An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
Man After God's Own Heat
Follow-up to lock box confiscation
Home is where the school is
On Jennie Chancey's blog
Fig Tree Generation?
A Woman's question
Charity or "Social Justice."
The mighty pen
Churches open their doors to Mohammeden worship
No churches left
1 Samuel 13:14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the RLORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
Samuel spoke this about 20 years before David would even be born, yet God refers to David as a man after his own heart.
But looking a little at David's life, we wonder how in the world the Lord could consider him a man after God's own heart.
Let me give you some of the most obvious sins that we have recorded of David. The following are not in the proper chronological order.
Before he was king and after being anointed by Samuel, fearing Saul, David fled to Achish, King of Gath. 1 Samuel 21 and 27.
Both times, David lived a lie. In chapter 27, David told the King how he was raiding into Israel, while all the time he was raiding against Israel's enemies.
The Chronicles reiterates what was given in the books of Samuel and Kings, yet from a different view-point. The books of Samuel and Kings gives man's view of the history of Israel, where the Chronicles gives God's view of the events.
In 1 Chronicles 13:7, though he knew better, David carried the ark on a new cart: And they carried the ark of God in a new cart out of the house of Abinadab: and Uzza and Ahio drave the cart.
His sin resulted in the death of Uzza.
2 Samuel 5:13 And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.
David "loved" women, and took many wives and concubines to himself. His major area of weakness was women. Though a strong king who could justly rule an army and a kingdom, he could not rule his own spirit.
Deuteronomy 17:17, Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
God strictly forbad His rulers from multiplying wives to themselves. The warning is that they would turn his heart away from serving the Lord.
Of course we must condemn David for more than one wife. God never meant it to be that way, but He permitted it. This shows to us David's weakness, women. Women caused him to fall, cost him his family and cost Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the united kingdom.
Though David checked with the Lord about everything else, he did not check with the Lord about taking more wives and concubines.
Psalms 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Matthew Henry says here:
Happy is the man that has his quiver full these arrows but one vine by the side of the with the blessings of God, may send boughs to the sea, and branches to the river.
David's many vines (wives) and many arrows (children) got him in a barrel of trouble.
2 Samuel 11:1 And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. 2 And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. 3 And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? 4 And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.
David's lust for women led to adultery.
2 Samuel 12:9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
David's lust not only led to the murder of Uriah, but to his own downfall, and destroyed his united kingdom. Solomon followed in his father's footsteps, and greatly multiplied wives to himself. Israel was an oriental nation, and orientals seem to have a desire for many wives. The Arabs are oriental, and they are known even today for their harems. (I have read articles about Arab sheiks who hire particularly blond women to spend a year in their harems.)
David checked with the Lord whenever he was to confront the enemy in battle, yet he did not check with the Lord when he had to confront the enemy within his own lusts.
2 Samuel 12:8 gives us an interesting point for which I have no answer. After David's sin with Uriah, Nathan told David:
And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
Nathan apparently told David there that if David lusted after more women, and if he would have asked God, the Lord would have given him more wives.
There are many warnings against falling into the problem of lust I will only give one:
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
First, David had been told in 1 Samuel 22:5 to abide in Judah. Fear got the best of him and his men, so they fled to Achish, King of Gath. Moreover, they lied in order to have the King's protection.
Second, 1 Chronicles 13, David sinned in moving the ark improperly, resulting in Uzza's death.
Third, 2 Samuel 5:13, David's lust led to "love" for many women.
Fourth, David's love for women led to his adultery with Uriah's wife.
Fifth, his lust for another man's wife resulted in the murder of her husband, Uriah. That sin resulted in war among his children, and a divided kingdom.
There is a Sixth sin listed for David. In 1 Chronicles 21, David sinned in forcing Joab to number the people. That sin seems to have been motivated by pride, and it resulted in a plague.
One, the author of the Chronicles gives the details of all of David's problems, except his sin with Uriah. That sin is not even mentioned in 1 Chronicles 20.Why is it not mentioned?
Two, in 1 Chronicles 21:1, we are told that Satan provoked David to number Israel. Yet in 2 Samuel 24:1, we are told that the Lord moved David to number Israel.
(I believe the context of David numbering Israel and the resulting plague was a result of Israel's rebellion against David and Israel's following Absalom.)
Again, we see that Satan is no more than a tool of God to work God's good pleasure here on this earth.
Thus, we have recorded for us at least six major problems in David's life:
1) Fled to a pagan king for protection, and lied to keep that protection.
2) Moved the ARK improperly, and thus killed Uzza. (However, Uzza knew better, but he may have believed he could be the exception, because he was the one chosen to drive the cart. See http://www.biblicalexaminer.org/Com/1Chron%2015.html)
3) He loved many women. Men, we must love women rather than men, but our love must be for one woman, not many.
4) Sinned by Adultery.
5) Sinned in the murder of Uriah.
6) Sinned when he numbered the people.
Even with these glaring sins, we are told in 1 Samuel 13:14, that God considered David a man after God's own heart.
1 Samuel 16:7, But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Here we are told that the Lord looketh on the heart. But we see that after David was exalted, his heart was given over to lust much of the time. Yet we see that God liked what he saw in David. But what about David's problem with lust and pride that the Lord found there?
Knowing the lust for women that would control David, even leading to murder, how could the Lord say that David was a man after his own heart?
Note the context of the words in 1 Samuel 13.
Saul had been king for two years, and had chosen him an army of three thousand men. Saul led two thousand, and his son, Jonathan led one thousand.
Jonathan smote the garrison of Philistines stationed in Geba, which stirred up a hornets' nest. Saul took the credit for the victory. Meanwhile, the Philistines gathered an army, and prepared for a serious war with Saul. The Philistines gathered thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horsemen and soldiers as the sand of the sea. These all came up, and made ready for battle against Israel at Michmash.
The size and determination of the Philistine army caused great fear in Israel's army, and they hid themselves anywhere they could find to hid.
Back in 1 Samuel 10, after Samuel had anointed Saul king, Samuel told Saul to wait seven days for him at Gilgal, at which time Samuel would come to him, offer the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and then he would show Saul what to do.
In 1 Samuel 13, Saul is in Gilgal waiting for Samuel, as he had been instructed. Saul waited seven days, but Samuel did not show up. The people, fearful of the angry Philistines, were scattering from Saul, seeking their own safety.
Unable to wait any longer on Samuel, on the seventh day, Saul made the offering that Samuel said he would make. Of course, as soon as Saul made the offering that he had been waiting for Samuel to make, Samuel shows up, at the very last minute.
1 Samuel 13:11, Samuel asks Saul, "What have you done?"
Saul says, "The people were scattering, and you did not come when you said you would. I saw the Philistines gathering their army at Mishmash, and I knew they were getting ready to attack me here at Gilgal. But I knew I could not go to battle until the offering was made, so I forced myself, and I made the offering that you were not here to make, as you promised."
However, Samuel was there in time on the seventh day as he had promised. Saul just could not wait until the time appointed.
Then Samuel spoke these fateful words just two years into Saul's forty year reign:
1 Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.
But we have seen that David also had sin problems which also cost him greatly. What was the difference?
Samuel spoke the fateful words of 1 Samuel 13:13, 14, after he has confronted Saul about his sin. Saul's response was to blame his sin on the preacher, i.e., You were not here in time. And then he blamed the people. When Samuel confronted him with his sin, 1 Samuel 15:24, Saul said, I have sinned... But we know from Saul's actions, his repentance was not real, for he immediately fell into the same sin again. Throughout his life, Saul continued to refuse to take responsibility for his actions, and change.
David, on the other hand, readily took responsibility, and changed accordingly once a sin was pointed out to him.
David learned from his sins, and did not repeat them.
Observe: We live in the midst of an irresponsable society. No one wants to take personal responsability, nor change when the results of their irresponsable actions come to pass (and they will).
First, in 1 Chronicles 13:10 when Uzza died, David did not blame the Levities for not warning him against improperly moving the ark.
He did not blame Uzza for his own death, though Uzza knew better. The ark had been in Uzza's home for probably 70 years, so he obviously knew better.
When Uzza died, David did not blame the Lord for killing Uzza; rather, David gained a new respect for the Lord and His holiness.
V. 12 And David was afraid of God that day, saying, How shall I bring the ark of God home to me?
Second, when Nathan pointed out David's sin of adultery and murder in 2 Samuel 12, David did not try to blame Bathsheba for exposing herself to him.
2 Samuel 12:7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; 13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
He wrote Psalms 51 as a result of his repentance and the Lord's forgiveness.
Third, when the plague came, David did not blame Joab nor did he blame the people for their rebellion under Absalom that brought about God's judgment.
2 Samuel 24:10 And David spake unto the LORD when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house.
The difference between Saul and David?
They were both sinners.
They both committed sins that hurt their families and cost Israel a great number of people in death.
Yet David was a man after God's own heart, while Saul received God's anger.
In every case, once David became aware of the sin, he immediately repented, and set about to correct the situation.
How can we be a man after God's own heart? The same way as was David: By listening to correction, taking personal responsibility and working to change according to the word of God.
1 Chronicles 15:1 And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. 2 Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever. 3 And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD unto his place, which he had prepared for it.
Here we see that David learned the important lesson that Saul refused to learn that is, the Lord is more interested in the broken and contrite spirit that results in obedience than He is in sacrifice.
David then makes all of the lengthy preparations needed to move the ark properly.
1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
DAVID WAS A MAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART
Parents must be willing to admit wrong, especially a man to his wife, and parents to children.
Even preachers must be willing to admit wrong.
I know and know of several preachers who even though they know they are wrong in a matter, would never admit they are wrong, either in a moral matter or in a theological matter. The man after God's own heart will admit his sins and errors, and work to change by God's grace. Those who refuse to publicly admit their public errors or sins are not men after God's own heart.
If a man is not a man after God's own heart, then whose heart is he after? If we think we have arrived, we have failed.
