3054.) 3 John

December 31, 2020

3 John  (NLT)

As we enter the New Year, we are looking at the five books in the Bible that have only one chapter. 


1This letter is from John, the elder.   I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.

Who is this Gaius? Other than that he is presented as a good example, it is hard to know. David Guzik tells us that Gaius was one of the most common names in the Roman Empire!

2 Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you might prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).

How do prosperity and health come? By a prospering soul!
Regardless of Joseph’s circumstances (as a slave, in prison, as Pharaoh’s right-hand man), he kept trusting in God.
We, too, should prosper and be in health, because Christ REDEEMED our whole man—spirit, soul, and body.
Jesus said that He came to earth and died for us that “we might enjoy life, and have it in abundance until it overflows” (John 10:10). That sounds like prosperity to me!
It is up to us “to renew our minds” (Eph. 4:23) with the Word and to allow our mouths to SPEAK God’s Word, instead of all our problems and negativity.
Perhaps a great place to start is by quoting Psalm 103:1-5 every day.
Journal: “The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made” (Ps. 145:13).

–my friend LeLe Longsdorf

3 Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. 4 I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

Caring for the Lord’s Workers

 5 Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you.

Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. 7 For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. 8So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.

Here we come to John’s main object in writing. A group of travelling missionaries is on its way to the church of which Gaius is a member, and John urges him to receive them, to give them every support and to send them on their way in a truly Christian manner.

In the ancient world hospitality was a sacred duty. Strangers were under the protection of Zeus Xenios, Zeus the god of strangers. In the ancient world inns were notoriously unsatisfactory, dirty and flea-infested. The ancient world had a system of guest-friendships whereby families in different parts of the country undertook to give each other’s members hospitality when the occasion arose. This connection between families lasted throughout the generations.

If the heathen world accepted the obligation of hospitality, it was only to be expected that the Christians would take it even more seriously. It is Peter’s injunction: “Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another” (1 Peter 4:9). “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” says the writer to the Hebrews, and adds: “for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2). In the Pastoral Epistles a widow is to be honoured if she has “shown hospitality” (1 Timothy 5:9). Paul bids the Romans to “practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13).

In the early church the Christian home was the place of the open door and the loving welcome. The Christian family circle should always be wide enough to have a place for the stranger, no matter where he comes from or what his colour.

–William Barclay

from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers

“For His name’s sake they went forth” — 3 John 7

Our Lord has told us how love to Him is to manifest itself. “Lovest thou Me?” “Feed My sheep” — identify yourself with My interests in other people, not, identify Me with your interests in other people. The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself. Loyalty to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of redemption wrought in me by the Holy Ghost, Who sheds abroad the love of God in my heart; that love works efficaciously through me in contact with everyone I meet.

9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us (obviously, a bad example). 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.

Psalm 37:27 (NLT)

Turn from evil and do good,
      and you will live in the land forever.

12 Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius (another good example), as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.


13 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face. 15 Peace be with you.

Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.

from the Life Application Bible:

“Whereas 2 John emphasizes the need to refuse hospitality to false teachers, 3 John urges continued hospitality to those who teach the truth. Hospitality is a strong sign of support for people and their work. It means giving them of your resources so their stay will be comfortable and their work and travel easier. Actively look for creative ways to show hospitality to God’s workers. It may be in the form of a letter of encouragement, a gift, financial support, an open home, or prayer.”

Four women have taught me much about hospitality:

1) My mother, Maurine Riskedahl, was a good cook and an interesting conversationalist. (I am grateful that I now have her good dishes—Haviland—that she bought with money from her first year teaching in Adel, Iowa, in 1942-3.) One of her wonderful hospitality traditions:  Every year Mother put on a “Christmas Tea” at our house for my father’s co-workers and also for all the faculty and staff at our high school; she served seven different kinds of homemade Norwegian holiday delicacies along with a variety of other goodies. It was a lot of work but it was also a joy for her.

2)  My aunt, Genevieve Wilson, made everything so pretty at her table and in her home. Even as a young widow with a daughter, living very frugally, she still supported a missions child overseas. Later in her life she opened her home to visiting missionaries from around the world and cheerfully, generously, supported them. She was another excellent cook; you never arrived at her house without soon having a spread before you of homemade muffins, cookies, bars, breads!

