An ambitious, slightly rebellious idealistic teacher (Who Happens to be White) accepts Bennington county, SC’s school board superintendent’s offer to teach the all-black kids of the pauper fishery. In the process lives are changed forever.
An ambitious, slightly rebellious idealistic teacher (Who Happens to be White) accepts Bennington county, SC’s school board superintendent’s offer to teach the all-black kids of the pauper fishery. In the process lives are changed forever.
Predictably, some secular media sources have taken a DNA study, and attempted to argue it somehow disproves or contradicts the biblical account. It doesn’t.
Dr. Marc Haber, a lead author of a recent study that compares some ancient genomes with modern-day people in Lebanon, concluded, “We found that the Canaanites were a mixture of local people who settled in farming villages during the Neolithic period and eastern migrants who arrived in the region about 5,000 years ago. The present-day Lebanese are likely to be direct descendants of the Canaanites, but they have in addition a small proportion of Eurasian ancestry that may have arrived via conquests by distant populations such as the Assyrians, Persians, or Macedonians.”
The researchers compared the genomes of five Canaanite people who lived about 4,000 years ago in the Lebanese city of Sidon with 99 modern Lebanese. The conclusion was, according to Haber, “Present-day Lebanese derive over 90 percent of their ancestry from the Canaanites or a genetically similar population.”
Canaanite is a generic name for several peoples who lived in the Middle East, in the area now occupied by Israel and Lebanon. The Phoenicians, who developed the first alphabet, were Canaanites — the term “phonics” is derived from this connection. The Carthaginians, who later fought the Punic Wars against the Roman Republic, were also of this ethnic extraction.
The study adds some interesting information about the region today.
Unfortunately, some media sources have opted to use the study in an effort to attack the Bible. The Daily Mail report was typical, with a screaming headline, “Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim that the Canaanites were wiped out.” ScienceMag, an online site, was more reserved, saying only that the “Old Testament … suggests a grisly end for many Canaanites: After the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, God ordered them to destroy Canaan and its people (though other passages suggest that some Canaanites may have survived)…. Now, ancient DNA recovered from five Canaanite skeletons suggests that these people survived to contribute their genes to millions of people living today.”
Yet, the Daily Mail and many other media sources chose to report the findings in a way to cast doubt upon the veracity of the biblical accounts, asserting that the research is contrary to the biblical account.
But is it?
Paul Copan, a philosophy professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, has challenged that conclusion in his book, Is God a Moral Monster? “A closer look at the biblical text reveals a lot more nuance — and a lot less bloodshed.”
The early chapters of the Book of Judges clearly states that the taking over of the land was “far from complete.” While the rhetoric was rather bombastic in the Book of Joshua about wiping out all of the Canaanites, Copan argues that this is much like a sports team saying they “blew their opponents away.”
The end of the Book of Joshua assumes that the Canaanites were still around, despite several battles for the land. In Joshua 23:12-13, Joshua warns the Israelites, “For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these [Canaanite] nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know with certainty that the LORD your God will not continue to drive these nations out from before you.” (Emphasis added.)
Why would there be any concern about intermarrying with a people who had been utterly wiped out? Deuteronomy 7:2-5 explains the concerns was not ethnic prejudice, but remaining faithful to the God of Israel: “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods.” The text goes on to direct the destruction of Canaanite religion, which consisted of human sacrifice and sexual immorality.
As Copan asks, “If the Canaanites were to be completely obliterated, why this discussion about intermarriage?”
Despite these warnings, some Israelites no doubt did intermarry with them. In many cases, the indigenous Canaanites probably converted to the God of Israel. We can see this with Rahab [a Canaanite woman] who converted to Israel’s faith, the problem was not intermarriage so much as intermarriage with non-believers. We see the same thing in the Book of Ruth, when a Moabite woman intermarried into the Jewish nation, trusting in the God of Israel herself. Both of these women are ancestors of King David, and ultimately Jesus Himself (on His mother’s side).
Other Canaanites survived and became part of the nation of Israel, while others survived as continued nuisances to the people of Israel. As cited in the Book of Joshua above, God did not continue to drive out some of the Canaanite people, because of the disobedience of the Israelites.
This should serve to illustrate, however, that far too many secular journalists look for opportunities to attack the Bible. Since the Bible did not say all the Canaanites were destroyed, it is logical to presume that some of their descendants are still living today, many in close proximity to their ancient neighbors. One only has to look at a map of the region today to figure that out.
by Steve Byas
A faith barrier is made up of attitudes that short-circuit our trust and prevent us from obeying the Lord’s will. A negative self-image can hinder us in this way, as can ignorance of God’s character and promises. As we see in Moses’ life, three other attitudes can also trip us up: doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and fear of failure.