Though David was caught more than once in the lust of his own heart, he was willing to listen to God's man present God's word. He was willing to accept the blame when he was in the wrong. He was willing to repent and make things right.
We too can be a man after God's own heart, if we are willing to listen to God's Word, accept responsibility for our sins, repent and by God's grace, change.
Pro 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. 14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
The following goes with the safety deposit box warning that was in the last Biblical Examiner. It was sent to me by Franklin Sanders. www.the-moneychanger.com.
Franklin Sanders is a Christian, and deals in gold and silver. His "commission" is very reasonable The "highway robbers" who advertise will greatly overcharge.
Dear Readers: I am not yet sure what to think about this. I loathe to bother y'all, but feel obliged to pass it on.
A couple of weeks ago a customer, a charming 92 year old in Texas, talked to me about selling her gold. Her son, who trades futures and whom I know well, was expecting a big drop in gold, and he wanted her to sell. I demurred, but she wanted to sell it, and I always allow that reasonable minds can disagree about markets. Besides, I'm her servant, not her master. She sold it for about $673,000.
I sent her a check, and encouraged her to deposit it as quickly as possible. Last week she took the check to her bank in Texas, not far from Dallas, and told them she wanted to cash it. They called my bank and proved that the check was good, and she told them they could have time to clear the check. She also knew they'd have to order the money from the Federal Reserve and it couldn't get there until Thursday, and that was fine with her, too. Still, they refused. Then she went climbing up the bank bureaucracy, refused at each level, until she reached the head knocker.
Refusing to cash the check, he said with great oiliness, "We only have your interests at heart. We're concerned about our obligation to you."
Texas women know their minds, and can get pretty tart. "Your obligation to me," she snapped, "ends when you cash that check."
She even fell back to this position: "Tell you what I'll do. You get me the cash, and I will put it into a safe deposit box right here in your vault." No good. Her "best interests" still stood in the banker's way of complying.
Let me add at this point that you might confusedly think that a 92-year old might not know her own mind. You'd be wrong in this case. Besides, her fully grown son of 50 years age or more was seconding her action.
Next try: "Okay, you get me $50,000 this week, and $50,000 next week until the whole check is cashed." Nothing doing.
Her son called the Texas Banking Commission. While the bank has no legal obligation to cash the check before it has cleared, it certainly has the obligation to let her withdraw her own money when it's in her account.
First Banking Commission bureaucrat stuttered, "Oh, you can't do that! There are IRS issues!"
Nothing deterred, her son answered, I don't care if she has to fill out FIFTY forms. She'll do that, she just wants her money." No help there. He went uphill to the next bureaucrat, but was only told that they couldn't help him.
Now what do you make of this?
First, the raw fact: the bank refused to give the lady her money. Her money. Doesn't matter whether it was $100 or $673,000, even when she gave them time and latitude, they refused.
Next, one must infer that there is some level of cash banks will refuse to disgorge. Whether they are acting under orders and policies from the Federal Reserve or their own bank, at some level they refuse. Are they afraid of bank runs if the news gets out that one little lady pulled her $673,000 out in cash?
Maybe the Fed has them squeezing down cash demand because they just don't have much cash. Most business nowadays is conducted in pure electrons of bank credit. US government and the banking system have been trying to eliminate cash from the system for 30 years. I know from talking to sources at the St. Louis Fed and the US Treasury back in 1998 that about 70% of the $1,034.094 billion of currency issued by the Federal Reserve system (as of 31 August 2011) circulates outside the country. That leaves only 30% within the US, or $310.228 billion to spread among 311,800,000 people. That's $994.96 per head.
Maybe that's why my customer couldn't get her cash. There's not enough.
Or, as y'all may have noticed, once a bank gets hold of large amounts of your money, they seem mighty reluctant to turn loose of it. Their wheels seem to grind slowly when it comes time to withdraw, a lot slower than when they took the deposit.
Whatever the bank's reasons for refusing, the raw fact remains: the bank refused to give the lady her money when she demanded it. Now the friends of paper money may quibble that she might have drawn a check on the funds and bought something else, but I call it a defalcation. When the bank holds her money as a fiduciary and refuses to give it up, that's a defalcation.
The time may be drawing nigh, or may have arrived, to trim all bank balances to an absolute minimum and keep unused cash balances in silver or gold. Now shake all that cobwebby propaganda and nicey-nice talk out of your head and face the truth. Look it dead in the eye. The banking system is utterly corrupt, and will not balk at stealing your money large or small. The government will help them. A fractional reserve system is bankrupt by definition: only a fraction of its deposit liabilities are covered, and a right tiny fraction at that.
For the past ten years in one case and three years in another I have been managing the unused cash funds not needed for at least twelve months - for two organizations. I have kept as much as possible in silver and gold, and that has paid off wondrously well.
But any well-trained financial adviser will point out the risk in that: the silver or gold might drop just about the time you need to liquidate for paper dollars.
Right, it might, but it hasn't caught me yet. Besides, putting the unused balances into silver & gold aligns our assets with the primary trends: the 15 to 20 year trend carrying gold up and the primary downtrend carrying US dollars down.
And if gold and silver do drop? Well, I have left enough of a cash cushion to take care of most eventualities. So if they do drop, I just hang on and wait for the primary trend to bail me out. Meanwhile, valued in paper dollars, our unused balances in gold and silver are a lot bigger now than they used to be.
Don't forget that keeping unused balances in metals has a cost. The spread between buy and sell is about 7-1/2% to 10%, so silver or gold must rise that much before you break even. Can't do this with money you might need in three months.
And no investment is forever. At some point the precious metals bull market will end, and we must sell, but that point is so far out there nobody can see it from here. Three years at least, and probably longer.
Look at it another way. What if the banking system takes a holiday? What if your particular bank goes bust? What if the government and the banking system limit withdrawals "during the emergency"? In that event, would you rather own silver and gold, even falling silver and gold, and have control of them outside the banking system, or own bank deposits which you cannot control or withdraw?
Something in your hand, or nothing? Gold in hand, or untouchable electrons in banks? Which do you prefer?
Taking all risks together, keeping unused balances in gold or silver makes more sense to me than keeping them in a bank. However, I freely confess, admit, and warn that most people including most mainstream financial advisers -- consider me a paranoid or lunatic about the banking system. You must think about that before you act on my recommendation, and take into account of all the ways it might lose you money.
Listen: I do not aspire to play Chicken Little. I try hard to look on the sunny side of everything & hope for the best outcome, but there just ain't one with banks, any more than there is with fever blisters. It's about time for y'all to take the money and run, before they take it from you.
Think about it. I'm not saying do it today. You might wait a week or so to see where gold and silver land after yesterday's drop.
What are the practicalities? I prefer the big, low premium gold coins like Austrian 100 coronas or Mexican 50 pesos or even Krugerrands. They have the same spread as American Eagles, and no risk of losing premium. But buy what makes you comfortable.
Very best wishes, Franklin Sanders, The Moneychanger
"He shall call upon me, and I will hear him: yea, I am with him in trouble. I will deliver him, and bring him to honour. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation." Psalm 91:15-16.
In addition, this was forwarded to me by John Weaver:
You gotta see this video to believe what they are saying:
Editor's comment: As you watch the video, remember what happened at Ruby Ridge and Waco. "Law enforcement" had no concern whatsoever for any common sense, nor for the Constitution when they killed those people. Remember also that those Americans who are concerned about "truth, justice and the American Way", i.e., the Constitution are considered the true terrorists by the DOJ. Think of the multiplied millions, even billions of dollars being poured down a rathole by the TSA looking for "terrorists" among honest citizens, when the real "terrorists" have many known training camps throughout the US, unhindered by law enforcement. And encouraged and even financed by the ones intent on America's doom??
Why such an effort to protect these Muslims: 1) Maybe they will fight back with a vengeance, and start an internal war here in the US. 2) Maybe they are too strong for "law enforcement." 3) Maybe they fit well within the plan of the powers-that-be to speed the destruction of the once Christian foundations of this nation.
Your guess as to why they are being allowed to prosper is as good as mine, but it is obvious that these Muslim training camps are under the protection of "Big Sis," and her DOJ.
By Gregory J. Millman
Washington Post, Sunday, March 23, 2008; B01
During a break in a high school debate tournament not long ago, my 17-year-old son struck up a conversation with a student on the rival team from a New Jersey public school. "Where's your school?" asked the boy. When my son replied that he was home-schooled, the student probed.
"How do you socialize when you're at home all the time?" he asked.
"Well, for one thing, I'm here, right?" my son laughed.
My children have gotten used to most of the standard questions from their conventionally schooled peers: Are you super-religious? Do you stay at home in your pajamas and watch TV all day? Is your mom a teacher?
Adults, on the other hand, can be surprising. Like the professor at the community college where one of our sons was taking a course, who went out of her way to pull him aside, sit him down and tell him, "You home-schoolers think you can change the world. But you can't. Nobody can."
It's hard to generalize about home-schoolers, but if there's one thing we know, it's that we are changing the world, or at least the world of education choices. Others, though, see us as either misguided or threatening -- and probably cheered last month's California appeals court ruling that all children in the state must be taught by credentialed teachers. At least 166,000 California children are home-schooled. And most home-schooling parents don't have teaching credentials, so the ruling is worrisome, even though Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called it "outrageous." The decision will probably be appealed, but the teachers' unions are applauding in the meantime.
Nonetheless, home-schooling is booming. In 2003, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that the home-schooled population nationwide was 1.1 million. And the National Home Education Research Institute estimates that it may be growing at double-digit rates.
There's no denying that the modern home-schooling movement was born of the desire to shake off stultifying school bureaucracies and to sidestep the uncertain mission of public schools, which is set by adults with often conflicting priorities for children. A century of ideological struggles has defined the hodge-podge taught in schools, and they persist to this day. Will schools teach evolution or intelligent design? Offer safe-sex or abstinence-only instruction? Encourage art and dance or treat them as distractions from No Child Left Behind tests? Home-schoolers can make our own decisions based on what's best for our children.
