Crossroad Bible Study

November 28th, 2008

Genocide in the OT

Posted by johncatmur in Uncategorized  Tagged Joshua 5:13-6:27

This is a tough question we have to face.  There are no easy answers. In today’s reading the Israelites killed not just combatants but also civilians and animals – women, children, young, old, cattles, sheep, donkeys. On the other hand, not only Rahab was saved but also her family; the innocent was saved but also some ‘guilty’ ones.  Two observations: 

a) there seems to be a different view in ancient Hebrew culture of who is ‘innocent’ and who is ‘guilty’; these verdicts are shared by the community rather than pinned to isolated individuals.  Guilt taints everything around it; it spreads from the direct perpetrators to all around, even staining animals residing in the guilty culture. Can we cope with this idea? And who has the authority to decide anyway?

b) we are (rightly) appalled by the ‘Holy Wars’ of modern history. But is it ever technically possible for there to be genuinely justified Holy War? Does our instinctive disgust towards those who kill in the name of religion cloud our thinking at all? 

We are worlds apart from the worldview of the Hebrews in so many ways.  We are super-sensitized to the yukkiness of blood and guts because we never see any; they saw it all the time.  We think individualistically; they thought collectively.  Our default mindset (even for most Christians) is secular; theirs was theistic. 

No easy answers.  But I thank God that there is enough about my faith I can be sure of to carry the uncertainties and ambiguities that defy explanation

November 25th, 2008


Posted by Alan Collins in Uncategorized  Tagged Genesis 38; Deuteronomy 23; Ruth 4

Now that I’ve got your attention…I realise im probably ahead of everyone else in this reading. But this was to exciting to wait. I read earlier in Genesis 38 the story of Judah and Tamar. Tamar was Judahs daughter in law whose husband died before she conceived. To carry on the brothers lineage, Judah instructed his other son Onan to sleep with Tamar so that his brother would have a child to carry his name. Onan did but knowing that any child born from the relationship would not count as his own, he let his semen spill everytime he was with her. This sin was very great in the eyes of the Lord, and Onan was put to death. To cut a long story short, after more deceit, sex, and lies, Tamar conceives twins after disguising herself as a prostitute and tricking her father in law Judah, to sleep with her. The firstborn was called Perez. It was a fairly dysfunctional household this boy was born into. Judah was his father and grandfather. Tamar was his mother and sister in law. The Lord hates marriages like this. In Deuteronomy 23 it says that no one who was born from an abhorent marriage could enter the assembly of God, EVEN DOWN TO THE TENTH GENERATION. Who was the tenth generational descendant from Perez? Who would have the favour of the Lord restored to himself and his lineage. The family tree in Ruth 4 tells us that his name was David….

November 24th, 2008

Quick Question

Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized  Tagged Exodus 19-20:21

So, do you think that the whole Israelite camp heard the ten commandments?  Or do you think that it was just Moses and Aaron?  It seems a bit unclear from the text.  They seem to have decided that the people should not come up to Mt. Sinai by the end of chapter 19.  But then the next chapter just starts with “And God spoke all these words . . . ”  So it seems that He might be speaking to everyone.  Plus, afterwards, they said, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen.  But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” (20:19).  So, it seems that they did hear God speaking and they didn’t want to hear anymore.  But perhaps all they heard was “thunder and lightning” (20:18).

What do you think?

November 20th, 2008


Posted by Philip Harvey in Uncategorized  Tagged Exodus 12:1-42

Just a couple of things I was thinking about as I read it.

1) As Exodus was the first book of the Hebrew scripture it is interesting to think that this is perhaps the first event that involved God and all of Israel in action with each other.  Passover (and the following consecration of the first born in chapter 13) kicks off their life as a nation under Yahweh.  God expected holiness from the start.

2) That the 430 years is the fulfillment of the prophecy made to Abram in Gen 15:12-16.

3) Sorta like how God called into life everything in Genesis 1, so God is here calling into being his priestly nation.

Stay Gold


November 19th, 2008


Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized  Tagged Exodus 1-2

My sister-in-law, Karina Venable, put a post up on another Biblefox blog from our church back in Texas.  She made an interesting connection between Moses’ description in Exodus and Acts.

