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phrases

A stranger in a strange land

Exhausted, the freedom fighter slumped by a well.  He had chanced his arm and initiated a violent coup but the wheels had fallen off.  Now he’s a failed revolutionary without a friend in the world.  A week earlier he had been a prince in the most powerful court on earth.  Now, aged 40, he’s Egypt’s […]

Fat of the land

In English we say “the cream of the crop”.  In Hebrew they would say “the fat of the land” (Genesis 44:18).  Not that the ground is particularly oily (they’d also talk about “the fat of the wheat”; Psalm 81:16).  The fat is the best portion. And this is what Pharaoh offers to Joseph’s brothers: “Pharaoh […]

Coat of many colours

It has all the ingredients for a West End hit.  Jealousy, family intrigue, struggle through adversity then vindication and reconciliation.  It’s a story that speaks to all.  Because it’s a story based on the original story – the true myth.  Joseph’s story is Jesus’ story told in advance. Joseph was one of the twelve sons […]

A Test of Faith

What is the bible? Sometimes Christians are the worst at answering that question.  Many will reply: “The Maker’s Instruction Manual.”  Or “God’s Road Map.”  Most often religious folk will see it as, essentially, a moral guidebook for right living.  But if ever there was a story to explode that misconception it’s this one.  Abraham is […]

Fire and Brimstone

These days the phrase “fire and brimstone” is more associated with a style of preaching than with the reality they preach.  “Fire and brimstone” preaching is what our culture fears.  Rarely does it occur to someone to fear fire and brimstone itself. “Fire and brimstone” continually describes the judgement of God in the bible (see […]

Sodom and Gomorrah

The mention of “Sodom and Gomorrah” conjures up images of unbridled lust and debauchery.  They were the original sin cities.  And their judgement is constantly held up in the bible as a cautionary tale for all.  But both their sins and their judgement aren’t as straightforward as some might present it. Almost the first description […]

Circumcision

“Miss!” asks the inquisitive Sunday School-er, “What’s circumcision?”  Miss turns the colour of an Englishman on Bondi.  “Don’t worry about that,” she flusters.  “That’s for grown-ups.” But it’s not.  According to Genesis 17, circumcision is for 8-day-olds.  It was a “sign of the covenant” given to Abraham and his seed.  So from the earliest time, […]

Covenant

Yesterday we considered the first half of Genesis 15.   We thought about God overwhelming the fears of Abraham with even greater promises.  Today we’ll think about the climax of that process. Abraham has trusted the LORD Christ and been pronounced “righteous” in God’s sight (v6).  It’s wonderful news but Abraham asks “How can I […]

Fear not

“The word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, ‘Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’” What overwhelms you?  Either for good or ill – what knocks you off your feet? According to the bible, either life overwhelms you and we call that fear.  Or God overwhelms […]

Abraham

In Australia, where I’m from, it’s not uncommon to give people joke names.  So a giant of a man might be nicknamed “Shorty” or a red-head will be called “Blue.” The LORD seems to have a similar sense of humour.  In Genesis 17:5, childless Abram is re-named “Abraham” which means “father of a multitude.”  But […]