The Apple Of God's Eye

March 15, 2011

Samuel: Israel’s Great Prophet

Filed under: Biblical Characters — melchia @ 6:58 am
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Samuel Anointing David - superstock.com

About 1140 B.C., when God still ruled Israel through judges, there was a Levite named Elkanah who had two wives. One, Hannah, was favored of her husband, but had no children. The other was Peninnah.

Each year the family journeyed to Shiloh to worship the Eternal. This is where Joshua, about 300 years before, had placed the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant containing the Law of God. And each year Peninnah would chide Hannah for having no children.

Praying for a son

When the time came once again for the trip, Hannah was provoked to tears.

While at Shiloh, she prayed earnestly to God for a son, vowing that if God would grant her petition, she would make the child a Nazarite, dedicated to serving the Eternal all the days of his life (see Num. 6:2-8). And as she silently prayed, Eli the priest thought she was drunk, for she was moving her lips but making no sound (I Sam. 1:13).

He rebuked her, but she explained her grief. And Eli said, “May the God of Israel grant you your prayer.” That day Hannah went out from the tabernacle with complete faith that God would give her a son. And God did.

She named the child Samuel (meaning asked of God), and when he was weaned, about 3 years old, she took him to Eli. There he grew up ministering to the Eternal God (priestly duties). He wore the linen garment of a priest, and each year his mother made him a new coat.

Eli’s wicked sons

Now Eli was not a young man. He had already judged Israel nearly 30 years and had given most of the administrative duties over to his sons, Hophni and Phinehas. But they were corrupt.

Whenever the people came to make an offering, Hophni and Phinehas took the best portion of the meat for themselves. The leftovers were presented to God. They also committed fornication with the women who served at the door of the tabernacle. (more…)

What Does “An Eye For An Eye” Really Mean?

Filed under: Law Of God — melchia @ 6:43 am
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wjameskellymdiv.blogspot.com

Many have read the command in Exodus 21:24-25 with shocked amazement at the assumed cruelty of the God of the Old Testament. They suppose anyone causing a person accidentally to lose sight of an eye would immediately be seized, held down, and have his eye gouged out!

But is this true? Let’s understand the real meaning of these instructions.

The context in which we find this command of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” is explaining the principle of just recompense for any wrong done. The very next verse shows that if a person causes his slave to lose his eye or tooth, the slave must be freed as a PAYMENT for the injury — workmen’s compensation. Verses 18 and 19 of the same chapter discuss the matter of one person injuring another. What is the punishment? “… he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed.” It was a matter of payment or recompense — not revenge by inflicting the same injury.

Then verse 22 shows that a person should be punished if he causes a pregnant woman to have a miscarriage. What is the punishment in this case? Again it is “. . . and he shall pay as the judges determine.” The whole context of the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” command is concerned with the matter of just recompense or payment for the injury caused.

The purpose of Christ’s teachings in the “Sermon on the Mount” was to magnify the Old Testament law, not annul it (Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 5:17-19). Since the intent of the law was love of God and neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40), Christ was better showing us how to love our fellowman.

In Matthew 5:38-42 Christ shows that a true Christian should be willing to suffer wrong done to him if necessary (I Peter 2:19-20). For instance, Christ paid a tax which really did not apply to Him (Matthew 17:24-27). Paul gave us the instructions that followers of God should be in complete submission to government authority even though it was unjust at times (Romans 13:1-7).

The instructions given to Moses about “an eye for an eye” were not some cruel yoke of bondage. They were laws set up to regulate a society in a fair and just manner. Christ was not doing away with the law as some have supposed — He was showing what a Christian’s attitude should be when unjustly wronged.

Joshua: A Man Overshadowed By His Deeds

grace2live.org

Only a few times in history has a person been born who accomplishes so much that his deeds are remembered as much or more than the person himself. Such a man was Joshua.

Have you ever noticed that Joshua is not even named by Paul as one of the great heroes of faith in Hebrews 11? Yet far lesser known personalities such as Barak, Samson and Jephthah are cited as examples.

Why not Joshua? Joshua who took charge of Israel after the death of Moses? Joshua who gave instructions to carry the ark across the Jordan, which parted as the Red Sea had in the days of Moses? Joshua who led Israel around the city of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down? Joshua who led Israel’s conquest of the promised land? Joshua who commanded and the sun stood still for one whole day?

Are there more dramatic examples of faith in the entire Bible? Why, then, did Paul leave Joshua out of Hebrews 11?

Perhaps the answer is found in the long list of Joshua’s accomplishments. What he did — or, better, what God did through him — was so great that the events actually overshadow the man.

The first time we hear of Joshua in the Bible is during the second month of the Exodus.

Under Moses, God led Israel out of Egypt by way of the Red Sea. After dividing the Red Sea for Israel, God killed the pursuing Egyptians in the returning water. The Israelites journeyed into the rugged mountains of the southern Sinai and camped in a plain called Rephidim.

At Rephidim, Israel entered into their first battle against hostile forces — the Amalekites.

You remember the story. When Moses held his staff high in the air, the Israelites were victorious. When his hands fell to his sides, the Amalekites were victorious. Finally, at the end of the day, Moses sat on a rock with his hands held up by Aaron and Hur. Israel was victorious. (more…)

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