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Savoring My Passage - the monthly journal of A. C. Gray

July 2011
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Blue bonnets in rustic setting
 

I am living these days in what was once our nation’s frontier.  Just twenty miles south of Bridgewater in Staunton is the Frontier Culture Museum.  Early homesteads of the movement west have been moved and reconstructed there intact.  The museum tells the story of the first pioneers who came to America during the 1600s and 1700s from communities in the hinterlands of England, Germany, Ireland, and West Africa. Many were farmers and rural craftsmen set in motion by changing conditions in their homelands, and drawn to the American colonies by opportunities for a better life.  Remarkably, the American story of the frontier spirit replicates the Biblical story we find in Joshua of how God’s chosen  people were led to possess the promised land of Canaan.  Likewise, early American leaders advocated a “Manifest Destiny” for the North American continent that foresaw an expansion of democratic republics westward that would expand beyond the thirteen original colonies and become the United States of America.  Many believed this expansion to be a divine destiny sanctioned by the same Lord God of Israel. ...The Joshua narrative is now being studied world-wide using the International Sunday School curriculum.  So, I am becoming reacquainted with its message of adventure and remarkable heroics, faith, courage, stories of chicanery, and idioms of truth and wisdom.  In the first chapter, the Lord God informs Joshua that he will be able to possess “every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon.”  He is instructed that “this Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you must meditate upon it day and night, that you may observe to do all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (NKJV) The instruction to Joshua is mandatory and not optional.  [A contemporary lesson for believers is that we should do likewise.] The second chapter tells the remarkable story of Rahab, an innkeeper of ill repute, whose fear of God and faith in Him leads her to save the spies of Israel and bargain for the salvation of her own family in the following Battle of Jericho.  In those days, the window sills of prostitutes were painted red.  Red was also the sign of blood.   A red rope tied from the window sill becomes a sign for Rahab’s deliverance; it is a Cross prefiguring centuries later another Cross on Calvary!  We find her listed in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith, and in James’ letter on faith. The 10th chapter finds Joshua commanding the sun and moon to stand still, an answered prayer!  While critics of the Bible interpret this fact as preposterous, scholars have proven it verifiable.

     In Joshua, the nation of Israel at God’s command invades and dispossesses the heathen tribes of Canaan.  Critics ask “how can the God of love in the New Testament be the same God to sanction genocide in this Old Testament book?”  The answer goes back to Genesis when God promised judgment upon disobedience.  C. S. Lewis wrote:  “There are two kinds of people in the world:  those who bend their knee to God and say ‘thy will be done’ and those who refuse to bend their knee to God and God says, ‘alright, your will be done.’“  The Bible portrays God’s judgment in many forms:  plagues, invading armies, disease, sickness, and death.  So the old Book informs us that free will is not absolute.  God has set parameters around what we may or may not do with the freedom and gift of life.  How much better to search the pages of Scripture to know and do His will. 


 

 
 
 
Sunrise on the Pere Marquette
              Midsummer Sunrise            

                        [eagle_inflight.gif]

.... Not many generations ago, where you now sit, circled with all that exalts and embellishes civilized life, the rank thistle nodded in the wind, and the wild fox dug his hole unscarred. Here lived and loved another race of beings. Beneath the same sun that rolls over your heads the Indian hunter pursued the panting deer; gazing on the same moon that smiles for you, the Indian lover wooed his dusky mate. Here the wigwam blaze beamed on the tender and helpless, the council fire glared on the wise and daring. …Here, too, they worshiped; and from many a dark bosom went up a pure prayer to the Great Spirit. He had not written his laws for them on tables of stone, but He had traced them on the tables of their hearts. The poor child of nature knew not the God of revelation, but the God of the universe he acknowledged in everything around.  He beheld Him in the star that sunk in beauty behind his lonely dwelling; in the sacred orb that flamed on him from His midday throne; in the flower that snapped in the morning breeze; in the lofty pine that had defied a thousand whirlwinds; in the timid warbler that never left its native grove; in the fearless eagle whose pinion was wet in the clouds; in the worm that crawled at his foot; and in his own matchless form, glowing with a spark of that light to whose mysterious Source he bent, in humble, though blind, adoration. Commemorating America’s 100th Independence Day…from The Poetical and Prose Writings of Charles Sprague.   American Patriotic Prose and Verse, 1876.

  
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