Family Covenant Ministries (formerly Christian Home Educators Fellowship) Faithfully honoring God, equipping generations, and serving the homeschooling community for the past 31 years! www.FamilyCovenantMinistries.com
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME December 2015 Information
Our Family’s Vision and Mission
Family Covenant Ministries (formerly CHEF) Information and Activities
1. FCM Activities
a. FCM Christmas Ball, February 6 or 12
b. FCM Annual Ice Skating, Saturday, January 30
c. FCM Tru-Combat, Saturday, February 20
d. FCM 32nd Annual Graduation Meetings in February and March
e. FCM 18th Annual Heart to Heart Tea, Thursday, March 17
f. FCM 22nd Annual Art Festival and Photography Contest, April
2. FCM Conference Notes
3. FCM 2016 Conference
4. FCM Fundraiser
5. FCM 2015 Art Festival Winners
6. Needs and Services-Summers Family Farms Dairy
There’s No Place Like Home Articles
1. Notes from Subscribers
2. Southern Traditions: Faith, Freedom, Family, Farm, and Friends-Wonderful Gift
3. Covenantal Families-The Bible Emphatically Proclaims a Message of Hope
4. New Homeschoolers Part VIII-God’s Protection in Preventing the Subversive Plans of Benedict Arnold
5. In the Library-Hurry! Hurry! Have You Heard?
6. Come Gather at Our Table-Jambalaya
7. Summers Signature-Luxurious Bedrooms
8. Summers on the Farm
9. The Joy of Country Living-Recreating Noah’s Ark-Hardly!
If you get a blank email from us (mailto:
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FCM Christmas Ball We could not find a location in time for our Christmas Ball, but we did find a location that would work at the beginning of January. However, the entire month of January would not work for our caller. So we were able to secure two dates in February on the 6th and 12th at the St. Charles Convention Center where we have held our conferences in the past. We are waiting to hear back from our caller to see if either of these dates work. As soon as we know, we will place the information on our website. It may not be a Christmas Ball, but it will still be a spectacular festive winter event.
FCM Annual Ice Skating Saturday, January 30, 4:00-8:00 p.m. PLEASE NOTE: Add $1 more if you pay us at the door. Outdoor ice rink at Shaw Park, 217 S. Brentwood, Clayton, MO 63105. $5.50 per skater includes skate rental, hot chocolate, and paper goods. PLEASE NOTE: You will soon be able to pay for this event online. If you are unable to pay online, please send name, number of skaters, and check payable to FCM, c/o Sonia Summers, PO Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645 by January 25. To get this deal, we must pay in advance, so please pay online or send your check in by the deadline. However, if you are able to come at the last minute, we will still be able to accommodate your family, but it will cost $1 more per skater. Do not pay at the ticket window; pay us. Just make certain that the ticket window knows that you are with the FCM (CHEF) group. This outdoor rink is a beautiful place to skate at night. Bring a finger food or plate of cookies to share, as we will set up hot chocolate in the warmed seating area just off the rink.
FCM Tru-Combat, February 20, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. $125 per person. Includes 7 hours of field play reserved exclusively for FCM players, AR-15 rental, MILES 2000 laser system, 140 rounds of blank ammo (this should be enough for the day, but extra ammo will be available for an extra fee), and one MRE. For ages 14 and up, but all ages are welcome to view games. For your convenience, onsite food vendor, free parking, free camping, shady rest area, private restrooms, and ATM are available. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience actual military combat using an eye-safe laser system connected to real AR-15’s firing blanks while team fighting in the woods of central Missouri.
Located at Snyder Farm 14 miles east of Osage Beach just southwest of Jefferson City. Snyder Farm, 92 Howell Loop, Ulman, MO 65083. Driving distance is less than 3 hours from St. Louis and Kansas City. MILES 2000 is Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System. It is the fourth generation laser engagement simulation employed by the US military over the past 40 years. And One Shepherd is the only commercial provider of MILES in the world. No projectiles are used! It is safe. Every time a blank cartridge is fired, MILES emits an eye-safe laser to score hits on your opponent. “Kills” are possible at more than a half mile. The blank ammunition keeps operational costs similar to paintball expenses. Realism receives high marks because MILES is used in conjunction with real firearms, including the flash and recoil of blank ammunition. And while there is no pain involved, experienced warriors still find themselves under considerable stress when the “near miss” tone beeps during the chaotic noise of battle. Engagement ranges are phenomenally good, easily engaging targets at 400 meters and even out to 800 meters (a half mile) with small arms weapons. Feedback provides not only “near miss” and “kill” shots, but identifies who shot whom and with what weapon system. Even hit/miss statistics are available. Finally, safety is excellent because MILES emits nothing more than an eye-safe beam of light.
Registration Deadline: December 31. Make checks payable to FCM, c/o Josiah Summers, P.O. Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645. Include your email address. If you have any questions, please call Josiah at 314-920-6135. For more information go to www.trucombat.1shepherd.com. Presented by One Shepherd Technical Institute of Leadership: One Warrior, One Leader, One Shepherd, http://1shepherd.com/. The first step in the direction of preparation to avert war, if possible, and to be fit for war if it should come, is to teach men to shoot! –Theodore Roosevelt
FCM 32nd Annual Graduation If you have a graduate, please email your graduate’s name, parents’ names, address, phone, and email address to
. Shortly after we receive your information, we will email our Welcome packet. Our meetings will be held in February and March at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Conveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 between Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza. To give you an idea of the focus of our graduation you may read the godly and inspiring charge, “Destined to Make a Difference,” which was presented by Bob Wells in 2010 by going to www.familycovenantministries.com. Click on “Services” and scroll to the bottom of the page.
FCM 18th Annual Heart to Heart Mother/Daughter Tea (Mothers without Daughters are Welcome!) Thursday, March 17 7:00-10:00 p.m. at the Hawken House Hearth Room, 1155 S. Rock Hill Road, St. Louis, MO 63119. Cost is $10 per person.
I will be teaching on the lessons—both practical and spiritual—that I have learned from living on a farm. Hopefully, I will have a visual presentation to go along with my talk. PLEASE NOTE: You will soon be able to pay for this event online. If you are unable to pay online, please mail your check payable to FCM, c/o Sonia Summers, PO Box 586, Fredericktown, MO 63645 by March 14 to reserve your place or call 314-920-6135 to make a reservation. Mothers without daughters are welcome to come. Come and enjoy tea and delectable pastries with other homeschooling moms.
FCM 22nd Annual Art Festival and Photography Contest, a Saturday in April at the beautiful Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 S. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Conveniently located just off Hwy 40/64 between Hwy 270 and 170, a little north of Frontenac Plaza. Last year’s festival was a great success, so mark your calendars and begin to plan your children’s art projects. We are pleased to continue our assorted arts category, along with fine arts and photography. More information will be included in future newsletters.
FCM CONFERENCE NOTES Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email deeply blesses our hearts. Thank you. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.
Thank you for the most wonderful experience last week. I am still trying to get my head around it. Very encouraging. Thank you again. Your labor is NOT in vain. –Appomattox, VA
FCM 2016 CONFERENCE-Spectacular that’s what it is!
Be looking for a special email that highlights details for our upcoming FCM A Walk Through the Bible 2016 Conference in Branson, Missouri on September 5-7, 2016!
How does Ancient Paths/Young Living help FCM? With a purchase of the Premium Starter Kit of $160, you will be providing $50 back to FCM! To participate use this link: www.ylscents.com/ancientpaths or contact Renee Yeo at 847-602-2792 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2015 FCM ART FESTIVAL WINNERS
The 2015 FCM Art Festival, held on April 11 at Salem United Methodist Church, was once again a beautiful event! What wonderful God-given talent displayed by our children! The lovely projects included submissions in Fine Arts, Photography and Assorted Arts. As we viewed the artwork and voted on the People’s Choice awards, we were very blessed with music performed by our homeschool families—Joe, Steve and Lisa Haney; Alyssa Drinkard; and Jenna and Garrett Carr. What a lovely evening it was!
Our deepest appreciation to Salem United Methodist Church for the lovely venue; to our judges for generously donating their time; to our musicians for making the evening lovely with their musical selections; and of course, to all the children who shared with us their artistic talent!!