Moses doubted the Israelites would believe the Lord had chosen him to lead them. But God graciously reassured him by providing demonstrations of divine power (Ex. 4:1-5). When doubt invades our minds, it can be overcome with diligent study of Scripture and persistent prayer, which will replace uncertainty with biblical truth.
Moses wasn’t eloquent, and a perceived lack of skill left him feeling inadequate for the job—he was afraid trying to speak would make him look foolish. God patiently reassured him of divine help in that task (vv. 10-12). The Lord often chooses unlikely people to carry out His plan because He looks at the heart, not human qualifications (1 Samuel 16:7). He can overcome all our inadequacies.
Thankfully, Moses eventually obeyed. But at first, he didn’t embrace God’s instructions and instead asked to be relieved of the assignment (Ex. 4:13). A fear of failure can prevent us from saying yes to the Lord.
Carrying out God’s will requires a heart that trusts Him, a soul that steps out in obedience, and a mind that leaves success or failure to Him. As we break down the faith barrier, we will be able to see the evidence of God’s presence and power—and experience the joy of obedience.
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32)
Many beautiful descriptors are used in the New Testament to illustrate the powers of the Word of God, both spoken and written. For example, the Lord Jesus is called “the Word of life” in 1 John 1:1, and Paul, speaking of the Scriptures, reminded the Philippian Christians that they should be “holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:16).
Jesus called the Scriptures, which were to be spread through the world like seed sown in a field, “the word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19). The apostle Paul called them “the word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8). Quoting a particular Scripture, he spoke of it as “the word of promise” (Romans 9:9).
As His witnesses and ambassadors, it is to us that He “hath committed . . . the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19), wherewith we are to beseech men to be reconciled to God. Paul also said that “the word of truth” was nothing less than “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13).
The writer of Hebrews called it “the word of exhortation” (Hebrews 13:22). In writing through John to the faithful church at Philadelphia, the Lord Jesus commended them because they had “kept the word of my patience” (Revelation 3:10).
But undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and meaningful of such metaphors of God’s Word is the one found in our text (and also in Acts 14:3), that is, “the word of his grace.”
There is no grander theme in the Bible than the unmerited, abundant, inexhaustible, saving grace of God in Christ, and it is fitting that God’s eternal Word be known as “the word of His grace.” The book, in fact, ends on this very note. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21). HMM
We will take another draught from the overflowing well of David’s ever fresh and sparkling Psalm. May the Holy Ghost make it really refreshing to us.
Blessed be the name of God, our Father, this is most joyfully true. Some of us here present can say, “Amen, Amen.” Every promise has been fulfilled in its season. We have served a good Master and loved a faithful God. Alas! we have not dealt so well with him as we ought to have done.
One of the Reformers, in a public discussion, was observed to write upon a paper before him. His friend wished to see the notes which had so much helped him, and was surprised to find that they consisted simply of these brief prayers, “More light, Lord; more light, more light.” This is just what David asked for, let us seek the same.
Sweet are the uses of adversity; it pens in the sheep so that they cannot wander as before.
It is the nature of goodness to communicate itself, therefore does the psalmist beseech the good Lord to show him how to be good.
He would answer their calumnies in the most effectual manner, by living them down.
They suffered spiritually from fatty degeneration of the heart, and were doltish, gluttonous, lifeless; David made them a warning to himself, and all the more delighted in the law of the Lord.
Thou hast made me, be pleased to new-make me. I am thy work—complete me: I am thy harp, tune me; I am thy child, teach me.
The grace experienced by one believer cheers others; indeed a good man is always a son of consolation to his brethren. He who comes forth perfumed with the spices of God’s word, imparts delight to all with whom he associates.
This we may be quite sure of, but we are apt to forget it when we are on the bleak side of the hill.
The phrase, “according to thy word,” shows us that we should in prayer plead the very words of God, laying our fingers upon them, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, beseeching the Lord to be as good as his own promise. Rest assured he will never deny himself. He is not the son of man that he should repent.
Under persecution the Psalmist ran at once to the Word. Never begin to argue, or grow angry, but run to your Father in heaven, when men upon earth do you wrong.
Psalm 119:79, 80
Make thy children willing to help me, and to be helped by me. Let me be a magnet to gather good company, not a besom to sweep them away. May I cultivate love and promote unity; yet not at the expense of truth, therefore do I pray—
Father, I bless thy gentle hand;
How kind was thy chastising rod;
That forced my conscience to a stand,
And brought my wandering soul to God!
Foolish and vain I went astray,
Ere I had felt thy scourges, Lord;
I left my guide, and lost my way;
But now I love and keep thy word.
I realize that John 10:10 is a well-known verse to millions of believers around the world, but today I want to give you fresh insight into this powerful scripture. Rather than simply read it as you’ve read it a thousand times before, let’s dig a little deeper into the Greek words behind this verse to see what we can mine from the treasures of the Greek New Testament!
Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). According to these words of Jesus, the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy everything good in your life. He wants to destroy your job, your joy, your happiness, your health, your finances, your marriage, and your kids. The thief just wants to ruin anything he can get his hands on!
The word “thief” comes from the Greek word klepto, which means to steal. It gives a picture of a bandit, pickpocket, or thief who is so artful in the way he steals that his exploits of thievery are nearly undetectable. This reminds me of the pickpockets who work the streets in certain areas of Moscow. They can slip their hands into a person’s pockets, take what they want, and be long gone before that person discovers they were even there!
Jesus uses this word to let us know the devil is very cunning in the way he steals from people. He knows that if he does it outright, his actions will be recognized; therefore, he steals from people in such a deceptive way that he often accomplishes his evil goal before they even know he has stolen from them!
Often the devil injects thoughts into a person’s mind to steal his peace, his joy, and even his beliefs. The word klepto describes a thief’s uncontrollable urge to get his hands into someone’s pockets so he can take that which doesn’t rightfully belong to him. I find it very interesting that this is where we get the word kleptomaniac, which describes a person with a persistent, neurotic impulse to steal. Just as a kleptomaniac can’t help but steal, the devil can’t stop stealing because it is his impulse and his very nature to steal. This is precisely the nature and behavior of the thief Jesus told us about!
Not only does the thief come to steal, but Jesus said that he also comes “to kill.” At first glance, it appears that this means to kill, as to take someone’s life. But the Greek word is thuo, which means to sacrifice. It originally referred to the sacrificial giving of animals on the altar. It could mean to sacrifice; to surrender; or to give up something that is precious and dear. It was particularly used in a religious connotation to denote the sacrifice of animals, and it had nothing to do with killing in terms of murder.
Because Jesus uses this word to describe the work of the thief in John 10:10, He is telling us that if the thief hasn’t already walked away with everything we hold precious and dear, he will then try to convince us that we need to sacrifice or give up everything he hasn’t already taken from us.
The thief cannot bear the fact that you possess any kind of blessing. Therefore, if he is unsuccessful at stealing the good things from your life, he will try to cunningly convince you to give up everything you possess and love—simply because he doesn’t want you to have it. He may even try to create stressful situations that cause you to conclude that your only solution is to sacrifice the things you dearly love.
Then Jesus went on to say that the thief also comes “to destroy.” The word “destroy” is from the Greek word apollumi, meaning to destroy. It carries the idea of something that is ruined, wasted, trashed, devastated, and destroyed. By using this word, we discover that if the thief is unsuccessful in his attempts to steal from you or convince you to sacrifice what you hold dear, he will then try to ruin it!
An expanded interpretive translation of John 10:10 could read this way:
“The thief wants to get his hands into every good thing in your life. In fact, this pickpocket is looking for any opportunity to wiggle his way so deeply into your personal affairs that he can walk off with everything you hold precious and dear. And that’s not all—when he’s finished stealing all your goods and possessions, he’ll take his plan to rob you blind to the next level. He’ll create conditions and situations so horrible that you’ll see no way to solve the problem except to sacrifice everything that remains from his previous attacks. The goal of this thief is to totally waste and devastate your life. If nothing stops him, he’ll leave you insolvent, flat broke, and cleaned out in every area of your life. You’ll end up feeling as if you are finished and out of business! Make no mistake—the enemy’s ultimate aim is to obliterate you….”
But Jesus went on to say, “… I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The words “they might have” are from the Greek tense that means to have and to continually possess. The “life” Jesus offers us is zoe, which suggests a life that is filled with vitality. The word “abundantly” is from the Greek word periossos, and it means to be above, beyond what is regular, extraordinary, or even exceeding. This is not just abundance; it is super-abundance.
What a comparison! The devil comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but Jesus comes to give life as we have never known it!
An expanded interpretive translation of this second part of John 10:10 could be as follows:
“… But I came that they might have, keep, and constantly retain a vitality, gusto, vigor, and zest for living that springs up from deep down inside. I came that they might embrace this unrivaled, unequaled, matchless, incomparable, richly loaded and overflowing life to the ultimate maximum!”
In your walk with the Lord, you will experience times when the devil pushes buttons in your emotions to keep you all bound up and depressed. Other times the enemy will disguise his voice to make you think God is talking to you in order to get you off track or cause you to cast off your deepest dreams as pure imagination. But whenever these attacks occur, just tell the devil to shut up and stop dropping those dimwitted thoughts of nonsense into your head. Tell him to hit the road! Let him know you’re not going to bite that bait any longer, so he might as well go fishing somewhere else. You’re not a sucker anymore! You know how he works now, and you’ve determined that he isn’t going to steal, kill, or destroy one more good thing in your life!
There’s no doubt about it!
