FMH Childrenís Club International
P.O. Box 640109
El Paso, TX 79904
The following letter-form was brought about as a means of teaching my children the Word of God through the mail. And of course, quite naturally so, thatís the reason I begin these letters with "Dear Children" and end them with "Love Dad". So for the rest of you who participate in these weekly messages, please keep their original intended purpose in mind.
19 July, 1998
Wow! What a week this has been in the Lord! Shout hallelujah, thank you Jesus!!! Things are starting to happen at a rapid pace and weíll just have to pray through and see if they are all of God. Take for instance the phone call I received from a rancher I donít even know. You see it was the week of Christmas 1997, as I made just another one of my many visit to my favorite little farm town out in the middle of nowhere, that I handed out one of my FMH Childrenís Club business cards to a farmer who I had met a year or so before. I gave him the card and asked him to kindly give me a call if he ever happened to hear of any farm/ranch land that might be for sale.
Well thatís what the phone call was all about. The man who made the call is a rancher who has approximately 20,000 acres of farm/range land he needs to unload, and itís complete, set up, and ready to go. You see it has been my dream for the Childrenís Club to own a ranch far away from the craziness of the world around us, and take in kids who want a fresh start in life. And after praying and searching the area around El Paso I have come to the point that I feel this is the place to be. A small, quiet little town where everybody knows everything that happens, and they even know it within five minutes after itís been done. Now thatís the kind of town I like (hated it as a kid, love it as a parent).
And seeing how most of the time the Lord takes His time in doing whatever Heís going to do, Iíve been patiently waiting for it to all happen. So is this it? I donít know yet but Wednesday weíre going to take a ride and at least see what we can see. But just looking at the ranch and praying for Godís will in the matter will not finalize the deal; itís only one of the first steps in the process. Because if He says OK, and this is the place He wants us to be, then the next thing that I will have to hear from Him about is how are we are going to pay for it. You see everything that we do for the Lord has to be done in faith. In other words Heíll give us the dream or vision of His divine plan for our lives long before He will show us how He is going to make it all happen.
But itís during this most often very long period of silence that the Lord has set aside a perfectly planned opportunity for prayer. Because there ainít no doubt about it, the Lord loves to hear our prayers and He loves to hear us ask Him what to do next. You see itís His single most desire to be our Heavenly Father and have us depend on Him for His help and guidance in our day to day lives. We ask Him, He tells us, and of course the only thing left for us to do is obey. And that takes us right back to our seemingly never ending topic of this weeks sermonet; Obedience part VI.
Donít you just love the way that little story fits so nicely in the beginning of our message? Well if you will remember last week we talked about that very special family called "the children of Israel", and how this family all came about through one manís obedience to God. Because if it wouldnít have been for Abraham obeying God, then he wouldnít have had Isaac, and Isaac wouldnít have had Jacob, and Jacob wouldnít have had his twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of Israel.
You see it all became possible because God made Abraham a promise with a great big "IF" attached to it. But even though the "IF" was there, Abraham, through obedience, was able to satisfy itís requirements. Because reading once again from Genesis 12:1-3, "Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy fatherís house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great... and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Now that is what I would call a mighty tall order. God was going to make Abrahamís family become the Jewish nation, and through them He was going to bless the world greatly. That was what God wanted but He first had to get Abraham to leave his kin folk behind and head out to that special place God was going to show him. Now I donít know about you, but I believe if I would have been one of those "special children" in the family of Abraham, having known the fact that God Almighty had chosen me and mine to be His very own special people, it probably wouldnít have been too very awful hard to get just a wee bit big headed real quick. Know what I mean? In fact to make this potential problem sound like some sort of uncontrollable disease you might even want to give it a medical term like "The Kingís Kids Syndrome".
And considering the story that we read last week about Joseph and how his eleven brothers tried to get rid of him for good, it makes you kinda wonder if they might have had a touch of that disease themselves. Talk about a devilish crew! And do you think the Lord was pleased with their behavior? Do you actually think the Lord would consider them as His obedient children?
Well where I ended the story last week really wasnít the end of the story at all. In fact if we will read on into the last chapter in the book of Genesis (chapter 49) we will see Jacob (Israel) giving a word of prophecy to each of his twelve sons concerning their life, both then and in the future to come. It was kinda like Jacobís final words of warning to his children before he drew his last dying breath. Now the story takes place in Egypt because Joseph was sold by his brothers as a slave to Egypt... and then he got promoted to the position of vice president of the country... and finally when his family was about ready to starve to death (because of some very bad times) Joseph invited them in to Egypt for a bite to eat... and they decided to stay... and thatís exactly how they all ended up in the not too godly place called Egypt.
But anyway, reading on into Genesis 49, "And Jacob called into his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. Reuben, thou art my first born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy fatherís bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch."
