Devotionals

Spinning around the wheel of Time

“For I have bent Judah, My bow, Fitted the bow with Ephraim,And raised up your sons, O Zion, Against your sons, O Greece, And made you like the sword of a mighty man.Then the LORD will be seen over them, And His arrow will go forth like lightning. The Lord GOD will blow the trumpet, And go with whirlwinds from the south. ”Zech 9:13,14
Albert Einstein,who in 1948 was asked to be the First President of Israel, and who declined,once said
 
life is like a hamster-where we go around in life doing the usual mundane things;from time to time we do something extra special but while we are on the wheel we are looking at our lives to the past,the present,and the future.There we find the element of time-and there we find the holiness of God”
 
These days there is plenty of time to go around and around the wheel doing the same old mundane things right? And a lot of soul searching reflection-our past,present and future. Where we have traveled- where we are today-and what will become of the future….? During Passover-also known as the Feast of Unleavened bread-this is the time to “purge out any leaven-sin”
 
To me it is like the world is going through a major breakdown.
A big part of my past was sport. I loved playing soccer,tennis,wrestling and fast pitch softball, actually representing Israel at the European Softball Championships in Belgium.
 One of the hardest parts of sport was waiting to play. Playing was the fun part-Waiting for the big game was always a challenge. Especially if I got injured or the game was cancelled for some reason.
But it was in the gymnasium or out on the training field that the real hard work was done. It was there that I worked on my,skills,fitness,muscle tone,strategies etc.
This concept of waiting on the Lord seems very similar.While we are waiting these are the times that we are to be working on areas in our lives that need refining, strengthening, improved.
Like a piece of clay in the hands of a potter being lumped on his table-these are days where the Lord has us in his hands,molding us as we spin around and around doing the mundane.
Nobody knows how long it will take before the world goes back to being “normal” But as I am waiting and doing a deep soul search, working on areas,- I am thinking of this verse above from Zechariah.
 He has the picture of a marksman taking Judah and Ephraim like a bow and arrow-and ready to fire them away for his purposes.
Waiting is like being pulled back in the bow. It is being stretched. It is being held back. The longer we are held back and stretched-the further we will go.
Here the Lord  calls Judah and Ephraim ‘the sons of Zion”-and he is about to raise them up against the sons of “Greece.”
The sons of Zion here stand for the people of God-chosen,set apart and faith-minded. The sons of Greece here stand for those who are humanistic-independent of God, self focused and materialistic.
Before the Israelites came into their inheritance they had to learn one of the most important lessons in life-putting Gods word at the absolute center of their lives.
 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.Deut 8:3
 
Let us taste,eat,feed,meditate and enjoy Gods word-and of course the Lord Himself.
 
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.Psalm 23:5
 
Blessings to you,and Happy Passover.
 
Aharon

Coronovirus and Fear

 

When Shadrach,Meshach and Abednigo were told to bow down-they refused.

Can you imagine the fear that was over the Israelite people as they were tempted with this compromise.

Bow down and be free. Or refuse and face the wrath of the authorities.

They were sentenced to death.A slow,painful, hot furnace.Their skin would melt off from their faces and arms.Their hair would burn into their scalps.

They knew that their God had the power to save them. But they did not condition God.They did not say

“God if you spare us,we will follow you wholeheartedly. God-if you allow us to be protected from the King we will love you even more. God-if you take this King(virus) away-then we will give you more offerings and sacrifices.

No.They said” even if God does not deliver us we will not bow down”.

As a result of their faith three exciting things happened

 

1)They experienced the Lord in the furnace with them. The King looked in and saw not three but four-one looking like the Son of God.Even if they had died they would have experianced the Lord in their last hours in a way that would have been glorious.  Stephen,the first Martyr, as He was being stoned saw the Lord stand up for him.

Acts 7:55-But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

If we confess the Lord before men the Lord will confess us before our father in heaven.

 

2)We leave behind a witness and testimony. The King came to know who the true God is.

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Dan 3:25

In dark times we are to shine. Is 60;1 Arise and shine for your light has come/SEE DARKNESS OVER THE EARTH AND THICK DARKNESS OVER THE PEOPLES-but the Glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

3)Promotion. These three men were promoted.

