Many of us are familiar with the Passover story. Pharaoh of Egypt forced Israel into cruel slavery. The Lord God sent Moses to rescue his people. After nine plagues, Pharaoh still refused to let them go. Finally, the Lord God deals a final blow. The plague of affliction passes through Egypt, killing every firstborn, forcing Pharaoh to let Israel go (Exodus 12:29).
We often fail to notice that the Egyptian households were not the only ones with someone dead during the Passover. Someone died in the Israelite households too. Prior to that night, the Lord God gave Israel specific instructions. They were to take a lamb several days prior. It was to be a male, which made sense because males were often used for meat and females saved for milking and breeding. It was to be a year old, which would have made it virtually an adult animal. They were to calculate the need for one meal for each household. If a household was too small for a lamb, they were to share it with their neighbor. This was to be their last supper in Egypt, and it was to be a feast.
The season of Advent reminds us that we continue to long for the second coming of our Savior, when all things will be restored to God’s intended glory. As we wait for his second coming, seeing how the Old Testament stories pointed to his first coming can fill our hearts anew with hope.
Imagine a signpost in a field nestling a tributary of the Pine Creek. On the sign is written the words, “The Big Event Before the Big Event!” No one knows what the big event is, let alone what the big event before the big event necessarily means. Nevertheless, everyone goes out to check it out. Cars line up and jam up traffic. Energy can be felt in the air, as well as excitement, intrigue, and mystery. Everyone goes out. Everyone wants to know what is going on and what will come next. Continue reading →
In the recent documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Mr. Roger’s wife, Joanne, shares some of his last moments dying of stomach cancer. Fred Rogers frequently read Matthew 25, where the Son of Man comes in glory and gathers all the nations before him. The Son of Man, who is Jesus Christ, separates them one from another, like a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. The Sheep inherent the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world, but the goats are cursed and sent to everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. As Fred would read this, he would ask Joanne, “Am I a sheep?” Continue reading →
Pastor Alister Begg tells a story about the late playwright George Bernard Shaw. In the days when radio was relatively new in the British Isles, the playwright gave a talk on the peculiarities of the English Language. During his talk, he said there were only two words with the “sh” (s-h) sound but not spelled with a “sh” at the beginning of the word. One listener took it upon herself to write to the playwright and correct him. The only word meeting that criteria was “sugar,” she said. According to the story, Shaw replied with a postcard. Only one sentence was on it: “Madam, are you sure?” Continue reading →
Speaking to the National Congress of Mothers in 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt said: “No piled-up wealth, no splendor of material growth, no brilliance of artistic development, will permanently avail any people unless its home life is healthy … No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength demands are made not only every hour of the day but often every hour of the night … The woman who is a good wife, a good mother, is entitled to our respect as is no one else …” Continue reading →
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” were some of the words Jesus cried from the cross (Matthew 27:46).
It is easy to look up to God, when our lives are filled with gladness. But, what about those times when we are at the absolute end of our robe, like life is ebbing away (cp. Job 30:16)? When prayers seem to go unanswered (cp. Job 30:20)? When we seem to suffer at no fault of our own (cp. Job 29:11-17; 30:1)? Continue reading →
A traveler arrives at the foot of a high mountain that he must get to the other side of. He looks one way and sees a path that appears well-worn, free of thicket, and wide. He looks the other way and sees a path that is narrow, full of thicket, and less worn. He knows he must choose wisely, or he may not make it to the other side. Continue reading →