Pastor Justin and his two sons drove from Alabama to spend a weekend at my home. It was a rich time in fellowship with our brother from Congo who is working hard to find as many ways as possible to help bring the gospel and better living conditions to his countrymen in eastern DRC. When Justin conversed with his sons, Moses and Junior, in Swahili, I could not understand what they were saying. In reading Paul’s words to the Corinthian believers below, it occurred to me that for those who do not accept Jesus, listening to His words truly sounds like a foreign language.
Hosea 11:3,4—It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them in My arms, but they never knew that I healed them. I led them with human cords, with ropes of love. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws; I bent down to give them food.
One of the reasons I love to study the Bible is the amazing way God speaks to the times in which we live. Read what the prophet Hosea wrote to his countrymen sometime between 755 and 722 B.C. and see if his words speak to your nation.
“There is no sun,” the people cried. “Don’t talk to us about sun. Every day it is the same. We can see only so far in front, so far above and that’s the way it is. Life is a mist, soak it up. What we see is far more important than what we don’t see. What we believe is beyond us is of no consequence to what we experience. We do what we want to do and we want to be left alone. When we die we die and so it is better to live for whatever makes us happy.
Once upon a time a young man, Foye, crossed the ocean to explore Vacuities the world’s most powerful nation. Everywhere he went he met a myriad of people moving from city to city, looking for meaning. Inside a harbor graced by a noble statue, he first encountered the City of Results. But for all the accomplishments the city boasted he constantly met people disappointed that their goals brought no lasting satisfaction. It was like they worked and worked, but for what? Traveling inland, he spent time in the City of Retirement—a most sought after destination. Yet, here he discovered that there was little to live for among those entranced with ease, so most just died.
My son, Bryan and I were driving down a steep road when we encountered a peculiar sign. It said, “Caution—Hill Obscures View”. Well duh! We laughed at the great wisdom displayed! Maybe it’s the way my brain works, but that set me to thinking about signs and miracles. Does it seem like people are unimpressed with the obvious and bore easily today in an age where technology renders the sufficient obsolete?
My parents were missionaries which meant that we didn’t often see members of our extended family. One year we took a trip to Washington and stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Erickson. My cousins happened also to be there and we spent great time playing together and competing. Loren and I, as the oldest, got to stay in Grandpa’s Winnebago parked just outside their home. One night Loren decided to teach me a game I’d never played—strip poker.
Sam walked from the studio into the sanctuary. The amplifier levels were set incorrectly and the sound in the room from the instruments was unbalanced. So he adjusted the levels on the soundboard and moved the amp volumes up to full power. He removed the old paper arrows taped to the board assigning each channel a specific level. Now the system sounded great. Sam was pleased he had helped the church.
Driving Highway 101 from Fort Hunter Liggett to San Jose, I experienced an epiphany. Whoa was it a boat rocker! It came via a clever California license plate in front of me--WIZDUMB. It caused me to reflect on the two kinds of wisdom that exist.
Matthew 5:43-45--You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Judges 11:30,31--Jephthah made this vow to the Lord: “If You will hand over the Ammonites to me, whatever comes out of the doors of my house to greet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites will belong to the Lord, and I will offer it as a burnt offering.”