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Month: December 2016

Is It a Message From God?

Is It a Message From God?

In November 2016,  over 37, 000 acres of beautiful trees in the National Forests Mountains  of northern Georgia, North Carolina and southern Tennessee were destroyed by wild fires.  The fires raged into December and are only now being contained thanks to hundreds of fire fighters from all over the United States and a much needed rain from God!  The forest fires took on a new dimension, when a popular tourist attraction in the Smokey Mountains of Southern Tennessee was attacked by the fires and destroyed homes, completely destroyed some favorite attractions and claimed 13 lives, so far!  It has been heart breaking as we watched the news updates from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

Like so many others, I was captivated by a special article that traveled around the internet at that time!  The famous Dollywood Attraction in Sevierville, Tennessee was threatened by the fires; but survived with only damage from heavy winds.  It was reported that a man cleaning up after the storm, found a partially burned Bible that revealed the book of Joel from the Old Testament.   I wish I could attach a picture of that Bible so you could see that although it had been burned around the edges; you could quit easily read Joel 1: 15-19!

“Alas for the day!  For the day of the Lord is at hand;
It shall come as destruction from the Almighty.   Is not the food cut off before our eyes,
Joy and gladness from the house of our God?   The seed shrivels under the clods,
Storehouses are in shambles;  Barns are broken down, For the grain has withered.
 How the animals groan!  The herds of cattle are restless,  Because they have no pasture;
Even the flocks of sheep suffer punishment.  O Lord, to You I cry out;
For fire has devoured the open pastures,
And a flame has burned all the trees of the field.”

I was fascinated!  I had to learn more!  I always hate to admit to you, that I can’t remember something in the Bible that I should be able to recall!  But, that’s the way it is!  I didn’t remember Joel until I took the time to investigate it!  I read the entire book which is only three chapters.  I read more in some commentaries.

But, when I listened to Chuck Smith’s comments from 1978-1980, I found a new understanding; and possibly the reason God may have arranged for this Old Testament Prophet to speak to us in 2016! Joel was writing about a desolation that would be coming in the last day, when armies would be coming to destroy Israel. Because Joel couldn’t have imagined what type of military equipment would be used today; he did know about locusts and used that knowledge to warn what God had shown him.

The destruction coming is described as “day of the LORD”.  Chuck Smith described at least three different examples of “day of the LORD” found in God’s Word:  the great judgment on the earth; gathering the nations for judgment and establishing the new reign of Jesus Christ as King.  No matter what opinion we may have regarding what the Bible describes as “the day of the LORD”; we must live our lives as if that “day” may be any moment!  Even more important: that we make sure everyone around us is also very much aware of the coming of “the day of the LORD”!   Have you told someone lately just what the LORD has done in your life? Have you asked if they know Jesus as their Savior?  I am going to make sure that I ask someone today; for the flames have burned “all the trees of the field.   The day of the LORD is at hand!!!! 

The Walls of Jericho

The Walls of Jericho

I am so excited about doing this Bible study with you!  It is a part of Biblical history that has actually been verified by major evacuations done in modern times. Not that I needed it to be verified; but I love it when skeptics are handed solid evidence that God is capable to do whatever He wants!  I love it when God proves to everyone that He is God, the Great I AM!  I love this verse from John 20:29:  Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  But I’m getting way ahead of myself!

Comparing the Israel army with the fortified city of Jericho is like comparing David, the shepherd boy, to Goliath, the giant.  There just wasn’t any way Israel would be able to conquer the city on their own.  Jericho’s walls were probably 20 feet high and as thick as eight feet.  They would have sufficient food and water to allow them to withstand a siege for months.  Guards on the walls would be ready to shoot arrows,  pour hot oil or dump huge boulders on enemy warriors that tried to scale the walls or punch it with a battering ram.

Joshua’s faith was evident when he followed God’s instructions without any questions!  It took faith for God’s people to do what Joshua told them to do without question!  “And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days.  And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.   It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat.”  (Joshua 6:2-5)

That was it!  The Lord’s unusual battle plan was so impossible in the world’s eyes that when Jericho did fall, God alone would get the credit!   All they were to do was walk around the city once every day for six days.  It was a little over half a mile around the city, so it didn’t take very long to walk around it.  Joshua had lined up the people the way God had told him. First were the soldiers, followed by the seven priests with the ram horns, followed by the ark of the covenant (God in the midst of His people) followed by more soldiers.  I can  almost imagine the guards on the walls laughing at the sight.  Might have been a nervous laugh, as they were all very much aware of what “their God” had already done for the Israelites!  The city of Jericho might have even been plenty terrified of what could happen!

Joshua had instructed the people not to make any noise or to say anything while they were marching around the city!  And they did this faithfully every morning for six days.  Then on the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times. “And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!  Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. “  (Joshua 6:16-17, remember Joshua 2:12 for Rahab)

“So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.”  (Joshua 6:20-21)

One lesson that isn’t so obvious is Joshua did not tell the people what they were to do or what to expect.  They received their instructions one day at a time, and they obeyed one day at a time, one step at a time! They left everything else up to their God!  That is all He still asks of us!  One step at a time!!