So now that you know the devil wants to make your life a less-than-gratifying, unhappy, uneventful life—a life that no one will even notice is gone once it’s over—what are you going to do about it? I urge you to put on the brakes and stop Satan from wreaking havoc in your life. Jesus will give you the power to resist every attack and to overcome every strategy the devil ever tries to use against you!
Lord, I am so thankful that You came to give me real life! You didn’t save me so I could live the rest of my life in defeat and poverty. You didn’t redeem me so I could be sick, depressed, and sad. You came to give me life, and I am determined to enter into the reality of that life You promised me. Forgive me for ever allowing the devil to talk me out of the blessings You have designed for my life and my family. I’m taking my eyes off the low road, and I’m headed for the high road of blessing You have planned for me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that Jesus Christ gives me a life that is filled with extraordinary abundance! He came that I might have, keep, and constantly retain a vitality, gusto, vigor, and zest for living that springs up from deep down inside me. He gives me a life that is not rattled or easily shaken by any outward event. I therefore embrace this unrivaled, unequaled, matchless, incomparable, richly loaded, and overflowing life that Jesus came to give me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
The word “thief” gives a picture of a bandit, pickpocket, or thief who is so artful in the way he steals that his exploits of thievery are nearly undetectable.
If you were anticipating brain surgery, I suspect you would want to be sure the surgeon got an “A” in “Brain Operations 101“! There are some things in life where inaccuracy is not an option! Interpreting the sacred Word of God is one of them:
“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved… a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth… Ignorant (literally: untaught) and unstable people distort [the]… Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (2 Timothy 2:15 – Amplified; 2 Peter 3:16)
As lay-people, we have a responsibility to correctly examine the Scripture, since bad doctrine usually leads to bad living. Following are 10 basic principles of Biblical interpretation :
1. Work from the assumption that the Bible is authoritative.
2. The Bible interprets itself; Scripture best explains Scripture.
3. Interpret personal experience in the light of Scripture and not Scripture in light of personal experience.
4. Biblical examples are authoritative only when supported by a command.
5. Scripture has only one meaning and should be taken literally.
6. Interpret words in harmony with their meaning in times of the author.
7. Interpret a word in relation to its sentence and context; a passage in harmony with its context.
8. Since Scripture originated in a historical context, it can be understood only in the light of biblical history.
9. Historical facts or events become symbols of spiritual truths only if the Scriptures so designate them.
10 When two doctrines taught in the Bible appear to be contradictory, accept both as scriptural in the confident belief that they resolve themselves into a higher unity.
Jul 11, 2017
He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young. Isaiah 40:11
Many artists have painted pictures of Jesus holding a lamb in His arms. Interestingly, there is no reference in the New Testament to Jesus holding a lamb, though it is easy enough to imagine the Good Shepherd doing so.
Perhaps the idea of Jesus holding a lamb arose from the image of God in Isaiah 40:11. In words of comfort for Israel, God is described as gathering the lambs in His arms, embracing them, and gently leading the mothers “who are with young.” It is a tender image of care and concern—an image that was carried forward by Jesus. When speaking to His disciples of God’s care and provision, Jesus referred to them as “little flock” (Luke 12:32). His disciples were like lambs in terms of their faith—young, mistake-prone, and dependent. Yet He told them that God the Father had given the kingdom of God to them—something they would understand better in time. Jesus is a tender and compassionate Shepherd, ready to embrace His flock.
Take advantage of Jesus’ tenderness as your Good Shepherd. Go to Him and find rest for your soul (Matthew 11:28-30).
Faith is not a distant view, but a warm embrace of Christ. John Calvin
God called Moses to do a great work for Him that would also bless the Israelites. Moses’ response to this awesome invitation was to offer excuses for why he couldn’t obey. This kind of attitude—which I call a “faith barrier”—can thwart us spiritually.
In Moses’ life, we see areas of weakness that can create such a faith barrier:
Poor self-image. When God gave the command to go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses’ immediate response was to say, “Who am I?” (Ex. 3:11). Perhaps he was thinking of his occupation as a lowly shepherd living in Midian. Maybe he was referring to his upbringing and separation from his birth family (Ex. 2:1-4). Or he might have been recalling his past, when he killed an Egyptian and had to flee (Ex. 2:12). Whatever Moses’ objection was, the Lord answered with a wonderful promise: “I will be with you” (3:12).
Ignorance of God’s greatness. In order to carry out God’s plan, we need to believe fully in the One who has called us. When Moses questioned his assignment again, the Lord answered by revealing Himself as the great I AM and the One who had promised to rescue the Israelites (vv. 14-17). By trusting in the character and promises of almighty God, Moses would be able to carry out this seemingly impossible assignment.
Faith barriers hinder the flow of divine power in our life, slow spiritual growth, and prevent us from fully carrying out the Father’s will. We must remember who He is and where power comes from. We know that our heavenly Father is sovereign over all, and His Spirit empowers us to follow through in obedience.