Altar controversy Joshua dies at the age of 110 and was buried on his own estate at Timnath-serah, in the hill country of Ephraim.

Day 89 (March 30): Easterners return home, altar honors East/West union, altar controversial, Joshua’s last words, covenant renewed, Joshua, Eleazer die

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Joshua 22-24
(1399-75 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Joshua 22:10-34): So, there was a big gap in communication here.  Apparently, to build another altar to sacrifice would have been severely disrespecting God’s wishes?  But, the 2½ tribes didn’t build it for sacrifice; they built it as a reminder.  The reminder serves as a bridge between the Israelites east of the Jordan and those west of the Jordan.  The easterners were concerned that the westerners may not allow the easterners in to worship the Lord and make sacrifices?  I was under the impression that the tribes’ borders were transparent and they could just flow between the territories, but always belong to one.  Was there hostility between them?

A. It reads to me as though the Eastern tribes were saying, “Everything is great now, but what happens in a hundred years when every one of us is long dead?  Will our people still be welcome?”  So they set this plan in motion to build a reminder that they are in fact a united people.  I think that the Western tribes were willing to go to war to ensure that the Eastern tribes hadn’t given up on God, but all was well once the emissaries were able to talk.

Q. I feel like we are going through a big change now.  Joshua and Eleazer both died without appointing a new leader.  That gives me a feeling of bad things to come.

A. I don’t want to spoil a good story (Judges is a good story), so I’ll just say that we will see the way that God will provide for His people in their time of need.

And, that’s the end of Joshua.  Tomorrow, we start Judges!

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Check out these conversation starters: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading: Judges 1-3:30

Achan Israel tricked Achan and family are killed for their part in losing to a battle against Ai. Achan had taken loot when God told them not to.

Day 83 (March 24): Israelites lose Ai battle, Achan punished for disobeying God, Israelites defeat Ai, Covenant renewed, Gibeonites trick Israel, God is angry

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Joshua 7:1
1 Chronicles 2:7
Joshua 7:2-9:27
(1406-05 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Joshua 7:25): Achan’s family was killed as punishment because maybe they knew of Achan’s sin, but hid it from everyone?

A. I’m not entirely sure, but it appears that they did so to purge the evil of Achan completely.  I would guess that as the patriarch of his family, Achan’s involvement in the theft and deceit is what got his family killed.

Q. (Joshua 8:2): Why can the Israelites keep war plunder sometimes and in other times, God tells them they can’t keep it.  Is it just a matter of obeying what God says?

A. I’m not sure if there is a pattern, but, yes, it is simply a matter of following God’s orders.

Q. (8:25): Here we get the town size of Ai to be 12,000.  Do you know if that is a typical town size?  If so, the Israelites numbers are much, much larger and should be no match for these towns.

A. It appears to be a small town in this era, according to what 7:3 tells us.  The spies informed Joshua that the area had few fighters, and could be taken without the full force.  My notes tell me that the journey from Jericho to Ai is around 15 miles uphill, which might explain why Joshua was not eager to send his whole force.

Q. (8:28-29): There are many references we have read thus far, including this one, that state the sites can still be seen today.  Why is this important for the author to convey to the readers?

A. The author appears to be marking locations throughout the nation as a way of saying, “if you don’t believe me, go see the sites for yourself.”

Q. (8:30-32): Why doesn’t God instruct the Israelites to set up the Tabernacle to offer sacrifices?  Is it because they are on the move right now?  Or, maybe they use it also as a monument to mark God’s territory?

A. The Tabernacle will be setup when the conquest is complete.  As we saw in Jericho, that doesn’t mean that the Ark is not in “use” as it were.

Q. (9:14): So, God was obviously upset with the Israelites for not confirming the identities of these travelers with Him.  So, the punishment is that these people tricked them and now they have to accept them into their society.  But, God wanted all the land wiped clean.  Was this part of his plan that the Israelites would now have laborers?

A. I couldn’t tell you for sure, but I can tell you that by making the oath he did, Joshua ensured that these people became a part of God’s plans for His nation.  There will be various references to Gibeonites throughout the OT as servants of Israel, and one location where the Tabernacle will be set is Gibeon (2 Chronicles 1:3-5).  Based upon the descriptions we saw for the Tabernacle, you could imagine that it required a lot of wood for the altar, and a lot of water for the washing basin.  There appears to be a lot of menial labor associated with the Tabernacle and later the temple.  Perhaps God is making provision for His people in this way.

For further study: We need to acknowledge that God is the one who does the fighting. https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/sermon-failure-sin-disobedience-consequences-joshua-7

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Watch conversations get started with these: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading: Joshua 10:1-12:6

Jericho On the seventh time that the Israelites circle the walls of Jericho, the priests blow their trumpets and the walls come tumbling down.

Day 82 (March 23): Israelites cross Jordan, Ark parts waters, memorial, circumcision renewed, Joshua bows, Jericho march, walls crumble, Rahab saved

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Joshua 3-6
(1406 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (3:13): I like how God uses a parting of the waters again to enter into a new land.  The Israelites who witnessed this miracle at the Exodus are no longer living.  So, it is wonderful that the new generation can see the power of God parting water.

A. Water was an ancient symbol of life giving deities.  By turning the Nile to blood, parting the Red Sea, and the Jordan River, God is demonstrating His power of these other false gods.

Q. (3:17): I thought the Israelites were told to stay a half mile back because of the holiness of the Ark, but here, they are passing by it.  Can you explain?

A. They were told to stay back until the Ark got to the middle of the Jordan and the water receded.  Then they could cross by it.

