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phrases

Man does not live by bread only

At the end of the 40 years of wilderness wandering the people come to the brink of the promised land.  This is the setting for the book of Deuteronomy.  Moses will not be going with the people into the land of milk and honey.  He is the leader of the old Israel and the bringer […]

Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart

“Feelings are feelings, they’re neither right nor wrong, it’s what you do with them that counts.” How often have you heard this kind of sentiment?  (And interestingly, it is a sentiment!). You’re probably as likely to hear it in church as anywhere else these days.  Even Christians will say we should only put acts of […]

What hath God wrought

“What hath God wrought” was the first message Samuel Morse ever tapped out on his new invention.  And it’s almost certainly that fact (more than its original appearance in Scripture) that lies behind its fame.  Interestingly, today if it’s said at all, it tends not to refer to great discoveries as much as terrible tragedies.  […]

Fell flat on his face

When we say “I fell flat on my face” we’re usually speaking figuratively. e.g. “I tried to impress the girl with my scant knowledge of Italian arias.  Turns out, she’s a classical soprano.  I fell flat on my face!” We use the phrase to indicate embarrassment.  But in the bible, falling on one’s face is […]

Balaam's ass

Christianity is big business today.  Speakers can command live audiences of tens, even hundreds of thousands.  Millions more can view on television or buy their books.  What should we make of their popularity?  How should we assess their ministry? Balaam’s ass is in the bible to remind us that speaking spiritual words is no guarantee […]

Brazen serpent

What is faith? Often people think of faith as a special quality that the religious happen to possess.  It’s like some magic elixir.  Apparently some people have lots of faith coursing through their veins, others have very little. But how does Jesus think of faith? Well when Jesus wanted to explain faith to a bible […]

Wilderness Years

The journey from slavery to the promised land should have been straightforward.  If they’d kept the Mediterranean on their left they could have arrived within a fortnight. The LORD took them a different route – through the Red Sea.  The LORD gained great glory by saving them through adversity.  This was some of the reason […]

Spy out the land

What will the future bring?  Blessings or curses? Wouldn’t it be nice to send someone on ahead to make sure the future’s bright? That’s what the Israelites do in the book of Numbers.  Let’s catch up with the story so far… In Genesis, Israel begins as the seed of Abraham then, with Joseph, they head […]

God bless

Some people have only two uses for the name of God.  Either to carelessly curse, or to carelessly bless.  In either case the speaker knows not what they do! In its biblical setting, “God bless” was never said lightly.  In fact it was a distinct privilege of the priests.  In particular, the High Priest, Aaron.  […]

Love thy neighbour

What’s the law all about?  A supposed expert in the law asked Jesus that very question.  Jesus boiled it all down to ‘love’.  He quoted from two places in the Old Testament: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) […]