But "home-schooling" is a misnomer, really. Most of it doesn't even take place at home, and the schooling has little in common with what goes on in school. The legal definition varies from state to state, as do registration and other requirements. In New Jersey, the law only requires parents to see that their children get an education "equivalent" to public instruction.
What home-schoolers most readily reflect are the virtues of the old American frontier settlement or the Amish barn-raising -- we co-operate in self-reliance. My wife and I have been teaching our children ourselves for more than 15 years, and we've found that home-schooling opens doors that schools leave closed.
And contrary to most popular belief, home-schooling isn't the brainchild of religious fanatics. It actually got started in the counterculture of the 1960s. In his landmark 1964 book, "How Children Fail," teacher and education reformer John Holt accused schools themselves of causing students to fail; eventually, he came to advocate a sort of "underground railroad" out of compulsory schooling. It wasn't until the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s that the movement spread through communities that believed public schools were threatening their moral values.
The boundaries between the counterculture and Christian home-school traditions blurred through the 1990s and 2000s, as home-schoolers from various backgrounds came to discover how much they actually have in common. Today, a well-established and widespread infrastructure of home-schooling groups, Web sites and networks has made home-schooling accessible to a broader population, people who wouldn't consider themselves either particularly countercultural or particularly religious. People like my family.
My wife and I hadn't originally planned on home-schooling, but with six children and one modest income, we couldn't afford a house in one of the better school districts in the state. We were living in Plainfield, an elegant old central New Jersey city with typically poor urban public schools characterized by bureaucratic mismanagement, low teacher morale and student violence. In one notorious incident, third-graders in one school were strip-searched because someone suspected one of them of stealing $20. That wasn't what we wanted for our children. We first tried a local Catholic school, but we thought that the teachers' expectations for students were too low. Since we couldn't afford classy private school tuitions, we turned to home-schooling.
Though we first tried to teach the children what the official curriculum standards said they ought to be learning in school, we soon realized that this only made sense in the context of a school. So we scrapped dry textbooks and workbooks and found more interesting ways for our children to learn.
We haunted used-book sales and assembled a library of classics for pennies on the dollar. We introduced statistics by driving to Florida for spring training (learning some geography on the way). When the dollar was strong and the airlines offered good deals in the off-season -- when other children were in school -- we took ours to Europe to see the great art and architecture or to learn about ancient Rome by walking through the Forum. Travel showed our children things they never could have learned in classrooms.
For several years, they participated in a fife and drum corps, playing colonial and traditional patriotic music, marching in parades, learning not only music and history but also teamwork, perseverance, discipline and a great deal about the communities through which they marched. This kind of experience is fairly typical of home-schooling.
Home-schoolers also work across a much wider socioeconomic spectrum than the conventionally schooled. We have worked on many projects, and in many organizations, that draw participating home-schoolers from all around our state, from far beyond school district borders. We joined a Shakespeare troupe founded by a single mother who was a college professor of literature. She taught the children to find the characters through the language, and they staged a complete Shakespeare play every year. Other members of that troupe founded a home-schooled robotics team, building robots to compete in regional, national and international events. We founded a debate and speech team that continues to compete at the middle school and high school levels.
The results? Studies have shown that home-schooled children outperform the conventionally schooled not only on standardized academic tests but also on tests of social skills. This, I believe, isn't because home-schoolers do things better than schools do them but because we do better things than schools do.
I've never heard a home-schooling parent refer to a child as "learning disabled," for instance. There are many kinds of intelligence, but conventional schools usually only focus on one. Take late reading. A conventional school education depends on written textbooks and workbooks and homework, so a child who can't read is unable to learn. But home-schoolers have developed systems and approaches that work with the kind of talent and intelligence a child has. One of our sons didn't read until he was 8 years old. That was no disability, though. He learned from audio tapes and DVDs and from being read to and -- very importantly -- from going outside and looking around. He could spot a deer on a hillside or a bluebird in a tree long before the rest of us. When he finally decided to read, he jumped into "The Chronicles of Narnia" and finished the series within weeks. "I want to read the books before I see the movie," he told us.
Home-schooled students' high performance continues into college. Admissions officers at IUPUI, a joint-venture urban campus of Indiana University and Perdue, and at Georgia's Kennesaw State University, have tracked the performance of admitted home-schoolers and found that they earn higher GPAs than the general student population. Associate Dean Joyce Reed of Brown University has called home-schoolers "the epitome of Brown students," telling the university's alumni magazine that "they are self-directed, they take risks, and they don't back off." Admissions officers at other highly selective colleges, such as Swarthmore and Stanford, have made similar statements. Some colleges and universities are admittedly more open than others to making the effort to understand home-schooling, but we've gone through the admissions process with three daughters, and all were admitted to excellent colleges.
Conventional schools are like the nation's Rust Belt companies, designed in the 19th century but struggling to meet the standards of international competition today. School boards and administrators should be concentrating on ways to make schools more like home-schooling -- not on ways to force home-schooled children to go back to schools. People who are free to think for themselves usually get together and find solutions that are better than what bureaucrats can devise.
Those are the kinds of principles that gave us California's Silicon Valley. Let's hope that someday soon, home-schooling will be perfectly legal there once again.
Gregory J. Millman is co-author, with Martine Millman, of "Homeschooling: A Family's Journey," to be published in August.
Barack Obama Led #OccupyChicago Circa 1988
by Joel B. Pollak
Just twenty or so years ago, Barack Obama wouldn't just have supported the Occupy protests.
He would have organized them.
From Stanley Kurtz's essential Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, pp. 117-8:
In fact, Obama personally helped plan one of UNO's most confrontational actions of the eighties [in 1988]: a break-in meant to intimidate a coalition of local business and neighborhood leaders into dropping a landfill expansion deal.
We know of Obama's involvement in this demonstration only because his supporters in 2008 felt it necessary to rebut charges that, contrary to his claims of inter-racial healing, he had organized exclusively with blacks. Only then did Obama's former colleagues from UNO [United Neighborhood Organization, a largely Mexican group] of Chicago reveal that he had helped to plan and lead this multi-ethnic demonstration against landfill expansion on Chicago's South Side.
Shouting "No deals!" somewhere between eighty and a hundred UNO-DCP [Developing Communities Project, a black group organized by Obama] marched to a local bank. There they broke into a meeting being conducted by the bank president and local community leaders. The group was exploring the possibility of a deal with Waste Management. The protestors, presumably including Obama, surrounded the meeting table while [Mary-Ellen] Montes [of UNO] told the negotiators, "We will fight you every step of the way."
Obama was also likely involved with other aggressive UNO protests, including protests for school reform, through which he likely met former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Ayers is involved in the Occupy protests today.
In the 1990s, Obama maintained his ties to radical activists, and "channel[ed] foundation funding to his confrontational Alinskyite colleagues."
It's clear that Obama's ties to the Occupy movementits forbears, its tactics, and some of its current luminariesrun deep.
This is what "community organizing" looks like.
Though the Lord has supplied the funds to get this Examiner out, it seems that the time slipped away. I suppose I am the "chief of procrastinators", as I think that I can complete a project tomorrow, or something "more important" seems to push other things asside.
A good two weeks on the road. We visited my daughters in Goshen OH, and spend three days with a chain saw clearing willow trees from a pond, and underbrush from a woods. Then we went to northern Indiana to visit Bettie's sister, stopping by a very good pastor friend's place, Bob Cosby, for that Sunday. He gave me the privilege of speaking that Sunday; we had a great time. I first met him when he was in charge of the Baptist Temple college, back in the middle of the 80s. We contacted Bettie's sister about coming up there for lunch Monday (she was only about 30 minuets from Logansport, where Bro Bob is). But she was unable to meet us, so we went on to Bettie's youngest daughter's home, where she was able to spend 3 days working with the three oldest grandchildren. Her goal has been and is to be able to pass on her sewing skills to here grandchildren. It was a good, and fast two weeks, though it involved several thousand of miles of driving.
We had to be back in time to work the WV polls for the governor's race; a very sad waste of money so Manchin could run for Bird's senate seat as an incumbent in 12.
10/02/11, Cold, sort of. We lit our wood stove September 17th. This weekend is "cold"; that is, in the 30s and 40s, with 3 or so inches of rain this weekend. Thank the Lord for wood heat. Sunday, the 1st, there were snow flurries here. I understand that in the higher elevations, they had 4 inches. Not only is fall here, but so is winter.
However, 10/29, we had about 12 inches of snow in less than 12 hours. Obviously, with the snow being wet and a lot of leaves still on the trees, electricity became a problem throughout the area. One of our church men was without power for 5 days. We certainly had nothing like the people farther north and east of us received. We had absolutely no wind, as the snow fell straight down. It was enough snow to remind us that winter is on its way. We still have not fixed the fence damage from the big snows two years ago.
Global Warming: I am certainly thankful for Al Gore's Global Warming, with the help to NPR (National Public Radio). If it were not for global warming, it would be cold up here.
Airplane crash in Las Vagus, Jimmy Leeward. Some years ago, Bettie's first husband, Jeff Ethell, did some "Warbird" training videos. They were done at Leeward's ranch. The dead and injured is distressing, as is the loss of one of the few remaining P-51. According to the serial number, that P-51 was built in 1941.
Garden season is over. The last thing to come out of the ground was the beets. We have eaten the beet tops all summer long. If you have not eaten beet tops, you need to try them. They are very dark green, and sweet. They are the best part of the beets.
Well, sort of over. Bettie planted garlic, which is to be planted in the fall and will grow over the winter. This is our first try with garlic.
Grandchild #26 is here. She is number 10 for Matt and Jennie Chancey, who are now in Kenya. He is working with Persecution Project, Brad Phillips, in the Sudan.
Medical: Wednesday, October 19, suddenly a muscle in my back started hurting so bad I could not hold my head up, and had to go to bed. It improved a little on Thursday, but I called the VA clinic. My right arm and hand was acting like I had had a stroke. I still (11/6/11) cannot hold a pencil for writing, but typing is no problem.
