Solomon lived in a time when lies and other forms of deception were fairly easy to discern. In small-scale societies, where most people lived in villages, and their number of acquaintances was only a couple of hundred people, deceit was hard to sustain: one could fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people for very long. Centuries before, Moses had warned, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). This was a simple fact of everyday life. Solomon’s warnings against lying were frequent and loaded with assurance that lies would be discovered and liars punished.Read More
Luke is a good story teller. He intertwines the stories of Elizabeth and Mary so that we read one in the light of the other. Mary’s experience was similar, but significantly different to Elizabeth’s. Unlike Elizabeth, she was not married, and had not lived a long life of childlessness.Read More angel, supernatural, prophecy, faith
Luke’s narrative here is remarkably focussed. (I wonder what Mary’s parents thought? No mention. Did she travel the 100 kilometers to Elizabeth’s home on her own? No mention.) Other things are surprisingly emphasized (Mary’s greeting of Elizabeth). This is a clue as to what we need to pay attention to here.
No wonder Mary “hurried” (v 39). She had just received what must be the most stunning news in all history!Read More Holy Spirit, believe, promises
The anticipation grows. Elizabeth had become pregnant, as foretold in v.13; now she finds out that the baby is indeed a boy. The angel had told Zechariah that the boy’s name was to be John (“Yahweh has shown favour”), and in spite of the objections of the neighbours and relatives, that is the name which his parents gave him.Read More joy, favour
If you are using a Bible that has cross-references you will see how many times Zechariah refers back to the Psalms and the prophets. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he could see how what was happening in his life was part of God’s big story, going right back to the covenant he made with Abraham (Genesis 22:16-18), David, and the prophets (e.g. Jeremiah 23:5-6). He could see what was happening in the light of the whole history of Israel.Read More judgment, Saviour, Day of the Lord, blessing, messenger
David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), but he was a man who also followed after the “lusts of his flesh,” or as we would say, bodily appetites and sexual desire. Psalm 51 is David’s confession after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and was confronted by Nathan the prophet (see 2 Samuel 11:1- 12:25).Read More prayer, forgiveness, adultery, sex, confession