Ammon was a nation located east of the Israelite tribes of Gad and Rueben who were also both situated east of the Jordan River and Dead Sea. We know from Genesis 19:38 that the Ammonites were descended from Lot’s youngest daughter’s son Ben-ammi. From Deuteronomy 2:19 we learn that God did not allow Israel to attack or take any of the Ammonites land because He had given it to Lot’s descendants. Remember Lot was Abraham’s nephew. We also know from Deu. 23:3,4 that because the Ammonites and Moabites refused to help the Israelites during their journey out of Egypt that God excluded them from ever entering “the Lord’s assembly.”
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.
Eight months into his tour of duty in Vietnam, Navy gunner Dave Roever burned horrifically when a phosphorous grenade exploded in his hand. This mild mannered Texan spent fourteen months in a hospital undergoing several major surgeries. By God’s grace, he lived. Yet, what he does with his survival is truly heroic.
Did you know that God was once so displeased with the complaining Israelites that He sent venomous vipers to bite them during their trek through the desert? When they cried out to Him for help He provided an unusual solution. Everyone bitten who looked upon the bronze snake He told Moses to make, recovered. You can read about this in Numbers 21:4-9.
Sam and I ate lunch recently with my Aunt B.J. in a Chinese restaurant. Prominently displayed on a counter was a large brass Buddha. That obese figure reminded me of the hundreds of millions of people who still worship inanimate man-made objects and live constantly in fear of offending evil spirits. Imagine how God must feel! He created us to fellowship with Him. He made us with a spectacular relationship in mind and what happens—people reject Him for their own creations.
1 Samuel 6:7-9--Now then, prepare one new cart and two milk cows that have never been yoked. Hitch the cows to the cart, but take their calves away and pen them up. Take the ark of the Lord, place it on the cart, and put the gold objects that you’re sending Him as a restitution offering in a box beside the ark. Send it off and let it go its way. Then watch: If it goes up the road to its homeland toward Beth-shemesh, it is the Lord who has made this terrible trouble for us. However, if it doesn’t, we will know that it was not His hand that punished us—it was just something that happened to us by chance.”
You’ve no doubt heard someone say “All roads lead to God.” While the statement may be sincere and reflect a desire to be nonjudgmental, it reveals a great lack of judgment. To understand this one needs only to visit India where the prevailing religion is Hinduism and the overwhelming sensation is one of hopelessness. A country gifted with incredibly smart people remains mired in poverty, disease, and a resigned acceptance of chaos as normative.
The Bible emphatically informs us that we who love God are temples of His Holy Spirit (1Co.3:16). Abusing the temple is a quick way to cut off spiritual fellowship. It’s amazing how many ways we can abuse our jars of clay.
Malachi 2:1-2—“Therefore, this decree is for you priests: If you don’t listen, and if you don’t take it to heart to honor My name,” says Yahweh of Hosts, “I will send a curse among you, and I will curse your blessings. In fact, I have already begun to curse them because you are not taking it to heart.”
Luke 12:15--He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.
There are few things which reveal a person’s heart so well as money. Consider the rich young man Jesus met (Matthew 19:16-22). He honesty wondered what good thing he must do to gain life without end. He had been faithful to keep God’s commandments. Jesus said, ““If you want to be perfect,”Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (vs. 21). Faced with the prospect of relinquishing his wealth, the rich man sadly departed.
The trail to heaven is littered with casualties—victims of misguided priorities or the worship of need-driven agendas. These wounded souls once burned bright in their zeal to serve God. They played clarion songs for the poor and engaged in rescuing the oppressed with fervor capable of melting granite skeptics into milky wax. They gave sacrificially with glad hearts. So what happened that they should be reduced to bitter herbs and poured out ashes?