The next day, Friday, the doctor there told me to go to the emergency room in Martinsburg (90 minutes away). I went Friday afternoon. They did a ElectroCardiogram, CatScan, and Xray. The ER doctor decided it was a pinched nerve brought about by the continued deterioration of my spine, with arthritis added to it. I have had problems with my left arm for years, caused by the same vertebra. There was no indication of added heart problems. He gave me 10 days worth of medication to reduce the inflammation of the nerves, and told me to go the PT at the clinic.
I already had a PT appointment for another issue that had cleared up when I moved the computer monitors. I met with the lady the 24th. She consulted with another PT lady, and they agreed it was probably a "soft tissue" problem, and treated it as such. They and the doctor agreed that PT treatment should be tried for 3 weeks at the most, before more hospital evaluation is done. One "treated" me for soft tissue problems, and it helped a lot. I will meet with her twice a week for the next few weeks, and, Lord willing, see dramatic improvement. That VA clinic is about 1 hour east on the Virginia side of the mountain just outside of Winchester. I have been going twice a week, which destroys a day every time I go.
Though my spine is continuing to deteriorate, this present problem may have been brought about by some kind of physical activity, maybe even the wrong position of the computer monitors. She told me that it takes very little to bring on a muscle spasm.
10/31/11, the PT lady told me I should regain the use of my right arm and hand as the muscles return to normal on my right side, which has not happened yet. In other words, the deterioration of the seventh vertebra did not cause the problem. She also told me that others with similar problems have found that hard work solved their problem. I probably should find a tree to cut down and cut up, which would free up those problem muscles.
Bettie had to have right shoulder surgery. The pain was getting so bad in her right arm she could hardly move it. Her surgery went well The doctor cleaned up an arthritic bone spur in her shoulder. Bettie did not realize it, but she had a torn biceps muscle that was just hanging by a "thread", which was making her right arm very painful to move to any height. The doctor cut that piece of torn muscle, which should solve a lot of the pain problem.
I do not remember what all was said by the dr., so we will update further after the ten day visit.
The surgery was arthroscopic, only taking about 30 minutes. The prep and recovery time though added about 4 hours to the process.
Though, thankfully, my oldest daughter Jessica came over for the week to help, it still put me behind another week.
Thank you for your prayers.
Windows!! I cannot tell how many hours I have spent remaking files lost due to unexplained Windows' crashes. I finally "bit the bullet" and switched to Mac. (Good used ones can be found over E-bay.) I have found that programs in Mac will freeze, but they are easy enough to close and reopen without affecting other programs. Certainly, it is a pain to transfer everything over to another OS (Operating System). However, since Mac switched to the Intel processor, Mac programs easily read Windows files from PC formatted hard drives (but cannot write to them). In fact, the new OS X will allow loading the Windows OS in a separate partition on the hard drive, and then run the old Windows software in that partition, if you have a copy of Windows to load in first. That would be an emergency situation only, from what I have seen. When installing a faster and bigger hard drive and more RAM, I was pleasantly surprised to see that even the insides are metal. Mac, though more expensive and heavier than PCs, has no plastic except for the keys, touch pad and screen. Install and uninstall of programs is unbelievably easy. The Mac programs will take some getting used to, for they do not operate like Windows' programs. But it will be worth the trouble to learn new programs.
I noticed in this last computer magazine, that Windows 8 is being compared to the new Mac OS, OX S, as though the Mac sets the standard. (Windows will never catch up, for the whole structure of the computer and the OS is radically different between Mac and PC.) The PC is certainly sufficient for web surfing and word processing, but for serious publishing and graphics, the Mac is the way to go. Those who try a Mac will not go back. The only advantage of Windows is the multitude of programs available, which seem to make Windows more prone to crash. I am using Online Bible for Lenix running under Wine. All the OLB options available under Windows work, other than a few keyboard shortcuts. Some Adobe programs have no Mac counterpart, though Adobe was originally designed with Mac in mind, such as FrameMaker and PageMill (which I use for biblicalexaminer.org), so I keep a Windows desktop handy.
I was determined to get this Examiner out using Adobe's InDesign on the Mac, which motivated me to learn its basics program, making this issue later than I wanted it to be. InDesign is basically a major upgrade of Adobe PageMaker, which I have used for some years, so the learning curve should not be too bad.
Join us on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/ovid.need, www.facebook.com/bettie.need or on Skype
(Sunday, 9/11/11. They live in Kenya, where her husband, Matt, works with Brad Phillips, Persecution Project, in the Sudan. Child #10 arrived, October 16.)
After church, we invited several people to come home with us for lunch. We try to keep an open-door policy on Sundays for anyone free to come eat and fellowship, and the children are always disappointed if we can only round up one or two! Today we welcomed a recent convert from Islam, the Kenyan evangelist who has been discipling him, and a young couple who were evacuated from Blue Nile State in Sudan at the same time Bryan and Libby flew out (see my last post). Dan and Laura have been working on several long-term agricultural projects in Blue Nile, hoping to see families become self-sufficient instead of waiting for hand-outs from the UN's World Food Program. They are really discouraged by having to leave so suddenly and abandon the work and are especially sad that so much is being destroyed by the bombs from Khartoum. Please pray for God to encourage them while they are here in Nairobi. They really aren't sure what God would have them do here right now and covet prayers for direction as they seek to fill their time. Because so many phone lines have been cut into Blue Nile, they have not had consistent communication with the folks left behind and would also appreciate prayers for their safety. Both Dan and Laura speak Arabic and have been living the gospel before the Muslims in their area. Pray that God will allow them to pick that work back up again soon.
Mohammed, the recent convert from Islam, has not yet told his family or his community here in Nairobi that he is a follower of Christ. As you probably know, it is very dangerous for Muslims to convert to Christianity. They come under persecution and can even be killed for "betraying" their faith. The other night, we enjoyed the company of an Ethiopian pastor who has a discipleship ministry reaching out to Somali Muslims here in Nairobi. He shared some very telling things with us about the difficulties of retaining Muslim converts. Islamic communities are very tightly knit, and Muslim families are typically very loyal to each other and will help each other to succeed in business, start up companies, meet their spouses, and bring up their children in their faith. To leave this very real support network is seen as utter folly, because it means turning your back on all the help and family ties. When a Muslim converts to Christianity, he fully understands Christ's words in Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." Christianity is costly. But what struck us to the quick was what Pastor I____ said about why many Muslims choose to return to Islam. I'll do my best to paraphrase:
Muslim children are trained from a very early age to memorize huge portions of the Koran. Muslims wonder why Christian children are not steeped in our "holy book" in the same way if we are serious about passing on our faith.
When a Muslim becomes a Christian, he walks into a local church and finds hundreds of individuals. He sees people who come together once (maybe twice) a week to worship, but he does not find hospitality going on throughout the week. He doesn't see these Christians helping each other with real life problems. He doesn't see any family life. Where are the children? With peers. Where are the elderly? In a group of other elderly rather than in families where they can share their wisdom and experience. In Islam, no stranger goes without an immediate invitation to a meal. To leave someone standing after a "hello" and a handshake and nothing more is puzzling at best and insulting at worst. When do we get to know each other? the Muslim wonders. So he tries to figure out if there is a systemsome way to gain admittance into the homes of believers. Is there a special introduction he needs? Eventually, he becomes frustrated at the very superficial, once-a-week meet-and-greet that is church, and he goes back to the Islamic community. It is in that community that he finds shared meals, discussion, debate, helpful business counsel, etc.
Ouch. What a contrast to the early church described in Acts 2: "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Note that phrase, "having favor with all the people." The way Christians lived and treated one another gave them a huge reputation among the lost, and "the Lord added to the church daily." Pastor I_____ told us that the salt has lost its savor when Christians have nothing to offer the lost that is better than what they already have. After we'd had family worship and put the children to bed, Pastor I_____ said he had never seen a white family with more than two children and had never witnessed a family worship together as we had just done. I was floored. He excitedly told Matt, This is the missing link for the Muslim community. We need more Christians to open their homes and families to Muslims for informal discipleship just like this."
I think we forget far too easily the impact simple, everyday Christian living has on our world. We keep looking for fancy programs, special tools, and impressive speakers to reach others when the key to evangelism is right inside our homes. We become so focused on our individual lives and "personal" relationships with Christ that we forget how vitally important it is to live in community with our fellow Christians and demonstrate the love of Christ in a very concrete way through hospitality. It seems too simple. Sharing a meal? How can that rock the world for Christ? Turn to Acts 10-11 and read about Peter and Cornelius if you need a refresher. Peter got into a lot of trouble with Jewish Christians for sitting down to eat with a Gentile convert and his household. Here in Africa, as in the Middle East and many other cultures, sharing a meal is HUGE. It's not just something you do if you feel like it every now and again. It carries an incredible weight of significance and, more importantly, acceptance. If you welcome a former Muslim at church but never invite him into your home for a meal, the clear message you send is, "I do not really accept you." So he sees church as a place where lots of individuals go to express themselves in ways that please them rather than to worship God in community and welcome strangers.
So we were very refreshed and newly convicted by Pastor I_____'s words to keep opening our home and making our children a part of our hospitality team. We've invited M_____ (the evangelist who led Mohammed to Christ) to lodge with us for the next month and teach us Kiswahili, as his current rooming situation came to an end this weekend. M_____ has an incredible compassion for Muslims and goes right into the heart of the Muslim community here in Nairobi to talk, ask questions, and debate imams on the Scriptures. He studied in the States and hopes to return there eventually to begin a similar ministry for Muslims in America. Please pray for God to lead him as he continues to reach out to people here in Nairobi and as he helps equip us to reach our Kenyan neighbors more effectively by speaking their language! Finally, pray for Mohammed, that God would fill him with holy confidence and equip him to share the gospel with his own family and friends. He desires to please Christ, but there is real fear involved when you leave the "religion of peace" that is Islam. Pray for God to continue to draw more Muslims to Himself through the work of Pastor I______, M_____, and others like them.
