Moses, the man of God, freed the slaves and built a nation. He has much to teach.
Moses is the single most famous leader in the Old Testament and is respected by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. He was born a Hebrew slave, adopted by an Egyptian princess, raised as a prince of Egypt, exiled at age 40 after killing an Egyptian who beat a Hebrew slave. Fleeing to the tribe of Midian in the Sinai desert, Moses married, started a family, and became a shepherd, an occupation loathsome to the Egyptians, especially a prince. He was as low as a former prince of Egypt could go.
At age 80, when Moses probably felt that his life was nearly over, God met Moses on the slope of Mt. Sinai. God told Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites, God’s chosen people, out of slavery to the Egyptians. The rest of Moses life was a tremendous example of faithfulness to the commands of God and skill in building a nation as he led His people into their Promised Land.
Continue reading “Moses, an Example of Administrative Leadership and People Management”
The Patriarchs of Israel believed God when others did not. Christians today can follow many of their examples.
In many ways, Abraham was an entrepreneurial leader. Born in Ur in southeast Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC, Abraham had a wide variety of skills and a strong work ethic. He could have been very successful in Ur. God, however, had other plans. Terah, Abram’s father, took his entire family, including Abram and his wife, hundreds of miles northwest to Haran in upper Mesopotamia (Genesis 11:31). After Terah’s death, God called the 75 year old Abram to take his entire household, scores of people and many possessions, to Canaan, 700 miles to the southwest. Genesis 12-24 recounts the rest of Abraham’s life, and in these chapters we see a wealthy rancher, a diplomat, a military leader, and a faithful servant of God.
Jehovah’s plan was to bring a great people out of Abraham that would bless the whole world. He intended to put these people in Canaan, the most fruitful part of the great land bridge between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and build them into a “kingdom of priests” to shine God’s light to all of His creation.
Continue reading “Leadership Examples of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph”
One of the recurring themes of the Roman Empire in the first century AD is the friction between the Jewish people and the Romans. Much of stemmed from the dramatic cultural difference between the Romans who adopted Greek culture and the Jews, some of whom adopted Greek culture but most of whom held tightly to their Hebrew traditions. The reign of the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC) and the revolt of the Maccabees set an unbridgeable chasm between the two.
There were other reasons for the Jewish-Roman friction as well:
Continue reading “Tensions Between Rome and the Jews During the Early 1st Century AD”
We can learn a lot from literary and historical examinations of the Bible, as long as we remember that we are students of the Word and children of the Living God.
Classic Biblical criticism, the kind that gave us the JEDP in the Torah, deutero- and even trito-Isaiah, and the “historical Jesus” is criticism focusing on the historicity of Biblical events and teachings. It was influential in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but towards the end of the 20th century theologians had pretty much divided themselves into two groups, the liberals who doubted the historicity of almost everything in the Bible and the conservatives who affirmed in the historicity of almost everything in the Bible. Once specialists in Greek and Hebrew had parsed every word in every manuscript and made their decisions, the field reached an impasse. This seemed especially true in relation to the study of John’s gospel.
As a result, and with the rise of the postmodern disbelief in objective truth, literary criticism, analyzing the book of John (and the entire Bible) as literature became more popular. The literary critic studies, evaluates and interprets literature, often with regard to how the author supports or opposes the critic’s ideology. He searches for the natural structure of and divisions in the work, and may analyze literature by comparing it to various genres, whether novel, poetry or history.
Continue reading “Literary and Historical Criticism”