Q. (4:12): I notice that the warriors from the tribes that asked for the land east of the Jordan instead of west of the Jordan are asked to go first.  Is this sort of a payment of these tribes for asking for the land on the east side of the Jordan River, sort of rejecting the land that God had promised them?

A. As we mentioned yesterday, that was the bargain that Moses struck with the tribes: your leadership in battle in exchange for this good land.  As far as I know, the land on the east side of the Jordan is Canaan as well, so it was part of what God intended for Israel.

Q. (5:2): We have discussed the Lord’s requirement of circumcision of the Israelite males in Day 5’s reading (Jan. 5).  Anything to add here?

A. Yes, this passage indicates that exception had been made for this generation of Israel: those born in the wilderness (i.e. the generation who would take the Promised Land, as opposed to those who died out) were not circumcised, for reasons that are not explained.  The rite is simply suspended for 40 years.  This passage indicates that when Israel crossed the Jordan, the religious observances were reestablished.  Note that after the covenant is reaffirmed by circumcision, they celebrate Passover.  It also tells us that the manna disappears, indicating a closure to that chapter of God’s provision for His people.  My notes also tell me that it was in Canaan that Abraham and his family members were first circumcised, so doing this ceremony in the Promised Land is a way of renewing the covenant relationship that he established.

O. (5:9): I had never thought about any shame the Israelites would have carried from being former slaves.  I guess that would have been a burden to carry and now God somehow took that feeling away.

O. (6:1-5): Remember the discussion about the importance of certain numbers in the Bible?  Seven signifies completeness and fulfillment, and traces its roots back the seven days of creation.  To see other important numbers Rob told us about, see the first answer on Day 3.

Q. (6:25): Will Rahab or her descendants come up again?

A.  I don’t think so, but Rahab’s faith does get her two mentions in the NT: in Hebrews 11 (the hall of fame passage) and James 2.  Not a bad consolation, right?

Song: If you grew up going to church, you probably know this song, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, https://www.google.com/search?q=battle+of+Jericho+song+video&sca_esv=ba2f71a3923bd7cb&ei=gIDFZfI11NeS9A_l0Zi4Dg&ved=0ahUKEwjy9YSgjp2EAxXUq4QIHeUoBucQ4dUDCBA&uact=5&oq=battle+of+Jericho+song+video&gs_lp=Egxnd3Mtd2l6LXNlcnAiHGJhdHRsZSBvZiBKZXJpY2hvIHNvbmcgdmlkZW8yBRAhGKABMgUQIRigAUjlSVCyC1iJRXAEeACQAQCYAaQBoAHNGKoBBTE3LjEzuAEDyAEA-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&sclient=gws-wiz-serp#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:05a46718,vid:wfPOHQOc3uI,st:0

Shop: Christian shirts get noticed.  Watch conversations get started with these: https://livinlight.org/shop/

Tomorrow’s reading: Joshua 7:1; 1 Chronicles 2:7; Joshua 7:2-9:27

Joshua Israel's new leader

Day 79 (March 20): Moses reviews Covenant, God shows mercy, life choices, Joshua is Israel’s new leader, Book of Instruction, God predicts disobedience

Wong Chim Yuen

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Deuteronomy 29:2-31:29
(1406 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Deuteronomy 29:29): This is an interesting verse.  Has God said this before that there are secrets that He has not revealed?

A. I don’t think it has come up to this point, but honestly, there will always be things about the infinite God that are incomprehensible to the finite “us.”  I don’t really like the way that this verse in translated in this version.  The NIV makes Moses’ point more carefully.  The focus is not on God and His secrets, i.e. things He has not revealed, but rather on the Law as a blessing to the people and future generations of their children.

O. (30:1-10): Yeah!  God has mercy on the Israelites.  God is merciful.

O. (30:9-10): This passage made me smile.  It’s nice to know we can delight God.  So many times, it feels like we can either make Him happy or make Him mad.  But, the thought that we can bring joy to His heart brings joy to my heart, much like when I look at my girls and think how lucky I am that God made them a huge part of my life.

Q. (30:17): I know these commandments are for the Israelites — I never really differentiated that rules were for them and not necessarily for us today until Rob explained that — nevertheless, we can still learn from them, right?  Here Moses is telling the Israelites that if they worship other gods, they will be destroyed.  There are other false gods to worship, but I think that once you become a Christian, you are not likely to be lured by other cults, religions, etc., but we have idolatry of today — TV, work, money, hobbies, food, alcohol, sports, travel, lust — anything that we give so much importance to that we forget about God.  Would you say that applying this passage to today in this way is accurate?

A. I think it is.  You have begun to see the way that we should think about idolatry today: as anything that competes with God for our attention and time.  It is anything that we trust in besides God.  Having said that, I think that we as a society are moving toward a more open view of mixed religious theology.  We usually call it pluralism, and say things like, “all roads lead to God.”  Unfortunately, this goes exactly against what Moses is teaching the people here.  We must be very careful about allowing other religious ideas to infiltrate our faith.  Intermixing their faith in God with other faiths will get the Israelites in a lot of trouble.

O. (31:1-8): Just reading this gets my heart pounding.  I imagine the Israelites thinking about how big and numerous these inhabitants were and here God said He is going to conquer them.  And now, since they did not actually see the miracles in Egypt, there may be many who doubt His power.  But, Moses keeps reminding them of the deliverance and miracles and I’m sure their parents did — the loyal, wise ones anyway.

Q. (31:12): What is in the Book of Instruction?  The curses and the blessings?  Was this book placed in the Ark of the Covenant also?  Do any of these exist in museums today?  That’s another question: Can you give us a nutshell version of where all of the scrolls that form the Bible were found?

