Tag Archives: Bible

Sukkot (סוכות)

DSCF2513Tonight was the last night of the 7 day holiday celebrated in Israel called Sukkot. Since I was back in the States during the beginning of it, I missed out on the festivities my flat-mates held at our apartment.

During Sukkot (aka: The Feast of the Tabernacles found in Lev. 23:33-44) Israeli’s are called to remember the time in which the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, with no permanent house dwelling.  The word Sukkot is the plural form of the Hebrew word, Sukka, which means booth or hut, in remembrance of the fragile dwellings the Israelites lived in during these times.

My flat-mate turned our varanda into a sukka, which technically we are supposed to eat and sleep under. I did eat under it (though I eat most of my meals on the varanda), but sleeping out there didn’t quite happen 🙂  I think she did a really good job, and I was pleasantly surprised, returning home to see our varanda all “sukkoted out”. (I really don’t think that is a word). hehehe

Happy Last day of Sukkot!


heads + trouble + lips = hijabs?!?

Let the heads of those who surround me be covered with the trouble their lips have caused.

This verse is Psalm 140:9, where David is speaking of his enemies.  Many scholars say its when he was fleeing King Saul, and thus referring to him and his men.  I want to show you a different take on this verse, something of a revelation I had while reading it this morning.

Let me begin by saying that what I am about to write might stir up some controversy.  You can choose to agree with me, or think I’m way off base…that’s the beauty of opinion.

You might know that right now the Muslims are celebrating Ramadan, the 40 day Islamic fast.  I have been also been taking this time to pray for different Muslim countries around the world each day.  I work with Sudanese Muslims, and I feel its important for me to do this.  

In addition, my devotional this morning was Psalm 140.  When I came to verse 9, something clicked.  Maybe its because of Ramadan or my work or whatever, but I saw something in that verse that stuck out to me….let the heads be covered.

Now, mind you, I am no Biblical Scholar…but I do know who the enemies of Israel were during that time: Phillistines, Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, etc.  All the “ites“. Those that surrounded Israel at that time weren’t too different from those surrounding Israel today.  

The connection goes all the way back to Abraham and his sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Ishmael was the son of the Egyptian slave, Hagar, who was banished to the desert. Ishmael had 12 sons; and if you research them, you will find out they are the Arab people groups who happen to also be the ones today surrounding the land of Israel.   

So, what does this have to do with the covering of heads part? Stay with me, I’m almost there.  As you know, most Arabs are Muslim (about 90%).  And, you might be aware that NOW, Muslim women wear hijab’s (headcoverings). I say now, because it wasn’t always so.  Wearing the hijab only became mainstream in the 70’s when Islam really started flourishing.  So, if you put the two together, past and present, you get the (past) enemies of Israel covering their (present) heads with hijabs.  

You might think I’m completely crazy for correlating David’s plea to God regarding his enemies to a modern day Islamic practice, but let me remind you that God has a crazy way of doing things sometimes, and revealing the truth to us.  A talking donkey? Living in a whale’s belly? Marching around a wall for 7 days? 

Why wouldn’t he answer a prayer from thousands of years ago today in a most unconventional way?  Our timing is not His! 

(Just another little nugget to chew on this week…..)

Hyssop (אזוב)

hyssopToday in my reading, I discovered a little gem.  My jewel was found in Exodus, ch. 12 (The Passover).  While I was reading, I came to vs. 22 where they are told to take a bunch of hyssop to dip into the blood for smearing over and around the doorframe. I’ve never paid much attention to that before, just sorta read over it….but living in Israel now, has new meaning for me with many Biblical things.  

I knew that I had heard this name before….hyssop…but couldn’t quite place it.  So, I did what most of us do now: I googled it.  When I saw its picture I immediately knew what it was (plus, hearing its hebrew name, just confirmed it…..we had read about it in my Ulpan).  BUT, here comes the interesting part:

Did you also know that this hyssop plant the Israelites used as the instrument for the beginning of their freedom out of slavery was ALSO the very same plant that was used as the instrument for giving Jesus his last sip of wine, right before He died on the cross (the beginning of our freedom out of slavery)????  (John 19:20) 


I have heard time and time again, that in the Jewish culture, EVERYTHING has a connection.  Words all are connected through a shoresh (root), months are connected to the moon cycles, traditions all have very specific meanings.  