Below are the 2015 FCM Art Festival Winners:
Lance Filsinger: 1st Place
Nolan Schrum: 2nd Place
Niles Schrum: 3rd Place and People’s Choice
Gillian Carr: Honorable Mention
Dawson Jeffers: 1st Place and People’s Choice
Joshua Connell: 2nd Place
Levi Jeffers: 3rd Place
Ian Hamann: Honorable Mention
Mikayla Crile: 1st Place and People’s Choice (tie)
Carter Schrum: 2nd Place, 3rd Place, and People’s Choice (tie)
Darby Hamann: Honorable Mention
Rebekah Tippy: 1st Place and 3rd Place
Helen Ritter: 2nd Place and People’s Choice
George Broyles: Honorable Mention
Jarod MacKeen: 1st Place and People’s Choice
Ashley Ulbricht: 2nd Place and 3rd Place
Jenna Carr: Honorable Mention
Chris MacKeen: 1st Place
Alyssa Drinkard: 2nd Place and People’s Choice
Celeste Drinkard: 3rd Place
Heather MacKeen: Honorable Mention
FINE ARTS BEST OF SHOW
Ages 7-11: Dawson Jeffers
Ages 12-13: Mikayla Crile
Ages 14+: Chris MacKeen
Claire Croy: 1st Place
Selah Connell: 2nd Place and People’s Choice
Gillian Carr: 3rd Place and Honorable Mention
Hamilton Croy: 1st Place and People’s Choice
Julia Croy: 2nd Place
Connor Hamann: 3rd Place
Elizabeth Ulbricht: Honorable Mention
Celeste Drinkard: 1st Place and People’s Choice
Jenna Carr: 2nd Place and 3rd Place
Heather MacKeen: Honorable Mention
ASSORTED ARTS BEST OF SHOW
Jarod MacKeen: 1st Place
Jenna Carr: 2nd Place
Emma Schmitt: 3rd Place, Honorable Mention, and People’s Choice
Heather MacKeen: 1st Place
Kaity MacKeen: 2nd Place
Kara Jeffers: 3rd Place and People’s Choice
Tabitha Ritter: Honorable Mention
Andrew Weiland: 1st Place and 3rd Place
Zipporah Ritter (& Olivia): 2nd Place, Honorable Mention, and People’s Choice (tie)
Alyssa Drinkard: People’s Choice (tie)
PHOTOGRAPHY BEST OF SHOW
Ages 14-16: Gabrielle Stafford
Ages 17+: Alyssa Drinkard
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME-Celebrating 29 years of inspiration, encouragement, and biblical instruction www.theresnoplacelikehome-summers.com
NOTES FROM SUBSCRIBERS Many of the following excerpts are taken from lovely letters received from our families. Each letter, note, and email we receive deeply blesses our hearts. Thank you. Hopefully these will bless your hearts, as well, knowing that God is working mightily among us.
May your day be blessed by His peace, surrounded with love and bathed in a gentle light of hope! Thank you for your sacrifice, devotion to God, example of motherhood, and friendship! ‘Blessed is the man who trust in the LORD, and whose hope is in the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.’ Jeremiah 17:7,8 –St. Louis, MO
SOUTHERN TRADITIONS Faith, Freedom, Family, Farm (Home), and Friends
The Keithlys blessed us with the most wonderful plaque:
The South \the\ ‘sau’th\, noun
The place where…1) Tea is sweet and accents are sweeter. 2) Summer starts in April. 3) Macaroni & Cheese is a vegetable. 4) Front porches are wide and words are long. 5) Pecan pie is a staple. 6) Y’all is the only proper noun. 7) Chicken is fried and biscuits come with gravy. 8) Everything is Darlin’. 9) Someone’s heart is always being blessed.
The Bible Emphatically Proclaims a Message of Hope-Taken from Jon’s sermon on Exodus 19:4
I. Exodus 19:4 “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.”
A. This speaks of God as the Lord of history, who sovereignly rules over all manner of men—even those rulers who rise up in apparent charge of government on earth—to accomplish His will. A study of Israel’s history, and subsequent history of Christians, reveals God’s particular affection and favor towards His children.
1. Acts 17:26,27 “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God.”
2. Deuteronomy 29:2,3 “And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, ‘You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and all his servants and all his land; the great trials which your eyes have seen, those great signs and wonders.”
3. Deuteronomy 4:6-8 “Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?”
4. Titus 3:4-7 “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
5. Ephesians 1:7,8 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.”
6. John 17:22-23 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
7. Acts 2:46,47 “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
8. 2 Peter 1:2,3 “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.”
9. Ephesians 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
B. God sovereignly accomplishes His purpose by superintending all the events in history. Take for instance the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. God purposed that Christ would be born in Bethlehem from the beginning of time, but revealed that purpose over six centuries prior to His birth through the prophet Micah. When the time came, God turned the heart of the godless ruler, Caesar Augustus, towards ordering his entire empire to register in their ancestral home for the purpose of being taxed, thus forcing the very pregnant Mary to accompany Joseph of Nazareth back to his hometown of Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus must have been quite proud of his shrewd move, yet it is God who worked out His will through this godless ruler and his bureaucracy.
J.C. Ryle states: The overruling providence of God appears in this simple fact. He orders all thing in heaven and earth. He turns the hearts of kings wherever He will. He overruled the time when Augustus decreed the taxing. He directed the enforcement of the decree in such a way, that Mary must needs be at Bethlehem when ‘the time came for the baby to be born.’ Little did the haughty Roman emperor, and his officer Cyrenius (Quirinius), think that they were only instruments in the hand of the God of Israel, and were only carrying out the eternal purposes of the King of kings. Little did they think that they were helping to lay the foundation of a kingdom, before which the empires of this world would all go down one day, and Roman idolatry pass away. The words of Isaiah, upon a like occasion, should be remembered, ‘He means not so, neither does his heart think so.’ Isaiah 10:7
The Expository Thoughts on Luke, vol. 1, pp. 39,40 states: The heart of a believer should take comfort in the recollection of God’s providential government of the world. A true Christian should never be greatly moved or disturbed by the conduct of the rulers of the earth. He should see with the eye of faith a hand overruling all that they do to the praise and glory of God. He should regard every king and potentate—an Augustus, a Cyrenius, a Darius, a Cyrus, a Sennacherib—as a creature who, with all his power, can do nothing but what God allows, and nothing which is not carrying out God’s will. And when the rulers of this world ‘set themselves against the Lord’ he should take comfort in the words of Solomon, ‘There is one higher than they.’ (Eccles. 5:8).
1. Micah 5:2 “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His going forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”
2. Luke 2:1-14 “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”
3. 2 Samuel 7:12,13 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your father, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.”
4. Luke 1:30-33 “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’”
5. 1 Samuel 16:1-5;13 “Now the LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.’ But Samuel said, ‘How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the LORD said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.” You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.’ So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elder of the city came trembling to meet him and said, ‘Do you come in peace?’ He said, ‘In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.… Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.”
6. Isaiah 46:10 “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”
7. Romans 1:1-7 “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
C. Unlike the heathen who believed that the times and seasons were controlled by chance, God’s people knew that God controlled the times, seasons, and vicissitudes of states. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 3, Article 1 clearly expresses this belief when it states: ‘God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass…’ (Eph. 1:11; Rom. 11:33; Heb. 6:17; Rom. 9:15,18).
Chapter 5, Article 1 tells us, ‘God, the great Creator of all things, doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by this most wise and holy providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.’ (Hebrews 1:3; Daniel 4:34; Ps. 135:6; Acts 17:25,26,28; Job chapters 38-41; Matthew 10:29-31; Proverbs 15:3; Ps. 104:24; Ps. 145:17; Acts 15:18; Ps. 94:8-11; Eph. 1:11; ps. 33:10,11; Isa. 63:14; Eph. 3:10; Rom. 9:17; Gen. 45:7; Ps. 145:7.)
1. Revelation 1:5 “From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
2. Colossians 1:13-20 “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
3. Psalm 33:11 “The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.”
4. Ephesians 3:9 “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
5. Daniel 2:21,22 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.”
6. Daniel 4:30-35 “The king reflected and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?’ While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes. Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; for His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”
7. Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.”
8. Acts 1:6,7 “So when they had come together; they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.’”
9. Job 12:13-25 “With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding. Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He imprisons a man, and there can be no release. Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; and He sends them out, and they inundate the earth. With Him are strength and sound wisdom, the misled and the misleader belong to Him. He makes counselors walk barefoot and makes fools judges. He loosens the bond of kings and binds their loins with a girdle. He makes priests walk barefoot and overthrows the secure ones. He deprives the trusted ones of speech and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on nobles and loosens the belt of the strong. He reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the deep darkness into light. He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away. He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in darkness with no light and He makes them stagger like a drunken man.”
10. Psalm 75:2-7 “When I select an appointed time, it is I who judge with equity. The earth and all who dwell in it melt; it is I who have firmly set its pillars. I said to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up the horn; do not lift up your horn on high, do not speak with insolent pride.’ For not from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert comes exaltation; but God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another.”
11. 1 Samuel 2:6-10 “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts. He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He set the world on them. He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail. Those who contend with the LORD shall be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king, and will exalt the horn of His anointed.”
12. Jeremiah 27:5 “I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight.”
13. 1 Kings 3:11,12 “God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall none like you arise after you.’”
14. James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
15. Proverbs 8:1-36 “Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice? On top of the heights beside the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates, at the opening to the city, at the entrance of the doors, she cries out: ‘To you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men. O naïve ones, understand prudence; and, O fools, understand wisdom. Listen, for I will speak noble things; and the opening of my lips will reveal right things. For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them. They are all straightforward to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Take my instruction and not silver and knowledge rather than choicest gold. For wisdom is better than jewels; and all desirable things cannot compare with her. I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate. Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, all who judge rightly. I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold, and my yield better than choicest silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice, to endow those who love me with wealth, that I may fill their treasuries. The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from earliest times of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills I was brought forth; while He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there, when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundary so that the water would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth; then I was beside Him, as master workman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the world His earth, and having my delight in the sons of men. Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD. But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death.”
D. This verse at the end of Proverbs 8—But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death is clearly seen in the culture of Egypt. Gary North in Moses and Pharaoh, pages 296,297 describes this truth:
When Moses and the Israelites looked behind them from the eastern shore of the Red Sea and saw the army of Egypt overwhelmed by the water, they saw the judgment of God on the power religion and its institutional manifestation, the power State. They had been involved in an historic confrontation analogous to the original confrontation between Satan and God. They had been given visible evidence of the inescapable outcome of this confrontation between these two rival religions: in heaven, in the garden, at the cross, and at the final judgment. The power religion does not have the power to defeat a holy God and His holy people, whenever they conform themselves to the terms of His covenant. Seeking power, the power religionists lose it—in time, on earth, and in eternity.
