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Deuteronomy 25

[4] Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

1 Corinthians 9

[9] For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

[10] Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.

1 Timothy 5

[18] For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

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The Torah is filled with mitzvot relating to animal welfare. It is forbidden to prevent an animal from eating from produce upon which it is working, such as threshing grain or carrying a bundle of hay.

– Tom Irvine

Isaiah 7

[14] Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Matthew 1

[23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

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Micah 5

[2] But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Matthew 2

[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
[2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
[3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
[4] And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
[5] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
[6] And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Note that Bethlehem means “house of bread” in Hebrew

John 6

[32] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.
[33] For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
[34] Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.
[35] And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

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Isaiah 28

[16] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Ephesians 2

[20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

1 Peter 2

[6] Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

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– Tom Irvine

Genesis 15

1  After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

2  And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

3  And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.

4  And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

5  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.6  And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

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2 Chronicles 20:7

Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

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Isaiah 41:8

But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.

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James 2:23

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

See also: Romans 4:22-24

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– Tom Irvine

As a necessary disclaimer, there are times that we need to leave a relationship or situation for our physical or mental safety.  Our obligation to forgive a perpetrator does not require us to remain in an abusive relationship.  There are other, less extreme, cases where we simply need to “move on.”  See When friends turn against you.  But even in extreme cases, we need to forgive our “brothers.”

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Matthew 18

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

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Jesus used 490 times as an arbitrarily high number to make a point.   A common interpretation is that this meant 490 separate offenses from the “brother.”   Be that as it may, 490 times could also apply to a single offense.  We may have a sincere, righteous desire to forgive someone who hurts us.  We may pray for that person.  We may feel that we really have forgiven him or her.  But then, maybe a week later, some event or thought may trigger us to relive all of the emotional pain and anger.  Then we must nearly start the forgiveness process anew.   Perhaps Jesus also taught that it might take up to 490 cycles to complete the forgiveness and healing process for just the one offence.

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There is no use talking as if forgiveness were easy.     – C.S. Lewis

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– Tom Irvine

ANONYMOUS-iTALIANi_Jesus-and-the-Canaanite-Woman_17th-c_Toulouse_Musee-des-Augustins

Matthew 15

21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

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Jesus broke a lower law in order to keep the higher one of mercy.

– Tom Irvine

Eli was the High Priest of Shiloh and also a Judge of Israel.  He was also the “Prophet.”

Eli faithfully served as a father figure to Samuel. He also had the wisdom and inspiration to realize that Samuel should be the next high priest, rather than one of Eli’s own sons.

Eli was a righteous man but had a tragic flaw. His sons Hophni and Phinehas behaved wickedly by taking for themselves all the prime cuts of meat from sacrifices, and by committing adultery with the women who served at the sanctuary entrance.

Eli became aware of their behavior but rebuked them too lightly and ultimately did not stop them.

Eli’s sons continued their sinful behavior. Samuel prophesied that Eli and his family would be punished for this, with all male descendants dying before reaching old age and being placed in positions subservient to prophets from other lineages. Eli’s sons were ultimately killed in battle against the Philistines. The Philistines also captured the Ark of the Covenant. Eli fell backwards out of his chair and died from a broken neck upon learning of this awful news.

There are several lessons from Eli’s tragic life. Among others, it is a calamitous example of a leader’s failure to stop sexual abuse committed by those who serve under him.

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

God’s Love

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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Psalm 136:26

O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.
 
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Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

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People argue whether God’s love for us is conditional or unconditional. But I say, Who is man to set bounds on God’s love?

– Tom Irvine