Monday, December 23, 2019

Light of the world (1)

'What shall I preach about, this Sunday', my husband asked. 'About the light of the world, I answered quickly. Such a beautiful topic during these dark days before Christmas. And so he did. And I decided to write a short blog series about it. Will you join me in contemplation?

We live in a world with a lot of darkness. War, violence, terrorism, pain, abuse, sadness, and loneliness, you name it. There is, of course, nothing new under the sun. About 700 years BC the prophet Isaiah wrote: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned (Isaiah 9: 2).

A land of deep darkness, brrrr, recognize this?. The light was a promise, something to look forward to. The Bible frequently speaks about light in darkness. Quite logical if you ask me, because the Bible is the Word of God and God is light. In 1 John 1: 5 it says: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

How does that light come our way? Into our world, our country, our cities and into our personal darkness? Well, God sent His Son Jesus to the earth, this event will be celebrated worldwide at Christmas time. Jesus said: I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness (John 12:46). Are you in the dark? Does it feel dark around you? Jesus wants to get you out of the dark! This, my friends, is not an empty promise.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12).

Monday, December 02, 2019

For she was a shepherd

Does it ever happen to you, reading a well-known story in the Bible and suddenly you notice something you never noticed before? It happens to me quite regularly...

Recently I read the story in Genesis 29, where Jacob is on his way to Haran to find a wife. When he comes to a well with his herd, he addresses a group of shepherds. In verse 9 it says: Jacob was still talking with them when Rachel arrived with her father's flock, for she was a shepherd.

Rachel was a shepherd? I did not know that. The best-known shepherd in the Bible is David (well, except for Jesus who is called the Good Shepherd). I wonder whether Rachel had a slingshot to shoot rocks with, just like David. I wonder whether she chased lions and bears, just like him. I wonder whether she played a musical instrument, just like David?

I am trying to imagine what kind of woman Rachel was. Probably not the kind of lady looking in the mirror all day. Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (verse 17). She probably owed her good figure to the many walks with the herd :)

I find it intriguing that the Bible specifically mentions that she was a shepherd. In Hebrew, the word shepherdess is the same as shepherd. Shepherds (and therefore also shepherdesses) play an important role in the Bible, as guardians of sheep and as overseers of a local church.

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood (Acts 20:28).

I love it, these special women in the Bible!