Nevertheless, the victory of God’s people, while assured, is not visibly manifested in every confrontation. Herbert Schlossberg is correct: ‘The Bible can be interpreted as a string of God’s triumphs disguised as disaster.’ As he says, ‘We need a theological interpretation of disaster, one that recognizes that God acts in such events as captivities, defeats, and crucifixions.’ It often seems as though the power religionists—the seekers of Gnostic salvation, the elite central planners—have all power. They don’t. ‘Never ask the enlightened ones about their track record, which is a series of disguised disasters…’ Most of Christianity’s victories have been disguised in the past, and so have most of Satan’s disasters.
The Hebrews’ experience in Egypt testified to a truth summarized by Schlossberg: ‘When loyalty to God disappears, there is no longer a barrier to an omnicompetent state.’ But the self-professed omnicompetent State isn’t omnicompetent; it is progressively incompetent, as Egypt’s experience reveals. Such a State is simply the chief institutional manifestation of covenant-breaking man’s attempt to imitate, and then usurp, the omnipotence of God. But omnipotence is an incommunicable attribute of God. Therefore, the only possible source of man’s long-term but limited power is biblical ethics. Adherence to biblical law, by grace through faith, is the only means of fulfilling the terms of the dominion covenant.
Thus, there is no need for Christians to become adherents of the escapist religion in order to avoid becoming adherents of the power religion. The dominion religion is God’s alternative. ‘We do not pretend that the fate of the world is in our hand. That way lies madness, being a burden that no human being can bear. Yet, we are not condemned to resignation and quietism, still less to despair. We are not the lord of history and do not control its outcome, but we have assurance that there is a Lord of history, and He controls its outcome.’
I cite Schlossberg repeatedly because it is his book, more than any other in my lifetime, which has best stated the theological case against the power religion. (Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago has best stated the historical case.) The idols of covenant-breaking man—history, humanity, mammon, nature, power, and religion—again and again reappear in the civilizations built by self-professed autonomous man. All idols, he asserts, are either idols of history or idols of nature. Covenant-breaking man asserts his authority over both nature and history, but because man is a creature, mankind is thereby captured, for mankind is, in the humanist view, both a product of history and a product of nature. By seeking power over both, covenant-breaking people place themselves in bondage to the self-professed master of the mysteries. By asserting that ‘man must take control of man,’ the humanist thereby implicitly asserts that ‘some men should take control over all the others.’ By seeking to exercise dominion apart from God, ethical rebels thereby deny their own creaturehood and therefore their status as humans.
Egypt is the archetype of covenant-breaking society. It proclaimed divinity for its leader, the sole link between the gods and mankind. It sought escape from the rigors of nature (drought and famine) and the rigors of history (change). The goal was static power—power over nature, over the netherworld, and over scarcity. But such a static state of existence can be achieved only in death. Thus, the monuments of Egypt were monuments of death: the pyramids, the tombs, and the labyrinths. Their quest for power, meaning freedom from the God-cursed changes in life, led to their cult of the dead. The Egyptians hoped for resurrection, but theirs was a resurrection based on magical manipulation, not a resurrection based on biblical ethics.
Pharaoh manifested this cult of the dead in his attempt to murder the Hebrew males. He could not stand the pressure of social change, particularly the social changes forced upon Egypt by the high birth rates of the Hebrews. He launched a program of genocide. In this respect, he was only marginally different from the humanitarians of the twentieth century. As Schlossberg says:
‘It is no coincidence that humanitarian policy has reached the zenith of its influence at a time when death propaganda is so much in evidence. The arguments in favor of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia reveal that the humanitarian ethic wishes to restrict the right to live and expand the right to die—and to kill. Humanism is a philosophy of death. It embraces death, wishes a good death, speaks of the horrible burdens of living for the baby who is less than perfect, for the sick person in pain. It is intolerable to live, cruel to be forced to live, but blessed to die. It is unfair to have to care for the helpless, and therefore merciful to kill. Those who wish to go on living, it seems, are guilty and ungrateful wretches dissipating the energies of “loved ones” who have better uses for the estate than paying medical bills.’
God confronted the Egyptian religion of death by calling in to question its assertion of power. He dealt with the Pharaoh, his priest, and his people in terms of their religious presuppositions. He demonstrated publicly for all the world to see that the power religion of Egypt was a fraud. Pharaoh had no choice in the matter. God decided to make a spectacle out of him and out of Egypt. ‘And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared through the earth.’ (Ex. 9:16).
The Hebrews had this example behind them. They were to remind themselves and their children of the implications of the power religion. This was the educational function of the Passover. It was an institutional testimony to the futility of seeking power apart from biblical law. It is therefore futile to seek to fulfill the terms of the dominion covenant apart from God. It is equally futile to attempt to escape from the burdens of this covenant. Such an escape leads directly to historical impotence and slavery under some temporarily successful group of power religionists. Better to be Moses herding sheep in Midian than anywhere in Egypt, either as a Hebrew or as a Pharaoh. Better yet to be Moses confronting Pharaoh. Even better to be Moses on the far side of the Red Sea watching Pharaohs drown. Better yet, to be in the Promised Land, with a copy of God’s law in your possession. But best of all, to be at work in the wilderness, progressively converting it into a garden by means of hard work, in terms of the biblical law which is in your heart, and also in the hearts of all your neighbors (Ezk. 36:26-29; Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:10-11).
F. Drunk on their own pride, rulers and nations devise wicked things against the Lord because they do not want to be constrained by His plan or restrained by His power. Yet Isaiah reveals a truth that has been confirmed in the history of the world that God hates the haughty spirit of prideful rulers and will bring them down to the pits of hell. Babylon was defeated by Medo-Persia; Medo-Persia was defeated by Greece; Greece was defeated by the Romans; Rome by a deluge of barbarians, and so on.
1. Psalm 2 “Why are the nations in an uproar and the people devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’ He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, “You are My son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.”’ Now therefore, O kings show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”
2. In this chapter you will see that the spirits of departed rulers wait in Sheol to taunt all the rulers of the nations who have attempted to raise themselves above God and His laws. Satan, and the rulers he has controlled, will all be thrown down to the pit of destruction because there is none other like our Almighty God who is a jealous God and will have no one rebel against His order. Isaiah 14:1-21 “When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob. The people will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive and will rule over their oppressors. And it will be in the day when the LORD gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, ‘How the oppressor has ceased, and how fury has ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers which used to strike the people in fury with unceasing strokes, which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution. The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth into shouts of joy. Even the cypress trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, “Since you were laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.” Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; it arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; it raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. They will all respond and say to you, “Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us. Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you and worms are your covering.” How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, they will ponder over you, saying, “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who did not allow his prisoners to go home?” All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb. But you have been cast out of your tomb like a rejected branch, clothed with the slain who are pierced with a sword, who go down to the stones of the pit like a trampled corpse. You will not be united with them in burial, because you have ruined your country, you have slain your people. May the offspring of evildoers not be mentioned forever. Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter because of the iniquity of their fathers. They must not arise and take possession of the earth and fill the face of the world with cities.”
E. Our covenant-keeping God always keeps His children safe in His bosom. Matthew Henry writes regarding Psalm 91: “In these verses we have a great truth laid down in general. That all those who live a life of communion with God are constantly safe under his protection, and may therefore preserve a holy serenity and security of mind at all times. He that dwells, that sits down, in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty; he that by faith chooses God for his guardian shall find all that in him, which he needs or can desire. It is the character of the true believer that he dwells in the secret place of the Most High; he is at home in God, returns to God, and reposes in him as his rest; he acquaints himself with inward religion, and makes heart-work of the service of God, worships within the veil, and loves to be alone with God… to converse with him in solitude. It is the privilege and comfort of those that do so that they abide under the shadow of the Almighty, he shelters them, and comes between them and everything that would annoy them, whether storm or sunshine. They shall not only have an admittance but a residence, under God’s protection; he will be their rest and refuge for ever. There being no reason to question his sufficiency, fitly does it follow, in him will I trust. If Jehovah be our God, our refuge, and our fortress, what can we desire which we may not be sure to find in him? He is neither fickle nor false, neither weak nor mortal; he is God and not man, and therefore there is no danger of being disappointed in him. We know whom we have trust…God protects believers, with the greatest tenderness and affection, which is intimated in that, he shall cover thee with his feathers, under his wings, which alluded to the hen gathering her chickens under wings. By natural instinct she not only protects them, but calls them under that protection when she sees them in danger, not only keeps them safe, but cherishes them and keeps them warm.”
1. Psalm 91:1-4 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’ For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”
F. How I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Herein lies the essence of salvation that God brings us from a life of oppression under Satan, which Pharaoh represented, to Himself, for a life of rest and peace. Not that we should not work but that God works in us to do His will. This is the epitome of God’s gracious grace that He brings us into His presence without fearing His wrath because Christ’s sacrifice took away our sins and makes us acceptable in His sight. He makes it possible to fulfill our calling to be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, to be like Him, creation restored upon our persons. We are lost in the wilderness, but God comes to us and lifts us up on eagles’ wings and brings us into His presence. What a beautiful picture of our deliverance and salvation from sin and death.
1. Deuteronomy 32:9-11 “For the LORD’s portion is His people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of a wilderness; He encircled him, He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.”
2. Matthew 11:28,29 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls.”
3. Romans 8:2-10 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”
4. Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
5. Psalm 148:14 “He has raised up a horn for His people, praise for all His saints, for the people of Israel who are near to Him. Praise the LORD!”
