Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Five Smooth Stones, Five Golden Hemorrhoids, and Five Golden Mice

And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
(1Sa 17:39-40)

Every since I’ve heard the story of David and Goliath I have wondered why David took five smooth stones out of the brook. I’ve also heard many people give their reasons for this. Maybe it was a lack of faith in that he thought he may miss four times before hitting his mark. Maybe it serves as an example that we should be “equipped” regardless of the level of our faith. Some have suggested that Goliath had 4 brothers and David was preparing to take all of them out. Finally, I’ve heard in charismatic circles that the five stones could have represented the “five fold ministry” of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. The problem with each of these suggestions is that they are really just a guess.

Now, I can’t claim that I have a definite answer to this age old question. But what I can claim is that I noticed something today in the Word of God that could possibly give an explanation to “why five stones.” Prior to the famous David and Goliath incident, Israel warred with the Philistines. Israel, in trying to “conjure up” a victory, decided without instruction from God, to go get the ark of the covenant to “help them out.” (I Sam. 4:3) As expected, this man inspired idea did not work and the ark of God was captured by the Philistines. Apparently the Philistines did not learn the lesson that the Israelites had been taught of God. They placed the ark of God into their own pagan temple thinking that its presence would bring them good fortune. However, the opposite effect was had. Not only did their idol god, Dagon, continue to fall on its face before the ark, the Philistines were stricken with severe hemorrhoids on account of them keeping the ark in their possession. (I Sam. 5) In chapter 6, the Philistines had had enough. They were preparing to send the ark back to its rightful owner. Their pagan priests suggested that they send it back with a trespass offering of five golden emerods (hemorrhoids) and five golden mice. We see in verse 17:

And these are the golden emerods which the Philistines returned for a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;
(1Sa 6:17)

What caught my eye was Gath. Gath is where Goliath was from. (I Sam. 17:4) So, could it be that David suspected there may be a giant for each of the five Philistine cities that had been plagued by God over the issue with the ark? Yes, this is still a guess. However, I base this guess on preceding scripture. After all, shouldn’t we always turn to scripture to interpret scripture?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Lung Cancer Vaccine

Consider this scenario…

Merck, Inc. has just released a brand new vaccine that will inoculate people against the dreaded disease of lung cancer. Now, the drug hasn’t been tested or proven yet. But none-the-less, it is a vaccine. Hooray! Now, everyone in the country can start smoking again! No worries about the dreaded consequence of lung cancer. After all, Merck has assured us that their vaccine works.

Now, suppose there is a certain Texas governor, who for this article will remain unnamed, who just so happened to receive a $5000 contribution from Merck, Inc. for his reelection campaign. How could this very grateful governor return the favor for this contribution? Well…although it is illegal to sell cigarettes to minors, and there has been a major push through public service ads to discourage smoking by minors, we “all” know that kids are going to smoke anyway, no matter what we tell them. So, this very grateful governor has a wonderful idea! Let’s force all sixth grade aged children to receive this vaccine before we allow them to enroll in their friendly neighborhood government school! What a service this will offer to children! Now parents can sleep well at night knowing that if these children light up after being told not to, at least their lungs will remain healthy. Side effects? Who knows? But, the most important thing is that Merck, Inc. survives another day to bring us more miracle drugs.

Far fetched you say? Well, this scenario has played itself out with only one difference. The disease being battled isn’t lung cancer. It’s human papillomavirus. And the students targeted for this campaign contribution payoff are limited to females signing up for government indoctrination at their local Texas public school. This Texas Governor, who I have already promised not to name (initials….RP), by executive order has mandated that all sixth grade girls receive this brand new, untested vaccine. It makes no difference that HPV is only contracted through sexual contact, which should not be happening at least within the walls of the school. It makes no difference that parents of “good children” don’t want this drug injected into their little girl. If people want to take the “free education” offered by the government, they will succumb to this treatment.

Christian groups are up in arms about this. Letter campaigns have been organized to write to this supposedly conservative Governor Per..(oops almost slipped)… encouraging him to return to the conservative platform that he campaigned on. He needs to be reminded that parents are the ones who should decide what, if any, vaccines their children receive. Of course, coming to his defense, it is most likely assumed that parents gave up these rights when handing their children off to the state for their education anyway. Right or wrong, this seems to be happening on a much broader scale than just vaccines. Regardless, it’s hard to argue with big money. I have a feeling that a $5000 contribution is only the tip of the iceberg.

So, if you are a Texan living in Texas…unlike myself living in Indian Territory…call your state congressman and senator. Call the Governor’s office. Express your disapproval. But more importantly, reclaim your parental authority by pulling your children out of an abusive organization that would inject drugs into your child against your will. If you are concerned about HPV, teach your children abstinence from sex. After all, we seem to trust that approach in regard to smoking. Abstinence produces amazing results, whether we are talking about lung cancer or HPV.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Vanity of Vanities

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
(Ecc 1:2)

Do you ever stop to ponder the discussions you have on a daily basis with others in the world? With coworkers, as well as friends and family, if the topic is not business related, it is almost always something to do with entertainment or fleshly desires.

There is a time and a place to discuss beauty and improvements to the home, the car, etc. that the Lord has entrusted to our care. Yet, when those topics are the constant subject of all our communications, something is definitely awry. Some men seem to only want to discuss sports. Some are wrapped up in hunting, fishing, computers, or woodworking. I live in a neighborhood where we have a private airstrip. Though I am not a pilot, most of those in our community are. So, guess what? When we have neighborhood get-togethers, the topic of aviation is always raised. Now many of these things are not wrong in and of themselves. It is a God given characteristic of man to be creative, and to use the resources God has given him to take dominion over this earth. However, when our focus becomes so targeted on these things, we move from merely dominating the earth to a form of idolatry whereby we spend all our time and energy focused on these external “things.”

My favorite topics of discussion are things of scripture. I love to discuss the biblical ways to raise children, and how to be the husband God has called me to be. Topics of planning include ministry opportunities whereby God’s Word may be shared freely. Is this not the purpose of life? When I discuss the scripture, it’s not only that I enjoy it as a hobby. Rather, I am fulfilling the purpose for which God has created me.

It is so refreshing when I meet a friend, and he brings up topics pertaining to scripture or to the things of God. I recently attended a technical seminar in San Francisco. I expected to be on my own, exploring a very materialistic city during the evenings. Yes, I did a bit of that. I took a very interesting tour of Alcatraz and learned a thing or two that I was able to pass on to my children in their homeschool education. However, one very bright spot of this trip was that I discovered a former colleague on the plane with me traveling to the same conference. Previously, we had not really discussed much of the things of God, as our communication tended to revolve around business. Yet, he knew that I am a believer, and he told me of his renewed effort to read the Bible through in a year. He asked me a few questions and shared some of the things he was learning. Friend, this is the essence of life. These are the marks of someone truly committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I rejoice in discovering that my friend is more than just a nominal Christian. I praise God that he is learning all he can in order to lead his family well. I look forward to continuing our friendship through email, and carrying on meaningful conversation regarding the things of God.

When I left Nashville, I left behind similar friends that I worked with at LifeWay. The Word of God tells us that you will “know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:18) What are your fruits? Are the only things that you ever talk about sports, cars, homes, travel, computers, etc., etc., etc., all related to things of this world? Or do you spend the time to study the scripture, read works written by God’s people, and discuss these things with other believers? Is your life “vanity of vanities” or do you live your life with purpose and conviction, capturing every moment for the Glory of God. Ponder that today as you walk by the way.