One of the greatest tragedies in human history was the Black Plague in Europe. Over a 7-year period (1346-1353), over 75-200 million people died. The population of Europe was pretty well cut in half and would not fully recover for 300 years. As the crisis accelerated, germs spread quickly because the dead could not be buried quickly enough. Since no one knew the source of the disease, physicians of the time offered useless treatments. However, religious people were familiar with the instructions in the Law of Moses regarding quarantine and hygiene when leprosy was present, and how to deal with the dead. Church leaders applied these principles to the plague and leprosy, and the spread of disease was halted in many communities. Millions of lives were saved.
While reading ahead for our Sunday morning adult study of the Book of Numbers, I was reminded of the Law’s instructions about hygiene. For example, in 19:14-16 it directs, “This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean for seven days. And every open vessel which has no covering tied down on it, shall be unclean. Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days.” The purpose of these instructions is obviously to prevent the spread of disease and germs, although ancient Jews could not understand the medical details as we can today.
That such medical wisdom was being practiced by ancient Israel a full 2800 years before the devastation of the great plagues of medieval Europe is surely amazing. The most advanced societies of the time were nowhere close to practicing Israel’s ways of hygiene and seclusion. No scientific experimentation discovered these principles; it originated in the inspired word of God.
This is one more clear piece of evidence that the Bible is indeed a book given to man by God Himself.
– Tim Johnson
The following article was written by Roy Graneau, preacher for the South Edmonton Church of Christ (the congregation that I used to work with before moving to Barrie). Roy is highly respected and appreciated. – Tim
THE IMPORTANCE OF HOPE IN MY LIFE
There are times when everything looks very dark to me, so dark that I have to ask, “Is my God still with me in my storms?” Waiting with hope is very difficult, but true patience is expressed when I must even wait for hope. When I see no hint of success yet refuse to despair, when I see nothing but darkness of night through my window, yet keep the shutters open because stars may appear in the sky, and when I have an empty place in my heart yet will not allow it to be filled with anything less than one of God’s best virtue of patience.
It is the story of Job in the midst of trials, Abraham on the road to Mount Moriah, Moses in the burning desert of Median and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is no patience as strong as that which endures because God who is invisible in my storms.
“By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27
– By Roy Graneau
At 120 years old, Moses announced to the Israelite nation that his time had come. In Deut.34:1, God instructed him to ascend Mount Nebo where he would die. What a solemn walk that would have been for this great old prophet.
When he reached the top, God allowed him a look at all of the promised land. Mount Nebo is 2680 feet above sea level and stands just east of the Jordan valley, just across from Jericho. What a terrific place to preview the land. He would have seen the deep Jordan valley at his feet, and the high hills of the future Judea, where Jerusalem stood. God displayed the southern parts of the land at the bottom of the Dead Sea, and the northern limits in the distance. This would have been the pinnacle of Moses’ life, for he had never seen the promised land. For the previous 40 years he had led the people in its direction. The place had only existed in his imagination. This brief view would have fulfilled a dream.
As you know, Moses was not allowed to enter the land. The closest he would get was the view at the top of Mount Nebo. Then, after a good, long look, he passed away. God buried him in a nearby valley, but his final resting place is concealed.
God had actually done Moses a favour by letting him skip living in the new land. History records it became a place of tremendous strife and hardship. Instead, God took him into the heavenly realms. The rest of the people soon entered the land, but they would eventually destroy it.
Our position is something like that of Moses. We travel far in life and the way is difficult. We’re told about our reward in heaven, but we can only see it through the word of God and by faith. However unlikely it seems, the time is coming when we will enter it. Live by faith so that you will.
– Tim Johnson
Every once in a while we get a glimpse in to the secret side of the world’s governments. Matters that are “Top Secret” are sometimes suddenly revealed by the work of computer hackers, or one foreign government trying to root out the secrets of another. As long as there have been governments, prying eyes have tried to steal their closely-held secrets. Protecting information has become a big business.
Moses spoke of God’s secrets during a speech he delivered just before Israel was to enter the Promised Land. He warned them not to neglect the Law, for there would be dire consequences. This they could count on, because God had revealed it. Then Moses said this: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.” (Deut.29:29)
There are many things we would like God to explain. We all wonder about the difficult things of life, whether or not there are reasons for them. The word “WHY” is not just a favorite question of toddlers, for people of all ages ask it. Moses helped us to understand that God has his secrets and it is not for us to demand answers of Him for things He has not revealed at this time. But Moses noted that God has revealed enough for us to keep going in life, to keep believing and be satisfied with what He has said. Many things will remain a mystery until Jesus returns and we can finally go with Him to meet our God. I’m sure the Lord will be happy to answer all of our questions at that time.
Until then, we must trust Him and be grateful for what He has revealed. “The things revealed belong to us.”
– Tim Johnson
There’s a curious note at the end of the book of Deuteronomy describing the death and burial of Moses. As you remember, God allowed him to see an overview of the Promised Land from a perch on top of Mount Nebo, then he passed away. “And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day.” (Deut.34:6) Continue reading