We thank you for your prayers for our family. As God opens more and more doors here, we are excited to see how we can work together in Kenya. Pray that the Lord would keep us focused and help us demonstrate the love of Christ to everyone He brings across our path.
"It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact."
-Robert E. Lee, 1863
Are We Living in the
By Thomas Williamson
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree: When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." -Matthew 24:32-34.
For many years, prophecy teachers have used this proof-text as a launch pad for their teaching that Christ would return within one generation after the founding of the nation of Israel in 1948.
The classic statement of this belief is found in the book "The Late Great Planet Earth," by Hal Lindsey and C.C. Carlson. On pages 53-54, the authors state: "When the Jewish people, after nearly 2,000 years of exile, under relentless persecution, became a nation again on 14 May 1948, the fig tree' put forth its first leaves.
"Jesus said that this would indicate that He was at the door,' ready to return. Then He said, `Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place' (Matthew 24:34, NASB).
"What generation? Obviously, in context, the generation that would see the signs - chief among them the rebirth of Israel. A generation in the Bible is something like 40 years. If this is a correct deduction, then within 40 years or so of 1948, all these things could take place. Many scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives believe that this is so."
Based on this teaching, millions of Christians concluded that the Rapture would take place by 1988, and millions of books were churned out to promote this belief Obviously, this prophecy did not come to pass. Hal Lindsey, and all the rest of us, are still "alive and well on Planet Earth." What went wrong?
First of all, the statement by Lindsey that the context of Matthew 24 mentions the rebirth of Israel as a sign of Christ's coming is simply mistaken and wrong.
There is no mention anywhere in Matthew 24 (or anywhere in the New Testament, for that matter) of the rebirth of national Israel.
The disciples asked Jesus in Matthew 24:3 about the timing of the destruction of the Temple, of Christ's coming and the end of the world. They did not ask about when or if national Israel would be restored, nor did Jesus answer that question that the disciples did not ask Him.
THE DATING GAME, OR, CAN I GET A DATE? The one thing that appears very prominently in the context of Matthew 24 is that we are not to know the timing of Christ's Second Coming.
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." - Matthew 24:36.
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." -Matthew 24:42.
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." - Matthew 24:44.
"The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of " -Matthew 24:50.
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." - Matthew 25:13.
This prohibition on date-setting for Christ's coming occurs so often in the immediate context of Matthew 24:34, that it is a wonder that such a great scholar as Hal Lindsey, and all the unnamed anonymous Bible scholars who have studied Bible prophecy all their lives, could have possibly missed it.
Lindsey's 1988 date-setting was, according to his own words, pure speculation and guesswork. He says, "A generation is something like 40 years." "If' that supposition is correct, then Christ's coming "could" happen within 40 years of 1948. If Lindsey is wrong, don't blame it on him - blame it on the other scholars who led Lindsey astray, if you can find them -Lindsey doesn't bother to cite or even identify them by name.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD. Christ did not return in 1988. How would the prophecy buffs respond? Would they realize that the whole approach and methodology of date-setting was faulty and unscriptural? Naaaahh, not a chance of that. They redrew their prophetic charts, re-crunched the numbers on their calculations, and continued to pour forth more date-setting without missing a beat.
On July 9, 1995, Pastor Mickey Carter of Landmark Baptist Church in Haines City, Florida preached a message entitled "The Fig Tree Generation." He bravely took on the task of explaining the failure of the 1988 prediction, and of recalibrating the figures for Christ's Second Coming: "Remember all the excitement in 1988 that Jesus was coming, but He didn't come. So our figure is wrong somewhere."
The solution was simple: The prophetic clock did not begin to tick, or even tock, in 1948, because the fig tree did not actually begin to bloom in 1948 - all that hype, hoopla, hullabaloo and hysteria was just a figment of our imagination: "In 1948 they were not turning to the Messiah. In 1948 they were not producing the fruit - the fig tree wasn't producing. They only kept half the city and did not have the Temple area."
THIS BUD'S FOR YOU. Carter went on to explain in detail that the fig tree actually budded in 1967, when the Jews captured the Wailing Wall. The answer was obvious and plain for all to see - Christ would return within 40 years of the year 1967 when the fig tree really began to put forth some luxurious buds.
"What does that mean to you and me as Gentiles? It means that our Saviour is about to return. Do not be sidetracked with the politics. Don't get sidetrakced with some of these smokescreens Satan is throwing up. There is something big on the horizon. Something big is about to happen. Jesus is about to come.
"Think about it for just a moment, what it means for us. Take the 40 years - let's just say that a generation is 40 years, and I believe that is very close. Take the 40 years and do a little arithmetic with it. Add it to the year 1967. That takes you to the year 2007....
"Listen to me good. Forty years added to 1967 makes it 2007. If you pull the tribulation period off of that, you and I who know Christ as Savior ought to be looking for Him soon. I am not setting a date. I don't know when He will come. If I had my way it would be before tonight. I am as dead serious about that as I can possibly be, if I had my way.
" I cannot have my way, but I tell you that God's Word is coming together, being fulfilled. Nobody is going to change it. Nobody is going to prevent it. It is going to happen just like God said that it would happen.
"We, now, you and I, are alive in the fig tree generation, when the fig tree is already budded. There has never been a time in history when all the signs came together at the same time that the fig tree was budding."
Carter, who professed to not be setting a date, was vague as to whether Christ would come in 2007 or 7 years earlier. Obviously, both dates have passed uneventfully. For centuries, prophecy experts have insisted, as Carter did, that all the signs of Christ's coming were juxtaposing themselves together as never before. The failure rate of date-setting predictions predicated on all these glorious comings together of "signs of the times" remains at I00% and counting. Isn't it time to reexamine our whole methodology of prophetic prognostication?
SHOULD WE CARE A FIG FOR DATE-SETTERS? Some will cling tenaciously to the notion that the Rapture can be timed, based on some notable event in the history of modern Israel. They say that the fig tree in the Bible always represents Israel.
If so, then the fig tree in Matthew 21:19 must represent Israel: "And when [Jesus] saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away."
Carter accepts the identification of this fig tree with Israel, saying "Now what you have is the picture of the curse on Israel because they rejected the Messiah that was predicted. They had leaves on the tree, they had the opportunity. There should have been fruit on the tree, but there was no fruit, and Jesus said, all right, I curse you and it withered away. . . . That curse has been fulfilled through history. You start in 70 AD, about 40 years after Christ was crucified, and the Roman emperor Titus came in against the city of Jerusalem. He tore it down to the place, just as we read awhile ago, where there was not one stone left on another."
Based on this helpful analysis, it is apparent that it was the destruction of Jerusalem, not the Rapture, that was to take place within 40 years (one generation). As for the alleged budding and fruitfulness of the tree of national Israel, we have been waiting for an event that Jesus said would never happen - He said that no fruit was to grow on that tree again forever.
Another fig tree passage to take into consideration is Luke 13:6-9, where Jesus predicted that the fig tree that did not bear fruit would be cut down. There is no mention there or anywhere else in the New Testament about that fig tree being replanted or springing back up again.
CAN'T SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. What, then, is the meaning of Jesus' reference to the fig tree in Matthew 24? Ralph Woodrow addresses this issue in "Great Prophecies of the Bible, pages 75-76: "But returning to Jesus' statement about the fig tree, we need look no further than the text itself to find full proof that he was not talking about the nation of Israel! . . . Luke's parallel account shows that Jesus did not single out only one tree in this illustration. Behold, the fig tree, AND ALL THE TREES: when they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand' (Luke 21:29). If the fig tree represents the nation of Israel, then all the trees' would have to represent all the nations. With this, the passage would have no point at all! ...
"Jesus was merely drawing an illustration from nature. He said that when the fig tree and all the trees put forth leaves, people recognize that summer is near. It was a comparative statement, not unlike saying that when the sun is in the west, we know that night is at hand; when snow is on the ground, we know it is winter time; when the leaves turn color, we know it is autumn; when we see dark clouds gathering, we know it is going to rain. Jesus used a simple, comparative illustration - something they could know of themselves. It was human knowledge that when trees put forth leaves, men know that summer is at hand: when they would see all these things' come to pass, such would be a sign to them."
The national restoration of Israel could not be one of the signs that the disciples were to watch for, because it is not identified as a sign, or even mentioned, in Matthew 24.
Can anyone establish, on a Scriptural basis, that Israel in 1948 or at any time since has borne "fruit" for God? Can we show that the founding of Israel is even a fulfillment of any prophecy at all, let alone a sign that the Rapture must come within one generation?
Evangelist John R. Rice, in the book "The Coming Kingdom of Christ," wrote: "There is no prophetic significance in the present partial worldly establishment of a Jewish state in Israel. Thousands of Christians suppose that when a handful of unconverted Jews by worldly methods seized part of Palestine and part of, Jerusalem and were proclaimed a separate nation May 14, 1948, that that was a definite sign that Christ must come. But they base that teaching on a misunderstanding of what Jesus said in that Olivet Discourse....
"Someone says that the fig tree in the Bible always represents Israel: therefore the establishment of Israel as a nation is a sign that Christ must come.
"But here we see that these words are not for our times at all. The present small and partial establishment of the nation Israel in unbelief is an entirely different matter from the tremendous, miraculous event which is foretold in the Bible....
"If you will receive the Old Testament prophecy of this event in Deuteronomy 30:1-6, you will see that every Jew will be regathered miraculously, that every one will be circumcised in heart, that is, born again, and all will be brought into the land which thy fathers possessed,' Palestine. But no such miraculous prophecy and universal regathering of Israel has yet taken place. The prophecy has not been fulfilled. It will be fulfilled `immediately after the tribulation.' What has happened in Palestine is not the prophesied event which will come later...."