A. The Book of Instruction is the Law.  It is basically some form of the previous four books we have been reading: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  I suspect the versions of the books that we have been reading were edited together to combine the instructions of the Law with the journey in the wilderness that we have been reading about.  There will be various references to copies of the Law throughout the OT, but it appears a copy of the Law did end up in the Ark.  It is very unlikely, however, that it was a copy that would have been used.  It is likely that other copies made by the priests were used for everyday study.

Regarding your other question, you’ve touched upon a complex subject: the transmission of the OT.  There’s a few things to note. First, the oldest known copy of the complete OT in Hebrew is called the Masoretic Text (usually MT), which is a medieval copy of the OT from the Middle Ages.  We have portions of the OT that are found throughout the Middle East, but there’s a catch.  In the late BC era, the OT was translated into ancient Greek, to create a document known as the Septuagint (from the Greek word for seventy from the number of translators who worked on it).  Most of the ancient copies of the OT are Septuagints: Greek, not Hebrew copies.  Modern Jews reject the use of the Septuagint (probably because it’s the version that many early Christians, including Paul, used), and feel that only the Hebrew is valid for translation.  So while we have many fragments of the OT in Hebrew, and several copies in Greek, the oldest complete text comes from the Middle Ages.

I hear the questions rising now: isn’t that a long time?  Yes it is, but one of the coolest discoveries of modern Biblical archeology was the discovery of what is known as the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s and 50s- found near the Dead Sea in the West Bank.  This was a collection of nearly a thousand clay pots that contained scrolls of various sizes.  These scrolls contained various portions of nearly every book of the OT (the exception was Esther, for reasons that don’t concern us here).  The ultimate find, however, was a full-length copy of the Book of Isaiah on a 12-foot scroll.  The coolest part of the discovery: the text of Isaiah matched more than 99% of the Masoretic text, despite being more than a thousand years older!  This, I think, tells us the great care with which Jews have copied their sacred text (and the way early Christians transmitted theirs), and gives me great confidence that the copies of the Bible that we have today are accurate representations of what the original author and editors desired to write about God.

O. (31:16-18) I doubt this is news that sits well with Moses, especially on the day of his death!

Q. (31:29): So much for peace in the valley of milk and honey.  Why does the disobedience have to continue?  From reading the Bible thus far, it seems that God does have a hand in what disasters strike.  Is this just more of God testing to see who deserves His blessings?

A. The people continue to rebel against God.  And just because God can “see it coming” as it were, does not make the people any less responsible for their actions, which is part of what God is telling Moses here.  The purpose of the curses, the droughts, the conquest by other tribes, these are all tools used by God to call His people back to Him.  None of us deserve the blessings God provides for us.  Like the Israelites, our call is to be faithful to God, and He will handle the rest.

Tune in tomorrow: a song God gave Moses to share with the Israelites.

For further study: What are the oldest copies of the Bible? https://biblearchaeologyreport.com/2019/02/06/the-three-oldest-biblical-texts/

Shop: We are so blessed to have a merciful God who forgives us 70 x 7! https://livinlight.org/product/490/

Tomorrow’s reading
— Deuteronomy 31:30-32:52
— Psalm 90

 

Golden Calf people sacrificed burnt offerings, ate, drank and started a wild, noisy party worshipping the golden calf.

Day 42 (Feb. 11): The golden calf, Moses pleas for Israel, Lord’s glory shines on Moses, Covenant x 2

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Exodus 32-34
(1464 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Exodus 32:1): The Israelites seem to be so impatient.  But, 40 days does seem like an eternity.  I guess with that many people, the unrest would spread rampantly.  But, I am surprised that Aaron caved so quickly.

A. Yea, this isn’t Aaron’s best moment.  He caves to the pressure quickly — some extra-biblical traditions say his friend was murdered or his family was held hostage, etc. — but there is no excuse for his sin.  Worse yet, he lies to Moses about it when Moses comes down: really, the calf formed itself.  Sure it did…

Q. (32:9-14): It seems like I always here that our Lord is exact, true and unwavering.  But we have seen several times where His chosen have pleaded with him to spare His people.  The conversation sounds like two old friends who confide in one another.  I always thought of God’s directions as final, “It’s my way or the highway.”  But, God makes exceptions.  Last Sunday, our minister talked about giving God some of your time — not just making a date for 15 minutes, saying “Hi, how are you?, the kids OK, and here’s my list of requests, gotta go, amen.”  He said to give him an hour, a half day, even a whole day and just walk with Him.  In these passages, Moses spend days with Him.  Our lives don’t really make room for such a long visit, but we should give him the time.  He is here to help us, counsel, listen and just talk to.  When we spend more time with something meaningless as TV than God, that has to hurt His feelings.  Rob, can you comment on God changing His mind and on how he has, to me, almost human emotions?

A. There is, as one might expect, a lot of discussion about whether God really changed His mind in the sense we are familiar with, but there are important things we can derive from this passage.  To me, God appears to test Moses as He tested Abraham, except this time, there was a whole nation in the balance.  God tells Moses, “go away so I can get angry and kill them,” but Moses is quick to speak up for his people.  They screwed up, Moses says, but its not in your character to wipe them out, you don’t really mean what you’re saying, right God?  It appears Moses was willing to be bold even to God in fighting for his people.  No wonder the writer proclaims Moses and God talked as friends!

Q. (Exodus 32:27-28): Moses just told God to spare the Israelites.  Then, he goes down from the mountain and commands the Levites to kill everyone.  They only killed 3,000.  Can you explain these two conflicting statements — the sparing and not killing everyone?