3)  My friend Sue Awes articulates what Mother and Aunt Gen did but never expressed so clearly — that hospitality is a gift from the heart. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should show tender, loving care, with your own creative touch! Some years ago I was on a mission trip with Sue, and I will never forget watching her teach, so joyfully, a group of older Russian orphan girls the basics of gracious hospitality (a piece of fruit in a colorful bowl on the table, a flower in a pretty bottle at the bedside . . . ). Sitting with Sue around a table always brings up the most stimulating conversations, for she shares her heart with you.

4)  My friend Linda Wallace makes hospitality seem simple and fun, as if you are doing her a favor by being her guest! Her warm and unpretentious ease when making you feel at home is pure elegance, pure grace. And I must mention her delicious bran muffins and lemon-filled creme puffs! To be Linda’s guest is truly to be given a foretaste of things to come above!

Who has taught you?  Who are you teaching?  Do it as unto the Lord, as these four women have!



HERE  in this song, “Remembrance (Communion Song)” by Matt Redman, my favorite line is “Now the simple made divine” — for that is the transforming power of Christian hospitality.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Thanks – hospitality.   http://ak.imgfarm.com/images/fwp/myfuncards/ThankYou/lg/st_hospitality2.jpg
Trinity.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/trinity.gif
do good.    http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ls57vmTBWj1qij8g6.jpg
Thank you for your hospitality.    https://sweetlovemessages.net/thank-you-messages-for-hospitality-and-generosity/

3053.) 2 John

December 30, 2020

John, “the elder,” is one of Jesus’ twelve disciples and the writer of the Gospel of John, three letters, and the book of Revelation.

2 John  (NLT)

As we enter the New Year, we are looking at the five books in the Bible that have only one chapter. 


1This letter is from John, the elder.   I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children, whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth—2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

Perhaps this was an individual Christian woman John wanted to warn and encourage by this letter. Or, the term might be a symbolic way of addressing this particular congregation.

John probably did not name himself, the elect lady or her children by name because this was written during a time of persecution. Perhaps John didn’t want to implicate anyone by name in a written letter. If the letter was intercepted and the authorities knew who it was written to by name, it might mean death for those persons.

–David Guzik

3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

Grace takes away guilt; mercy, misery: peace implies the abiding in grace and mercy. It includes the testimony of God’s Spirit, both that we are his children, and that all our ways are acceptable to him. This is the very foretaste of heaven itself, where it is perfected.

–John Wesley

Now these are good gifts from God, for which we should daily give thanks! — grace, mercy, peace, truth, love!

Live in the Truth

4How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.

5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. 6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

If we love God, we will obey His commandments. We do this not as if His commandments are heavy burdens, but because we see that they are best for us. They are guides and gifts to us from God.

Mark 12:28-33 (NLT)

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.  And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’  The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.  And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist.

Wesley explains that “antichrist” here is anyone who is fighting against Christ and His ways.

8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

In the early church of John’s day, teachers traveled from place to place and Christians were expected to open their homes to them in kind hospitality. John instructs first century Christians to judge the veracity of the various teachers before welcoming them in. In our day, we can open our homes and our minds to all kinds of false teaching in many ways, including via televisions and computers. Beware, John says, that you are learning the truth about God from these teachers. Choose thoughtfully your books, movies, and TV entertainment. Know what is being taught in your own congregation, your children’s schools, your church colleges and seminaries. Stand up for the truth of Christ! Do not be led astray and in so doing, lose your reward.


12I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete. 13 Greetings from the children of your sister, chosen by God.



HERE  is an instrumental version of the hymn “I Would Be True,” something the Apostle John certainly demonstrated for us all! May we be imitators of John, as he was of Christ!

The composer of the tune is Joseph Y. Peek; the arrangement is by David H. Hegarty.

The text for “I Would Be True,” was written by a young man in his early twenties in a poem that he titled “My Creed.” After graduating with honors from Princeton University in 1905, Howard Arnold Walter spent a year teaching the English language in Japan. While there he sent a copy of his “creed” to his mother back home in Connecticut. Mrs. Walter sent the poem to Harper’s Magazine, where it appeared in the May, 1907 issue.

Returning to the United States, Howard Walter entered Hartford Seminary and upon graduation served as an assistant minister at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Connecticut. One day he showed his poem to an itinerant Methodist lay preacher, Joseph Peek. Although Peek had no technical knowledge of music, he immediately whistled a tune suited to Walter’s words.

Several years later, Howard Walter left for India to teach and minister. He died there in 1918, during an influenza epidemic.