Now it doesnít take too much imagination to come up with the brilliant conclusion that this first born son Reuben didnít walk around with a halo on his head. In fact at times it seemed as though he had a pitchfork and two little nubby horns sticking out of his head. But then again, as you should all remember, it was Reuben who somehow managed to convince his other brothers not to kill Joseph but just throw him in the pit. But how about the rest? Well reading on, "Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel."
OK, so what do you think about brothers #2 and 3? I think it should be obvious by Jacobís choice of words that they were both cruel, unjust, and down right hostile. Hand out two more pitch forks maybe? Well brother #4 has got to be much better, so letís see what Jacob had to say about him: "Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy fatherís children shall bow down before thee... The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
Now weíre getting somewhere. Jacob prophesied some mighty great things about his son Judah and his family. You see they would be the kingly line that would give birth to The King of kings and Lord of lords; The Savior of the World. It was his family that would have the honor of bringing Jesus Christ into the world. What a family! But letís not stop there, letís check out son #5: "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon."
Well Zebulun didnít do too bad for himself; nothing real negative like curses anyway. Looks like his family might be going into the shipping business. So now we can go on to son #6: "Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant, and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute."
Issacharís crew was what you would call hard working folks. They were farmers and likewise they produced much of the grub for this very large family and because of the local mob in their area they ended up paying allot of bribe money to stay alive. But now to move on to son #7: "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that the rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD."
The tribe of Dan was the tribe of the judges. And of course we all should know what judges do (guilty or not guilty). In fact one of the most famous family member of Dan was Samson. But anyway, continuing on with sons #8, 9, and 10: "Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at last. Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words."
The people of Gad were nothing more than lean mean fighting machines. Asher it seems on the other hand liked the finer things in life and likewise played the money game. And as for Naphtali, this son was compared to a female deer (hind) being very kind and soft hearted. So you see there are quite a few varieties of personalities in this family... and then we get to Joseph.
"Joseph is a fruitful bough even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But this bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel;) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above... The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren."
Talk about getting blessed! Boy did Joseph ever make out like a bandit. But of course we all saw from last weekís message the many things he had to suffer in order to get these blessing. And of course not only were these blessings for Joseph, but they would likewise hold true for his distant family as well (his childrenís children). And now for the last but not the least son #12: "Benjamin shall ravine as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them. And he charged them, and said unto them, I am to be gathered unto my people: bury me with my fathers... And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people."
So as predicted, Benjamin and his family would be cunning and courageous with fierce determination like a wolf. And in fact as history showed this to be true, there were two very distinguished members of Benjaminís family who just so happened to be the two Sauls: King Saul and Saul of Tarsus (Paul). And in the end Jacob finishes off his earthly duties as a father by giving his twelve sons either his blessings (encouragement) or curses (discouragement). Jacob had raised all twelve sons with the promises of God in mind, but now that his work was ended he goes on to meet his Lord.
So regardless of the fact that Satan got a pretty good hold on quite a few of them, this was Godís very own special family of the Jewish people... and it took all twelve of Jacobís sons to put Godís plan in place. But out of the twelve which do you think was the closest to God?
Well it was early Monday morning, about four oíclock to be exact, and after having written the message on Joseph and his hard times in Egypt just the day before, that the Lord gave me Scripture that He wanted me to read. So I read it and this was what it said (Psalm 112), "Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish."
Now out of Jacobís entire litter, looking very closely at all twelve of his sons, which one do you think fits this description of a dedicated child of God as found in Psalm 112? Well I donít know about you but my brain didnít even get a chance to warm up good before I came up with my answer. Itís kinda like what you would call a "no brainer". Of course the answer is Joseph. He loved the Lord and he loved doing what his Heavenly Father asked him to do. And it was only through his complete faith in God that the circumstances of his harsh treatment by his brothers turned out to be a blessing for the family. You see if he wouldnít have been a child of God he would have never completed the tough job he had to accomplish in Egypt. And if he would have never finished the job that he was called there to do, his entire family would have ended up as very boney meat for the buzzards. But only because of Josephís undying faith in God Almighty, the remaining eleven sons of the twelve tribes of Israel survived... and so did the plan of God.
Now for the last few messages weíve kinda like been around the block and back (and it was a rather long block at that). Because where we left off the week before last was with Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. And to refresh your memories on where we were before we made that sharp "U" turn, letís pick it back up once again with Deuteronomy 10:1-22 and read the wordís of Moses, "At that time the LORD said unto me, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou breakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark. And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand. And he wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me. And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me."