A. It appears that Moses and the Levites killed in order to re-establish order among the ranks and stop the madness.  That had to be done, or there would be no chance of making amends with God.  What God was suggesting was the wipe out the ENTIRE nation and start again with Moses.  So while Moses’ actions seems violent, it certainly was more desirable then losing the whole nation.

Q. (32:34): What is the Lord referring to when he says, “when I come to call the people to account, I will certainly hold them responsible for their sins.”

A. It appears to be directly tied to the plague that strikes the people in the next verse.

Q. (32:3): From earlier Exodus reading, it sounded like God wanted to reside among the Israelites when he was giving the particulars of the Ark and Tabernacle construction.  Now, he has changed his mind because of the Israelites actions?

A. Like the decision to destroy the nation, God will heed Moses’ pleading to not abandon His people and will travel with them.  Hang on for the end of the story: it’s really cool.

O. (33:16): LOVE THIS VERSE: Moses says, “For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

Q. (33:21-23): We have talked about this before, but can you remind us of the differences between God talking to Abraham and to Moses.  God appeared as a traveling man to Abraham, but here God says he is too glorious to be seen.

A. Moses is asking for the full deal: he wants to see the full extent of who God is.  And God tells him, you’re asking too much for any person.  God chooses to reveal himself in different ways to different people — I’m thinking of Isaiah, Joel, and Ezekiel, among others — throughout His story, so it is clear that people do, in some form, see the Lord, but they do not see the full weight of who God is.  That is the implication to me about what would be “too much” for poor Moses to handle.  Still, Moses appears to be able to handle a lot of seeing most of God truly is — as close as any person ever has according to the text.  This is a big part of the reason that he is such a revered figure in Judaism, even bigger than Abraham.

Q. (34:7): I don’t understand “I forgive iniquity, rebellion and sin.  But I don’t not excuse the guilty.”

A. Actually, I think that this is a profound statement of God’s mercy and grace (what He desired to share with Moses about His nature).  I like the way that NIV renders it: “forgiving…rebellion and sin.  Yet, He does not leave the guilty unpunished.”  I think they “yet,” rather than the “but” of NLT, makes the message more clear: God is willing to forgive our sins, but the sins themselves often come with natural punishment that God does not prevent us from suffering.  As we talked about some days ago, it is often children who suffer the worst consequences for the sins of their parents, which is what the end of the verse talks about.  So in this profound statement, God is basically saying, “you and I can be reconciled” by Me forgiving you, but you must still deal with the consequences of your actions.  To me, this points to the reality of God’s grace, but also that God does not wink at sin and say, “oh well, boys will be boys” or whatever.  God takes our sins very seriously — mostly because of their deadly effect on us — even when He grants us forgiveness.

For further study: What are you idolizing today? See the 10 top items that are “worshipped” today: https://www.rethinknow.org/idol-worship-today/

Shop: If you Live for the Lord, He will be at the top of your priority list.  https://livinlight.org/product/live-for-the-lord/

Tomorrow’s reading: Exodus 35-36

Priest prep sacrifices Sabbath Make the altar hollow, out of boards. It is to be made just as you were shown on the mountain.

Day 41 (Feb. 10): Priests’ dedication, Tabernacle hygiene, consecrations, incense, God names builders, God’s ‘to do’ list, Sabbath instructions

Jeremy Park, Bible-Scenes.com

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Exodus 29-31(1446 BC)
Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Exodus 29:10-28): I for one, am glad that we don’t have to do all of these animal sacrifices today.  I am surprised at all the specifics of these instructions.  I guess I shouldn’t be after seeing the instructions for the Tabernacle.  I’m just wondering what some of the specifics mean, like blood on the right ear lobes, right thumbs, right toes.

A. This ritual symbolized the cleansing of the priesthood of their own sin (by offering the sin offering of the bull and other animals), so that they would be ritually pure in order to accept the offerings of the rest of the community.  We will see this explained further in the next book, Leviticus.  The blood on the ear lobes represented a discerning ear for what God desired of the priests, and the blood on the hands and feet (thumbs/toes) represented the life of service that the priesthood would carry out on behalf of the Israelite community.

Q. (30:8) … from generation to generation.  I notice that many of these instructions are not for a week or two.  The Lord’s instructions imply, to me, that they will be wandering for years and years and years and more.

A. Yes, they will wander for an entire generation (one of the things 40 represents in the Bible is a generation).  But more importantly, these instructions are given for the community for ALL time!  Thus, they will still be true in the time of David and Solomon (though the offerings are made at the temple instead of the tabernacle), and also in the time of Jesus.  For reasons that we will — I’m sure — learn about, Jews today treat the sacrifice system differently, and offer prayers to make their atonement.

Q. (31:16) Gotcha, I think.  Rob, you said the Sabbath was no longer a law, but here it says, “The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation.” This is a covenant obligation for ALL time.

A. That’s true, as we talked about in the last question.  But we as Christians are no longer bound to follow this Law, whereas devout Jews ARE.  This is a big parting of the ways between Jews and Christians: observant Jews still hold to what we call the Old covenant (they of course hold that it is the ONLY covenant!), where as Christians are under the freedom that Christ offers by His eternal sacrifice.  We will see how this gets explained in the NT when writers like Paul and whomever wrote the book of Hebrews start to explain why we are different because of Christ.  So hang on, the answers are coming. You’ll just have to wait until late in the year to get them.  So, there’s your reason to keep reading!