III. Exodus 19:5,6 “‘Now, then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”
A. This was God’s plan for His people. But if we have learned anything through these lessons, it is that man is utterly incapable of being obedient or saving himself. The Israelites clearly exposed all men to be nothing more than insane, fickle, ungrateful, rebellious, brazen sinners, who love death more than life because they continue in their rejection of God and disobedience to His law. There is nothing lovely in man to save him. That is why grace is so incredibly precious. God out of His good pleasure and good will towards man initiated the covenant to save men from their deserved eternal damnation, and He is the only One capable of keeping that covenant and its stipulations to secure deliverance from death. Thankfully this points to the covenant of grace foretold by Jeremiah, fulfilled in Christ, and given to us. For God had not yet given them a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.
1. Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
2. Deuteronomy 5:1-3 “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the ordinances which I am speaking today in your hearing, that you may learn them and observe them carefully. The LORD our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today.”
3. Deuteronomy 7:6-11 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His commandants; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. Therefore you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.”
4. Jeremiah 31:31-33 “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD. ‘But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’”
a. God has not yet given them a heart to know and obey.
Deuteronomy 29:4 “Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.”
b. John 12:36-41 “These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: ‘LORD, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?’ For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, ‘He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.’”
5. Hebrews 8:6-10 “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. For if the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, ‘Behold days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘When I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not care for them,’ says the LORD. ‘For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,’ says the LORD: ‘I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’”
6. Hebrews 9 CHAPTER
7. Hebrews 10 CHAPTER
8. John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
9. Ephesians 2:1-10 “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
10. Romans 3:24,25 “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
11. Romans 9:16 “So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”
12. Colossians 1:16,17 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
B. Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.
Israel’s recorded history clearly conveys this truth: covenant keepers win; covenant breakers lose. For these things happened to them as an example and they were written for our instruction. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, pay heed.
1. Deuteronomy 4:9,10 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’”
2. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 “For I do not want you to be unaware brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.’ Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
C. Let us not think that Israel has been cast away. For God is faithful to His people even when they fail Him.
1. Romans 11 the entire chapter
D. Matthew Henry states about these verses: That he would be to them a God in covenant, and they should be to him a people. God here asserts his sovereignty over, and propriety in, the whole visible creation: All the earth is mine. Therefore he needed them not; he that had so vast a dominion was great enough, and happy enough, without concerning himself for so small a demesne as Israel was. All nations on the earth being his, he might choose which he pleased for his peculiar, and act in a way of sovereignty. He appropriates Israel to himself, for as a people dealt unto him. You shall be a peculiar treasure; not that God was enriched by them, as a man is by his treasure, but he was pleased to value and esteem them as a man does his treasure; they were precious in his sight and honorable; he set his love upon them, took them under his special care and protections, as a treasure that is kept under lock and key. He looked upon the rest of the world but as trash and lumber in comparison with them. By giving them divine revelation, instituted ordinances, and promises inclusive of eternal life, by sending his prophets among them, and pouring out his Spirit upon them, he distinguished them from, and dignified them above, all people. And this hour have all the saints; they are unto God a peculiar people, his when he makes up his jewels. Secondly, as a people devoted to him to his hour and service a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. All the Israelites, if compared with other people, were priests unto God, so near were they to him, so much employed in his immediate service, and such intimate communion they had with him. When they were first made a free people it was that they might sacrifice to the Lord their God, as priests, they were under God’s immediate government, and the tendency of the laws given them was to distinguish them from others, and engage them for God as a holy nation. Thus all believers are, through Christ, made to our God kings and priests, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.
1. Titus 2:13,14 “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
2. Hebrews 1:3 “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
3. Ephesians 1:11 “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”
4. Romans 8:29,30 “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified He also glorified.”
5. Revelation 1:5,6 “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
6. 1 Peter 2:9,10 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
E. Rushdoony in Exodus says of verse 5: God’s word to Israel is that they must keep His covenant. The word keep is the Hebrew shamar, to hedge about, protect, and guard. It is the word used in Genesis 2:15 when Adam is commanded to keep the Garden of Eden. It means to be instructed with, to have charge of, a trust or treasure, which in this case is God’s Law, justice must thus be guarded and prized. We cannot underestimate the importance of this. God’s grace is to give His law to men and nations, and His chosen people, then Israel and now the church, are the guardians of the Law, of God’s justice. Psalm 2 tells us that the ungodly nations conspire together against God and His bonds or Law, and they rage at God’s restraints upon them. The penalty for custodians of God’s law who fail to their calling is death. Their failure is the frustration and perversion of God’s justice, no small offense.
Because of the calling to keep the covenant, to uphold and advance God’s law and justice, Israel is also ‘a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation’ (v.6). Justice is religious concern; it deals with moral ultimacy. Hence, a chosen people must be a priestly people and nation.
The meaning of being ‘a chosen people’ should now be apparent: it means the people who set forth God’s grace and justice to the world. Many nations, Christian and non-Christian alike, have seen themselves as a chosen people, as for example, Rome, Byzantium, Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, and others. It is seen as a position of privilege, whereas in Scripture it means responsibility, responsibility for justice, God’s justice. This is what it means to be a ‘peculiar (or, unique) treasure’ (v.5). ‘All the earth is mine’ (v.5), God says, as He summons one nation to erect the banner of salvation and justice for all men and nations. Solomon, in the prayer of dedication for the Temple, was mindful of this world mission and prayed that foreigners coming to the Temple might especially be heard by God and their prayers granted so that they might return home as witnesses to the Lord. Psalm 87 celebrates the foreign believers who come to the Temple.
The phrase ‘a kingdom of priests,’ is referred to in Isaiah 61:6, but nowhere else in the Old Testament. It is, however, cited several times in the New Testament, in 1 Peter 2:5,9, and Revelation 1:6; 5:10; and 20:6. ‘A holy nation’ (or, people) is referred to in Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2,21; and 26:29; and Isaiah 62:12; 1 Peter 2:9 also cites it.
By making Israel His unique measure, God adopted the people as His children, a status now possessed by the church. Adoption into a family once meant adoption into both privilege and duty, and this emphatically applies here. A holy nation is an obedient nation which has been given covenantal responsibilities to witness to God’s grace and justice. It is, indeed, God’s peculiar or unique treasure or possession. According to Cole, the expression means ‘special treasure; belonging privately to a king (e.g. 1 Ch. 29:3). This implies special value as well as special relationship.’
IV. Exodus 19:7-9 “So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do!’ And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD. The LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.’ Then Moses told the words of the people to the LORD.”
A. Faithfully delivering the Word of the Lord to the people and then returning their words back to Him, Moses represents Christ as our mediator who, serving as Prophet, reveals God’s will to us, as our Priest, offers to God our sacrifices of praise and prayer and resolutions to do His will. Though sinful man cannot come to the throne of grace without fear of certain death, Christians are now able to boldly approach the throne of God through Jesus Christ our Lord who shed His blood to cover those sins. Therefore, it is not by our own merit, but by Christ’s merit that we find acceptance, for He says that no one comes to the Father except through Me. Accordingly, we pray in the name of Christ, as our mediator, who makes intercession for us.
1. Deuteronomy 5:4,5 “The LORD spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, while I was standing between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.”
2. Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”
3. John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”
4. 1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
5. 1 John 2:1 “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
6. Ephesians 3:12 “In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”
7. Hebrews 4:14-16 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
8. John 16:24 “Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
9. Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
10. 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
11. Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
12. Romans 8:26,27 “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He interceded for the saints according to the will of God.”
13. 1 John 5:14,15 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
14. Revelation 8:3,4 “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne.”
B. The LORD said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever. Similarly, God’s Spirit descended from heaven and spoke to the people when Jesus was baptized and then again, His Spirit came down upon the apostles like tongues of fire. It is the Holy Spirit through the Word of God that converts men to the faith. For the Word is Christ and is living and powerful to convert the hearts of men.
1. Deuteronomy 5:4,5 “The LORD spoke to you face to face at the mountain from the midst of the fire, while I was standing between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire and did not go up the mountain.”
2. Matthew 3:16,17 “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”
a. Matthew Henry comments: In and through Christ, the heavens are opened to the children of men. This descent of the Spirit upon Christ, showed that he was endued with his sacred influences without measure. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. At Christ’s baptism there was a manifestation of the three Persons in the sacred Trinity. The Father confirming the Son to be Mediator; the Son solemnly entering upon the work; the Holy Spirit descending on him, to be through his mediation communicated to his people. In him our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable, for he is the altar that (1 Peter 2:5) consuming fire, but in Christ, a reconciled Father. This is the sum of the gospel, which we must by faith cheerfully embrace.
3. Acts 2:1-3 “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.”
4. Hebrews 4:12,13 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
5. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
a. After all, God spoke and all the heavens and the earth came into being.
1. Psalm 33:6 “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”
2. Psalm 148:4,5 “Praise Him, highest heavens, and the waters that are above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created.”
6. Romans 1:18 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
7. Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”
8. Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
9. Ephesians 6:17 “…the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word.”
10. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God…”
11. Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
12. Revelation 1:16 “In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”
C. It is each man’s responsibility to give a reason for the hope that is in him in season and out; not in persuasive words but by the powerful Word of God.
1. 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account of the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
2. 1 Corinthians 2:4,5 “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”
3. Romans 10:1-4;14,15 “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.… How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things.’”
D. Are we living as if the world is against us or as we against the world? This question may seem rather insignificant, but upon further reflection, sheds light upon our understanding of scripture. Either we believe in an impotent God who has failed miserably in accomplishing His eternal purpose or the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Almighty who reigns over heaven and earth.
