December 17, 2023 – More on Hanukkah, Christmas and the Birth of Christ

This week we’ll look at Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 1:18-2:23 and more aspects of the Hanukkah/Christmas season. When and why did Christmas become recognized as the day of Christ’s birth? What was the Star of Bethlehem, who were the Magi, and why were shepherds part of Christ’s birth announcement?

Notes on “When was Jesus Born?”

Notes on the Shepherds at the Birth of Christ

Notes on the Star of Bethlehem

Posted in feast | Leave a comment

December 10, 2023 – Celebrate Hanukkah!

The eight-day feast of Hanukkah, a festival of lights, occurs in the darkest time of year. It commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. after it was cleansed by Judas Maccabeus when the Jews prevailed against the Seleucid Greeks of Syria. In the New Testament it is referred to as the Feast of Dedication.

Jewish tradition says that when the special oil for the Temple lamp stand could not be obtained in time, Judah Maccabeus took a step of faith (and a risk) by lighting the lamp with only one day’s supply of oil. It burned miraculously for eight days until the extra oil arrived.

Many scholars place the time of the Annunciation of the angel to Mary and the conception of Christ (rather than his birth) at this time of year, and the festival contains numerous types and foreshadowings of Christ’s coming.

Notes on Hanukkah (disregard the meeting schedule)

Notes on Hanukkah and the Humility of Mary

Posted in feast | Leave a comment

December 3, 2023 – 1 Kings 12 – A Kingdom Divided

Solomon’s son Rehoboam listens to bad counsel from his young advisors. Jeroboam returns and persuades the 10 northern tribes to rebel against Rehoboam, as God had told him through the prophet Ahijah.  Jeroboam sets up two golden calf idols at Bethel and Dan. The fruit of Solomon’s slide away from wisdom to idolatry results in a long-lasting national disaster for the nation of Israel.

Notes on 1 Kings 12:1-33

Posted in Readings | Leave a comment

November 26, 2023 – 1 Kings 11 – The Fall and Death of Solomon

King Solomon’s fall from being a wise and righteous ruler to a deluded, foolish, idolatrous doormat to his many wives’ demands is both puzzling and tragic. His sin caused God to later rip away 10 tribes from his son Rehoboam and split the kingdom in two. It’s unclear whether Solomon changed his ways in his old age, but hints in scripture including the Book of Ecclesiastes point to his eventual repentance.

Notes on 1 Kings 11:1-43

Posted in Readings | Leave a comment

November 12, 2023 – 1 Kings 10 – Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba is intrigued by stories of the wisdom and riches of King Solomon, and travels from Yemen to his court. She tests him with riddles, and according to tradition converts to worship the true God. Christian commentators have seen her as a type of the Gentile believers who come “from the uttermost parts of the earth” to join with Israel.

Notes for 1 Kings 10:1-29

Posted in Readings | Leave a comment

October 29, 2023 – 1 Kings 9 – God Replies to Solomon’s Prayer

God replies to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple with a warning of the dire consequences of falling away from obedience and going after idols.

Notes on 1 Kings 9:1-28


Posted in Readings | Leave a comment

October 22, 2023 – 1 Kings 8:12-61 – Solomon’s Prayer

At the dedication of the new Temple, King Solomon addresses the people, focusing on humility, and then offers a prayer invoking God’s acceptance of His new dwelling place and pleading for God to forgive his people when they repent.

Notes on 1 Kings 8:12-61

Posted in Readings | Leave a comment