Wednesday, February 13, 2019

SHIBBOLETH

Today’s Reading: Judges 12-13

Click scripture link to read online or HERE to listen online (then click the symbol of the audio speaker above the scripture portion).

 

Cana, where Jesus performed His first public miracle, the changing of water into wine, was also the hometown of one of the Twelve Apostles, Nathanael (John 21:2). Along the street leading to the Franciscan Wedding Church, a chapel marks Nathanael’s home. The Chapel of St. Nathanael is the place to read his words to Philip as they talked about Jesus. Some believe Nathanael’s famous but curious remark, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46), indicates some consternation that the hometown of the Messiah was the “ordinary” neighbouring village of Nazareth, no more noteworthy than his own.

GOOGLE MAPS – To see where the photo was taken, click HERE.

 

Key Verse: Judges 12:6

…then they would say to him, “Then say, ‘Shibboleth’!” And he would say, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they would take him and kill him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time forty-two thousand Ephraimites.

 

There still are “wars and rumours of wars” as Jesus told us there would be (read Matthew 24:3-14). A new book by Joel Rosenberg, The Third Target, surely brings it all up to date. The same lands we read about in Judges are a boiling cauldron of satanically inspired evil, as it was in ancient times. I highly recommend Joel’s book as the best current read. King Abdullah of Jordan is front and centre! (click here to order The Third Target from the Crossroads eStore).

Four more Judges and 31 more years of peace and prosperity…then came one of the most unusual characters in all the Bible, Sampson. I’ve checked with experts on the historical and archaeological accuracy of this book, and it gets high marks from them all. Therefore, the stories about Sampson, no matter how hard to believe, are no doubt true also. Sampson’s birth tells us that God plans ahead for His future leaders. It also informs us that God uses very imperfect people for His purposes. We are all candidates for His call.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I thank You that You call imperfect people like me. I ask for Your continued grace and strength to take on humanly impossible tasks. I’m not asking for physical strength like Sampson, although a little would help. I’m asking for moral strength to be more like Jesus, in whose Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

My son-in-law’s parents are buried in the graveyard just behind the Church of Nathanael (photo above) in their home village of Cana of Galilee. Nizar and Ellen named their youngest of six children after the Apostle from Cana in whom Jesus found no guile (read John1:43 – John 2:12). I understand that Cana, located just five miles north of Nazareth, was the larger of the two communities. I find Nathanael’s comments, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth,” to show the human side of the Apostles…competition between the communities. My son-in-law was the heavy-weight boxing champion of the Galilee, and that’s my tenuous connection with Sampson for this blog. Nizar, like Sampson, has had to learn some very hard lessons in life. God is using him big time! (check yesterday’s blog at the end of my “100 Personal Words”).

Yours for our availability to God for His purposes,

David

Just a short walk away from Nizar Shaheen’s family homestead in Cana is the graveyard beside the Chapel of St. Nathanael (Franciscans) where Nizar’s parents are buried.

12 thoughts on “Wednesday, February 13, 2019

  1. Wonderful scripture, message, prayer and photos of Nizar’s parents’ graves. Such a legacy. Saints, be blessed today for God loves you so. Stay safe with all this snow.

    For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 ESV

    Just Let Me Say – HillSong with lyrics
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrzylZfHpFE

  2. Imagine not pronouncing a word properly and having it be disastrous.
    Was wondering if anyone would have any thoughts on what God thinks of cremation as opposed to a body burial?
    So delighted to see souls come to Jesus daily. God bless all dear saints.

    • Some of my deeper Christian friends are vehemently opposed to cremation. However the times are trending towards it and many cannot afford a burial. If you can bury, that is the best way to go, in my opinion. Here is part of a good article, Lynda, that you might find helpful.

      The FAQs: What Christians Should Know About Cremation
      September 20, 2017 | Joe Carter

      Does the Bible mention cremation?

      The first mention of cremation in the Bible is 1 Samuel 31, where Saul and his sons are burned and then their bones buried:

      But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days. (1 Sam. 31:11-13)

      The Philistines had cut off Saul’s head (v. 9), and the bodies were likely mutilated and decaying by the time the men of Israel retrieved the remains. As Rodney J. Decker says, “It was probably considered more honorable to cremate the royal retinue than attempt to haul the mutilated, stinking bodies elsewhere for the usual Jewish burial ceremonies.”

      The only other references to cremation are in the book of Amos (2:1 and 6:8-10). None of these references reflects the normative funerary practices of God’s people. On 200 occasions in the Old Testament burial is mentioned as the standard disposition of dead bodies.

      (Leviticus 20:14 and Leviticus 20:14 indirectly mention cremation, since they involve capital punishment that requires the offender to be “burned with fire.”)

      Is cremation a sin, or is it an ethical option for Christians?

      The consensus among most Christian traditions—including evangelicals—is that because the Bible does not directly forbid cremation, it is not a sin. As Timothy George says, “While the weight of Christian tradition clearly favors burial, the Bible nowhere explicitly condemns cremation.”

      However, there is a divide about whether it is prudent and acceptable for Christians to choose cremation. John MacArthur, for example, has said, “the state of what remains of the old body is unimportant” and that we need not focus on “how to dispose of our earthly bodies.”

      “Obviously any buried body will eventually decompose (Eccles. 12:7),” MacArthur adds, “So cremation isn’t a strange or wrong practice—it merely accelerates the natural process of oxidation.”

      In contrast, Russell Moore counsels Christians to reject cremation:

      The question is not simply whether cremation is always a personal sin. The question is not whether God can reassemble “cremains.” The question is whether burial is a Christian act and, if so, then what does it communicate?

      Of course God can resurrect a cremated Christian. He can also resurrect a Christian burned at the stake, or a Christian torn to pieces by lions in a Roman coliseum, or a Christian digested by a great white shark off the coast of Florida.