Consider that Athanasius, the great Church Father of the fourth century, lived through one of the most severe persecutions the world had ever seen, the Emperor Diocletian’s all-out attempt to stamp out the Christian faith. Later, Athanasius had to stand practically alone for 40 years in his defense of the doctrine of the Trinity against rampant heresy, being exiled by the government on five occasions and sometimes in peril for his life. In fact, his story gave birth to a proverb: Athanasius contra mundum (Athanasius against the world). Yet he never lost sight of the basic fact of world history, that the Word had become flesh, conquering the devil, redeeming mankind, flooding the world with Light which the darkness could not overcome.
He adhered to a doctrine of hope, which until just recently, was held by Christians throughout Christendom. His classic book On the Incarnation of the Word of God reveals this doctrinal truth: “Since the Savior came to dwell in our midst, not only does idolatry no longer increase, but is getting less and gradually ceasing to be. Similarly, not only does the wisdom of the Greeks no longer make any progress, but that which used to be is disappearing. And demons, so far from continuing to impose on people by their deceits and oracle-givings and sorceries, are routed by the sign of the cross if they so much as try. On the other hand, while idolatry and everything else that opposes the faith of Christ is daily dwindling and weakening and falling, the Savior’s teaching is increasing everywhere! Worship, then, the Savior ‘Who is above all’ and mighty, even God the Word, and condemn those who are being defeated and made to disappear by Him. When the sun has come, darkness prevails no longer; any of it that may be left anywhere is driven away. So also, now that the Divine epiphany of the Word of God has taken place, the darkness of idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are enlightened by His teaching.”
The Church’s eschatology of dominion radically shaped the history of Western civilization. For example, think about the great cathedrals of Europe, and compare them to the church buildings of today. Those old cathedrals, magnificent works of art constructed over decades and sometimes generations, were built to last for centuries—and they have. But modern evangelical churches are usually built to last a generation at most. We don’t expect to be around long enough to get much use out of them, and we certainly don’t expect our great-grandchildren to worship in them. We don’t even expect to have great-grandchildren. It is safe to say that the thought of descendants living five hundred years from now has never even entered the minds of most evangelicals today. Yet, for many Christians of previous generations, the idea of future generations benefiting from their labors was not strange in the slightest degree. They built for the ages.
Let’s look at a very different field: exploration. Not one historian in a hundred knows what motivated Christopher Columbus to seek a western route to the Indies. Trade? Yes, that was part of the reason. More than this, however, it was unfulfilled prophecy. Before he began his expeditions, Columbus crammed his journals with quotations from Isaiah and other Biblical writers, in which he detailed the numerous prophecies that the Great Commission to disciple all nations of the world would be successful (see, for example, Isa.2:2-5; 9:2-7; 11:1-10; 32:15-17; 40:4-11; 42:1-12; 49:1-26; 56:3-8; 60:1-22; 61:1-11; 62:1-12; 65:1-25; 66:1-24). He figured that if the Indies were to be converted, a sea route would be a much more efficient way to bring them the gospel; and he credited his discoveries not to the use of mathematics or maps, but rather to the Holy Spirit who was bringing to pass what Isaiah had foretold. We must remember that America had been discovered numerous times, by other cultures, yet successful colonization and development took place only in the age of exploration begun by Columbus. Why? Because these explorers were bearers of the gospel, and their goal was to conquer the world for the kingdom of God. They came expecting that the New World would be Christianized. They were certain of victory, and assumed that any obstacles they met had been placed there for the express purpose of being overcome. They knew that Christians are destined for dominion.
Examples could be multiplied in every field. The whole rise of Western Civilization—science and technology, medicine, the arts, constitutionalism, the jury system, free enterprise, literacy, increasing productivity, a rising standard of living, the high status of women—is attributable to one major fact: the West has been transformed by Christianity. True, the transformation is not yet complete. There are many battles ahead. But the point is that, even in what is still largely an early Christian civilization, God has showered us with blessings.
Many Christians do not realize it, but the Hope is the basis for many of the great old hymns of the faith, written before the modern era of evangelical despair and pessimism. Think about that the next time you sing Martin Luther’s ‘A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,’ Isaac Watt’s ‘Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun Doth His Successive Journeys Run,’ or George Duffield’s ‘Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus.’ Do you really believe that Jesus is now leading us ‘from victory unto victory…till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed’? That is what the Church has historically believed.
This can be seen most clearly in the traditional Christmas carols, which, like Athanasius’s reflections on the Incarnation, are unabashed expectations of Christ’s triumph over the world through the gospel. Carols such as ‘Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,’ ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,’ ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,’ ‘God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,’ and many others are written from the same basic perspective. The conviction that—as a result of His first advent—Christ is now reigning from heaven and conquering the earth underlies the message of
‘Joy to the World!’:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love.
The same is true of that great victory-oriented carol, ‘It Came Upon the Midnight Clear’:
For lo, the days are hast’ning on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold.
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.
There is a very important connection between the Church’s worldview and the Church’s hymns. If your heart and mouth are filled with songs of victory, you will tend to have an eschatology of dominion; if, instead, your songs are fearful, expressing a longing for escape—your worldview and expectations will be escapist.
Historically, the basic hymnbook for the Church has been the Book of Psalms. The largest book of the Bible, God providentially placed it right in the middle of the Bible so that we couldn’t miss it! It is noteworthy that the Church’s abandonment of dominion eschatology coincided with the Church’s abandonment of the Psalms.
The Psalms are inescapably Kingdom-oriented. They are full of conquest, victory, and the dominion of the saints. They remind us constantly of the warfare between God and Satan, they incessantly call us to do battle against the forces of evil, and they promise us that we shall inherit the earth. When the Church sang the Psalms, she was strong, healthy, aggressive, and could not be stopped.
Listen to the historic hymns of the victorious Church:
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. (Ps. 22:27)
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the earth. Yet a little while, and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be.
But the meek will inherit the earth,
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
O clap your hands all peoples;
Shout to God with the voice of joy.
For the LORD Most High is to be feared,
A great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us,
And nations under our feet. (Ps. 47:1-2)
All the kings of the earth will give thanks to Thee, O LORD,
When they have heard the words of Thy mouth.
And they will sing of the ways of the LORD;
For great is the glory of the LORD. (Ps. 138:4,5)
Let the godly ones exult in glory;
Let them sing for joy on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishment on the peoples
To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the judgment written;
This is an honor for all His godly one.
Praise the LORD! (Ps. 149:5-9)
The fact is that you will not work for the transformation of society if you don’t believe society can be transformed. You will not try to build a Christian civilization if you do not believe that a Christian civilization is possible. It was the utter confidence in the victory of the Christian faith that gave courage to the earthly missionaries, who fearlessly strode into the farthest reaches of pagan Europe as if they were at the head of an army, preaching the gospel, driving out demons, smashing idols, converting whole kingdoms, bringing vast multitudes to their knees at the feet of Christ. They knew they would win. …history was on their side, that Satan’s domains were being shattered daily, his illegitimate hold weakening and slipping with every advance of the Christian forces. They were not the least bit pessimistic about the power of the gospel. God honored their faith in His promise, and enabled them to lay the groundwork for a Christendom which will someday embrace the entire world.
When God’s people disobey and slip back into unbelief, the Church begins losing battles to Satan. Does this suggest that the Hope is mistaken? ‘This is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith’. (1 John 5:4).
Our civilization will rise or fall in terms of God’s blessing; and response to our covenantal obedience (Deut. 28).
Jesus commanded: You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 5:13-16).
This is nothing less than a mandate for the complete social transformation of the entire world. And what Jesus condemns is ineffectiveness, failing to change the society around us. We are commanded to live in such a way that someday all men will glorify God—that they will become converted to the Christian faith. The point is that if the Church is obedient, the people and nations of the world will be discipled to Christianity. We all know that everyone should be a Christian, that the laws and institutions of all nations should follow the Bible’s blueprints. But the Bible tells us more than that. The Bible tells us that these commands are the shape of the future. We must change the world; and what is more, we shall change the world.
–David Chilton’s Paradise Restored
Our work is cut out for us. Let us encourage one another to go forward and proclaim the living hope that we possess.
NEW HOMESCHOOLERS-Part VIII as presented at the Conference
GOD’S PROTECTION IN PREVENTING THE SUBVERSIVE PLANS OF BENEDICT ARNOLD
The following is taken from the Landmark Series The American Revolution: Benedict Arnold’s attempt to betray the Americans at West Point by aligning himself with an ambitious British “Major Andre who had been working on the plot for more than a year…Arnold gave Andre the plans of West Point and some secret papers. Then he returned to his West Point headquarters while Andre hid for the day…Andre…carried the secret papers…in his stocking. He got safely past the southernmost American post when three young men stopped him. They meant to rob him. They made Andre take off his clothes to make sure he wasn’t hiding any money, and they found the papers in his stocking.”
This account makes it sound like a coincidence, doesn’t it? Well, that would be a correct assumption as Landmark’s author later states: “The coincidence as Washington was on his way to inspect West Point.”
Everyone possesses presuppositions that affect every thought, including the interpretation of everything we see or hear. These thoughts in turn have consequences that affect others. In this case, the author’s perverted anti-Christian view of history affects every one of his readers.
These seemingly harmless tales have misshaped our culture’s view of history, and as a result, has produced uneducated citizens that are at enmity with God and His church. Yet how many homeschooling parents have failed to examine their children’s books because they themselves have not labored to know the facts about American’s Christian history? If truth is not known, then lies cannot be identified.