So Moses is telling his story as to what happened to the twelve tribes of Israel after becoming slaves in Egypt and after their great escape. But once again, the story all started with Jacobís twelve sons and their families (all 70 of em) moving into Egypt to keep from starving, and only after a few hundred years of growing they turned into a population of about 3,000,000 people, and then the Egyptian government made a change and likewise made them slaves. And thatís the way they stayed until Moses came on the scene and helped them out. But once Moses did finally manage to get these chosen people out of their predicament (through the might miracle working power of God), he soon found out that they had forgotten just who God was. And in order for God to give these children of God a quick overview of His expectations of them as their Father, He made them up a set of heavy duty flash cards (so to speak).
And as Moses was coming down the mountain with the first set of Ten Commandments flash cards, he found all kind of ugly, nasty, dirty things going on with Godís children... and he immediately got mad. And because of this anger that came upon him, he like threw these big heavy flash cards at the people and they broke. And after having a few thousand of these very ugly people destroyed (children of God?) Moses went on back up the mountain for flash card set number two.
And this is what happened on his return visit to the Lord: "And I stayed in the mount, according to the first time, forty days and forty nights; and the LORD hearkened unto me at that time also, and the LORD would not destroy thee. And the LORD said unto me, Arise, take thy journey before the people, that thy journey before the people, that they may go in and possess the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give unto them. And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?"
You see these children of Israel might have been the children of God but they were like what you would call "walking on very thin ice". After their last episode, God the Father had seriously considered putting them out of their misery (life) and into their misery (death) for good. But He gave them another chance and He also made it very well known to them that their only responsibility in life was to serve God the Father with everything they had.
And to just make double sure these children of Israel got the picture, Moses went on to say: "Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORDís thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. For the LORD your God is God of gods, and LORD of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward... Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; him shalt thy serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thy eyes have seen. Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude."
Wow! Has this ever been one long journey with these children of Israel... but just maybe we are finally getting to the place Iíve been trying to get to for several weeks now. Because itís that one statement Moses made from God (For the LORD your God is God of gods, and LORD of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward) that really packs a punch. You see even though these children of Israel/children of God might have been the Kings kids, the adoption process that took place in order for them to become His kids was not irreversible. In other words for them to be classified as children of God they had to treat Him as God the Father... and do so by being completely obedient to Him in both heart and soul... and other than that nothing else would classify them as His children.
But letís not stop there because Moses still has allot more on the subject to tell: "Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway. And now ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm, And his miracles, and his acts, which he did in the midst of Egypt unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and unto all his land; And what he did unto the army of Egypt, unto their horses, and to thy chariots; how he made the water of the Red sea to overflow them as they pursued after you, and how the LORD hath destroyed them unto this day; And what he did unto you in the wilderness, until ye came into this place; And what he did unto Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben: how the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their households, and their tents, and all the substance that was in their possessions, in the midst of all Israel: But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did. Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whether ye go to possess it; And that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey."
The fact of the matter is that itís basic human nature to want to forget the bad times. But the heck with human nature because itís my unshakable belief that we should not only remember the good but also the bad. I mean why waste a good history lesson? And thatís exactly the point Moses was trying to make with the children of Israel. They had witnessed some of the mightiest miracles that God has ever performed against the evil and wicked nation of Egypt. And as you should all well remember Godís mighty display of power to the Egyptians went like this: Mosesí staff turned into a serpent; all the rivers, ponds, streams, and pools of water turned to blood; the land of Egypt became covered with frogs; the land of Egypt became covered with lice; the land of Egypt became covered with flies; a large number of the Egyptianís cows, horses, donkeys, camels, oxen, and sheep died; all the Egyptianís and their animals became infested with oozing boils; massive size hail fell destroying anything that it hit (men, animals, and plants); the land of Egypt became covered with plant eating locusts (grasshoppers); the land was covered with thick darkness for three days; and finally all the first born of the Egyptians died.
But that was just for starters! Because it was only after the children of Israel were released from Egypt and God had opened the Red Sea to let them through that the Egyptian army thought they could get through on this Red Sea highway too. Thatís what they thought until the walls of water came tumbling down on top of them and likewise drowning all in itís path. And that was only what happened to the Egyptians. Because there was some mighty awesomely bad things that happened to a few of the children of Israel too. Take for instance Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, the son of Reuben. If you will only remember Reubenís curse from his very own father Jacob then this little incident will kinda make sense. Because the entire families of both Dathan and Abiram (men, women, and children) along with everything they owned (dogs, cats, cows, and etc.) were actually dropped straight down into pit of Hell. And as far as I can tell, this was the only time in the history of the Bible that anybody has ever had their body, soul, and spirit go straight into Hell instantaneously.
But the point that Moses made so very nicely is the point that I want to continue on with next week: there ainít nobody in the eyes of God who is so very special that they canít lose their preferred status with The Father and end up in Hell!!!
So until next week, continue to think on this hot subject we have covered today... and above all, seeing how important it is, try just a little bit harder to Keep The Faith!!!
Dad (Bruce Hallman)
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