GOD KNOWS US BY NAME

We are your people, the sheep of your flock. PSALM 79:13

Sheep aren’t smart. They tend to wander into running creeks for water, then their wool grows heavy and they drown. They need a shepherd to lead them to “calm water” (Psalm 23:2). They have no natural defense—no claws, no horns, no fangs. They are helpless. Sheep need a shepherd with a “rod and shepherd’s staff” (Psalm 23:4) to protect them. They have no sense of direction. They need someone to lead them “on paths that are right” (Psalm 23:3).

So do we. We, too, tend to be swept away by waters we should have avoided. We have no defense against the evil lion who prowls about seeking whom he might devour. We, too, get lost.

We need a shepherd. We need a shepherd to care for us and to guide us. And we have one. One who knows us by name.

from A GENTLE THUNDER

Archaeologists Believe They May Have Found Where the Tabernacle Housing the Ark of the Covenant Once Stood

Jul. 3, 2013 by Sharona Schwartz

In the Bible during the Hebrews’ 40 year trek in the wilderness, the Tabernacle was described as a movable tent which housed the Ark of the Covenant and accompanied the Israelites as they made their way to the Promised Land.

Now, archaeologists in Israel say they think they’ve discovered one place where the Tabernacle – also known as the Tent of Meeting – was parked, a discovery that has political significance today.

Tabernacle-in-the-Wilderness-620x457

According to Israel Hayom, the Tabernacle as described in the Bible was constructed of wood and fabric, “not materials cut out for thousands of years of survival.” Even so, archaeologists have been searching for the past few years for evidence of the Tabernacle. That search has focused on a site believed to be the ancient city of Shiloh and has yielded some intriguing findings.

Archeologists say they found holes carved into the ground into which beams of a temporary structure could have fit. Israel Hayom writes:

Near the holes, in the northern part of Tel Shiloh, structures were unearthed that correspond to the dates when Joshua first settled the land of Israel until the period of King David’s reign.

One of these structures was found to contain ceramic vessels as well as three large taboon clay ovens.

Hananya Hizmi, staff officer for archeology in the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, says, “This is not something that was common in private residences and therefore we do not believe these structures served as family dwellings.”

This being the Middle East, the discovery inevitably has a political dimension. TheBlaze contacted Yisrael Medad, who writes the blog My Right Word and resides in the modern Israeli community of Shiloh which is adjacent to the Bible-era settlement. It’s also located in Samaria, part of what Palestinians and most countries refer to as the West Bank. Medad has been writing about the archaeological dig at Tel Shiloh next door.

Shiloh-Dig
With the Palestinians demanding Israel give up Judea and Samaria and the international community continuing to refer to the region as “Occupied Territory,” Medad explains that this evidence of millennial-old Jewish connection to the land is significant.

“The Arabs, from the very beginning, have sought to negate and ignore any element of Jewish national ethos or historical connection to this land – which is important since, as we know, the San Remo Conference [after World War I which demarcated the borders for territories captured by the Allies] and League of Nations decisions of international law specifically noted the ‘historical connection’ between the Jews and this country,” Medad says.

“I call that a policy of disinventivity that they are engaged in. The digs at Shiloh, deep in the heartland of the Land of Israel – which is not the Land of Ishmael – are quite important in countering that campaign,” he adds.

Medad explains, “The archaeology at Tel Shiloh covers not only Roman, Byzantine, Early Arab periods, including three basilicas but the layers of excavation have revealed a firm conformity to the Biblical narrative. This narrative is not an ideological fabrication of political myth but a true historical record. History and religious belief are dove-tailed.”

The Palestinian Authority and its allies in the Arab world have for years been accusing Israel of “Judaizing Jerusalem” despite the copious evidence of Jewish presence in the holy city – including the Western Wall believed to be a remnant of the Second Temple – for thousands of years.

In an article in the Jewish Press, Medad slammed Palestinian activists for creating a new historical narrative to bolster their claims to the disputed land. He wrote: “But as to who is a-thieving, and stealing and expropriating historical identity, first of all, ‘Palestinianism’ is a model of disinventivity nationalism. Not only do they invent their own narrative but they disinvent Jewish history.”

“The Tomb of Rachel. Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs. The Temple Mount. Jerusalem Denial. The whole UNESCO campaign. All, and the entire Land of Israel, have been the subject of incessant Islamic reinvention. My home town – Shiloh – became Seilun and the Pal. Minister for Archaeology denies its past,” he wrote.

Israel Hayom reports that archaeologists are being cautious about their Shiloh discovery. They continue to dig, as they try to determine if indeed the Tabernacle once stood in that place.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/07/03/archaeologists-believe-they-may-have-found-where-the-tabernacle-housing-the-ark-of-the-covenant-once-stood/

The Stars Forever

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)

The setting of this beautiful verse is after the resurrection of the saved to everlasting life, and the unsaved to eternal shame (v. 2). Its glorious promise to those who are “wise” and who “turn many to righteousness” through Jesus Christ is that of “shining” forever like the stars.

