to use a woman caught in adultery as a trap.  Unlike most debates, Jesus uses a different strategy, ignoring their questions by choosing to write words in the sand.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” John 8:7.

The word chosen to describe writing by John, a disciple of Jesus, is not your typical verb.  The context in this passage refers to “writing down the record.”  Thus, scholars assume that Jesus begins to write down the secret sins of these religious leaders in the sand.  Upon hearing Jesus’ request in verse 7, one by one the crowd of accusers quietly goes back to their homes.  When Jesus finished writing, he appears surprised by the honesty of these Jews.  However, his last words to this woman are poignant, “go now and leave your life of sin.”  These words are just as relative today, a call to heed and obey.  Go and do likewise.

by Jay Mankus

 

Love and Marriage

The sitcom Married with Children mocked the biblical concept of love and marriage.  However, as Christian couples in America began to live hypocritical lives, often resulting in divorce, I guess you can say Hollywood had plenty of material to work with.  Nonetheless, for ten seasons Al Bundy portrayed a new form of love and marriage, laughing at the struggles an average family endures on a weekly basis.

“Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother, Mark 12:19.

During another week in history, “Let’s See if We can Fool Jesus This Time,” also known as Passion Week, the Sadduceees refer to still other aspect of love and marriage.  Referencing Jewish Law found in the Torah, a religious leader tries to play Trivia Pursuit with Jesus.  Before the answer to his question is provided, it is clear he was no match for the King of Kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven, Mark 12:24-25.

Love prior to entering any relationship is tough enough on its own.  However, when you add marriage to this equation, the complication is magnified.  The apostle Paul chose to remain single, not wanting this distraction in his life.  Yet for those who are stuck as Al Bundy often eluded to his own marriage, a different form of love is required, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  Therefore, pray for the fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23 so that the love you display may have an eternal impact.

by Jay Mankus

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