Dispensational prophecy teachers claim that their end-times prophecy scenarios must be true because they are the only ones based on a strictly literal reading of Old Testament prophecy. Yet they ignore the plain literal reading of prophecies such as Deuteronomy 30:1-6, since it does not conform with their rigid prophetic straitjacket nor with the news headlines of modern times. Even the most enthusiastic supporters of modern Israel will admit that the Israelis have not returned to the Lord, which according to Deuteronomy is to take place before, not after, their restoration to the land.
In 2010 Dr. Kevin Bauder, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota, and a staunch dispensationalist and supporter of
Israel, stated, "The modern state of Israel is not identical with biblical Israel and does not represent a fulfillment of any biblical promise. If the Arabs were to push the state of Israel into the sea tomorrow, it would alter nothing in my understanding of Scripture."
There is good reason to doubt that the founding of Israel is in any way a fulfillment of prophecy. Even if for the sake of argument, we agreed that it is a fulfillment of prophecy, it would not necessarily be a sign that the Rapture is coming soon. I suppose it could be said that every time an evil man seduces a silly woman (2 Timothy 3:6, 13), that is a fulfillment of prophecy, but is every such seduction event throughout history to be taken as a time-indicator for the Rapture?
If the restoration of Israel as a nation is the event that cranks up God's prophetic "time clock" and the countdown to the Rapture, then why did the Rapture not take place within 40 years of the first restoration of national Israel under Rabbi Bar-Kochba in 132 AD?
Enthusiasts of the Fig Tree Generation theory will insist that this time things are really different. Modern Israel has lasted longer than BarKochba' s independent state which collapsed after 3 years. This time around, all the signs are in place, the stage is being set, it can't be long now. We've heard all this before - self-styled prophecy experts have been preaching this stuff for centuries.
It has been 63 years now since Israel was founded in 1948. No one can say with a straight face that a generation can be defined as 63 years - how many 63-year-old women were giving birth in the First Century AD, and how many such women give birth today in the absence of massive medical intervention?
It is time to stop painting ourselves into a corner by tying Christ's Second Coming into the chronology of the founding of Israel in 1948. As time passes and it becomes evident that this prophecy has not been fulfilled, we will discredit ourselves in the eyes of the world - unsaved people will not take anything we say seriously. If we were wrong about such easily verifiable things as the timing of Christ's coming, why should they listen to us when we warn them of unverifiable threats of hellfire for those who reject Christ?
SING ALONG WITH MITCH. The Fig Tree Generation theory is still trotted out, as a cheap, tawdry fund-raising device to separate ignorant, gullible Christians from their money. Take, for instance, this recent fund raising letter from Mitch Glaser, President of Chosen People Ministries: "Many believe that Jesus' parable of the fig tree was a direct prophecy about the modern nation of Israel." [Mitch doesn't bother to tell us what he himself believes about this].
"Some scholars believe the generation which witnesses the budding of the fig tree - the renewal of modern Israel - is the generation which will witness the return of Christ! Israel was re-established in 1948. Could we be that generation?" [Mitch never answers that question - I guess he doesn't know].
"The establishment of the modern nation of Israel was prophetic. . . . It all makes me believe the experts could be right: Jesus could be coming soon!" [Then again, Jesus might not be coming soon. Better hang on to some of your money instead of sending it all to Chosen People Ministries, just in case].
"If so, the end-time clock is ticking." [Then again, maybe not. Clueless Mitch does not really know if the end-time clock is ticking or not, and he admits it]
Do you know you have asked for the costliest thing
Ever made by the Hand above?
A woman's heart, and a woman's life---
And a woman's wonderful love.
Do you know you have asked for this priceless thing
As a child might ask for a toy?
Demanding what others have died to win,
With a reckless dash of boy.
You have written my lesson of duty out,
Manlike, you have questioned me.
Now stand at the bars of my woman's soul
Until I shall question thee.
You require your mutton shall always be hot,
Your socks and your shirt be whole;
I require your heart be true as God's stars
And as pure as His heaven your soul.
You require a cook for your mutton and beef,
I require a far greater thing;
A seamstress you're wanting for socks and shirts---
I look for a man and a king.
A king for the beautiful realm called Home,
And a man that his Maker, God,
Shall look upon as He did on the first
And say: "It is very good."
I am fair and young, but the rose may fade
From this soft young cheek one day;
Will you love me then mid the falling leaves,
As you did mong the blossoms of May?
Is your heart an ocean so strong and true,
I may launch my all on its tide?
A loving woman finds heaven or hell
On the day she is made a bride.
I require all things that are grand and true,
All things that a man should be;
If you give this all, I would stake my life
To be all you demand of me.
If you cannot be this, a laundress and cook
You can hire and little to pay;
But a woman's heart and a woman's life
Are not to be won that way."
Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye
by Jane M. Orient, M.D.
"The quality of Mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaen
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
Portia, Act IV, Scene I, The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare
In providing for the needs of patients who cannot pay, there are really only two possibilities: Charity, or "social justice." These days, charity has acquired a stigma. It is felt to be demeaning to accept help that is voluntarily given. Advocates for government solutions worry that charity will not be enough, or that it will be withheld from people who are not considered worthy. These days people are taught that they are entitled to an equal share of the world's goods, or to whatever they need. Benefits should come to them as a matter of right, without the need to humble themselves by begging.
Thus, the alternative to mercy is justice. This indeed is "strained," or forced, by all of the power of the law. And as Portia said to Shylock, "Thou shalt have justice more than thou desirest." When Shylock insists that that's what he wants, she calls for a balance and says:
"Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh;
But, in the cutting of it, if thou dost shed
One drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods
Are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate
Unto the state of Venice."
Moreover, she warns him that not only must he shed no blood, but he must not cut less nor more than just a pound of flesh. It has to be impossibly precise.
"But so much as make it light or heavy in the substance,
Or the division of the twentieth part
Of one poor scruple, nay if the scale do turn
But in the estimation of a hair,
Thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate."
This may seem pretty extreme to us, but look at the complex calculus that hospitals and physicians must undertake when they care for government-entitled patients and accept payment from the hands of government. They have to code everything to the fifth significant digit, soon to be the seventh. Being off by one digit can cost them not only three times the amount of the fee, but $55,000 per item in civil monetary penalties. There is more than one physician languishing in prison, having lost all of his goods, his family, and his livelihood, because he failed to comply with the law in some small matter in the retrospective estimation of a court. More than a few have also taken their own lives, or made serious attempts to do so.
Justice of course does not permit automatic benefits. Beneficiaries are repeatedly put through an extremely demeaning process of application to determine their eligibility, perhaps as often as every 6 months, even if they or a child suffers a permanent severe disability. The state can't discriminate on the grounds of moral worthiness, but it can and does discriminate on the basis of social worthiness and, increasingly, grounds related to political correctness. "Disparities" must be constantly checked for, lest some receive too much.
The results of mercy and justice are very different. Mercy has no upper bound. People often give far more generously when they are doing it voluntarily. They feel good about giving to help their fellow man. People who receive charity are generally grateful, and when they find themselves in better circumstances, they often pass the blessings on to others. One famous example is Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Although that was just a novel, and later a movie, literature truly does reflect life. The bishop in the story gave an ex-convict who had just robbed him two silver candlesticks, and thus saved him from going back to the galleys. Jean Valjean later prospered, then devoted his entire life to giving very generously to others. Rain causes seeds to multiply; charity causes good deeds to flourish and multiply. It must be very rare for Medicaid recipients to feel motivated to give back to their caregivers or to society; I have yet to hear of a case.
Social justice, like socialism in general, and in contrast to charity, is a zero sum game. What it gives to some it must first take from others. And there is a very complicated administrative apparatus. Government services may cost 10 times what charitable services do. Facilities tend to be gray and decrepit, and they are generally staffed by rather surly staff with one eye on the union work rules and the other on the time clock. They tend to view patients as an annoyance and a burden.
There is probably no group of patients in greater need of love than new mothers, especially in a crisis situation. It is only a charitable hospital that permits surroundings of joy, giving, and love. Motherhood demands selfless sharing. Mothers are much better able to give this when they have received it from others in a truly caring environment. At a charitable hospital, babies are seen as an infinite source of blessings, not as a liability and a burden on society. If there is a sense of a moral stigma, it is probably more oppressive in a public facility than anywhere, with the implied disapproval because the mother is giving birth at all.
A maternity hospital should be a place of joy. New mothers should be treated in an atmosphere of bountiful voluntary giving and grateful receiving. This is probably impossible in cold bureaucratic surroundings of government programs.
The giving in a charitable hospital is not a one-way affair. The patients also give opportunities for staff to learn about conditions they might never see in an affluent population. And the learning and service occurs unencumbered by the drudgery of government codes and rules to justify payment. The fruit of one's work is a proud mother and a beautiful new baby, not boxes checked, quotas met, and forms filed.
The demands of social justice are never satisfied. They are a formula for chronic discontent, on the part of both recipients and "providers." The cup is always at least half empty.
With true charity, it is possible to have a cup that runneth over.
Member Dr. Jane Orient practices medicine in Tuscon, Arizona, and has never accepted third party payment. She is executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and has testified before Congress on several occasions. A prolific author, Dr. Orient has published dozens of medical and public policy papers, and is the editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Her books include Sapira's Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis and Your Doctor is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, plus three novels and two grammar textbooks.
A Short Bible Study
2 Samuel 24 records the last acts of David.
24:1, the anger of the Lord was kindled... though we are not told why, we are told that the Lord was angry at Israel. The degree of the sin involved here is seen in the fact that the book of Chronicles records David's sin of numbering the people, but it does not record David's sin with Uriah's wife, nor Uriah's murder. In other words, the location of this account implies that sin was more serious than even David's sin with Uriah and his wife.
The numbering David set about to do here was a military numbering; it was a nose count of the strength of his army, v. 9. Numbering itself was not a sin, Numbers 1:3.
First observation: Why was David so easily influenced to do this evil deed? There may be several reasons, but I will only suggest two:
First, David had no orders from God to number the people. As the Captain of the Lord's Host, the Captain had instructed the numbering of his army. But David acted on his own, without instructions from his Captain.