  1. I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
    I would be pure, for there are those who care;
    I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
    I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
  2. I would be friend of all—the foe, the friendless;
    I would be giving, and forget the gift;
    I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
    I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.
  3. I would be faithful through each passing moment;
    I would be constantly in touch with God;
    I would be strong to follow where He leads me;
    I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod.
  4. Who is so low that I am not his brother?
    Who is so high that I’ve no path to him?
    Who is so poor I may not feel his hunger?
    Who is so rich I may not pity him?
  5. Who is so hurt I may not know his heartache?
    Who sings for joy my heart may never share?
    Who in God’s heav’n has passed beyond my vision?
    Who to hell’s depths where I may never fare.
  6. May none, then, call on me for understanding,
    May none, then, turn to me for help in pain,
    And drain alone his bitter cup of sorrow,
    Or find he knocks upon my heart in vain.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
St. John.    https://readingacts.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/john-icon.jpeg
truth in love.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/truth_in_love1.jpg
love God, love people.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/love-god-love-people.png
welcome.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/welcome.jpg

3052.) Philemon

December 29, 2020

A hundred years after Christ, the bishop of Ephesus was a man named Onesimus. Ancient tradition says he is the same Onesimus as in this letter.

Philemon  (English Standard Version)

As we enter the New Year, we are looking at the five books in the Bible that have only one chapter. 

The Bible Project produces short videos that “help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus.” It is entertaining and informative to watch and learn! 
HERE  is their 6.5-minute presentation on Philemon.


1Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus,

General agreement is that Paul wrote this personal letter during his first imprisonment in Rome, a house arrest as described in Acts 28:30-31. He does not, however, describe himself as a prisoner of Rome. He sees himself as a prisoner in obedience to the call of the Lord Jesus Christ.

and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

Map of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) showing the town of Colosse. Smyrna is present-day Izmir.

Philemon was a Greek landowner living in Colosse. He had been converted under Paul’s ministry and now his house serves as the meeting place for the church there. (Perhaps Apphia was his wife and Archippus his son — but that is speculation.)

One scholar has written:  

“Up to the third century we have no certain evidence of the existence of church buildings for the purpose of worship; all references point to private houses for this. In Rome several of the oldest churches appear to have been built on the sites of houses used for Christian worship.”

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon’s Love and Faith

4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Philemon had been a blessing to Paul. He had opened his heart and his home to the followers of Jesus.

Paul’s Plea for Onesimus

8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment.

Now we get to the point of this letter. Onesimus was a domestic slave who belonged to Philemon. Onesimus had run away from Philemon to Rome, where he had run into Paul (a close friend of Philemon — cue the music “It’s a Small World After All” . . .) and been brought to Christ, or as Paul says, he “became my son.” A master in the Roman Empire had the legal right to kill a runaway slave. Paul wants to show Philemon a better way.

11(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.)

This is a cute play on words from Paul — the name “Onesimus” means “useful” or “profitable.”

12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord.

Clearly, Paul wanted Onesimus to stay, because he had become a big help. Paul sweetened his appeal in three ways.

First, if Onesimus stayed he could serve Paul on your behalf. “Philemon, if you leave Onesimus with me, it’s like you serving me, because Onesimus is your rightful servant.”

Secondly, if Onesimus stayed he helped a man in chains. “Philemon, I know Onesimus might be of some use to you. Yet I am in chains, and need all the help I can get.”

Thirdly, if Onesimus stayed he helped man in chains for the gospel. “Philemon, please don’t forget why I am here in chains. Remember that it is for the sake of the gospel.

Paul made his appeal and made it strong and skillfully. At the same time, he really did leave the decision to Philemon. He would appeal in love, but he would not trample over the rights of Philemon.

–David Guzik

15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while,

Again we see Paul’s diplomacy and facility with language. How much nicer it sounds to say “he was parted from you” than “your slave ran away from you.”

that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

Paul is asking no small thing — that Philemon see his runaway slave now as his own brother, his equal in Christ!

Colossians 3:1, 11

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

17So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account.

What an encouragement this must have been to Onesimus! Paul’s genuine love for him surely strengthened his new faith!

19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.

Final Greetings

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

Each of these names is also mentioned in the conclusion of the letter to the Colossians (Colossians 4:10-17)

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


Martin Luther liked this short book. “This epistle,” he wrote, “shows a right noble lovely example of Christian love…. Even as Christ did for us with God the Father, thus also does St. Paul for Onesimus with Philemon… We are all his Onesimi, to my thinking.”


Did Onesimus go back? Did Philemon welcome him as a brother? We do not know. Yet — who could refuse Paul’s heartfelt request?

