Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Tuesday
Feb072012

BALAAM'S  SAAB

The remarkable story of Balaam's ass is found in Number 22:21-35 -- the talking donkey who rebuked his master.  I refer to this unusual story, because the same thing happened to me.  Except that the LORD spoke to me, not through a donkey, but through my car, my 1995 black four-door SAAB.

It was a rough, rough auto summer – but before I complain about all that, hear Balaam's complaint first.

Balak, king of Moab, hired the prophet Balaam to curse the nomadic Hebrews that were forcing their way into Palestine.  Balak promised to pay Balaam exceedingly well for his cursing.  Balaam refused to do so, but then the LORD spoke to him, "Go, but do only what I tell you.:

So, the next day, Balaam rose, saddled his donkey, and went with the Moab princes who had come to hire his services.  Even though God told Balaam to go, He also became angry that Balaam was going to Moab. 

(While God's changing his mind doesn't make sense, it may be that Balaam was sinning by coveting his huge fee.)

So, the LORD put a Messenger – an angel? Jesus? – in the path.  The donkey saw the Messenger; Balaam did not.  Twice the donkey went off the path to avoid the Messenger, and so Balaam beat him.  The third time the Messenger filled a narrow way, so the donkey lay down.  Balaam was furious and beat the donkey with a stick.

28   Then the LORD made the donkey speak, and it asked Balaam, "What have I done to make you hit me three times?"  

29  Balaam answered, "You've made a fool of me!  If I had a sword in my hand, I'd kill you right now."

30   The donkey said to Balaam, "I'm your own donkey.  You've always ridden me.  Have I ever done this to you before?"

"No," he answered.

31  Then the LORD let Balaam see the Messenger of the LORD who was standing in the road with his sword drawn.  So Balaam knelt, bowing with his face touching the ground. . . .

34   Balaam said, "I've sinned.  I didn't know you were standing there in the road to stop me.  If you still think this trip is evil, I'll go back."

35   The Messenger of the LORD said, "Go with these men, but say only what I tell you."

So then what happened?  Balaam met with King Balak, who was expecting powerful curses against the Hebrews.  Three times Balaam prophesied about the children of Israel, but each time he blessed them instead of cursing them.  Balak was furious.  While the King didn't harm Balaam, he refused to pay him anything. Then, Balaam prophesied again and foretold the Hebrew destruction of the Moabites, the Edomites, the Amalekites and the Kenites.

So how does this Biblical account relate to me?

My woes began on July 6, 2008, a beautiful summer Sunday.  I was driving east on I-70.  Fifty miles east of Indianapolis, I burned out my engine.  Fried it.  I bought a $1,800 SAAB replacement engine and had it installed. However, during the installation, a thief stole my catalytic converter – probably got $150 for the platinum and iridium – but the replacement cost $2,100.  And then, during Hurricane Ike, I fried the replacement engine too.  (It wasn't Ike's fault.)  A mechanic friend rebuilt the engine so it runs like new.

Just a series of bad events?  That's what I assumed.

Or, was it an attack by the devil?  Probably.  But, I didn't have enough sense to call on the power of Jesus' Name to rebuke the devil.

But it turned out to be different.  The car problems were the LORD's blessing.  And an expression of His wrath.

Early in October, I woke up one morning with a terrifying understanding of the LORD's message to me:

"You have the choice of being cleansed by loving Me or by suffering.  You still love your cravings more than Me. So, repent, or --

"Twice I touched your car.  The next time I can touch you."

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Purpose of this blog is to compile a book for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2011 by Jack Towe

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