Just more food to chew on today, and a gem to add to my collection….

Mediterranean Monday: I ♥ The Sea of Galilee

DSCF2148The Galilee region is so seeped in history, its almost impossible to go anywhere that isn’t represented in the Bible and history books. There are many churches, ruins, gardens, and landmarks explaining what happened here in the past:

* The Wedding Church: where Jesus performed his first miracle of turning water into wine (they claim to sill have a couple of the original jars from this event)
* The Beattitudes Monastary: On the mountain where the sermon of the Beattitudes took place. 

* The Church on the site where Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth

BUT, my absolute favorite place is the Sea of Galilee!!! There is no claiming  this was the site where something took place; it IS the place where the storm was calmed and HE walked on water.  Surrounded by hills and valleys, trees and shoreline, its absolutely breathtaking.  Standing on the Israel side, you can look across and see what is now Syria.  When I’m here, my mind automatically drifts back into the history and puts pictures with words.  I ♥ it!


The Writing’s on the Wall

מנא מנא תקל ופרםין

(Mene Mene Tekel Uparseen)

My mind has been stewing on this passage for a couple weeks now.  It was right there in front of them. They could see it with their eyes, yet their hearts were not able to understand.  Even the scholars and wise men could not make meaning of four little Hebrew words. Perfect knowledge of Arabic wasn’t even clueing them in. Yet, there was one who knew, one who was set apart with his eyes and heart wide open….

….are we Daniels of our time or are we looking at the writing on the wall as they did, in confusion? The clues are all here for us. Are our eyes and hearts wide open to see and hear the truth or are we leaning on our own wisdom and knowledge?  

מנא מנא תקל ופרםין

(Daniel chapter 5)  דניאל 5

Chanukah, Day 4: Christmas and Chanukah Biblically

How in the world do Christmas and Chanukah have anything in common, since they come from 2 different religions: Judiasm and Christianity?  If you ask anyone on the street, they will probably tell you they have nothing in common and are two completely separate holidays, but I ask you to open your minds and journey back with me in time a bit….

Biblical references to/about Chanukah: References for Chanukah are found in the Bible, first prophetically in Daniel 8:8-14.  In the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) in the book of Exodus you can find the passages that talk about the construction of the ‘Lampstand’ and the oil used in burning:

  • Exodus 25:1-7; 31-40
  • Exodus 27:20
  • Exodus 35:10-15; 27-28
  • Exodus 39:32-38; 42-43

Biblical references to/about Christmas: Luke 2 recounts the birth of Jesus, of which Christmas is based upon.  

Ok, so how do they mesh together?  Well, whether you believe that Jesus is the Messiah of the world or not, the undeniable truth is that he was born Jewish.  He grew up Jewish, also observing all the Jewish holidays….aka, Chanukah.  (John 10:22 if you’re at all skeptical) Those who celebrate Christmas, commemorate the birth of Jesus, who is even acknowledged by prominent Jewish leaders today as having  been a perfect Jew; therefore abiding by and celebrating Chanukah while He was living. And if you want to go a little bit deeper, Romans 11 talks about Gentiles being grafted into the Jewish faith. If  you are not Jewish, it doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy a Chanukiah asap, but its just a glimpse into how the two are Biblically related.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

Tomorrow:  The Dreidle

What would yours be?

A friend asked me recently, “If you could only read one book of the Bible for the rest of your life, which would you choose.”    For me it would be Psalm(s). This has always been my favorite book and source of strength during many difficult times.

What would yours be (and why)?

A blessed morning

This morning I was given a God-moment treat.  As I was leaving for work, I was approached by the two maids at our house.  They are both older Botswana women and speak pretty broken English.  I was getting into my car when they came up and asked me for a favor.  I could tell they were nervous and shy to ask me, but it was cute.  The older one asked me if they could have a Bible.  I had a box of Setswana Bibles in my car for outreach, and in order to make room in my car for our trip to Namibia I had taken the box out and put it in my house.  When they came in to clean, they must have noticed the box full of Bibles.  Sooooo, they cautiously asked me for one and of coarse I was thrilled!  To see the look on their faces when I told them, “yes” was priceless.  They were so happy and both hugged me.  To quote them, “I am so happy to read the Bible.”  “I never have one for me.”  It was a bonding moment for us.

It was a small token, and a small moment…but one that will remain with me forever!   

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