The letter to Philemon is all about reconciliation. Our world, like Paul’s, is filled with barriers between people — race, social class, age, political leaning, ethnicity, language, gender, and so on. Other separations come from disagreements and quarrels and misunderstandings. This letter proclaims the good news that Christ can transform even seemingly hopelessly broken relationships into deep and loving friendships. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in our spirits allow these transformations to happen in us and through us, to the glory of God!



HERE  is a beautiful song — “Song of Reconciliation”  sung by Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker, and Christine Dente.  Lyrics follow.

Where there is love there is a peace
And in the cages that bind the bitter heart it is release
Hold it close to your chest, let it move and let it rest
For it is here to set your mind at ease
Where there is love there is a peace

Where there is hope there is a dream
To rise above, to remit and to redeem
To go back, to go where there’s no hurt or anger there
To find the song that you once could sing
Where there is hope there is a dream

Where there is faith there is a chance
To alter the course and fight the winds of circumstance
Not to scar, but mend, not to break, but to bend
And not to know but to understand
Where there is faith there is a chance
Where there is hope there is a dream
Where there is love there is a peace


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Onesimus.   https://akroasis.org/2019/02/15/science-of-the-saints-15-february/
map.     http://oneyearbibleimages.com/colossae.jpg
heart and home.     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/homeiswheretheheartis.jpg
if you please.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/if-you-please.jpg
clasped hands.    http://www.britsattheirbest.com/images/h_alban_hands_220w.jpg
“Philemon: Forgiveness that leads to Reconciliation.”     https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/philemon-title-slide-slide01.jpg
Paul, signature.   http://www.rowforhope.com/html/images/Paul%20-%20Signature.GIF

3051.) Obadiah

December 28, 2020

Obadiah  (NLT)

As we enter the New Year, we are looking at the five books in the Bible which have only one chapter. 

The Bible Project produces short videos that “help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus.” It is entertaining and informative to watch and learn! 
HERE  is their 5-minute presentation on Obadiah.

 1 This is the vision that the Sovereign Lord revealed to Obadiah (a prophet from Judah) concerning the land of Edom.

Edom was the rocky range of mountains east of the Arabah, stretching about 100 miles north and south, and about 20 miles east and west. It was well watered, with abundant pasturage. Sela (Petra), carved high in a perpendicular cliff, overlooking a valley of marvellous beauty, far back in the mountain canyons, was the capital. Edomites would go out on raiding expeditions, and then retreat to their impregnable strongholds high up in the rocky gorges.

Edomites were descendants of Esau, but were always bitter enemies of the Jews, perpetuating the enmity of Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:23, 27:41). They refused passage to Moses (Numbers 20:14-21) and were always ready to aid an attacking army.

–from Halley’s Bible Handbook

Edom’s Judgment Announced

We have heard a message from the Lord
that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say,
“Get ready, everyone!
Let’s assemble our armies and attack Edom!”

2 The Lord says to Edom,
“I will cut you down to size among the nations;
you will be greatly despised.
3 You have been deceived by your own pride

Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)

   Pride goes before destruction,
   a haughty spirit before a fall.

because you live in a rock fortress
and make your home high in the mountains.
‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’
you ask boastfully.

Petra  is a historical and archaeological city in the Jordanian governorate of Ma’an that is famous for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system. Established sometime around the 6th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan as well as its most visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.  Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.” Petra was chosen by the BBC as one of “the 40 places you have to see before you die.”


So they boasted of their natural defenses . . .

4 But even if you soar as high as eagles
and build your nest among the stars,
I will bring you crashing down,”
says the Lord.

5 “If thieves came at night and robbed you
(what a disaster awaits you!),
they would not take everything.
Those who harvest grapes
always leave a few for the poor.
But your enemies will wipe you out completely!
6 Every nook and cranny of Edom
will be searched and looted.
Every treasure will be found and taken.

7 “All your allies will turn against you.

. . . and they boasted of their alliances . . .

They will help to chase you from your land.
They will promise you peace
while plotting to deceive and destroy you.
Your trusted friends will set traps for you,
and you won’t even know about it.
8 At that time not a single wise person
will be left in the whole land of Edom,”
says the Lord.

“Job and his friends” by Eberhard Waechter (1762-1852)

. . . and they boasted of their wisdom.

Speaking of men who were regarded as wise — Eliphaz, one of Job’s three friends (Job 2:11), was from Teman in Edom. Herod the Great was also an Edomite (Luke 1:5), but we can’t count him among the wise!