For further study
— How much did the Ark of the Covenant weigh? https://blog.warrenmyers.com/2012/06/the-dimensions-and-approximate-weight-of-the-ark-of-the-covenant/
— All about anointing oil and is it practiced today? https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/why-is-anointing-oil-important-in-the-bible.html

Shop: Another shirt that gets noticed: https://livinlight.org/product/truth/

Tomorrow’s reading: Exodus 32-34

 

All things Tabernacle. Tabernacle of the Israelites while they were wondering in the desert.

Day 40 (Feb. 9): Tabernacle offerings, blueprints for Ark of the Covenant, table, lampstand, Tabernacle, altar, courtyard, light, priests’ apparel

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Exodus 25-28
(1446 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Exodus 25:1-40): Do we learn anything from God’s instructions on how to construct the Ark?  Is it just that God knows what he wants to be comfortable?  Any significance to the cherubim?  Also, I notice that 27 inches is repeated many times.

A. God is asking His people to sacrifice in order to create a place of gathering that will serve His people for the next several decades.  The Tabernacle will dwell within the center of the community — putting God in the midst of His people — and will be a point of gathering.  The items requested would have made a beautiful gathering — which was very functional as well, it could be folded together and loaded up any time — that would have served the entire community.

I think we’re on the wrong track when we think of God desiring “comfort” as though He wanted a Lay-Z-boy to recline in.  This is not an incarnational presence, like Jesus.  This is the presence of God becoming the literal center of the tribes while they are in the wilderness.  We will see how the instructions for the ark and tabernacle will come into play as we move along, but watch for the importance of the poles and rings when it comes time to move.  There is a very special reason for the rings and poles on the ark.

The cherubs — a name for what we think is a classification of angel, but no one knows for sure — were seen in the OT as symbolic attendants to the throne of God, what we call the mercy seat, the cover to the ark.  And in a throne room, the attendees of a king would have been at his left and right.

Don’t pay much attention to the dimensions, if for no other reason than the NLT uses modern units to help us more clearly understand the dimensions of the items being built.  If you look at the NIV or King James, they give the units in “cubits” rather than feet and inches.  For reference, a cubit equals 1.5 feet, or 1 foot, six inches.  Obviously, there were no “inches” and “feet” as measures in ancient times, and generally there were very few standards of measure.

Q. (28:6): Is there any significance to the thread colors chosen — blue, purple and scarlet?

A. Yes.  These colors were symbolic of royalty and were incredibly expensive.  Like the gold and jewels for the task, God is seeking the best that His people have to offer.  He is requesting them to sacrifice in this instance, as one would do for a human monarch.

Q. We see this lavishness that God commands for himself.  No question, he deserves it all.  I just wondered what kind of philosophy the Bible says churches should have when building their places of worship.  Some churches are lavish, others are basically four walls and a roof.  I have had the mindset that if churches spend a lot on their buildings, they are not using their money wisely.  They could be using it for missions.  But, then, are they showing disrespect for God by not having the best possible place of worship?

A. You’ve obviously asked a complicated question, as you can tell by the various ways that churches and individuals have answered it.  Some churches are much more comfortable with “four walls and a roof” (I’m thinking of the of those pre-fab metal roofed churches that you see in rural areas), while others (I’m thinking of an absolutely amazing Catholic Basilica I visited in St. Louis) desire to create real beauty and glorify God through craftsmanship.  I think that both decisions honor God in different ways: we can say, “Lord be glorified by this place” or “Lord be glorified by what we will do within this place” and be perfectly right in both cases.  In this instance, God required the people to sacrifice their best in order to create something that would benefit everyone in the community.  Overall, I would say there is no one “right” way to build a building for God — unless He gives you one as He did here — and we must be discerning to what God desires of us.

Q. I shouldn’t say this, but this reading is a yawner.  Not much action.  But, I do glean several things from it.  1) There are things made for Aaron’s attire that will remind him who he is, a representative to all the people of Israel.  2) God asks for a beautiful place to dwell among the people.  I would love to see it!!!  3) Anything else I’m missing?

A. Seems like you’ve got the general idea.  The instructions given here are just the groundwork: we will still see these things built later in Exodus, and put into action in the next few stories.  So hang in there.

If you (or anyone else) wants to see what this would have looked like, I find that there are various groups on the internet who have built life-size replicas.  Like this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stiftshuette_Modell_Timnapark.jpg

For further study: What is the significance of the Ark of the Covenant? https://www.compellingtruth.org/What-Ark-of-the-Covenant.html

Tomorrow’s Reading: Exodus 25-28

Israelite laws festivals ‘And when your children say to you, “What does this rite mean to you?” you shall say, “It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.”’ And the people bowed low and worshiped. Exodus 12:26-27 (NASB)

Day 39 (Feb. 8): More laws, annual festivals, God promises to be with Israelites, Israel accepts Covenant

John Paul Stanley / YoPlace.com

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Exodus 22:16-24:18
(1446 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Exodus 22:16): There are obviously more laws here than the 10 Commandments.  Do these other laws have an official name?  Do you know how many there are total?

A. It is usually referred to as the Law or Torah.  Jews call the individual laws Mitzvah.  There appear to be 613 commands contained in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Have a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/613_commandments.  The page lists all of them at the bottom.

Q. (22:18): Sorceress?

A. Sure.  We would probably use the word witch: those women in particular who used the forces of the occult — or appeared to — in order to manipulate events.  This would include fortune telling, séances and speaking with the dead — we will actually see this in 1 Samuel — and other occult practices.  Sorcery is strictly forbidden in Scripture, since it relies on other, likely demonic, powers not of God.  It is always an attempt to gain inside information on the future, thereby demonstrating lack of faith in God.  We will see more commands like this one.

Q. (22:28): I’m going through these thinking that I’m OK.  But to not dishonor any of our rulers?  That can’t possibly apply today?  Politics would be no fun!

