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March 23 - Evening

"There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanahson of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.
 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord.
Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s house.   In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.  
And she made a vow, saying, 'Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.' "

- First Samuel 1:1-3; 9-11

Hannah Dedicates a Yet-to-be-Conceived Son To The Lord


The life of Samuel occurs in the final days of the Judges and the story begins similar to the account of Samson (Judges 13:1-4) with the identification of his father, Elkanah, and the setting aside of the boy as a Nazirite for life. According to 1 Chronicles 6:16, 22, 31-33 Samuel was a descendent of the Levitical tribe through Kohath. In this same genealogical record we see that Samuel’s descendents became the musicians of the Temple. This means that when the text says the family was “from the hill country of Ephraim” it is indicating where this Levitical family lived, and not identifying them as members of the tribe of Ephraim.  Samuel was a Levite who was dedicated to the service of the Lord at the tabernacle by his mother, Hannah, who took the Nazirite vow for her son before he was born.

Elkanah had taken a second wife, Peninnah, most likely because his first wife Hannah was barren and had produced no children for him.

The tabernacle was set up in those days at Shiloh, which was 16 miles east of Samuel’s home in Ramah. The family would go to worship each year at the Tabernacle in Shiloh, most likely, the Feast of Tabernacles. Each member of the family was given portions of the sacrificed meat to offer or to use as part of the fellowship offering to be eaten by them.
‘Ebyion (Gr) – Needy (Eng) – ‘ebyion is a Greek word that refers to a poor person who needs or has suffered the loss of clothing, food, possessions or land (Exodus 23:11; Job 30:25; 31:19; Psalm 132:15). In Exodus 23:6 and Job 29:16 ‘ebyon refers to a low or no social standing. Amos 2:6 uses the Israel's treatment of the ‘ebyon to identify a spiritual condition.
Do I help the weak?
Am I sure not to take advantage of the weak and the unsuspecting?
I will assist the Lord in his work of defending the weak and vulnerable.



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Burundi



This is a view of the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat in the Negev in southern Judah. This city was Established by the Nabateans in 100's BC. In 106 AD the Nabatean empire, including Avdat, was placed under Roman rule by Trajan. Nabateans established oasis settlements and a trading network between these settlements between Syria and Arabia from the Euphrates to the Red Sea. Avdat was one of the Nabatean's establishments on the Spice Route. Avdat peaked during the Byzantine period beginning in 325 AD until Avdat was destroyed by the Persians in 614 AD. The Nabateans established cities in places where there was not enough rain to support a population. But, the Nabateans carefully managed their water supply and grew rich on the trade routes. They channeled all water into cisterns. Avdat has four wine presses used to press the grapes they amazingly grew. (Details. Photos.)
Details of King Ahab of Israel sparing the live of the Aramean king, Ben Hadad, in 1 Kings 20:21-43 after the Lord had delivered Ben Hadad into Ahab's hands to be killed.




Someone to Quote

"The wrath of God is His eternal detestation of all unrighteousness. It is the displeasure and indignation of divine equity against evil. It is the holiness of God stirred into activity against sin."
- A. W. Pink

Something to Ponder

Almost every area of theology has been hotly debated at some point in church history. And, at each point some false teaching spun off into false ideologies and false concepts we call heresies or false doctrine. Consider these debated areas from church history:
• Jewish Law vs. Justification by Faith
• The Trinity
• Nature of the Person of Jesus
• Deity of Christ
• Canon of Scripture
• Church Government
• Sin Nature
• Eternal Security
• Ministry of the Holy Spirit
• And, more

Here’s a Fact

Revelation 2:13 says that Satan’s throne is in Pergamum, and indeed, a very imposing and commanding throne it was. At the time of John’s writing of the book of Revelation a throne like altar to Zeus stood on the rocky cliff of Pergamum overlooking the city. It had been built in 197-159 by King Eumenes II to commemorate King Attalus I victory over the Galatians. Zeus was worshipped here and called “Zeus the Savior” This altar is now in the Berlin Museum where its 100 foot long carved marble panel details the battle between the giants and the gods who won the battle of order over the chaos. (Zeus altar illustration) (Photos of altar) (Details concerning Pergamum)

Proverb

"Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you."
- Proverbs 23:10-11

Coach’s Corner

Lack of knowledge and inexperience are both sources of confidence. They produce a dangerous false confidence.