Dan 3:28,29-Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

We will either be promoted to heaven or in the spirit find Gods glory in our lives. Notice how the fire didn’t even touch them or make any smell on them.

Let us remember

1) Never bow down to fear.

DO NO BE  ANXIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING-

REMEMBER WHAT JOSHUA SAID

“Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their defense has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Fear them not.”Numbers 14:9

The Hebrew words for bread and warrior are the same. To become a Warrior we are to eat our enemies as bread.It will only make us stronger.

 

Gods Glorious and Wonderful Creation

Psalm 104 dwells on the wonders of the creators work. The Psalm begins with the creation of the world,the stages of its formation of its landscapes and the seas. It goes on to describe the water sources on land which provide for animal and plant life and rearing of wild animals and birds. The psalm then considers the course of night and day which influences mans labor on the land,the earths renewal and mans seafaring endevours on the oceans and the seas.

The psalms description of the stages in the earths formation coincides,broadly speaking, with the creation account in Genesis chapter 1 and is amazingly similar to the findings of geological research. It tells of the stages in the earths formation according to its geological and tectonic order: the raising and lowering of continents,land folding,rifts and faults and volcanic eruptions along the faults.

At the outset we find a description of the solid massifs which are the earths foundation.
“who laid the foundations of the earth,that it should not be removed forever” Ps 104:5In this region the Arabo-Nubian Massif, which includes Sinai,the southern part of the Negev, East Africa and Arabia,contains a landmass of this kind.Ps 104:6 describes the movements in the foundations,their raising,their lowering according to Gods word” thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains”
Thus the waters of the great,ancient Thetis Sea,which flooded southern Europe and Northen Africa, covered the peaks of Israel, thus reducing the area of dry land. Then the pressure of gasses from the depths of the earth caused the massif to rise and forced the waters to retreat to their previous location. As a result of this activity the land area expanded and the continental shelf appeared:…
At thy rebuke they fled; at the voive of thy thunder they hasted away.
…Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass oiver; that they turn not again to cover the earth (Psalm 104:7,9)
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.( Gen 1:9)
The book of Job also describes the phenomenon of raising and lowering,of the appearance and disappearance of the continental shelf;
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
(Job 38:4-6)
Then came the land folding which produced the anticlines and synclines,the mountains,the hills and the valleys:
Psalm 104:8  They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

In the last stage,as a result of the folding,the land cracked slowly and ravines cut into the landscape:

He sendeth the springs into the valleys; which run among the hills (Ps 104:10)

Then came the sudden volcanic shocks which caused basalt lava to pour out of the craters and inundate the mountains forming the plateaus:

He looketh on the earth and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. (Psalm 104:32)

In a similar vein:

Psalm 18:7-8


Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
A fitting description summarizing the wonders of Gods work and his delights in the world is to be found in Proverbs:Proverbs 8:22-31King James Version (KJV)
22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
 Then the earth shook and trembled

The book of psalms,more than any other book of the bible,contains many picturesque descriptions of nature and brims with exotic scenery. The secrets of mans creatiuon and the mysteries of heavenly phenomina are described,as are the phases in the worlds formation,the varied climactic seasonal atmospheric phenomena,the growth of forests,grass and herbs, reptiles and other creatures,mans labor on the land and the ways of sailors and ships on the open seas.

Psalm 18 provides such a  vivd picture of all the stages of volcanic activity froim eruption to abatement, as if the psalmist actually stood on a mountain peek and observed every detail of the eruption.

The first stage of volcanic activity entails a powerful earthquake which sends shudders through its environment:

Psalm 18:7

Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

A terrifying earthquake such as this may cause cracks in solid rock and a burst of gases and flames to issue from the cracks and the crater:

There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.


Psalm 104:32

32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

These gases rise high in the sky, and descend the same, thickening when they come into contact with the water vapor in the atmosphere and causing total darkness, smoke storms and the rise of volcanic ash.
Finally these precipitates pour down upon the earth:
Psalm 18:9-11

He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

Then molten,searing lava bursts out of the volcanos crater,flowing thunderously wild and flooding everything in its wake:

12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.
Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. (Psalm 18:12,14)

When the volcanic eruption is at sea,the water bolis and spew above the sea,throwing up vapors and flames. A pall of smoke mixed with volcanic ash rises to the sky-then suddenly an island appears. The island diverts the rising stormy waves pushing them to great distances. These powerful waves,known as tsunami,rush on at a speed of more than 60 miles an hour.

