|Vol. 16 No. 8 August 2014||
In Exodus 17:8-16, we find the account of Amalek coming out to fight against Israel after Israel had left Egypt. Moses told Joshua to choose men for the fight, and then proceeded to tell Joshua that he would station himself on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hand. As Moses held his hands up, Israel had the upper hand and was winning the fight; however, as soon as his hand lowered, the tide turned and Amalek prevailed. Aaron and Hur, who were with Moses, then sat a stone under Moses, and then they held his hands up for him so that Israel might win. His hands were steady until the sun set, and Joshua overwhelmed the people of Amalek.
Judges 3:31 is the only verse in the Bible about the judge Shamgar. Shamgar defeated 600 Philistines with an ox goad. An ox goad is a tool for driving oxen; basically it is a large staff with a pointed end with which you goad (drive) oxen. The Bible is full of exploits and showcases of the power of the Almighty. What are we so afraid of (Romans 8:31)?
Are You a Volunteer?
In Isaiah 6 we find that Isaiah volunteered to go and speak for God. Why did Isaiah volunteer? It was not because his task was pleasant, because his message was one of judgment. It was not because he wanted money, glory or honor, because he received none of those. It was not because he was assured of success, because God guaranteed him that the people would not listen. This must have been extremely difficult for him to begin a task, knowing beforehand that he would not be successful. However, God assured him that a remnant would listen and be saved (Isaiah 6:12,13). That would make all his efforts worthwhile.
Most of us would be glad to teach, if we knew the vast majority would listen and obey. Regrettably, we know that is not the case; therefore, we often become tired and discouraged or refuse to even begin. Isaiah can become a source of encouragement for us to volunteer to become God’s great servants. God has already asked all of us to volunteer in His service; therefore, don’t wait for someone to ask you to do something. Isaiah volunteered to speak for God, and he was told to keep preaching until God’s predictions of destruction had been fulfilled (Isaiah 6:10-11). In like manner, we must keep preaching the good news of salvation, or doing whatever it is that we can do in the service of our Lord, as long as there is a man in his house or people in the cities. No, the majority may not listen, but there will be a small number, “a remnant,” which will respond and make all our efforts eternally worthwhile.
“And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel and said to the servant, ‘Who is that man, walking in the field to meet us?’ The servant said, ‘It is my master.’ So she took her veil and covered herself” (Genesis 24:64-65). They have finally done it. Scientists have finally proven the Bible wrong and not worthy of your attention. How, you might ask. Well, it is all about camels and a man by the name of Abraham, who apparently used them quite often in his many travels throughout what we would call the “holy land” and beyond. Well, at least that is what many think and no doubt will continue to think, despite the truth.
So what’s this all about? Just recently archaeologists studying the domestication of camels in the area of Palestine have determined that it was not until about the 10th century B.C. that camels arrived in the region of the Mediterranean. They studied primarily the bone density of certain camels using radioactive-carbon techniques and determined that it was impossible for camels to have existed in the regions around the Mediterranean before the 10th century in a domesticated fashion. The conclusion they then drew was that the Bible is inaccurate, and therefore, it is not trustworthy because men like Abraham are said to have used camels, though they predate the 10th century. Believe it or not, many biblical scholars actually agree that domestication of the camel did not happen until after the days of Abraham and that Abraham did actually use camels, though would disagree that the Bible makes erroneous statements concerning camel use. So, how could these agree and still leave the reputation of the Bible (and the camel for that matter) intact?
One of the things that these archaeologists are either unaware of or simply have not considered is the fact that Abraham was not from the Mediterranean area. He came from Mesopotamia, specifically a place called Ur. As a matter of fact, all of the men in the Bible that are mentioned as using camels were not originally from the Mediterranean area, but from further east (what we would call Iran and Iraq, where we find camels being used much earlier).
Furthermore, the Bible never says that Abraham used them because they were commonly used and used in abundance in Palestine. It is just not there. They are mentioned only in passing, and usage seems to be reserved to only a handful of individuals. In the entire Bible, “camels” are only referenced about 45 times in most versions. Well over half of these are found after the time of Abraham, and all of them are simply incidental, mentioned only because they are part of the context. Thus, it is not as if the Bible is or ever presents a case for the domestication of the beast during Abraham’s time or even its common usage.
So, what is the point? The point is the claim and the bias inherent in it. All too often when we want to find something, even when it doesn’t exist, then we will find it. If we are bent on being offended, then we will find offense. If we are bent on being miserable, then we will find ways to be so and, typically, sadden others with us. If we, instead, want to be positive and upbeat, then we will look for the good in all things, including those around us. Similarly, if we want to find truth, then we will certainly find it, dismissing the things that are simply unsupported, no matter what we feel about them or whether or not we have believed them in the past. Seek truth and let it be your guiding light and beacon of hope.