The truth about the Providential discovery of Benedict Arnold’s treason is taken from Miss Hall and Miss Slater, which is quoted in America’s Providential History, pp. 163-166: “An example of God’s Providential protection against such ‘Imminent, though unseen dangers’ was in the amazing capture of the British spy Major Andre which revealed the treachery of Benedict Arnold. Of this event, Washington himself wrote to John Laurens: ‘In no instance since the commencement of the War has the interposition of Providence appeared more conspicuous than in the rescue of the Post and Garrison of West Point from Arnold’s villainous perfidy…A combination of extraordinary circumstances.’”
“Washington’s letter of September 26, 1780 to Major General William Heath gives more details on what happened. ‘Major General Arnold has gone to the enemy. He had an interview with Major Andre, Adjutant General of the British Army, and had put into his possession a state of our Army; of the Garrison at this post; of the number of Men considered as necessary for the defense of it, a Return of Ordinance and the disposition of the Artillery corps in case of alarm. By a most Providential interposition, Major Andre was taken in returning to New York with all these papers in General Arnold’s handwriting, who hearing the matter kept it secret, left his Quarters immediately under pretence of going over to West Point on Monday forenoon, about an hour before my arrival, then pushed down the river in the barge, which was not discovered till I had returned from West Point in the Afternoon…’”
“Major Andre was finally brought to General Washington on the 26th, and then the full story of his capture came to light. On September 23, three young militiamen had posted themselves on the Old Post Road close to Tarrytown, waiting to waylay ‘cowboys’ who were stealing cattle and driving them into the British lines. Suddenly, about 9:30 in the morning, they saw a solitary rider coming toward them. They stopped him and learned that he was on his way to New York. It was Major Andre who believed that they were loyalists who had established a look-out of the British. He didn’t show them his pass and talked so freely that the young militiamen began to be suspicious. They made him strip off his clothes and discovered the incriminating paper stuffed in the feet of his stocking. Realizing the game was up, Andre then tried to bribe the boys, but they contemptuously dismissed his efforts and took him to the nearest outpost which was North Castle.”
“The following is General Washington’s message (delivered by General Greene to his troops) concerning Arnold’s treason and its discovery: ‘General Orders-Head Quarters, Orangetown, Tuesday, September 26, 1780. Treason of the blackest dye was yesterday discovered! General Arnold who commanded at West Point, lost to every sentiment of honor, of public and private obligation, was about to deliver up that important Post into the hands of the enemy. Such an event must have given the American cause a deadly wound if not a fatal stab. Happily the treason has been timely discovered to prevent the fatal misfortune. The Providential train of circumstances which led to it affords the most convincing proof that the liberties of America are the object of Divine Protection.’”
“Following is the official response of Congress to this event: ‘Journal of Congress, Wednesday, October 18, 1780. …Congress took into consideration the resolution reported for setting apart a day of thanksgiving and prayer, and agreed to the following draught: “Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, amidst the vicissitudes and calamities of war, to bestow blessings on the people of these states, which call for their devout and thankful acknowledgments, more especially in the late remarkable interposition of his watchful providence, in rescuing the person of our Commander in Chief and the army from imminent dangers, at the moment when treason was ripened from execution; in prospering the labors of the husbandmen, and causing the earth to yield its increase in plentiful harvests; and above all, in continuing to us the enjoyment of the gospel of peace; It is therefore recommended to the several states to set apart Thursday, the seventh day (of December next), to be observed as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer; that all the people may assemble on that day to celebrate the praises of our Divine Benefactor; to confess our unworthiness of the least of his favors, and to offer our fervent supplications to the God of all grace; that it may please him to pardon our heinous transgressions and incline our hearts for the future to keep all his laws; to comfort and relieve our brethren who are any wise afflicted or distressed; to smile upon our husbandry and trade; to direct our public councils, and lead our forces, by land and sea, to victory; to take our illustrious ally under his special protection, and favor our joint councils and exertions for the establishment of a speedy and permanent peace; to cherish all schools and seminaries of education, and to cause the knowledge of Christianity to spread over all the earth.”’”
“Done in Congress, the 18th day of October, 1780, and in the fifth year of the independence of the United States of America.”
IN THE LIBRARY
Hurry! Hurry! Have You Heard? by Laura Krauss Melmed, Illustrated by Jane Dyer
The inside book cover says it best. Everyone remembers the friendly beasts of the stable at Christmas, but what of the creatures of field and forest? From her perch in the rafters, a small bird’s heart fills with love. Out over the countryside she flies, carrying the glad tidings, Hurry! Hurry! Have you heard? A child was born tonight. And every creature large or small is precious in His sight.
Bunny and fox, mole and mouse, hummingbird and tortoise, spider and ladybug all hurry to the stable to welcome the new baby. And what a noisy greeting they give!
In lilting, lyric verse and magical watercolor paintings, Laura Krauss Melmed and Jane Dyer have given us a Christmas treasure sure to be a family favorite year after year after year.
COME GATHER AT OUR TABLE
Jambalaya With green peppers from Carol Littman’s garden, quite a few brats from lunch, and fresh okra and tomatoes from our garden, I began making Jambalaya. First I sautéed an onion and several green peppers in olive oil. To that I added cut up tomatoes, sliced okra, and homemade chicken broth. Chicken meat from yesterday’s carcass and a copious amount of sliced brats from the day’s noon meal were added. I seasoned the pot with minced garlic, fresh Serrano chili pepper, white wine, cumin, salt, and pepper. After simmering on the stove for several hours, I served this piping hot over steamed rice.
Luxurious Bedrooms Luxurious bedrooms were common in homes throughout the South. An eye towards beauty and a heart for comfort directed the furnishings and decorations so as to create sumptuous ambiance that welcomed families to lounge and slumber beneath their protective wings. Accordingly, both in the city, and now in the country, I have worked to create bedrooms that we reluctantly leave in the morning and long to return to again and again. They beckon us to linger and enjoy while providing the perfect place for sweet dreams.
From estate sales and stores that carry nice but inexpensive wares, I purchased burgundy velvet drapes for our windows, burgundy velvet fabric for recovering a wing backed chair my parents gave me many years ago, a mahogany dresser, a walnut side table, two mahogany side tables, six beautiful lamps that emit soft light from incandescent bulbs-not LED, burgundy velvet drapes that hang on a rod above our bed, a white loveseat, burgundy velvet pillows, gold silk tufted pillow, grapevines draped with beaded pearl garlands, burgundy feathered boas, and a gilded mirror draped with gold/burgundy shimmering fabric, ornate garland, ornaments, and gold bells on gold cording.
Our present bedroom is not as large as our previous one, in fact I would call it a little cramped, but it is beautiful and cozy and comfy, and quite enticing. It starts each morning with smiles, provides a luxurious place for family gatherings, and brings the aahhh at the end of the day, which sends us into sweet slumber each night. It is where we watch movies, read books, often study, and sometimes eat meals and play games.
Our bedrooms should be more than a place to lay our heads. They should be favorite rooms where we love to spend leisurely hours with those we love.
SUMMERS ON THE FARM
Everything we do is being recorded for our posterity to know and understand the loving sacrifices we made to ensure their prosperity!
-When the birds were small and resided solely in the chicken house, we cleaned their quarters twice a day, mainly because the geese and ducks created such a wet mess. Now that all the fowl have been moved to pasture and only use the egg mobile for sleeping and laying eggs, I clean the egg mobile once a week. Cleaning 116 boxes and the floor of the egg mobile and then replacing the old bedding with new hay takes me about two hours whether I have a few chickens about me or several dozen chickens and turkeys at my feet.
-Sonia used the Bobcat to clean out both sides of the barn. She placed some of the manure and hay on the fallow garden area and heaped the rest into a pile to be turned until thoroughly composted.
-Jon and I weeded 300 strawberry plants. Besides the fact that it was grueling work, I ended up with poison ivy on 80% of my body. Jon told me that we would space the next batch differently with rows wide enough for a lawnmower or tiller. I am not certain how he plans to accomplish this improvement with runners going in every direction, but hopefully he has a plan because I do not want to have this same problem in the future. I can say most emphatically that I hate weeding strawberries because it hurts my body so much, being on hands and knees for hours on end, but even more disconcerting is the possibility of snakes lying beneath the straw. On the brighter side, when Sonia and I initially planted the strawberries, she said that it reminded her of the times I would read Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Strawberries. It is such a blessing when our children pass on fond memories of their childhood.
-Sonia and I pickled 35-40 quarts of cucumbers. I froze 10 quarts of okra and 30 lbs. of rhubarb. Sonia canned a bushel of peaches. Sonia and I also canned rhubarb chutney. Not enough to supply our winter consumption, but a good start.
-Although we have harvested and eaten a plentiful amount of vegetables this season, the stark reality of this year’s harvest clearly reveals that we would have starved if we had depended solely on our garden for a year’s consumption. As this year was a year of experimentation, I have learned that I need to plant much more for canning and storage. How much? I am not sure, but I better learn before next spring. The MO Extension website (www.extension.missouri.edu/p/G6201-2) lists quantities of vegetables to plant per person for both fresh use and processing. Although this website sets forth a starting place, I can tell you, for families that love to eat as much as we do, the listed amounts would not be enough for us. If I can find my Back to Basics book, I will compare its list with the website to determine the ratio of vegetable plants per family member.
