Obey #AtoZChallenge

#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter O

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.

The word obey occurs over 150 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament there is a constant tension between times when the people obeyed God and when they did not. I was struck by the way God is portrayed as one who speaks. The people were to obey his voice and his commands.

The Old Covenant is set out in Deuteronomy, the second book of the law. (Leviticus is the first.) It is a binding agreement between God and his people.

God promises blessings for those who obey his commands. Deuteronomy 12:28

Contrast between obedience and disobedience Deuteronomy 28

In the New Covenant Jesus Christ has become the saviour allowing people to become children of God. There are still warnings about disobedience. Learning obedience is part of discipleship.

Abraham’s obedient servant

My master Abraham is a good man. When he told me that he’d like to send me back to his home country, although I had no choice in the matter, I went willingly..

That was when he told me some stories about his earlier life. He wasn’t always called Abraham. I’d need to know that to explain my identity and his to his countrymen. They knew him as Abram many long years ago.

He told me about his call from God telling him to leave Ur and go to a country, which the Lord would show him. About his promises from God that he would be the father of many nations. And about meeting Melchizedek the priest.

How he became the father of Ishmael and of Isaac, Sarah’s miracle baby. Her name had changed too; she used to be Sarai back in Ur.

Isaac’s name means, ‘He laughs’. Both Abraham and Sarah laughed at the promise of a child in their old age.

And now Sarah is dead and Isaac is old enough to be married.

That’s why I had to make the journey to Ur. Abraham didn’t want his son to marry a local girl. His hope was that he would marry a fellow countrywoman.

It was a responsible task for me and not without danger, but there was not much I wouldn’t do for this family.

Abraham was known as a prophet because he heard the Lord speaking and told us all what he had been promised. He encouraged us to listen to the Lord’s voice and to talk to Him too. I’m not sure I ever really believed in the Lord until I was approaching Ur. I realised he had guided me there, but what now?

Then I prayed to God, ‘I don’t know how I’ll be able to find a bride for Isaac. Perhaps if I wait by this well one of the young women will offer me a drink and water for my camels.’

That is exactly what happened. A young woman came to the well with a water jar on her head. When she saw me, she offered me a drink. Then she provided water for my camels. I asked her who she was. I knew my prayer had been answered, she was a member of Abraham’s family!

I went to meet her parents and both they and she were willing for her to marry Isaac without unnecessary delay.

Rebekah and her maids travelled back with me and the rest, as they say, is history!

Abraham’s story is told in Genesis 12-25

The servant’s story is based on Genesis 12:1-5, Genesis 14:18-20, Genesis 17:1-19, Genesis 23:1-2, Genesis 24

Further reading:

In Hebrews 5:8-10 we read about the obedience of Christ.

Hebrews 11:8 Abraham’s obedience

James 3

1 John 5:2

O is for Offering

My posts for the A to Z Challenge this year are all about the Easter Story, recorded in 4 books of the New Testament: the Gospels. Image in sidebar links to Theme Reveal post.

Image in sidebar or below post links to Theme reveal

For this year’s A to Z challenge I am highlighting some important words from the Easter story.

In the Old Testament there was a system of offerings and sacrifices which were made regularly by the priests. The Book of Leviticus sets out in detail the Law, as this system was known.

Jesus of Nazareth (Letter J) told his hearers that he had not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfil it. Matthew 5:17 By his death (Letter D) on the cross (Letter C) Jesus made himself an offering for the sin of the world. Sin is wrong-doing. We all do things we ought not to do and forget to do good things, which we should do. This separates us from God. The idea of an offering in the Old Testament was to take away sin. It had to be repeated over and over again.

The Letter to the Hebrews sets out the way in which Jesus’ offering of himself ended the need for these regular offerings. Chapters 9 and 10 explain this far better than I am able. Hebrews 9:11-10:18



O is for octagon #AtoZChallenge

For the A to Z in April Challenge 2019 I have picked some words, which are connected with physical space.

O is for octagon –
An eight-sided figure.
Add extra length on
And it becomes bigger!

Making a larger copy of something is easier in these days of photocopiers and 3D-printers. It is not all that long since rulers, set-squares, protractors and compasses were used. A pantograph was quite a novelty.  (The link is one I picked out at random from my search engine results.)

Ruler, set-square, compasses and protractor

The school where I was very happy for five years had an octagonal library, which I have attempted to immortalise in verse! The tall bookshelves were positioned to point from the angles towards the centre, where there were tables and chairs for schoolgirls to sit and read. It was in the library that I met my first-form teacher, when Mum and I went on a visit to the school in the term before I started there. There was also a stage or dais, where I later spent some useful lunch-times as a library junior. We had to cover new paperback books with plastic film, give them the correct accession number (the number, which indicated the order in which they had been acquired), add a page for stamping the date they would be due back and stamp them with the name of the school. No computers or barcodes then. We also had to serve the customers, stamping their books and returning each book to the correct shelves according to their Dewey number.

A book in the Old Testament is called Numbers. It is a history book, which contains lots of numbers. In the first three chapters, Moses counts the people in obedience to God. A second census did not include any of the original men except Caleb and Joshua. By contrast King David took it upon himself to carry out a census; he was not acting in obedience to God. Do please read the passages to find out what had happened!

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