Revelation 2:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
Judges 13:1-4
New International Version (NIV)
The Birth of Samson
13 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean.
1 Chronicles 6:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 The sons of Levi:
Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
____
1 Chronicles 6:22
New International Version (NIV)
22 The descendants of Kohath:
Amminadab his son, Korah his son,
Assir his son,
____
1 Chronicles 6:31-33
New International Version (NIV)
The Temple Musicians
31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.
33 Here are the men who served, together with their sons:
From the Kohathites:
Heman, the musician,
the son of Joel, the son of Samuel,
Exodus 23:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
____
Job 30:25
New International Version (NIV)
25 
Have I not wept for those in trouble?     Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
____

Job 31:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 
if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,     or the needy without garments,
____

Psalm 132:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 
I will bless her with abundant provisions;     her poor I will satisfy with food.
Exodus 23:6
New International Version (NIV)
“Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
Job 29:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 
I was a father to the needy;     I took up the case of the stranger.
Amos 2:6
New International Version (NIV)
Judgment on Israel
This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Israel,     even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver,     and the needy for a pair of sandals.
1 Kings 20:21-43
New International Version (NIV)
21 The king of Israel advanced and overpowered the horses and chariots and inflicted heavy losses on the Arameans.
22 Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, “Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again.”
23 Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.
26 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel. 27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.
28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”
29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day. 30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.
31 His officials said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.”
32 Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’”
The king answered, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”
33 The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. “Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!” they said.
“Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot.
34 “I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben-Hadad offered. “You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”
Ahab said, “On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.” So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.
A Prophet Condemns Ahab
35 By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused.
36 So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him.
37 The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him. 38 Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. 39 As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.’ 40 While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.”
“That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.”
41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. 42 He said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’” 43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.
Ruth 1
New International Version (NIV)
Naomi Loses Her Husband and Sons
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud
10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Joshua 3-4
New International Version (NIV)
Crossing the Jordan
Early in the morning Joshua and all the Israelites set out from Shittim and went to the Jordan, where they camped before crossing over. After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits between you and the ark; do not go near it.”
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”
Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on ahead of the people.” So they took it up and went ahead of them.
And the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses. Tell the priests who carry the ark of the covenant: ‘When you reach the edge of the Jordan’s waters, go and stand in the river.’”
Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God. 10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. 11 See, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth will go into the Jordan ahead of you. 12 Now then, choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe. 13 And as soon as the priests who carry the ark of the Lord—the Lord of all the earth—set foot in the Jordan, its waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”
14 So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. 15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.
When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”
So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the Lord had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day.
10 Now the priests who carried the ark remained standing in the middle of the Jordan until everything the Lord had commanded Joshua was done by the people, just as Moses had directed Joshua. The people hurried over, 11 and as soon as all of them had crossed, the ark of the Lord and the priests came to the other side while the people watched. 12 The men of Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over, ready for battle, in front of the Israelites, as Moses had directed them. 13 About forty thousand armed for battle crossed over before the Lord to the plains of Jericho for war.
14 That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.
15 Then the Lord said to Joshua, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant law to come up out of the Jordan.”
17 So Joshua commanded the priests, “Come up out of the Jordan.”
18 And the priests came up out of the river carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord. No sooner had they set their feet on the dry ground than the waters of the Jordan returned to their place and ran at flood stage as before.
19 On the tenth day of the first month the people went up from the Jordan and camped at Gilgal on the eastern border of Jericho. 20 And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”


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