Having come through the worst snow storm in at least 22 years, I was surprised at how many references there are to snow in the Bible. I don’t think of Israel as a place for snow, but Jerusalem gets some snow and the beautiful Golan Heights receives plenty of snow. Snow reminds us of the color pure white—our sins can be made pure as white snow (Psalm 51:7, Isaiah 1:18). Snow reminds us of the clothing of God (Daniel 7:9, Matthew 28:3, Revelation 1:14). The only pure whiteness we will ever have is putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we think of the temptation of Jesus, we think of the three-fold temptation at the beginning of his ministry. We secretly think it must have been easy for Jesus—only being tempted once. Reality is that Jesus continued to be tempted—sometimes by his own human desires and other times by direct assault of Satan. Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, is tried, tempted and tortured in his own spirit by Satan. Temptation seems as strong today as at any other time in my life. I am glad my Savior was tempted in every way as I (Hebrew 4:15).
While the Israelites hid in caves quaking in fear of the Philistines (I Samuel 13:6-7), Jonathan acted with strength and faith (14:1-23). Jonathan left camp to spy on the Philistines. Jonathan believed nothing could hinder God from giving them victory over the Philistines. Jonathan stepped out to see if this would be the opportunity God would choose to give the victory. As God delivered the Philistines into the hands of Israel those who had been quaking in fear even came to join the fight. Nothing is too hard for the Lord but for our inaction and lack of faith.
Israel’s enemies were used by God to accomplish two purposes (Judges 3:1-2). First, to test the faithfulness of the next generation. Second, to teach them warfare. We desire to protect the next generation from all things hard. We should protect them from what is evil and immoral. Sometimes we need to allow some hard things to test them and to mature them. Other times they need to learn warfare—how to deal with hard things—because real life is full of hard things. Sometimes God wants to fight our battles; sometimes God wants to equip us to fight our battles.
Sunday, March 17, will be 90 years since Redfield Wesleyan (Methodist) Church was established. Churches are lot like people—they have their individual quirks, personalities, talents, strengths, challenges and life history. I am too new to this church to be much of an expert, but I know I feel honored to be pastor. I know I’m among awesome people who have kept the faith. I really appreciate that this 90 year old church is not dying, not pushing a walker, and not just keeping the doors open. God help us to be Sarah and Abraham in old age!
My “Service Battery Charging System” light came on my dash. I hoped the alternator would last until I got home. I shut off what I could shut off and keep going. After several hours the alternator failed and the car started shutting down one system after another. Eventually the car died. We used a jump starter battery pack and got to the next town where I left the car until daylight. If we don’t maintain our charging systems, our bodies begin shutting down our systems also. Life also drains us spiritually so we need to keep our spiritual battery charged.
Deuteronomy 9:4-5 tells us Israel did not gain possession of Canaan because of their righteousness, but rather because of the wickedness of the Canaanites. There was no room for spiritual arrogance among the Israelites. It is also true that once they possessed Canaan, the Israelites would only be blessed when they lived in obedience to God. Life is gradually teaching me the same truth: Life and salvation are a gift from God I do not deserve; there is no room for spiritual arrogance. My response to the gift should be one of obedience to God.