“For on the mountains of Edom
I will destroy everyone who has understanding.
9 The mightiest warriors of Teman
will be terrified,
and everyone on the mountains of Edom
will be cut down in the slaughter.

Reasons for Edom’s Punishment

10 “Because of the violence you did
to your close relatives in Israel,
you will be filled with shame
and destroyed forever.
11 When they were invaded,
you stood aloof, refusing to help them.
Foreign invaders carried off their wealth
and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem,
but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.

“Death of Caesar” by Vincenzo Camuccini

from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Even thou wast as one of them.” –Obadiah 1:11

Brotherly kindness was due from Edom to Israel in the time of need, but instead thereof, the men of Esau made common cause with Israel’s foes. Special stress in the sentence before us is laid upon the word thou; as when Caesar cried to Brutus, “and thou Brutus”; a bad action may be all the worse, because of the person who has committed it. When we sin, who are the chosen favorites of heaven, we sin with an emphasis; ours is a crying offense, because we are so peculiarly indulged. If an angel should lay his hand upon us when we are doing evil, he need not use any other rebuke than the question, “What thou? What dost thou here?” Much forgiven, much delivered, much instructed, much enriched, much blessed, shall we dare to put forth our hand unto evil? God forbid!

A few minutes of confession may be beneficial to thee, gentle reader, this day. Hast thou never been as the wicked? At an evening party certain men laughed at uncleanness, and the joke was not altogether offensive to thine ear, even thou wast as one of them. When hard things were spoken concerning the ways of God, thou wast bashfully silent; and so, to on-lookers, thou wast as one of them. When worldlings were bartering in the market, and driving hard bargains, wast thou not as one of them? When they were pursuing vanity with a hunter’s foot, wert thou not as greedy for gain as they were? Could any difference be discerned between thee and them? Is there any difference? Here we come to close quarters. Be honest with thine own soul, and make sure that thou art a new creature in Christ Jesus; but when this is sure, walk jealously, lest any should again be able to say, “Even thou wast as one of them.” Thou wouldst not desire to share their eternal doom, why then be like them here? Come not thou into their secret, lest thou come into their ruin. Side with the afflicted people of God, and not with the world.

12 “You should not have gloated
when they exiled your relatives to distant lands.
You should not have rejoiced
when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune.

1 Corinthians 13:6 (NIV)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

You should not have spoken arrogantly
in that terrible time of trouble.
13 You should not have plundered the land of Israel
when they were suffering such calamity.
You should not have gloated over their destruction
when they were suffering such calamity.

Amos 1:11-12 (NCV)

This is what the Lord says:
    “For the many crimes of Edom,
       I will punish them.
    They hunted down their relatives, the Israelites, with the sword,
       showing them no mercy.
    They were angry all the time
       and kept on being very angry.
So I will send fire on the city of Teman
       that will even destroy the strong buildings of Bozrah.”

You should not have seized their wealth
when they were suffering such calamity.
14 You should not have stood at the crossroads,
killing those who tried to escape.
You should not have captured the survivors
and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble.

All in all, Edom treated God’s people terribly when distress and calamity came upon them. For all this, God’s judgment was coming upon them.

  • First they did nothing
  • Then they rejoiced in their distress and calamity
  • Then they took advantage of their vulnerable state
  • Then they joined in the violence against God’s people

–David Guzik

Edom Destroyed, Israel Restored

15 “The day is near when I, the Lord,
will judge all godless nations!
As you have done to Israel,
so it will be done to you.
All your evil deeds
will fall back on your own heads.

God will give simple justice to the Edomites, no more and no less. What they did to the people of Judah will also be done to them. The same principle is often true for us, so if we want mercy from God, we do well to give mercy to others.

16 Just as you swallowed up my people
on my holy mountain,
so you and the surrounding nations
will swallow the punishment I pour out on you.
Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger
and disappear from history.

17 “But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape;
it will be a holy place.
And the people of Israel will come back
to reclaim their inheritance.
18 The people of Israel will be a raging fire,
and Edom a field of dry stubble.
The descendants of Joseph will be a flame
roaring across the field, devouring everything.
There will be no survivors in Edom.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

The trials and burdens among God’s people are only temporary, because among them they will find a refuge and they will reclaim their inheritance. However, the attack coming against Edom will be different — Israel will be the fire and they will be the stubble, and Edom will be completely devoured.

The word of the Lord through Obadiah proved true. The Edomites fought side by side with the Jews the rebellion against Rome in 66-70 A.D. and were crushed by Rome, never to be heard of as a people again. The predictions of Obadiah 1:10 and 1:18 were precisely fulfilled. You just won’t meet an Edomite today.

