Ask Your Preacher
God said He hated Esau for selling his birthright for a bowl of mush. How could he sell something that was not his to sell?
Food For Thought
Dear Food For Thought,
Esau’s birthright was his to keep or sell; culturally, that is different than our society today, but that was the case back then. The Bible refers to Esau as a man that was “profane” because he sold his birthright for a meal (Heb 12:16). Esau took something holy (e.g. his right as the firstborn to have a double portion of the inheritance) and sold it for something as common as dinner. The warning from Esau’s mistake is to not sell our souls, the holiest part of us, for common worldly pleasures (Mk 8:36-37).
What is the “accursed thing” in Jericho that God told Joshua about in Josh 6:18?
The accursed thing was the spoils of war that typically would have been plundered after looting Jericho, but in this case, they were to be burned or devoted to the Lord. God was very specific that the Israelites were not supposed to keep any of Jericho’s valuables for themselves and that the entire city’s goods were devoted to the Lord (Josh 6:17). The accursed thing (some versions say “the devoted thing”) in Josh 6:18 refers to the commandment to not keep any of the goods for themselves. In Josh 7:1, we see that Achan disobeyed that command, and when it was found out, he was stoned for his disobedience (Josh 7:24-26).
Are the people of Israel also Jews? There is a little children's song we sing about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it's called “Once There Were Three Wandering Jews”. I heard someone express that we should change it to “Men” instead of “Jews” because they were not Jews. Clearer explanation would be great; thank you for your time!
Who’s The Jew?
Dear Who’s The Jew,
The word ‘Jew’ isn’t used in the Bible until 2 Kgs 16:6. The word ‘Jew’ comes from the region of Judah – those from Judah were Jews. This is the original etymology of the word, but eventually, the word ‘Jew’ came to represent all descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were the forefathers of the Jewish nation.
I'm confused. The people of Israel were once God's "chosen people". Jewish people see Jesus as a prophet, not as the Son of God. The way to the Father is through the Son (Jesus), so does that mean that Jews will not get to heaven? What have they done to no longer be "chosen"?
Dear Not Picky,
All those who reject Christ are lost (Jhn 14:6)… including Jews. Paul used to visit the synagogues to preach Jesus to them (Acts 18:4). The Jews are not Jesus’ chosen people; the church is. Jesus says that Christians are His royal priesthood and chosen race (1 Pet 2:9). Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deut 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those that love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they decided to keep their traditions instead of accepting God’s Son (Mk 7:9).
Ex 4:24-26: I don't understand this at all. Why did God confront Moses and why was He about to kill him? Why did Zipporah, a Midianite, have any knowledge of this covenant ritual of circumcision, and how could she surmise that as the problem between God and Moses? And did she and the children continue on to Egypt with Moses?
Thank you! Please, if there is Scripture to confirm your understanding of this paragraph in Exodus, would you please share it with me also? Thanks a lot, and God's blessings on you!
Ex 4:24-26 is an odd little anecdote in Moses’ life. We don’t get many details, so everything that we understand about it is from putting very few pieces of information together. Here is what we know:
- God was angry enough with Moses to kill him.
- Zipporah, Moses’ wife, circumcised their son, and she wasn’t happy with the fact that she had to perform emergency surgery on her son.
- After the circumcision, Moses’ life was spared.
Using these meager pieces of information, our understanding is that God was mad at Moses because he hadn’t obeyed God’s command to circumcise his children. Remember, circumcision was the sign of God’s covenant with Israel (Acts 7:8). The fact that Moses, God’s chosen leader for Israel, wasn’t keeping that covenant with his children was a big deal. Our understanding is that Moses had not circumcised his son, God was angry about it, and Zipporah was aware of the problem, and quickly saved everyone by circumcising her son.
As for whether or not Zipporah and her sons continued to Egypt, Ex 18:2-5 seems to imply that they went back home and met up with Moses once he had led the Israelites out of Egypt.