Check it out:

November 17th, 2008

Immeasurably More

Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized  Tagged Exodus 1-2; Ephesians 3:20

John’s teaching yesterday on 1 Samuel 5-6 was about how we can trust God to do His work with our help.  He is supreme and He can overcome opposition and glorify Himself.   I think that this story of the birth of Moses demonstrates those ideas as well.  Here God takes care of Moses and saves him from death.  He allowed the princess to find him and not only that, but He then had the princess ask Moses’ own mother to nurse and raise him!  AND the princess would pay her!  God goes over and above anything that they could have imagined.

Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us . . . ”

God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine in our lives.  Do I really believe this?  He wants to overflow our cups and answer our prayers in amazing ways!  Lord, I believe.  Help me with my unbelief.

November 14th, 2008

Now it all comes out

Posted by johncatmur in Uncategorized  Tagged Genesis 45-46:7

This whole narrative is one of my favourite stories in the Bible but today it really was more than just a cracking read. Verse 7 stuck out to me as the whole point the author wrote this story down – it shows how this adventure was the means of God building Israel. Joseph is where he is ‘to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance’.

I don’t really follow the stuff in the recent reflections about Joseph healing his hurts.   The text doesn’t give us that much information to make a clear call.  But my money is on him weeping (both today and in previous chapters) out of love rather than pain.  Just seems a more natural reading, given the absence of anything about him struggling with his conscience, and that many many year had gone by.  Sometimes I think we can push the text too hard in order to find something we want.  What does everyone else think?

November 14th, 2008

The older will serve the younger . . .

Posted by Hannah Venable in Uncategorized  Tagged Genesis 45-46:7

The idea that the older will serve the younger is often demonstrated in the Bible.  God has a way of taking the least likely people and placing them in leadership positions.  I think it shows that He is in control and that He doesn’t follow the conventions of putting the “most likely to succeed” person in power.

Joseph, second youngest, is now almost the “patriarch” of the family.  He demonstrates great amounts of mercy and forgiveness to his brothers and instructs them on what to do.  He tells them to move to Egypt and how to do it and even tells them not to quarrel on their way back to their father! (Genesis 45:24).

It makes me think about two things for my life:

1. Are there ways that God wants to use me that may be unlikely or unexpected?  Am I open to doing whatever He asks?

2.  Are there people in my life who may be different or “less mature” that God wants to use in my life?  Are there unlikely people that are supposed to speak into my life?


November 13th, 2008

Good little Joseph

Posted by owenjohn in Uncategorized  Tagged Genesis 37

I’m wondering if there are lessons to learn from what Joseph did. Being given a vision and sharing it are two separate things.  Did God intend Joseph to share his dreams considering they would not in any way be understood at the time?  Did God originally intend for Joseph’s dreams to be fulfilled the hard way or did Joseph’s actions show he needed to be taught humility before being given honour?  No doubt as to Joseph’s character afterward but his brothers are always assumed to be the only villains here…

I’d say there is a time to speak and a time to keep quiet.  God’s words to us are sometimes just that.  Pride can make us think our revelation of God is a cut above someone elses.  Maybe we’d like to put our own timing on the fulfillment.  Sometimes we need to have patience and wait for God to work.

November 12th, 2008

Yahweh was with him

Posted by Richard Venable in Uncategorized  Tagged Genesis 39-41

This passage mentions several times that Yahweh was with Joseph. The passage reminds us that it wasn’t by Joseph’s own strength that he received such favor in Potiphar’s household, and later in Pharoah’s household, but it was by God’s strength. This is a good reminder, that our blessings and our accomplishments came by God’s strength, because Yahweh is with us.

But then a fear sets in. If all that is good in our lives came because God was with us, what if he leaves? We should be sure to provide for ourselves if he leaves, saving food, money, etc. for that day. Of course, if God wasn’t with us, none of our preparations would matter.

Jesus said, “See the birds of the sky, that they don’t sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you of much more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26) Jesus reminds us that we are important to God, and he does not leave us.

But God’s plan is not always what we expect. Yahweh was with Joseph even when he was imprisoned. Joseph’s life went up and down, with success followed by failure. He was the favorite child, but then was sold into slavery. Then he succeeded in Potiphar’s house, but was then thrown into prison. Finally he was released and became the second most powerful person in Egypt (and probably the world). Yahweh was with him through all of it.

So, this reading reminds me that God is always with us, and is always in control, from when we are the lowest to when we are the highest.

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