–David Guzik

19 “Then my people living in the Negev
will occupy the mountains of Edom.
Those living in the foothills of Judah
will possess the Philistine plains
and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria.
And the people of Benjamin
will occupy the land of Gilead.
20 The exiles of Israel will return to their land
and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath.
The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north
will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev.
21 Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem
to rule over the mountains of Edom.
And the Lord himself will be king!”

Revelation 11:15 (NIV)

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

   “The kingdom of the world has become
   the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
   and he will reign for ever and ever.”



HERE  is “King of Kings” — a Messianic praise song sung by Karen Davis. What a joy it will be, to sing to Jesus together with all the saints and the angels in heaven!


New Living Translation (NLT)    Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Obadiah title.  http://jimlepage.com/blog/word-obadiah
Petra.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/petra.jpg
Waechter.   http://media.kunst-fuer-alle.de/img/41/m/41_00288012~eberhard-waechter_job-and-his-friends.jpg
Camuccini.   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ac/Cesar-sa_mort.jpg/400px-Cesar-sa_mort.jpg
Love never fails.   https://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/true-love-never-fails/
bad choice.    http://whimsicalleaf.blogspot.com/2012/11/wrong-choices.html
all gone.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/allgone.jpg
King Jesus.  http://www.clarion-call.org/yeshua/feasts/rosh/jesus2.gif

3050.) Colossians 1:15-23 for Christmas Day

December 25, 2020


Colossians 1:15-23   (NIV)

The Supremacy of the Son of God

How would my life be different if I were to read this glorious passage every morning?

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.


21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.

This is such a magnificent passage I am giving it to you again, this time in the J. B. Phillips translation:

Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He existed before creation began, for it was through him that every thing was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through him, and for him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and for him. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now he is the head of the body which is composed of all Christian people. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all. It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live, and through him God planned to reconcile in his own person, as it were, everything on earth and everything in Heaven by virtue of the sacrifice of the cross.

And you yourselves, who were strangers to God, and, in fact, through the evil things you had done, his spiritual enemies, he has now reconciled through the death of his body on the cross, so that he might welcome you to his presence clean and pure, without blame or reproach. This reconciliation assumes, of course, that you maintain a firm position in the faith, and do not allow yourselves to be shifted away from the hope of the Gospel.

This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.


I wish all my readers a very happy Christmas, in the joy that only the Christ child can bring! 

Love in Jesus,



HERE  is “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” beautifully presented by the Concordia Theological Seminary (Fort Wayne) Kantorei. The words below are not exactly the words they sing.

Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

This is He whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
Evermore and evermore!

Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
And extol our God and king!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!


New International Version (NIV)   Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Supremacy.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/5b501-supremacyofchrist.jpg
He existed before anything else.   https://newlifenarrabri.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/colossians.jpg?w=676
making peace through His blood.   https://keziaominde.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/img_3208.jpg
Timothy R. Botts calligraphy.    https://www.timbottscalligraphy.com/store.php/amymckay/pd8249358/colossians_115_17_814

3049.) John 1:1-5 for Christmas

December 24, 2020

John 1:1-5

Imagine this as an oral presentation, a man’s voice speaking the bold print/the Scripture, and a woman’s voice speaking the regular print/the commentary.

Verse 1.

In the beginning

Before time began

In the beginning

Before God created the heavens and the earth

In the beginning

Before big bangs or dinosaurs and way before Neanderthals

was the Word,

Distinct, meaningful, communicative, engaging

was the Word,

God’s personal message to us.

and the Word was with God,

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ     (Colossians 1:19)

and the Word was God.

Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.”      (John 10:30)

and the Word was God. 

“My Lord and my God!”     (John 20:28)

 Verse 2.

He existed in the beginning with God.

Not separate from God.

He existed in the beginning with God.

Not created by God

He existed in the beginning with God.

But always God, right from the very start

He existed in the beginning with God.

100 per cent true God.

Verse 3.

God created everything through him,

“Let there be light!” – and there was light.     (Genesis 1)

God created everything through him,

Seas and dry land, plants, the sun, the moon, the stars     (Genesis 1)

God created everything through him,

Fish and birds, earth creatures and human beings     (Genesis 1)

God created everything through him,

And it was good.     (Genesis 1)

and nothing was created except through him.

He did it all.

and nothing was created except through him.

By his word.

and nothing was created except through him.

Because he IS the word. 

Verse 4.