-We purchased two Anatolian Pyrenees for protecting our dairy calves, sheep, fowl, and pigs from predators. They come from breeding the Anatolian Shepherd with the Great Pyrenees for protecting livestock and family from bears and wolves. Although we don’t have such predators, we do have formidable packs of coyotes. Therefore their 110-150 pounds will be a good deterrent for this smaller predator. Several people have told me that these dogs quickly eradicate coyotes from their flocks’ territory. Unlike the Great Pyrenees, which man is not to have any contact with so that the dogs will bond with their flock, Anatolian Shepherds are allowed to run free to patrol the entire farm from predators. Needless to say, this choice is much better for the Summers family who loves on all their animals. Consequently, the dogs have become fast pals, following us around from one task to the next, while periodically leaving to patrol the farm. Although they lay by us as we work, they can often be found lying upon the hill overlooking the other animals and then heading off fast and furiously as they bark at intruders who dare to cross their family’s land or lounging with the other animals. I love that! I hope to breed Anatolian Shepherds sometime in the future.
-We purchased 10 guineas to help eradicate ticks and poisonous snakes. I was told to house them for two months and then let one out. If it comes back, I am to let out the second one with it the next day. If it comes back, I am to let out the third. If they all come back, I can let out the entire flock. I failed to ask what I do if they don’t come back. I guess I am to house them longer. Hmm. I better inquire about this.
-I began weeding the strawberries again. Had a snake slither between my right hand, past my left, and into another patch of straw. Yikes! I hate snakes—all kinds of snakes! After all it was God who placed enmity between the serpent and the woman. His Word is always true. So that was the end of my weeding for the day. I will wait until I have help, as my courage needs bolstering.
-I have always loved watching groundhogs, but since the resident groundhogs continue to eat our melons, Jon has been spraying Liquid Fence on the produce. It amazes me that the groundhogs know exactly which melons are ripe enough to eat and that they always eat them the night before I plan on picking them. Twice now, I picked melons two days earlier and let them sit out on the counter a few days. They are not as good, but as least we ate them before the varmints. I am willing to share some produce, but not my melons.
-I planted our fall seedlings of green cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and a variety of lettuces.
-I found Jedidiah weeding the strawberry patch, so I joined him. Ahh, it is so nice to have him with me. I know that many farmers use plastic weed barriers, but I don’t want the residues in our soil as we are doing everything organically.
-Sonia sowed radishes, peas, and carrots.
-Jedidiah, a friend, and I weeded the strawberry patch again. What a job! Yet every time I remembered reading Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Strawberries to Sonia, I smiled. I also smiled when I remembered that I had purposely purchased weeder geese for our strawberry and corn patch. Actually both our brown Toulouse and White Chinese can be turned into strawberries, corn, or cotton to eat the weeds without touching the crop. How magnificent! Since this is our last weeding, I will gladly use them for next year’s growing season!
-I purchased another 5 guineas.
-Our mama cat had 7 more kittens. We kept them in the house for the first four weeks and then placed them in an 8’x15’ cardboard enclosure in the garage with boxes, ball, baskets, and other play toys. Each day we bring them inside for a playtime with us and then outside on our front porch for some sunshine and fresh air.
-Our turkeys are getting bigger every day. They are so curious and love to watch us from the windows in the chicken house while we work in the garden.
-Jedidiah and Josiah separated the good from the unusable lumber from a huge pile that lay in our barn lot. They burned the old and stacked the good in our barn.
-Jedidiah scraped the ground from the low area next to the creek bank in our barn lot. He then hauled all the concrete that was removed from our barn and placed it in the low area to build it up. He put the dirt back on the concrete and seeded that area. Sonia and I then covered the area with straw. This will be fenced in and used as a holding pen for the cattle or to expand the back barn lot for the cattle when we work them through the head catcher to treat their ailments.
-Took one of our kittens to the vet after being bitten by a copperhead. He received some antibiotics and prednisone. Jon mowed the taller weeds in the barn lot to discourage snakes from that area.
-I took Josiah to pick up two Berkshire gilts. It is a breed he has always wanted because of the James Herriot stories I read to the children each winter. An heirloom variety from England, Berkshires are known for their succulent flavorful meat and their docile disposition. They are great foragers and can thrive on pasture if rotated frequently. We named the pigs Piggy Sue and Winnie. We will keep them penned up for a week or so before we let them out into their electrified enclosure next to the fowl in the field. Originally I was going to put them in with the birds until I heard Joel Salatin say that when pigs get up around 100 lbs., they develop a real hankering for drumsticks. Our pigs were around 50 lbs. when we picked them up. Knowing that they gain a pound a day gives them only 40 days in with the birds before they begin eying my chickens for dinner. Therefore they will go into a separate enclosure next to the birds.
-Josiah feeds Piggy Sue and Winnie gilt rations and throws corn on their straw for some foraging. I take a bowl of goodies—clabbered milk, eggs, produce, and stale bread… to them each day, calling them by name as I approach. They greet me with eager grunts and voracious appetites. Jon, the boys, and I sit with them so that they become tame.
-Jedidiah spread two loads of gravel from the gate to the barn door so it won’t be as muddy this winter when we pull in to milk.
-After soil samples revealed a lime deficiency, we limed our hayfields.
-We had the mama cat and first set of kittens spayed and neutered.
-Sonia and I planted, watered, and mulched our garlic for next year’s harvest.
-We expanded our electrical enclosure around the egg mobile and then took our turkeys from the chicken house and placed them in the field with the chickens, ducks, and geese. The turkeys are very curious animals, following us around the chicken yard and pecking on our clothes while we attend to feeders and waterers. Instead of sleeping in the egg mobile, the turkeys prefer roosting on the peaked roof. Out of all the birds, the turkeys have been easiest and most personable.
-Josiah constructed an enclosure on skids for our pigs that can be moved each time they rotate in the fields with the fowl. The enclosure provides shade from the sun and a place for them during inclement weather. In the fall, the pigs will be secured in our woods so that they can forage for acorns and other goodies. In the winter, the pigs will be penned up in the backfield around their permanent farrowing house so they have greater protection from cold weather.
-Sonia and I planted a large patch of turnips for Piggy Sue and Winnie.
-Jon is installing outdoor lighting on our barn so that we will be able to see around the entire barn in the dark. This will be helpful since we are always working after dark—rarely coming home until after 8pm, but especially helpful when milking this winter.
-Someone asked if they could use our barn for their wedding, so we had our first wedding here this past weekend. The couple rode in on horses and took their vows on horseback.
-Ever since I was a very young girl I always dreamed of one day owning a farm and collecting eggs from my own chickens. Joy of all joy, a hen laid two eggs for us today. I am cooking them tomorrow for breakfast and splitting them six ways. Can’t wait to begin collecting loads of eggs every day!
-Sonia dug a bucket full of purple Molokai sweet potatoes. They are beautiful but not as flavorful as what we are accustomed to and rather dry. They won’t go to waste, though, because the pigs will eat them.
-Sonia loves lilacs and tree peonies, so I surprised her with both. We planted them together.
-Jedidiah used our auger to dig holes for the two kiwi vines I purchased.
-Opened the chicken house door three times this past week so the guineas could go out. None of them ventured outdoors, so Josiah and I ended up herding them out. They are staying around the chicken house.
-I suggested that one of the boys construct sides on the ramp leading to the egg mobile in hope that the ducks and geese would feel more secure so that they put themselves to bed. Josiah constructed sides similar to a stock trailer’s sidebars with two bottom pieces that fan out. Praise God, it worked! Now instead of taking us 45 minutes each night putting in the birds one by one, it only takes about five minutes to herd them onto the ramp, and up they all go.
-Jedidiah used the Bobcat to fill in the gullies in our barn lot’s roadway caused by all the rain this summer. I spread straw over the upturned earth to prevent more gullies from forming. We will feed hay there this winter so the seeds from the hay sprout to form a barrier against erosion.
-Although none of our other dogs chased the guineas, sadly our Pyrenees found it to be a great sport. Severe reprimanding did not abate their appetite for these birds. Again and again, we tried our best to capture the birds so that we could save their lives. Being wild, they would not allow us to get close enough to seize them. One night, Josiah and I went out with flashlights in hopes of finding them roosting, but to no avail. Shortly thereafter, he found one that had been injured and placed it in our chicken coop. Since they flock together, we secured the injured bird on one side of the chicken house and opened the door in hopes that the others would join it. Thankfully this worked. I have heard that these wild birds will fly over our electric fencing if we don’t clip their wings. I am sorry that they cannot roam our farm at will as planned, but I cannot afford to take a chance on their survival. Trimming wings will occur soon.
-We began training our Pyrenees to stay with the fowl without eating them by placing them in the chicken house for several hours each day, with the fowl on one side and the dogs on the other, and taking them on leashes through the fowl’s field enclosure.
-Jedidiah, Josiah, and Sonia loaded up more discarded scrap to take to the salvage yard.
-Using the Bobcat, Jedidiah and Sonia loaded six truckloads of firewood from our field and then she and I stacked it at the house. After each load, I shoveled the pile of bark and dirt into our compost pile. We ended up with nearly four cords of wood.
-Our Anatolian Pyrenees came in covered in blood. I ran for two buckets of water—one with soap, the other just water—and two rags. The boys cleaned off the blood and then doctored their wounds. The wounds became quite swollen, so we placed them on antibiotics.
-Not only are ducks and geese messy, but they also love to dig holes near their watering troughs and pool. In an effort to keep our other animals from hurting themselves in these holes, I spent hours traversing our hayfield to locate the holes and then filled them with dirt.
-Jedidiah is fencing an area around the chicken house so that we have a place for our birds to roam during the winter and for chickens too young to join the flock in the fields next spring.