Psalm 18:15
15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

Psalm 46 also describes this activity:-

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

After contemplating this vivid and elaborate description of volcanic activitythe question arises: where was the psalmist that he describes all the stages in the volcanic eruption in such a scientifically exact and brilliant manner?
After all,if volcanic eruptions occurred in Israel so long ago, what were the sources upon which the biblical poet based his visions?
After the six-day war,geological surveys  of the basalt deposits on the Golan Heights uncovered a flock of charred goats, which,according to tests, had perished in an eruption of lava which took place a few thousand years ago-in historical time. The psalmist, it seems,was a witness to the eruption and he described its awesome wonders with dramatic and enchanting exactitude.
The Waters roar therof and are troubled
The book of psalms describes Israels lively scenes in poetry and pose. The psalms praise God,the creator of heaven,earth and man. The psalmist stands in awe while beholding a universe created with such wisdom and intelligence.The book of psalms has details descriptions of the climate, the diverse physical landscape,the lovely flora and the variety of exotic animals.One can feel how the land is renewed and provides for all of Gods creatures.
There are descriptions of dry deserts where springs gush forth from the ground and turn the desert into a lake and the dry land into a fountain. There are descriptions of afforested areas where birds nest and streams of pure water satisfy the wild beasts. There are pictures of vast expanses of land where the grassy fields are saturated by dew and the valleys covered with grain, where we can visualize the vines and olive trees. Mountainous areas are depicted where the wild goats roam and where the rocks provide shelter. And where we have the deep waters full of fish and the whale(Leviathon) and merchant ships on the oceans.
On the whole we are presented with tranquil scenes full of love for the natural landscape and mans works and a longing for Gods creation.
Despite these ideal, tranquil scenes the psalms also describe horrible natural disasters which are represented as Gods anger, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes which topples all existing things
19 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.(Isaiah 24:19-20)An elaborate description of an earthquake is described in Psalm 18:7-8Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
Psalm 46 describes a shocking natural disaster which occurred when a volcano erupted in the midst of the sea:-
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Job describes the brief life of man, the plants longer life and the eternalness of the mountain, as dependent on Gods power
Yet man is born to trouble
    as surely as sparks fly upward
Job 5:7
and….

14 “Mortals, born of woman,
    are of few days and full of trouble.
They spring up like flowers and wither away;
    like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.

The tree on the other hand appears to be dead even when it is actually full of life

“At least there is hope for a tree:
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
    and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground
    and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
    and put forth shoots like a plant.

Stone,rock and flint

The use of stone was manifold in bible times; it was used by shepherds, farmers, miners, builders and craftsman as well as for the manufacture of tools and weapons. Rock and flint symbolized strength and fortitude, synonomous with the Deity, and it provided man with shelter and watch posts.

The strong sharp flint stones were used to make tools such as axes, hammers and chisels, and weapons such as Joshuas flint swords with which he circumcised the Israelites (Josh 5:2-3)

They were also used to make slingshots together with bows and arrows.

They were used also for the early settlers for the construction of houses(Ps 118:22) and for the Temple and other ornamental houses, as we find in II Kings 12:12

And to the masons, and hewers of stone, and to but timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house o repair it.

The farmers built their fences with stone constructing agricultural terraces on the mountain slopes. Vineyards were based on these terraces with these stone fences.

Rocks were exploited for their metal ores. The basic rocks were sandstones and from these came the precious stones, and the Israelites embedded the High Priests breastplate with the 12 types of precious stone, one for each of the tribes:

17 Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; 18 the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; 19 the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst; 20 the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper.[a] Mount them in gold filigree settings. (Exodus 28:17-20)

Mounds and memorials were built with stones and border marks in the fields and mountains. They symbolized a treaty or a Covenant.

He said to his relatives, “Gather some stones.” So they took stones and piled them in a heap, and they ate there by the heap. 47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, and Jacob called it Galeed.( Genesis 31: 46-47)

God himself is likened to a rock with 8 synonomous names signifying high rising, stable and unmoveable

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he. Deut 32:4

The rock was also a source of water and honey  the basis for the formation of soil for agricultural usage

 

16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
    with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”Ps 81:16