      But are funerals simply the way in which we dispose of remains? If so, graveyards are unnecessary, too. Why not simply toss the corpses of our loved ones into the local waste landfill?

      For Christians, burial is not the disposal of a thing. It is caring for a person. In burial, we’re reminded that the body is not a shell, a husk tossed aside by the “real” person, the soul within. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6–8; Phil. 1:23), but the body that remains still belongs to someone, someone we love, someone who will reclaim it one day.

      How should Christians determine whether to choose burial or cremation?

      David Jones, professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, outlines three questions we should consider:

      1. What Moral Norm(s) Apply in This Situation?

      2. Which Method Best Demonstrates Love of God and Love of Neighbor?

      3. Which Method Would Bring the Most Glory to God?

      Jones explains how to think about these questions and concludes:

      Despite the church’s historic preference for burial, not all deaths afford loved ones an opportunity to choose the method of interment. Factors such as the location and manner of death, nation-specific legal parameters, as well as the resources of the surviving family will bear on funerary practices and decisions. However, if given a choice, contemporary believers open to cremation would be wise to carefully consider the practice and evaluate it in light of God’s Word.

      After all, within the Christian tradition funerals aren’t simply ways of disposing of dead bodies, nor are they about remembering the departed or expressing grief. Rather, for believers, funerals ought to be Christ-centered events, testifying throughout to the message and hope of the gospel.

      (Jones has also written a more extensive article—“To Bury or Burn? Toward an Ethic of Cremation”—for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. The linked version has been posted with the journal’s permission.)
      https://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-blogs/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2010/07/12151952/Jones-To-Bury-or-Burn_JETS.pdf

      Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition, author of The Life and Faith Field Guide for Parents, the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible, and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator. He serves as an elder at Grace Hill Church in Herndon, Virginia. You can follow him on Twitter.

  3. I love it!! Thanks so much Beverlee. Often wonder about those who perished at sea or got burnt in some sort of horrible accident and the like. My niece died of breast cancer as a young lady and was cremated. My sister keeps her ashes in a container she keeps in the kitchen. My niece was a devoted follower of Jesus and loved her God to no end. I believe God will take care of our souls not matter how it approaches Him, but I want to do what the bible suggests. Seems like neither is written in stone?
    I’m overwhelmed with your kindness Beverlee and all the info you have provided, probably not just for me but for many dear saints interested in this subject. Thank u, thank u, thank u:-).!!

    • Ahhh, Lynda–you are so sweet to say that!! Believe me, it was nothing. A google search and a bit of reading to give the best information. I am so happy it helped you. I have struggled with the same concerns about cremation. Both my mom and dad were cremated. It was lacking for me because it was not the formal way of grieving we are used to and, which I feel, we need to embrace, especially for our parents. My eldest sister who took care of all the arrangements when my mom, Jean, passed, had part of her ashes preserved in bird urns for us three sisters. I still, have not come to terms with having my mom’s ashes on top of my fireplace. I am not comfortable with it. There are a lot of emotions I deal with regarding this because of my spiritual beliefs regarding this very issue–cremation vs. burial. But, at the time same time, I am sure when I pass, I will be cremated because it is easier and more affordable. I thank you for bringing this question up and posting it. God bless you, dear sister-in-Christ.

  4. Thank you Beverlee for all the information. My brother was going to be cremated but his family found out before he died that cremation was as expensive as burial so decided on burial which was my brother’s first choice.

  5. From ashes to ashes & dust to dust. My spirit will be with the Lord. If I’m buried (cremated) when Jesus comes back, it won’t be a problem. He turned water into a superior wine & I know it’s not too difficult for him to restore (recreate) my body. Father, in Jesus Name, show me Truth. Amen

  6. Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ

    I am worried that my family might donate my body to a medical school once I am dead. Does anyone else fear this? You don’t know where you’ll end up. One of my family members said she wanted to flush her mom down the toilet. Oh dear.
    I have my name written on my tombstone and have the money set aside but still – things can go terribly wrong when you live alone. I hate the thought of cremation.

  7. I listened to a discussion on cremation; the speaker mentioned it was more important where the person was going before he/she passed away; did they know HIS-STORY; DID THEY KNOW THE STORY OF THE GOSPEL?
    in some areas land is not available for grave sites; the cost of a burial is very expensive; to bad isn’t it?
    Thank you Beverlee Kay for the info…….
    pray the person is coming to show me how to run my printer! pray that I can remember the instructions,
    lots of snow here in British Columbia, I am thankful as it is needed up in the forest areas,
    Praising and thanking God for all His blessings of this day……

    • Prayer partners I need prayer!
      help me to forgive the person who did not show up to help me with my printer!
      please pray for direction from the Lord: I live on a line of credit!
      I have this room at the back of my home, I used to rent it out for many years then I stopped! don’t remember why!
      BUT NOW what should I do? need God’s help; if I should rent it out I ask for the Lord to hand pick me the right person; rent money to go on loan,
      Help me Lord God! Help me please! in Jesus Name I pray amen
      it’s so odd but I am happy in every aspect of my life EXCEPT the finances! Lord God please hear my prayer and help me IN JESUS NAME I PRAY AMEN

      • Dear Sah,
        I am praying that God will give you direction and guidance as to what to do. Whether or not you should rent the room and, if so, may God send the right person.
        Oh Heavenly Father, please lead Sah in making the right financial decisions. Give her Godly wisdom and discernment. May she be a good steward of all that you entrust to her. Please give Sah a financial breakthrough. In the Mighty Name if Jesus I ask. Amen!

        • Agreeing in prayer for your situation, Sah. For help with the printer and help getting your back room rented out. May God’s Hand be upon you and your home.

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