Evolutionary astronomers believe that stars evolve through a long cycle of stellar life and death, but this idea contradicts God’s revelation that He has created this physical universe to last forever. Speaking of these stellar heavens, the majestic 148th Psalm, centered on God’s creation, says that God “hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass” (Psalm 148:6).

It is true that, because of sin, “the whole creation groaneth . . . until now” (Romans 8:22), and the heavens “shall wax old as doth a garment; . . . and they shall be changed” (Hebrews 1:11- 12). In fact, the earth and its atmospheric heaven (not the sidereal heaven) one day will “pass away” (Matthew 24:35), and then will be transformed by God into “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13) which will never pass away.

But the infinite cosmos of space and time, created in the beginning by God, was created to last forever, and God cannot fail in His purposes. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

The stars are innumerable, each one unique, each one with a divine purpose, and they will shine forever. We can never reach them in this life, but in our glorified bodies, we shall have endless time to explore the infinite heavens. HMM

Vineyards in the wilderness?

“I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness… And I will give her her vineyards from thence.” (Hosea 2:14, 15.)

A STRANGE place to find vineyards—in the wilderness! And can it be that the riches which a soul needs can be obtained in the wilderness, which stands for a lonely place, out of which you can seldom find your way? It would seem so, and not only that, but the “Valley of Achor,” which means bitterness, is called a door of hope. And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth!

Yes, God knows our need of the wilderness experience. He knows where and how to bring out that which is enduring. The soul has been idolatrous, rebellious; has forgotten God, and with a perfect self-will has said, “I will follow after my lovers.” But she did not overtake them. And, when she was hopeless and forsaken, God said, “I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.” What a loving God is ours!—Crumbs.

We never know where God hides His pools. We see a rock, and we cannot guess it is the home of the spring. We see a flinty place, and we cannot tell it is the hiding place of a fountain. God leads me into the hard places, and then I find I have gone into the dwelling place of eternal springs.— Selected.

Trust ye in the Lord for ever

“Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:4

Seeing that we have such a God to trust to, let us rest upon Him with all our weight; let us resolutely drive out all unbelief, and endeavour to get rid of doubts and fears, which so much mar our comfort; since there is no excuse for fear where God is the foundation of our trust. A loving parent would be sorely grieved if his child could not trust him; and how ungenerous, how unkind is our conduct when we put so little confidence in our heavenly Father who has never failed us, and who never will.

It were well if doubting were banished from the household of God; but it is to be feared that old Unbelief is as nimble nowadays as when the psalmist asked, “Is His mercy clean gone for ever? Will He be favourable no more?” David had not made any very lengthy trial of the mighty sword of the giant Goliath, and yet he said, “There is none like it.” He had tried it once in the hour of his youthful victory, and it had proved itself to be of the right metal, and therefore he praised it ever afterwards; even so should we speak well of our God, there is none like unto Him in the heaven above or the earth beneath; “To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.” There is no rock like unto the rock of Jacob, our enemies themselves being judges.

So far from suffering doubts to live in our hearts, we will take the whole detestable crew, as Elijah did the prophets of Baal, and slay them over the brook; and for a stream to kill them at, we will select the sacred torrent which wells forth from our Saviour’s wounded side. We have been in many trials, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed. Let us then be encouraged to trust in the Lord for ever, assured that His ever lasting strength will be, as it has been, our succour and stay.

“Called to be saints”

“Called to be saints.” Romans 1:7

We are very apt to regard the apostolic saints as if they were “saints” in a more especial manner than the other children of God. All are “saints” whom God has called by His grace, and sanctified by His Spirit; but we are apt to look upon the apostles as extraordinary beings, scarcely subject to the same weaknesses and temptations as ourselves. Yet in so doing we are forgetful of this truth, that the nearer a man lives to God the more intensely has he to mourn over his own evil heart; and the more his Master honours him in His service, the more also doth the evil of the flesh vex and tease him day by day.

The fact is, if we had seen the apostle Paul, we should have thought him remarkably like the rest of the chosen family: and if we had talked with him, we should have said, “We find that his experience and ours are much the same. He is more faithful, more holy, and more deeply taught than we are, but he has the selfsame trials to endure. Nay, in some respects he is more sorely tried than ourselves.” Do not, then, look upon the ancient saints as being exempt either from infirmities or sins; and do not regard them with that mystic reverence which will almost make us idolators. Their holiness is attainable even by us. We are “called to be saints” by that same voice which constrained them to their high vocation.

It is a Christian’s duty to force his way into the inner circle of saintship; and if these saints were superior to us in their attainments, as they certainly were, let us follow them; let us emulate their ardour and holiness. We have the same light that they had, the same grace is accessible to us, and why should we rest satisfied until we have equalled them in heavenly character? They lived with Jesus, they lived for Jesus, therefore they grew like Jesus. Let us live by the same Spirit as they did, “looking unto Jesus,” and our saintship will soon be apparent.