As a child, Sabbath seemed to be a day of “don’ts”, the focus almost entirely on what we were not allowed to do for that 24-hour period – no TV, no shopping, no swimming, reading was allowed but only “Sabbath” books. In fact, it often seemed that if something was fun it was automatically disqualified as a Sabbath activity.
The four consonants that constitute the name of the God of Israel remain unpronounced in Hebrew because they lack the vowels to permit vocalization. There is no physical representation of the Hebrew God and to fashion one is to directly contradict his instructions and incur his wrath. How was Israel to understand this God? How are we?
Our study begins in the desert with Moses standing before a burning bush that is not consumed by the fire. This unusual sight has caught his attention and it is from the burning bush that God calls to him by name.
We probably don’t always think of the story of the sacrifices of Cain and Abel as a story about worship––but in fact it is. As Ellen White points out, these were not sacrifices to atone for sin: instead, “these [were] offerings ... to express faith in the Savior whom the offerings typified, and at the same time to acknowledge their total dependence on Him .... Besides this, the first fruits of the earth were to be presented before the Lord as a thank offering.” [Patriarchs and Prophets, 7]
The Adult SS Guide has given us a galaxy to contemplate, not only one star—all focusing on our Lord’s mediatorial work as the Grace Giver.
This week we look again at that sad, distraught victim of womanhood who had tried everything that medicine had suggested for at least 12 years. She had been living with that dread word, “incurable.” She had heard and seen the many who praised this remarkable Galilean who had been doing wonders for others, and the wild thought came to her: “Is there any hope for me?”
Zechariah’s vision of the High Priest dressed in ‘filthy garments’ may be one of the best cliché busting scenes in the entire Bible. Yet, Adventist readers may find themselves quite impervious to its power. We have known this scene from childhood. The phrase, ‘filthy garments’ lives in our brains like so many other Bible verses nearly worn-out through vain repetition.
For those drawn to the gentle figure of Jesus, violent Elijah is a jarring contrast. Though he had help corralling the 450 prophets of Baal after Yahweh’s victory on Mt. Carmel, Scripture gives Elijah himself full credit for the slaughter.
But however squeamish we may feel about Elijah’s violent deeds, both in Christianity and in Judaism he was to be a key figure in ushering in the kingdom of God. In short, he is one of the good guys.