The Word gave life to everything that was created,

Jesus said, ”I am the way, the truth, and the life.”     (John 14:6)

The Word gave life to everything that was created,

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”     (John 11:25)

The Word gave life to everything that was created,

Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full.”     (John 10:10)

and his life brought light to everyone.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”     (John 8:12)

and his life brought light to everyone.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”     (Matthew 5:16)

Verse 5.

The light shines in the darkness,

He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun,
and his clothes became as white as the light.     (Matthew 17:2)

The light shines in the darkness,

For God so loved the world,
that he sent his only begotten son into the world     (John 3:16)

The light shines in the darkness,

Shine, Jesus, shine!   

and the darkness can never




The darkness can never put it out.



HERE  — “The Word Was God” by Rosephanye Powell, performed by the Mississippi Baptist All-State Youth Choir & Orchestra, 2008.


I wish all my readers a very happy Christmas, in the joy that only the Christ child can bring! 

Love in Jesus,


3048.) Luke 2:1-8 for Christmas

December 23, 2020
"Arrival at Bethlehem" by Johannes Swanepoel, 1995.

“Arrival at Bethlehem” by Johannes Bernardus Swanepoel (20th century South African), 1995.

Luke 2:1-8 (NLT)

The Birth of Jesus

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Nativity, by Gari Melchers (19th century American), 1891.



HERE  is “Labor of Love,” sung by Point of Grace.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Swanepoel.   https://www.artmajeur.com/medias/mini/a/r/artistjohannes/artwork/5865193_2_Arrival_at_Bethlehem_2008.jpg
Melchers.   https://www.handmadepiece.com/the-nativity-handmade-oil-painting-reproduction-on-canvas-by-artist-gari-melchers.html

3047.) Luke 1:26-38

December 22, 2020
"Annunciation," by Sandro Botticelli

“The Cestello Annunciation,” by Sandro Botticelli, 1489 (Uffizzi, Florence)

Luke 1:26-38 (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

“The Annunciation: The Flower of God” by Sir Edward Burne-Jones, 1862.

The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came

Basque carol, paraphrased by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
With wings as drifted snow, with eyes as flame:
“All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

“For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee;
Thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head;
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said.
“My soul shall laud and magnify His holy name.”
Most highly favored lady. Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn,
And Christian folk through-out the world will ever say:
“Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”

38“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

My daily prayer:

Luke 1:38 (King James Version)

Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.

“Head of the Virgin for Annunciation” by Pierre-Paul Prod’hun, 1811 (The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia)

By Denise Levertov

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished, 
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.

       Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions

       The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.

         God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.


Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?

         Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,

More often
those moments
      when roads of light and storm
      open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from

in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
                                 God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.


She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child–but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.

Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,

  only asked

a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
the astounding ministry she was offered:

to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power–
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.

                     Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love–

but who was God.

This was the moment no one speaks of,

when she could still refuse.

A breath unbreathed,





She did not cry, ‘I cannot. I am not worthy,’

Nor, ‘I have not the strength.’

She did not submit with gritted teeth,

                                                       raging, coerced.

Bravest of all humans,

                                  consent illumined her.

The room filled with its light,

the lily glowed in it,

                               and the iridescent wings.


              courage unparalleled,

opened her utterly.



HERE  is “Mary, did you know?” sung by the incomparable Voctave and featuring Mark Lowry.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Images courtesy of:
Botticelli.   https://www.paintings123.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2961_3013&products_id=2784
Burne-Jones.  http://www.abcgallery.com/B/burne-jones/burnejones10.html
Prud’hon.   http://www.abcgallery.com/D/david/prudon4.html

3046.) OT Prophecies of Jesus’ Birth

December 21, 2020

There are no prophecies foretelling details about the birth of other religious leaders. No prophecies alerted the world to the coming of Muhammad (Islam), Joseph Smith (Mormonism), David Koresh (Branch Davidians), Charles Taze Russell (Jehovah’s Witnesses), Siddhartha Gautama (Buddhism), or any other founder of the world’s religions. Yet the Old Testament pinpointed numerous details about the life of the Son of God and Savior of the world.

Let’s consider what it means that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament, especially the prophecies that foretold His birth. Let’s look at three specific prophecies about Christ’s birth found in Isaiah and Micah.

Isaiah 40:3–5

He would be preceded by a forerunner

 A voice cries:

“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;

make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Every valley shall be lifted up,

and every mountain and hill be made low;

the uneven ground shall become level,

and the rough places a plain.

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,

and all flesh shall see it together,

for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

This came true, as we read in Mark 1:1-4 —

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way”—
 “a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
    make straight paths for him.’”