Second, this passage implies that David was motivated by pride. Hezekiah's sin in showing his treasures to the ambassadors was motivated by pride.
David was proud of the might of his army; he was proud of the strength he had in his armed might. Numbering the army with no reason to number it indicates that David was proud of the might of the flesh.
The terrible judgment against this sin shows us that the Lord does not see sin as we do. In our eyes, David's murder and adultery is the worse thing he did, but here we see that the Lord held his pride as the worse thing he did.
Therefore, David's pride left him very easily influenced to the suggestion to do this sinful act.
First, v. 4, David was determined to number the people. His pride, sin, blinded him to sound reasoning. Obviously, the unconquered areas of our lives leave us open for the fiery darts of the evil one and unable to deal with the darts of evil suggestions.
Second, here we are shown the importance of praying for those in authority, 1 Timothy 2.
Second Observation: Why did the Lord allow David to be tempted in this area of his weakness?
We have no reason to speculate here, for we are told that the Lord was angry against Israel. But the reason for the anger is not as clear. Though we are not clearly told the reason, the Lord leaves it open ended, so we will read and heed his instructions and fear him.
Surely the Lord had plenty of reasons to be angry with his people.
* they had grown unthankful for the blessings of God under David's government
* they had willingly taken part in Absalom's rebellion and latter, in Sheba's rebellion.
(Though Absalom's rebellion was judgment against David's sin with Uriah's wife, the people were still accountable to God for following Absalom.)
Third Observation: The people probably thought they gotten away with their earlier evil action, but we see here that their sin catches up with them through their ruler.
Notice how applicable this is for our day:
We, his people, have ignored God's requirement to love him with all our being, which involves loving his truth as found in his law-word, i.e., if you love me, keep my commandments, John 14:15, 15:19, loving his gospel, and loving one another. Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, Mark 13:30-33, &c. Rather, we have flocked after the various gods of this world. We have replaced the love for the Lord, for his law and for one another, and have flocked after the various gods of this world. The just results have come to pass: Obama.
An important point that stands out for me in this section is that the people's sins caused the Lord to move David to do something, so the Lord could move against the people. David was not a wicked king; David was not inclined to revolt against the Lord, but he was moved to revolt anyway. Thus we see that the evils of the people cause the Lord to move against even a Godly king.
In other words, electing Godly leaders will not solve the problem of ungodliness in a society. It will not solve the problem of God's hand against a nation. Only a genuine conversion of the general population will produce godly leaders.
We are shown here that even Godly leadership will be influenced by and for wickedness if there is no genuine Godliness among the general population. And the influence will strike right at the heart of the leader's weakness.
Fourth Observation: Satan provoked the sin, but Satan's provoking of the head of state was clearly in God's purpose to bring about judgment against a sinful nation.
Thus we see that the Lord is not the author of evil; rather, the sinner is the author of his own evil. If the people had not made the Lord angry against their sins, would there have been movement against them through David.
Moreover, we see that the Lord works all things together: David's pride left him open to the suggestion; the people's sins brought about the suggestion.
God allows leaders after the people's hearts. God will allow Satan to provoke, or tempt, a nation's leaders into whatever maneuver will best deal with the people's rebellion or sin.
Satan is not here on earth doing his own will; he is here doing the Lord's will. God has him in complete control; Scripture clearly shows us that Satan is simply a tool in God's hand, fulfilling the Lord's purpose in both pagans and Christians.
Satan walks up and down the earth seeking whom he may devour. He is seeking those whom the Lord will allow him to move against. He found one in David, and he found one in Job. He even found one in Christ, as he moved Judas in order to bring about Christ's death:
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Fifth Observation: The word is moved... Therefore, the Lord did not forced David to sin; He only permitted the idea to be presented to David. It was David's sin that caused him to accept and act upon the idea. Notice that David was held very accountable for his sin, even though the Lord moved, v. 10.
David's sin brought about Absalom's and Sheba's rebellion, but the Lord judged Absalom and Sheba. The Lord also judged the people's willingness to participate in the rebellion. Again, we see that the Lord holds individuals and nations accountable for their evil.
V. 3. Joab protested the king's order. Evidently, even Joab could see the purpose behind the numbering, v. 3.
First, this is a strange situation: many years before, Joab had not protested the murder of Uriah, but now he protests this numbering.
Remember, after David first came to the throne, Abner had killed Joab's brother, Asahel, at the pool with the rear end of his spear, 2 Sam 2. Then in Chapter 3:27, Joab murdered Abner because he had slain his brother at Gibeon in the battle, v. 30.
Thus some time later in 2 Sam 11 when David commanded Joab to murder Uriah, Joab raised no objection. But now Joab protests David's order to number the people.
We see then that Joab did not protest the murder, for he was a murderer at heart.
Isn't it something how many times we will so readily overlook the sin in others as long as their sin permits something we want to do.
Second. Note Joab's words, v. 3. Joab was not above railing on the king, as he did in rebuking the king over the king's morning at the death of Absalom, but here he meekly entreats the king not to do this evil thing.
Each of us need friends who will plead with us to avoid evil because they can see things to which we are blinded.
Third. At other times, the numbering was not sin, but here it is.
Thus we see that things that may not be sins in themselves, turn into sin because of our inordinate delight in them.
A good example is our work: it is praiseworthy to work hard at our occupation, but when our occupation comes between us and our responsibility to God, it is sin.
Vv. 4-9. The king's word prevailed. Joab took the captains of the host with him, and reluctantly went about the king's command. They started at the most distant place and covered the land. After a great deal of trouble and at the end of 9 months, they returned with the count. We are not told if the count met David's expectation or not.
There is one point that stands out about this section. And that is: the number of men: 1,300,000. This is a very small number when we consider the increase of Israel in Egypt during the same amount of time, 400 years.
Very few went into Egypt, but 600,000 came out. 600,000 came into Canaan, but there are only 1,300,000 now. Certainly, this number speaks of the prosperity of the land, such a small nation could support that many, but it also says that the people were not near as fruitful under freedom as they were under bondage. They only doubled under freedom, but they multiplied many times under bondage, and they had much more time in freedom.
We are reminded many times over in the Word of God: whereas hard times and bondage causes God's people to prosper and multiply, good times cause them to become very complacent.
Vv. 10-14. After the his purpose was accomplished, though it took 9 months, David was struck with the realization of what he had done. After the deed was done and David realized his great sin, he repents and confesses his evil to the Lord. Then early one morning, the Lord sent a message to him with a choice, and David took the lesser of the three evils. V. 16, then the Lord repents, and David is even more penitent.
It was after 9 months when the report came back to him that he realized what he had done. He could have realized the seriousness of the sin during the time span, but he did not.
1. How many times do we carry through our plans and it is not until we complete them that we realize what we have done?
2. V. 11, evidently David was stricken in the night over the evil he had done, and he was up early in the morning thinking over his foolish actions. V. 10 implies that he was asking asking the Lord to "overlook" his foolishness. But instead of the Lord overlooking, the Lord is speaking, and sent a message to David.
3. The Lord spoke to David in the stillness of the night when all was quiet.
Do people keep busy "here and there" so they will not have time for the Lord to speak to them? Their conscience is stricken by God, and they are fearful of getting into a place where they must listen to the Lord.
4. David's gladness was turned into sorrow, overnight, by his sense of sin. His command up to this time had been to him harmless. Now it was seen as a terrible sin.
5. David wrote many Psalms, but he still needed a messenger from God. A person never gets so exalted as not to need a messenger from God to speak to him. I have noticed many men today seem to feel they have arrived, and that the Lord has direct communication to them above all others. David listened.
6. David, the man after God's own heart:
His heart smote him, and he immediately repented of the evil. He wasted no time once the sin was revealed unto him. Nor should we.
He confessed to the Lord: I have done very foolishly. He takes immediate responsibility. He realizes the fault was all his: It was the sin of his own heart that led to the unlawful numbering.
The word foolishly reminds us of the word fool in the book of Proverbs. Foolishly would, therefore, mean acting outside of God's way of wisdom and truth: sin.
Foolishly has nothing to do with what we think of as foolish, or what the world considers foolish (was it foolish for David to enquire of his military strength), or maybe even simple bad decisions on our part. (I am embarrassed when I think back over my numerous bad decisions, and I certainly do not like others reminding me of them. No telling how much time, money and reputation they have cost me. However, bad decisions do have a way of humbling us before God and men) Foolishly has everything to do with acting outside of God's law. Here foolishly refers to acting with the wrong motive.
7. V. 10, upon confession of his sin, David asks the Lord to take away the iniquity of thy servant...
It may not be David's intention at all, but his statement here sounds to me like he was asking the Lord to overlook the foolishness he had done and not reward him accordingly, a hope we all share. See the glorious promises of Psalms 103, e.g., v. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. & v. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
Knowing how I would probably act, and David was a man of like passions as we all have, I believe the above implications fit best in this situation. We act foolishly apart from God's word; we confess and repent with great tears when our foolish actions are brought to our attention; then we want the Lord to withhold the results of our foolishness, which he may or may not do.
8. Vv. 12, 13, present an unusual situation: David is confronted with his sin, he confesses his sin, but he still must face the results of his sin. What makes this situation unusual is the fact that David is offered a choice as to what the result of his sin will be. David is the only man I know of ever faced with such a choice. Psalms 47:4 He shall choose our inheritance for us,...
Vv. 14, 15, The choices.
1) David makes a wise choice based upon v. 13. He realizes it is far better to cast himself upon the mercies of God than upon the mercies of man. Each of us is also faced with choices daily. Might we also be able to claim God's mercy.
2) David's choice is set into motion. Note v. 15 & 2 Sam 15:6, 13, 17:11. The implication is that God used David's sin to judge the men of Israel for their willingness join in the rebellion against God's anointed.