A. Ha!  Respect for authorizes put in place by God IS a Biblical concept, even when those authorizes do not serve God (however you define that).  Paul speaks very similarly in Romans 13:1-7.  We must be very careful in not submitting ourselves to the authorities in place, and it is important to see the necessity of humility in doing so; something a lot of Christians could use more of.

Q. (22:29-30): We covered the “give the firstborn sons and livestock” thing, but remind us again in a nutshell.  Thanks!

A. God spared them through the Passover, so they belonged to Him.  Thus, they had to be “bought back” in a ceremony where the participants would be reminded of the centrality of God’s power in their lives.  It was a way of remembering what God did at Passover.

O. (23:2-3): I like it when we can easily understand many rules such as these and they are relevant today.

Q. (23:20): Is this angel referring to Moses?

A. No.  Moses was the human representative, but 14:19 has already established an angel, or messenger, of God who has been moving with the company.  We will see some references to this when the Israelites enter the Promised Land in Joshua.

Q. (23:25-26): Is this law just for the Israelites or for all, including us now?  I know Christians who have had these misfortunes.

A. God is making particular promises to these people at this time, and we get to be on shaky ground when we try to adopt promises He makes to them for us.  Having said that, we are certainly commanded to live in good relationship with God, which includes the understanding that God will provide for our needs.  But I definitely say that the Bible does not tell US today that if we live in good relationship with God, only good things will happen to us.  As Jesus reminded his followers: If you follow me, in this world, you will have trouble (John 16:33).  God does not say we will never have difficulty, even with the bare necessities at times, but only that He will never leave us alone.

For further study
— These laws seem to be a little obscure.  What was the purpose?  https://bibleengagementproject.com/en/Blog/Studying-the-Bible/Why-Old-Testament-Laws-Arent-Invalid#:~:text=Don’t%20eat%20animals%20that,11%3A9%E2%80%9310).&text=Don’t%20mate%20two%20different,animals%20(19%3A19).&text=Don’t%20plant%20two%20different,field%20(19%3A19).&text=Don’t%20wear%20clothing%20made,fabric%20(19%3A19).
— Feast of Unleavened Bread: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/feast-unleavened-bread/

Tomorrow’s reading: Exodus 25-28

 

God empowers Moses. God talks to Moses via a burning bush.

Day 32 (Feb. 1): Exodus — Israelites in Egypt, Moses is born, Moses escapes Midian, Moses’ family tree, burning bush, God adds Aaron

John Paul Stanley / YoPlace.com

At first I put “Day 32 (Jan. 32).” Lol.  Congrats!  We have made it one month!  Can you believe we have learned so much in just two books?  Another 64 books and we will be the wisest ones around!  I am amazed at how much I have learned, how many questions have been answered and how much more I understand about the way God is showing us to live to have a more fulfilling life.  A Bible study leader asked me what insight I have gained from Genesis.  I said, “the boundaries God has given us.” He tells us rules to live by to keep from falling into darkness.

From Job, I have learned to shut up and to realize just who God is.  I question too much of God’s reasons for things.  Like Job says, who am I to ask “Why?” of the Creator of the world?  Job and his friends say over and over and over how magnificent and powerful God is.  The repetition definitely tested our patience, but they certainly succeeded in pounding in their message.  The extensive lists of what God controls, creates and cares for opened my eyes to and solidified my realization of God’s magnificence and magnitude.  And, letting go of all the questions I have, realizing I will never know all the answers, is a big weight off my back.  Just giving God your burdens is such a relief!

Thanks to Rob, our expert on board, I have also learned that although the Bible is historical, that’s not God’s main purpose in giving us the information.  The purpose of the Bible is to show us how to live; to give us insight on how to deal with struggles; and to turn to God and ALWAYS trust Him!  We need to extract the wisdom from God’s Word, not pick it apart to learn all the details of a story and the reasons behind the actions.

Let’s keep going!  Exodus is next.  For an introduction to Exodus, go to http://www.biblestudytools.com/exodus/.

If you are just joining us, thank you for checking out Livin’ Light, where we are reading the Bible in one year, chronologically.  This Bible-in-a-year challenge is unique in that questions from the reading are answered by a seminary graduate who has studied cultural history.  The information helps readers grasp confusing parts, explore deeper meanings and often times find surprises! To start this quest from the beginning, click on 365 Daily Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1.

I hope you find this as fun and as enriching as we have creating it!

Today’s Reading
Exodus 1-2:25
1 Chronicles 6:1-3a
Exodus 3-4:17
(~1600-1446 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Exodus 1:22): Here, the king’s rule spared the Hebrew girls.  Any idea why girls are treated more gently than boys?  Is this tied to being a gentleman?  I just wonder if Pharaoh was determined to subdue the Israelites, then why did he not rule to have the girls killed along with the boys?

A. The women would be unlikely to fight in any uprising against Pharaoh, and would be easy to control by comparison.  Pharaoh is, in his mind, trying to make the Israelites weak.

Q. (2:1,10): I wonder what Moses exuded that made his mother think he was special and made Pharaoh’s daughter desire to spare his life and take him as her own?  Also, did the princess have contact with Moses while his mother had him?  The only evidence I see is that the princess said she would pay Moses’ mother to care for him.  So, she may have visited him when paying her.

A. My understanding is that Moses came to be part of the house of Pharaoh when he was weaned — Pharaoh’s daughter was paying Moses’ mother to be a wet nurse, which I guess worked out pretty well for the mom.  The story doesn’t seem to tell us if the princess came to visit (I honestly don’t know), but the more important detail for the story is that Moses will be a person of two ethical heritages: he was born an Israelite, but brought up as part of an Egyptian household.  He lived in both worlds, and very likely was raised with the man who would become Pharaoh (something the movie The Prince of Egypt points to).

