School is never out for those who are followers of the Lord Jesus. As
we walk in the Spirit there are lessons to be learned everyday. Jesus
used things which were a part of His day and even ours to illustrate
truth. There were ovjects he picked out and held up before His disciples
which reflected lessons which have held relevance for all generations.
Truth is eternal.
Years ago I stood atop of Masada in the Holy Land. I shall never forget
the first time I walked in the dust of that imposing fortress constructed
by Herod the Great. It was there that I caught the indominable spirit
of the people of Israel. It has become a monument to their commitment
to freedom which exceeds their love of life. In 73 A.D. 960 revolutionaries
chose death rather than becoming slaves of Rome. In modern times Masada
is the place where the young recruits of the Israeli Defense Forces
hike up the trail called the "Snake Path" and gather in the
oldest synagogue in the world to be sworn in to defend their beloved
land. The declare in the pledge, "Never again!" They are determined
that Israel will never fall again.
Masada is a fascinating structure of stone on three terraces jutting
out from the north face of the rock where sheer cliffs fall away to
the shore of the Dead Sea 1300 feet below, According to the Jewish historian
of the first century, Josephus, Herod built it as a place of refuge
from his enemies who threatened his crown, even his life. The fortress
could not deliver him the ultimate enemy. It is believed he died from
a heart attack.
It took the renown archeologist, Yigael Yadin, evelen months to unearth
the site. He discovered the opulence of the palace containing frescos
and tiles. There were baths and swimming pools which were supplied warer
from cisterns designed to hold 1,400,000 cubic feet of water. Bins had
been constructed to hold tons of grain. The hoarding of water and grain
was in anticipation of a possible siege ever haunting the Edomite king
who in fact was not Jewish.
The grain discovered in the bins holds a lesson. After 2000 years it
still held the power to germinate. That fact surely illustrates our
faith in the promises of God which is the seed of God's truth. Jesus
taught about the sower who went out to sow the seed.
One of the most familiar and often quoted passages of Scripture pointing
to the sure promises of God is from Isaiah: "For as the rain cometh
down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth
the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed
to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth
forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but shall accomplish
that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent
it" (Is. 55:10,11).
The promises of God can be scattered as seed in whatever the circumstances
and will bear fruit according to God's timing. When Jacob blessed his
son Zebulon, he spoke the prophetic (promissory) word of God: "Zebulon
shall dwell at the haven of the sea, and he shall be a haven of ships,
and his border shall be unto Zidon(Sidon)"(Ge.49.13). Haifa is
the sole harbor of Israel. It is located in the ancient land of Zebulon.
It was in 1933 that the word of God through Jacob came to pass when
under the British mandate the harbor at Haifa was dredged out making
it possible for giant ships carrying the Jews in the modern Exodus to
come to the port of the land promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. On many
a clear day I have stood at an observation point and looked up the coastline
to see the remains of Sidon.
There is a promise which we hear little about in our time. Even some
church leaders are quick to criticize the exposition of it. They much
prefer themes dealing with time failing to address the Omega point of
history. Jesus promised, "I will come again and receive you unto
myself" (Jn.14:3). It is not a funeral test. It is a text for His
"glorious appearing"(Titus 2:13) when "we which are alive
and remain shall be caught up together with them(those sleep in Jesus)
in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever by with
the Lord"(1 Thes. 4:17).
He is coming again! Preparation is made for His coming as we rest in
the assurance of the promise: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ
and thou shalt be saved and thy house" (Ac. 16:31). That seed continues
to bear fruit after 2000 years and will continue until He comes again!