Yes, David is held accountable for his sin with Uriah by the people rebelling. Then the people are held accountable by David's sin. God now judges both David and the people.
V. 16, shows the wisdom of David's choice. How many days did the pestilence last?
Are we not seeing pestilences moving at God's command, e.g., mice, deer ticks, as well as the pestilence of evil and wicked men "ruling"? God is moving in judgment. V. 16, in his mercy, the hand of the Lord stopped. David repented, and found mercy at the hand of the Lord.
We have yet to see repentance today, so we need to prepare. God can send HIS army that will move at his command against the armies of men; even mice can easily bring the mighty army of men to their knees. My, how important it is to be on the Lord's side.
Vv. 10-16, points to ponder:
1) V. 10, the best thing that can happen to a person that has sinned is that their heart smites them. Conviction over wrong, even well after the fact, is a sign of the principle of grace at work in the heart. Hebrews 12, the lack of chastening is a sign we are not sons.
2) David's sin was of the heart. Of the seven things listed that God hates in Proverbs 6:17, pride is the first. The Scripture says that the love of money is the root of all evil. We can say further, that pride is at the root of all sin. When pride is dealt with, the rest of man's ills are subdued.
It is important to see that those whom God loves, he chastens most severely for their pride. And God strikes at the root of our pride. Note that David was proud of the number of his people; therefore, God struck at the number. He destroyed people because of David's pride.
We can be assured that the Lord will strike at the root of our pride if he loves us. And it must be struck at if we are going to be effective servants of his.
What are we proud of?? If pride is not dealt with, that pride will feel the hot breath of God against it just as sure as did the 70,000 men who felt God's hand against them.
The people were not guiltless. V. 1 tells us that it was the people's sin that brought about this harsh judgment.
3) V. 13, the preacher says to David, "What shall I say about you to the One who sent me?" Gad was not speaking on his own any more than preachers are to do today:
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.
Every man of God will give an account to God for the success of his message to the people of God.
4) V. 14, David confesses that his sin placed him in a great strait, i.e., distress, bind up, vex, afflict, besiege, adversary, strait, trouble, bound, pangs. Sin brings even the best and wisest of people into a great strait. People's sins bring distress upon their own selves, and upon their society. Their own folly gets them into their own mess.
We might mention with v. 14 that the choice was basically between being at the mercy of the hands of evil men or at the mercy of the hands of a just God. There really was no choice. V. 14, David choose to be at the mercy of God, though he did not chose the pestilence over the famine. The Lord made the final choice of the pestilence over the famine.
And even in this choice, the mercy of the Lord is seen: famine would have weakened the whole nation, but the pestilence only weakened individuals out of the nation. Pestilence left the nation strong.
5) Paul warns us that it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, He 10:31. David sees here how dreadful it is to fall into his hands, but he also knows that God is merciful. He thus casts himself upon the mercy of God.
Good men, even when they are under God's frowns against their sins, will not entertain any thoughts but good about God.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
Do we have this kind of confidence in the hand of God?
6) The length of the pestilence is open for debate. V. 15, the time appointed could mean the end of the three days, or it could mean until the time appointed for the evening sacrifice. V. 16 implies that the full three days had not been fulfilled. If v. 16 is right, the pestilence only lasted about 9 hours. 70,000 men from one end of Israel to the other died in that short space of time.
Joab was 9 months going throughout the land with a pen to number the people, but the angel of the Lord went throughout the land with a sword in a very short time and undid the count.
See how suddenly the Lord can move against the very best and greatest of man's plans; see how easily the Lord can bring down the proudest of sinners; see how much we owe daily to the mercies of the Lord.
David could well have been thinking of judgment and mercy when he penned My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments. Psalms 119:123. We surely do not see the dreadfulness of sin.
7) V. 16, notice where the Lord had mercy, Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham was stayed from slaying his son. Now the angel is stayed from destroying Jerusalem. It is the sacrifice of the Son that stays God's hand from destroying us.
8) V. 17, David cries out to God that he is the sinner. It is evident that truly David was a man after God's own heart. His credit is not that he is sinless, but that he willingly confessed, accepted responsibility, and accepted the punishment for his sin.
but these sheep... David well remembered the willingness of the people to go after the rebel, Absalom, yet he still prays this prayer.
Most people, when they see God's judgment abroad upon the land, say, "Lord, they deserve it. Go for it, Lord." We are very inclined to blame others for God's hand of judgment against our society. But rather than saying that it was the people's fault, as did Saul, David says the root of the problem lies within himself.
He was truly a man after God's own heart.
Quickly, vv. 18-25.
1) Gad came to David. Again, we are reminded that a Godly man will receive instruction.
2) The Lord told David to offer the sacrifice. God tells us to offer sacrifices to himself as evidence the plague of sin is stayed.
1Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
3) It is because of the Great Sacrifice, Christ Jesus, that the plague is stayed.
4) Araunah, the owner of the land, was a Jebusite. Obviously, this man had converted to the God of Israel because he now legitimately owned property in Israel. Furthermore, the land was a threshing floor, an important piece of property.
5) David went in person to the owner. Though David was king and the Lord commanded the altar to be built there, he still sought to bargain for the land.
To take the land without money, as is so common today by the State, would have been robbery. God will not accept the wages of unrighteousness.
Though David was the King of the most powerful nation of his day, he did not consider it a dishonor to see the owner in person.
6) V. 20, Araunah bowed himself... Great men will never be less respected for their humility, but more.
7) V. 23, as a king... Some say that Araunah was the former king of Jerusalem, for he was a Jebusite. The point is here that though a subject of King David, he gave as a king. He had the spirit of a genuine king.
We cannot speak too highly of this Jebusite. Just because someone may be subject, there is no reason not to keep a princely attitude and actions about them. Worldly position of a person does not make him a king. Anyone can act as a king.
7) David resolved to pay the full value of the land and did so. Araunah was very willing to give it; but David was more determined to purchase it.
There is no cheap Christianity. Those who sought and found a religion for their benefit or that cost them nothing, did not find Christianity.
The Mighty Pen
"The old nobility would have survived it if had known enough to become master of printing materials . . . The advent of cannon killed the feudal system; ink will kill the modern system." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France
Churches Open Their Doors to Muslim Worship
By Jerry Fulton, editor, Baptist Progress
Reading the news online, I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought to myself, "Did I read that headline correctly?" Surely that is a misprint. Nope. There it was, right in front of me in black and white, "Churches Open Their Doors to Muslim Worship."
Just when I thought our society could not reach any lower, churches begin doing things I would not have believed in a million years. Christian churches allowing Muslim worship within their 4 walls? Unbelievable!
It seems that Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee, and Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, believe it is "their Christian duty" to open their church buildings to Muslims needing places to worship because their own facilities are either too small, or under construction.
Diane Bechtol of Aldersgate said, "This is something Christians are called to do: Be neighborly and develop relationships - even those who don't share your beliefs." She said, "I think it's a tenet of our Christian faith, and that is that we extend hospitality to the stranger," said Bechtol. She continued, "We are a congregation that wants to be helpful to people and if we are asked to help a neighbor in need, that's what we do."
Steve Stone, Heartsong's senior pastor, wrote in Christianity Today, "No thought at all was given to the political ramifications. The decision was firmly based only on our understanding of the mission and nature of the church." Please tell me, when did the mission of the church change from sharing the Gospel of Christ to promoting social tolerance?
I am in agreement with Dr. Alex McFarland, a Christian theologian and radio talk show host, who charged these churches "have crossed the line from respect and tolerance, to . . . affirmation and endorsement.
"We as the church are called to show love, we're called to help. But to let a building simultaneously be used for the activities of a mosque and also the activities of Jesus Christ, it's just incompatible. And I think it's one more example of political correctness and hyper-tolerance gone awry."
He continued, "What if we went to Muslims and said, "Hey, can we use your mosque for the worship of Jesus, the incarnate son of God, the one that said no one comes to the Father but through Him.' I doubt there would be a lot of reciprocity."
As the Muslim population across the U.S. continues to grow, mosque construction is at an all-time high. As of September, there were 1897 mosques in the United States, a 57% increase since 2000. As the Muslim religion expands in America, I certainly hope that churches will refuse to follow the example of Heartsong Church and Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Worship of a false god has no place in a house of worship that is dedicated to the Lord.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, I know of a mega-church that rents its facilities for Country Music concerts. I thought that was bad enough! Furthermore, there are churches that open their family life centers for dancing and parties with alcohol.
Some may disagree, but I firmly believe that our church houses should be used only for the worship of Almighty God, the preaching of the Gospel and the discipling of the saints.
In my opinion, church buildings should not be used as community event rent-a-centers, Country Music concert halls and certainly not Muslim worship centers. To think that church buildings would be used for anything except the glory of the Lord, to me, is unbelievable! Sharing the love of Jesus does not involve breaking the law of God or changing the meaning of God's Word. (From Northern Landmark Missionary Baptist newsletter. 3131 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL. 60608)
"There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department. This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country 10 years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.
"In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan's new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country. The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010. . . .
"In recent times, freedom of religion has declined in Afghanistan, according to the State Department. `The government's level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period, particularly for Christian groups and individuals." - From cnsnews. corn
(Ten years of expensive "nation building" war in Afghanistan has "built" a nation which produces 93% of the world's heroin and which allows no religious freedom for Christians).
THE PURITY OF DOCTRINE. "Terms like a traditional church or a non-traditional church are tossed around today. Approaches to worship vary from place to place. The purity of the doctrine does not change regardless of the setting. Truth can only be one way. Truth is not a tradition. Truth cannot be adjusted for the times. It is the truth that sets us free. The commitment to keep ourselves pure in our doctrine should be renewed constantly. Do not let someone soft on convictions lead you down a path of compromise. The Word of God will stand and we must stand with it. Know what you believe. Let the Bible verify your convictions." - I.V. Hight, in Baptist Trumpet.
Death of the Church Victorious now available as a PDF download. All hyperlinks work: Index, TOC and Cross references. $15. Send me an e mail.