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

from Mike Ford:

John the Baptist was one man “crying in the wilderness,” yet he prepared the way for the Son of God. Each of us, in our daily lives, interacts with family, coworkers, neighbors, and others who may know little or nothing of God and His Word. Our words and deeds could well pave the way for any of them to answer God’s call at another time. Each of us has opportunities to set an example that will affect their lives, hopefully in a positive way. In this way, each of us is a forerunner, marking and improving the trail through the conduct of our lives.

Micah 5:2

The Savior would be born in Bethlehem

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,

who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to be ruler in Israel,

whose coming forth is from of old,

from ancient days.

This came true, as we read in Matthew 2:1 —

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod . . . 

from Richard T. Ritenbaugh:

His birth in Bethlehem ties Jesus directly to the house of David, cementing His claim to his everlasting throne. However, the meaning of the name, “house of bread,” points to another title of Christ, “the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48). As Jesus says in verse 51: “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.” This sign guarantees that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah through whom we can receive eternal life.

Isaiah 7:14

The Messiah would be born of a virgin

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

This came true, as we read in Matthew 1:18 —

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.

from Charles Spurgeon:

Nor was Christ’s mother, in point of intellect, an inferior woman. I take it that she had great strength of mind; otherwise she could not have composed so sweet a piece of poetry as that which is called the Virgin’s Song, beginning, “My soul does magnify the Lord.” She is not a person to be despised. I would this morning especially utter my thoughts on one thing which I consider to be a fault among us Protestants. Because Roman Catholics pay too much respect to the Virgin Mary, and offer prayer to her, we are too apt to speak of her in a slighting manner. She ought not to be placed under the ban of contempt, for she could truly sing, “From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.” I suppose Protestant generations are among the “all generations” who ought to call her blessed. Her name is Mary, and quaint George Herbert wrote an anagram upon it—
“How well her name an ARMY does present,
In whom the Lord of Hosts did pitch His tent.”

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus came to earth in a humble manner. The Savior of the world and God of all creation put on humanity to die for our sins and conquer death, giving the hope of salvation to all who turn from their sin and believe on Him. One day, He will return in judgment, and He will not appear as a seemingly helpless baby, but as the risen, glorified, sovereign Lord and Judge. So many reasons to worship this Child!



HERE  is Charles Wesley’s incomparable hymn, “Love Divine, All Love Divine,” to an alternative tune.


Images courtesy of:
Your God will come.   https://missionbibleclass.org/new-testament/part1/life-of-christ-early/prophecies-fulfilled-in-jesus/
Nativity scene.   http://thegoodnewstoday.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/The-Miracle-of-Jesus-Birth1.jpeg

3045.) Deuteronomy 34

December 18, 2020

Moses was buried somewhere around here!  Mt. Nebo, in present-day Jordan.

Deuteronomy 34 (English Standard Version)

The Death of Moses

Question: What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I, with body and soul, both in life and death,
am not my own,
but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ;
who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied all my sins,
and delivered me from all the power of the devil;
and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father,
not a hair can fall from my head;
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,
and therefore, by his Holy Spirit,
He also assures me of eternal life,
and makes me sincerely willing and ready,
henceforth, to live unto him.

Q/A 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, 1563

1Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, 2all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.”

5So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, 6and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day.

Psalm 49:15 (NIV)

But God will redeem my life from the grave;
he will surely take me to himself.

“And when she (the Church) buries a man, that action concerns me:  all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.”

–John Donne, Meditation XVII

7 Moses was 120 years old when he died.

Moses’ life was neatly divided into thirds. He spent 40 years as the crown prince of Egypt, 40 years as a humble shepherd in the wilderness, and 40 years leading the children of Israel to their destiny in the Promised Land. The first two-thirds were in preparation for the last one third. Moses was willing to let God prepare him for 80 years.

–David Guzik

His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. 8And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

Hebrews 3:1-6 (NIV)

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.

9And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. 10And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”

quoted in The New Gold Standard, by Joseph A. Michelli

The END of the book of Deuteronomy.



Moses was “Going Home.”  The tune is from Dvorak, sung  HERE  by Libera.


English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
monument on Mt. Nebo.    http://student-sites.net/xhtml_projects/LoriA/Images/MtNebo3.jpg
Life and Death.    http://lifeanddeath.baduk.org/media/box.jpg
Christ Church Cemetery, Philadelphia.    http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/pennsylvaniaphotos/philly/christchurch.jpg