Q. (1 Chronicles 6:1-3a): Is there any significance from Moses coming from the line of Levi?

A. In the sense of where we’ve been, no.  But in the sense of where we’re “going” so to speak, you bet!  Moses and Aaron are two of the most important figures in Israel’s history: Moses will (of course) be the great liberator, and speak to God on behalf of his people in a way that no one (outside of Christ) has done since.  God will make Aaron the first High Priest on this journey, and Aaron’s descendants will be important members of the priesthood.  So it is in Exodus that we see Levi’s descendants first become the chosen ones to be the people’s representatives before God.  (As you will recall, because of this special religious role, the Levites will be dispersed among the other tribes and not have land of their own.)  We will see in the book of Leviticus (about the Priesthood) the way that God will provide for the priests out of the sacrifice system.

Q. (Exodus 3:1): It’s interesting that there are so many references to sheep in the Bible.  Sheep were obviously a staple back then?  Now, we have mostly cattle, swine and chicken in the U.S.  I don’t know if sheep are still as numerous in the area as they were in Bible times.  Most interesting though, is God’s use of sheep in demonstrating how Jesus, the shepherd, takes care of us, the sheep.  And here, Moses is a shepherd, which may help prepare him for taking care of the Israelites as they exit Egypt.  Any comment, Rob?

A. Sheep are still a big part of agriculture in other parts of the world (though the story will make reference to other domesticated animals as well, notably cows (and oxen) and birds — pigs were unclean, so they didn’t keep them (and still don’t).  Sheep have played an important role in the story so far, and they will continue to.  They (goats, sheep, and lambs) will play a crucial role in the sacrifice system that is established in Leviticus (other animals will be offered up to, so its not just them).  In addition, both the Old and New Testaments describe the relationship between God and humanity as a shepherd who takes great care of their flocks (for example, Psalm 23 and John 10).  Since it was such an important part of their culture, it is probably unsurprising that God would use that image.

Q. (3:6): Isn’t this the first time that we see God appear with more of a presence?  Here, God told Moses to stop where he was and take off his shoes because he was on holy ground.  Moses doesn’t go any closer and he covers his face in fear.  When God appeared to Abraham, He just showed up as a traveler, although Abraham quickly knew who He was.  Just wondering why the change?  This is the first time God has spoken to Moses. Before this, we don’t know if Moses obeyed God, right?

A. God will not appear to two people in exactly the same way throughout the Bible, for reasons known only to Him.  We don’t know much about the relationship between God and Moses to this point (though it does imply that Moses knew who was addressing him, so he had some sort of relationship with God).  Don’t forget, Moses killed a man and fled his people to live in (basically) isolation.  Just one more example of God selecting a deeply flawed person to carry out His will.  God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.

Q. (3:8): Are the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites descendants of anyone we know from Genesis?

A. No, I don’t think so.  The only one we have any connection with is Esau’s (Edom’s) relatives, and though they will be a part of the story, they live outside of Canaan, the area where these tribes live (for now).

Q. (3:14): Can you explain God calling himself “I am”?

A. Oh man.  I could write a novel in response to that question (and people have).  God is here revealing His “real” or proper name: which in Hebrew is the four letters YHWH (called the Tetragrammaton from the Latin for “four letters”).  The word “Yahweh” is derived from the YHWH (vowels do not appear in printed Hebrew) and is the third person form of the word for “I AM” (i.e. HE IS).  I AM is the way God chooses to refer to Himself, and we refer to Him (in this sense) as He IS (if that makes any sense).

Here’s a few other things we can take away from the significance of the name: the use of I AM (and I Am that I Am) both imply that God is a personal being, that He is in the present moment (you could also say He is outside of time — He is neither past or future, He just IS).  It also can tell us that God is unchanging, and that we must adapt to Him, not the other way around.

One of the best write-ups I’ve read on this matter comes from John Piper (of Desiring God ministries).  He has an entire sermon on God’s identity.  The whole thing is good, but the bottom half talks about the significance of the name in this scripture.  Check it out: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/i-am-who-i-am (and note the section Seven Implications in the Divine Name).

Q. (4:10): I have heard people mock Moses, that he’s not the most confident leader.  Again, God chooses a humble man.

A. God certainly chose a man who did not want the job, but he will be the only person who can “shepherd” (as you made reference to) his people through 40 years in the wilderness.  Despite his humble beginnings, Moses will be the single most revered person in Jewish history.

For further reading:
— A mountain, a bush and a call to Moses: https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-22/commentary-on-exodus-31-15-3
—  Shoe removal: https://www.christianity.com/wiki/bible/why-did-moses-remove-his-shoes-in-front-of-the-burning-bush.html
— The grossness of shoe bacteria: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/should-you-take-your-shoes-off-while-indoors

Tomorrow’s reading: Exodus 4:18-7:13

J Jacob leaves Laban, taking Rachel, Leah, their herds and belongings and returns to his home in Canaan. Courtesy: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Day 11 (Jan. 11): Jacob leaves Laban, Laban follows Jacob, Jacob and Laban make covenant

Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Genesis 30:25-31:55
(1916-1908 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

O. (30:30): Jacob gets it.  Remember how God told Abraham that He was his protector?  Here, Jacob is telling Laban that God has blessed Laban with good fortune, all through the hard work of Jacob.  Jacob gives the glory to God.  In Gen. 15:1, God tells Abram (Abraham) that He will protect him and “your reward will be great.”  Look at this story where Laban deceives Jacob again, yet God is with Jacob and helps him succeed — his reward.