-Many farmers lost their beehives to starvation during last year’s bitter cold spell. One of the men at our Bee Club told Josiah how to build a sugar screen so that the bees have immediate access to sustenance during the worst winter days. Josiah just created one for each hive and placed them in the hives.
-We just purchased another milk cow named Jubilee. She is a three-year-old Jersey. As soon as she was released in our barn lot, our other milk cow, Daisy, began to lick her as if she were her baby. They have been fast friends ever since. Jubilee is as gentle as Daisy and comes when called. She will calve the latter part of January. We will probably keep our little Jersey bull, Oscar, who is Daisy’s calf, for breeding Jubilee next March.
-Daisy was picked up and taken to my milk lady’s farm to be bred again.
-Sonia gathered a five-gallon bucket of acorns for the pigs. Every day we let them eat acorns from our hands and then scatter a handful over the straw to give them something interesting to do in the stall. It is fun to watch them search for tasty morsels.
-Sonia also gathered a barrel of black walnuts to be cracked this winter. Some will be for eating, others for making a tincture for worms, and the rest for the pigs.
-Sonia and I spent another few hours filling holes in our hayfield created by the ducks and geese.
-One of our hound dogs scratched his eye. It looked pretty bad, so we took him to the vet for evaluation and medicine.
-The cattle turned over our beehives. The boys were gone, so Jon scraped them up and placed them back in the hive. When the boys returned, they put the hives in our enclosed orchard.
THE JOY OF COUNTRY LIVING-Recreating Noah’s Ark-Hardly!
[Jon did agree to allow me to run this article, which he found quite humorous.]
I have never done anything half-heartedly! In truth it can be said that I meet everything with an enthusiastic zest that resembles the rough riders taking San Juan Hill. Shouting? No. Charging forward? Yes. When it came to the farm, Jon happily tells everyone that I am having as much fun as a kid in a candy shop. He truly derives much pleasure from my enthusiasm and always has. In point of fact, Jon proudly tells others that I consistently bring his ideas to fruition before he even has time to draw breath after voicing them. With this in mind, knowing me as he does, he really should be more careful with his thoughts if he does not want the same results that he speaks so highly of, especially when it comes to his desires for our farm.
The dichotomy of the situation began shortly after we purchased the farm. Day after day, with longing in his voice, I must add, Jon would express his desires for farm acquisitions. He said, “I can’t wait until we have our own honey.” So naturally I ordered bees. Then he mentioned that he could not wait until we drank our own milk. So in step with my nature, I found a milk cow. He could not wait until we had our own pork, so I logically ordered pigs. He could not wait until we had our own sheep. So as expected, I ordered sheep. And then, he could not wait until we had our own chickens for fresh eggs. So of course, I ordered chickens with some ducks and geese thrown in for good measure.
After all, our family had discussed our plans for raising our own food and becoming self-sufficient. As a nurturer and provider for my family, I followed through with each wish, which if I must say so myself, placed me in a tenable position to criticism. Decidedly not based on nebulous assumptions but on tacit evidence, and certainly not executed from rash judgment—no one could ever accuse me of that—but on a firm foundation of level headed discernment. I just heard Jon tell someone at church that I have always been level headed. These orders were placed with complete confidence that everyone would be thrilled with the animals that were soon to become part of our family. Therefore I can most assuredly confess that it never even occurred to me that Jon would be less than thrilled. Sadly, he was far less than thrilled.
How was I to know that “cannot wait,” meant in the future—some time over a period of years—not now but later. He failed to mention that little detail. After all why would anyone wait when they could have what they wanted right now?
Besides, words express very specific thoughts. For instance, when someone, like himself, says that he “cannot wait,” to most people that means that he is anxious to possess, as soon as possible, the sooner the better. Even after 37 years of marriage, I cannot translate “cannot wait” into “light years.” Needless to say, I actually thought he would be pleased that once again, like clockwork, I had fulfilled his wishes in record time.
Boy, oh boy, was I wrong! If we had been participating in a game show for married contestants, I would have lost a lot of points on this question: “Will your husband be thrilled with all the farm acquisitions you made on his behalf after he told you that he could not wait to possess them?”
On the other hand, if it had been a contest to see which married couple could disrupt their peaceful existence in five easy steps, I would have won hands down. Order bees; order dairy cow; order pigs; order sheep; and order fowl, and there you have it. Bingo! You are the winner of a nice fat divorce.
To make matters worse, he specifically asked me how many chickens I ordered. Why chickens, I wondered? If he had asked me about the dairy cow, I would have gladly told him that I only ordered one. Or how many bees? I could have smiled and said only two hives. Pigs? I would have replied, just a mere three. Not much danger in those minuscule numbers. Instead he pointedly asked me the number of chickens.
Now imagine my trepidation of having to reveal that I had ordered 65 chickens after realizing that he was not thrilled about owning any additional animals on the farm at that time, other than the cattle we purchased with the farm. Even when I explained to him that I had initially planned on ordering one hundred chickens, but did not because the lady who took my order suggested I order less, which if he was interested, was 35 less than I originally hoped for—indeed a third less—he was not interested, nor was his frustration appeased by any stretch of the imagination.
“Sixty-five chickens! Are you out of your mind? With everything else you are doing, you will lose your mind taking care of that many birds!”
Now I must confess that most of the animals were to arrive shortly before and after the conference, so it probably was not the best timing for me, but certainly the best timing for the animals, compared to the hottest part of summer or the beginning of winter. Besides it takes 18-24 weeks before chickens begin laying eggs, so the sooner the better, according to my way of thinking.
However, at that moment in time, I realized that caution should direct my path, as this conversation was fast approaching an all-out fight. Considering the question was not directed to any other species of fowl, just chickens, meant that remaining silent about the number of other birds I had ordered would not have been deceitful. But that is not my way. I am an up front, straight forward, get it all out, tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, sometimes divulging more than one should kind of gal, so I offered, “Well, that is not all the birds I purchased.”
At this point his eyes looked as if they were about to pop out of his head. “Not all the birds you ordered?” as if 65 birds were more than anyone had a right to own. Really? Has he not heard of Tyson?
I continued, “Well no, I actually purchased some ducks and geese, too.”
“Ducks and geese, too?” he echoed. “How many?”
“Well, I am not certain of the exact number, but I think it is around 38,” I answered.
“Thirty-eight ducks and geese?” he echoed.
“Yes,” I said, “and then there are the turkeys.”
“Turkeys?” he queried.
“Yes, fifteen beautiful heirloom turkeys,” I proudly stated, as he loves wild turkey. “I have not ordered the guineas yet. Does that count for anything?” I asked. Obviously not, as a dreadful silence fell upon the room.
Unsure of how to define his astonishment and anger at my overarching attempt to reconstruct The Ark, he sat perplexed and brooding. I, too, was silent and bewildered. For as long as we had been married, both of us had hoped to live and work together on a farm. I was only trying to make our dream tangible in the best possible way. If we wanted to be real farmers, we needed to have all the necessary equipment, which in my way of thinking included bees, dairy cow, pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.
Of course part of his stress could have come from having another litter of seven kittens in the house. That was not my fault either because I explicitly told him that if he did not want another litter of kittens, he should not let our cat outside. I cannot help it that he failed to take me seriously when I told him that cats can and will get pregnant again while they are still nursing their first litter. But that is another story.
To be quite frank, we nearly ended our relationship because Jon was certain I had lost my mind in ordering everything at once, while I thought he was the rudest cad on the earth to berate me every few days, weeks on end, for ordering all those animals.
Subsequently, Jon would start these cumbersome critiques of my over exuberance, which had been lauded as a rare endearing quality on all other occasions, as if it was the only thing he dwelled on day and night with the same rash accusation – “As level headed as you are, I just can’t believe you ordered all these animals at once. On top of everything you are already doing, how could you possibly think that you could take care of this many more things? We are already stretched beyond what most people can handle. And how much are all of these animals costing us? Are you crazy? Can’t you cancel some of these animals?”
Well, of course, I couldn’t cancel orders I had already placed. My parents had taught me that my word is as sure as a contract and should never be broken. Cancel? Of course he knew that I could not cancel. Over and over again, I would explain to him that I had promised everyone that I would purchase the animals when they became available; that we had all agreed that we would work hard at becoming self-sufficient by raising our own food; and that “can’t wait” means “order now.” After all I was just trying to please him by fulfilling his wishes as I have always done for the past 37 years. Besides, I was 58 and he was 66, so it was now or never. If we were going to get this farm up and running for our children, we better hit the road running because he and I did not have much strength or stamina left.
As stated earlier this went on for some time until I finally broke down and cancelled the bees, the chickens, the ducks and geese… When Jon realized that I had cancelled the orders, he briskly walked to the truck just as I was leaving to run errands. I thought surely he was coming out to say he was sorry and to thank me for thinking of him once again. To my dismay, he came out to tell me that he could not believe that I cancelled the orders without consulting him.
Without consulting him? Had he lost his mind? He was the one who had continuously asked me to cancel the orders. To say the least, I was furious! I told him to get out of the truck. All I do is try to please him, and this is what I get? Out! Out! Out!
And out he went and reordered everything that I had cancelled. Apparently the children had a talk with Jon—thank God for children—which made him realize the error of his ways, placing us back on track playing farm.
In the end, all is well, as both of us enjoy ALL of the animals. Both of us water and feed them, talk to them and pet them, and wonder out loud how we will ever be able to butcher these wonderful creatures.
I am sure that the annals of farm life are full of stories of other couples who approached their farm in different ways, who may even have exchanged harsh words, but who in the end, worked together side by side to care for their animals. Yes, farm living is the life for both of us.