O. (30:35): I just realized that Rebekah deceived her husband, the nearly blind Isaac, into thinking Jacob was Esau, resulting in Esau losing his blessing.  Here, Rebekah’s brother, Laban, tricks Jacob by taking the speckled goats and the black sheep.  Deception must run in their family.  Jacob is related too.  He seems to be the ultimate outwitter, (31:20) but has learned to use his gift wisely with the God’s guidance.

O. (31:3): God keeps His promises.  In Gen. 28:15, God said He would be with Jacob.  In 28:21, Jacob says that if God returns him safely to his father’s home, He will be his God.  Jacob and God have built a strong trust, like God did with his father Isaac and his grandfather Abraham.  The legacy has been established.

O. (31:12): Jacob has basically been a slave to Laban, but God was watching how poorly Laban treated him.  We can apply this to our own lives.  When you don’t understand why you are going through a difficult time, God is paying attention. And if you stay loyal to Him, He will reward you.

Q. (31:19): Why did Rachel take the idols from Laban’s house?

A. There’s a few theories since the story doesn’t explicitly tell us.  One of the theories is that Rachel is getting back at her dad for mistreating her, which the text seems to support by saying that they felt their father denied them an inheritance.  Another theory is that she didn’t want her father to continue in idolatry (which I confess I don’t see much support for).  One other idea is that she didn’t believe in Jacob’s god, and was trying to steal the source of her father’s power and influence.

Q. (31:26): OK, what’s up with Laban?  He is so two-faced, he almost seems schizophrenic.  He is horribly unfair to Jacob and then asked Jacob why He snuck away.  He bargained away his daughters, then asked why Jacob dragged his daughters away like prisoners of war.  In 31:43, Laban is still delusional.  He thinks the flocks are his even after Jacob explained that the flocks grew because God blessed him.  Then in 31:48, when he makes a covenant with Jacob, he says God will be the witness if Jacob mistreats his daughters.  How can he say this when he is the ultimate abuser?  And, does he think God will truly respect him, given his treatment of Jacob and worshipping other gods?

A. I think you’ve summed it up well.  Laban is an odd character and this is a very weird story.  I honestly don’t know a lot about Laban and his motivations (he’s not a well studied character).  One thing he does do, whether he believes in the God of Jacob or not, is call this god as a witness in the covenant between himself and Jacob.  In addition to the aspects of covenant ceremony we have already discussed, another important aspect would be witnesses to the ceremony itself, who would have been responsible for its enforcement.  So what Laban is wisely doing here is calling on Jacob’s God to keep Jacob honest.

Q. (31:36):  This is the first time that I can remember that one of God’s chosen has lashed out at someone.  Most of the stories so far show how God’s power settles an argument.  Disagreements always make me question if I am supposed to speak up or let God do my fighting for me.

A. As we discussed yesterday, it is our duty as Christians to be at peace with those around us, so resorting to this type of outburst (or even to violence) is not in keeping with the heart of the Christian message.  But we must, reasonably, be willing to speak up for God when we feel that the character of God is being challenged.  Ultimately, I believe that we are called to listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and be wise when it comes to the times to speak (or yell I guess) and the times to be silent.

Q. (31:39): I know many of the Bible’s characters stories foreshadow our Savior, Jesus Christ.  When Jacob said He owned the responsibility for Laban’s sheep:  If one was missing, from no fault of Jacob, Jacob would have to pay for it.  Is this foreshadowing Jesus taking the punishment for our sins?

A. Certainly Jacob’s role as shepherd and protector of the sheep is in keeping with our understanding of the way Jesus spoke about himself as Good Shepherd (John 10).  And while I am not especially familiar with this particular instance of foreshadowing, you could certainly make the argument that Jacob’s actions symbolically match the way that Jesus took the “payment” for those that he considered His sheep.

O.  I joined Bible Study Fellowship (there are groups all over the nation and in many other countries) this week, which is a great study!  The speaker talked about false promises and how we set our kids up for false hope.  God tells absolutes like, “you will be the father of many nations,” “I’ll be with you,” and that He’ll give them a certain land.  God doesn’t’ say, “if we have time,” or “if we can afford it” or “we’ll have to wait and see.”  Telling kids something may or may not happen, gives them something to hope for. Of course, I’m the master of saying “we’ll have to see.”  I always thought that was a great response to the many requests of young children.  I tested this new way of answering my daughter when she asked to get a pedicure with me.  Instead of telling her, “we need to watch our money” or something valid like that, I told her that we definitely would do it.  I don’t know when, but I know we will get a pedicure together again in the near future.  Instead of hanging her head from a vague answer, she held her head up and smiled.

Book recommendation: Speaking of children, I bought my daughter a devotional book for Christmas, 365 Bedtime Devos for Little Girls.  It has a one-page reading every day.  It is fabulous.  It opens up conversation.  One “virtue” is presented, then you can tell about how that virtue has applied to your life.  Then she offers up and creates a scenario for the virtue also.  It is a real conversation starter.  (Update: unfortunately, this book is out of print.  I did see it on ebay.  However, there are numerous other devotional books with which you can engage your child practicing virtues.

For further study
— Check out this list of covenants of the Bible: https://www.gcu.edu/blog/theology-ministry/theology-thursday-what-are-biblical-covenants
— God’s role in supporting Jacob in the midst of Laban’s deception: https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/19697/Labans-Deception-Jacob.htm

Shop: Life is hard, but if you follow God, your cup will overflow with joy! https://livinlight.org/product/overflow-t-shirt-2/

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 32:1-35:27