Beersheba and God’s Purposes

Paul Daley (author of Beersheba, mentioned in an earlier post) wrote an interesting historical account of the Beersheba charge in today’s Guardian, which includes the following observation:

The charge, coincidentally, narrowly preceded the British war cabinet’s proclamation of the Balfour declaration in support of a Jewish state in Palestine. Such was the alignment of these pivotal moments in Middle East – and global – history that some evangelists and Christian Zionists have claimed that the light horsemen were somehow doing “God’s work” in re-establishing a Jewish homeland, as biblically prophesied.

This has always seemed utterly fanciful to me. While some horsemen certainly knew of the places they were traversing (Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem) from the Bible, there was nothing to suggest in the hundreds of letters and diaries I’ve read that any saw themselves as actively doing God’s work.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/postcolonial-blog/2017/oct/30/beersheba-centenary-lets-remember-that-story-is-not-the-same-as-history

 

I find Daley’s view expressed in the above quote is extremely naïve.

It doesn’t surprise me that the participants would have no idea of what role they may have been playing in God’s purposes and their ignorance of it can’t be offered as evidence of the claim’s lack of validity. Man’s knowledge and complicity aren’t determining factors of truth.

Mankind increasingly sees history in political and cultural terms, driven only by man’s decisions and actions, that the future is in our own hands, governed by our own choices. Any thought of God or any Divine intentions are mostly ignored or ridiculed.

Even many who acknowledge God’s reality tend to sideline Him, making God more of a spectator than someone with an active interest in His creation. They overlook the possibility that he may actual have a very defined purpose in mind for this world and its inhabitants, and that man’s actions will not and can not change that ultimate purpose. Instead, God is more than capable of using any of mankind’s actions (including the evils of war) to move towards His purposes being realised.

 

 

As I wrote elsewhere:.

God did not cause or ordain those acts, but He was more than able to USE those acts to further His purposes. He is more than willing to give mankind over to the consequences of our own choices, and will even give us a helping hand in achieving or obtaining what we’ve chosen in place of Him. (refer Romans 1:24-32 and 2 Thess 2:11-12)

What mankind meant for evil, God could turn around for His good, to move a few steps towards the fulfilment of His eternal plans.

https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/anzacs-and-wwi-part-5-the-part-god-played/

 

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For my New Zealander friends, the NZ part of the ANZACs can not be forgotten. They played a pivotal role in making the Light Horse charge possible, wiping out the machine guns that could have cut the charging horses and men apart before they reached their destination.

http://www.nzmr.org/beersheba.htm

Beersheba, by Paul Daley

On the centenary of the charge at Beersheba, I thought it was appropriate to reblog this post from 2 years ago.

Out of Shadows

BeershebaOn 31st October 1917, the Australian Light Horse played a significant role in the capture of Beersheba from Turkish Ottoman control. Paul Daley looks at a variety of views of the Beersheba battle and the Light Horse charge in his book Beersheba. The book’s subtitle “A journey through Australia’s forgotten war”, reflects the general national ignorance of this part of Australian military history.

The final assault leading to the capture of the small town and its wells was an unorthodox horseback charge across open ground towards the Turkish defensive trenches. A charge of that type was not the usual Light Horse tactic. They generally acted as horse born infantry, riding to a battleground, where they dismounted, leaving their horses in the care of a designated handler, and then acted as infantry on foot.

In the charge at Beersheba they remained mounted, and relied on their horses to get them…

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WWI – the main event. The Middle East campaign centenary (Beersheba)

31 October 2017 is the centenary of the charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba. An event that seems to have been pushed aside in historical memory and yet it could be one of the most important military victories in WWI.
The defeat of the Ottoman troops in Beersheba set in motion events that led to the freeing of Palestine from centuries of Ottoman (Islamic) control and paved the path for events a little over three decades later: the re-establishment of Israel in the land promised by God.

See this post from 2015
https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/anzacs-and-wwi-part-5-the-part-god-played/

australian_light_horse_statue.jpg

Australian Light Horse Statue – Beersheba

Spring Garden

Classic Look Irises and Princess de Monaco roses.

 

Peace Rose and Flanders Poppy

 

Red Pierre Rose (top right) Fiona’s Wish rose (bottom left) and Classic Look Iris (centre)

The Long Weekend

I have a long weekend coming up – three days away from work, but nothing special planned.

As long as the weather remains fine we’ll probably spend a lot of time in the garden. That’s what we’ve done for the last two or three weekends.

Spring weather has finally made gardening pleasant again. Any work done makes a noticeable difference (for example, the lawn LOOKS mowed) and we again have an abundance of flowers,  transforming the garden into a place we want to be.

We also know that it won’t last, so we need to make the most of it while we can. As soon as the summer heat arrives, tender plants will be sun-scorched, roses petals will dry out almost as soon as the blooms open, and we’ll never seem to be able to get enough water to the plants before it evaporates.

For a few weeks now we’ve been harvesting a good handful of asparagus every day. Sadly that crop seems to be coming to an end. It’s the only edible we’ve been able to make use of for quite a while. I forgot to plant out the winter veg in time, and I need to be sure that we’ve seen the last of the overnight frosts before I can transplant my tomato plants from pots into the garden. I’ve found that tomato plants are extremely susceptible to cold temperatures whether there’s frost or not.

I have taken the chance with zucchini, squash and pumpkins. While they are also very frost tender, potential damage can be minimised, with only a leaf or two damaged, if given a little protection when the potential of frost is forecast. Also, only half of my seedlings have been planted into garden beds with half being held back in pots, under cover, as insurance.

Last week Gloria netted the strawberry patch to protect anticipated fruit from the destructive blackbirds. It seems like she did it just in time, with the first berries showing the a hint of developing ripeness this morning.

How to Study the Bible

An excellent and essential follow-up to Jeff’s previous blog post. I strongly recommend that you go to the complete article on Jeff’s blog via the link at the end of the excerpt below.

According to the viewing stats, yesterday’s post has had 26 views and yet only 3 of those viewers actually clicked on the link to read the full article.

I wrote about similar topics in the following two articles:
Spirit, Scripture and Sholarship

and
Don’t Study the Bible

 

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anti-itch meditation

Here are some tips for studying the Bible on your own.

–Read the Bible a lot. Over and over. Cover to cover. Try at least once to read it as quickly as possible, like under a month.

–Question everything. Write down questions as you read it, then when you read it again, see how many more questions you get and how many old ones you can now answer. Don’t be afraid to question anything and everything.

–Ignore formal theology. Don’t read merely to find verses to back up or attack doctrines. Just read what it says. Otherwise you’ll miss half the message because your brain is arguing theology.

–Avoid dumb Bible study questions like, “what does this mean to me?” or “how can I apply this to my life today?” They tend to make the Bible all about you. One of the points of the Bible is that it’s about…

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Why Is Theology Confusing?

An excellent post on Jeff Weddle’s blog.

I think he really gets to the heart of most of the major doctrinal difficulties and disagreements affecting followers of Jesus.

anti-itch meditation

Biblical doctrine is much simpler than human theology.

Most confusing doctrines are confusing because they are someone’s idea of what the Bible says, not what the Bible says.

The problem is that biblical doctrine is straightforward. A little too abrupt and real. It tends to mess with life.

Theologians enter the picture to “clean up the mess” by telling you the Bible doesn’t mean what the Bible simply and clearly says.

The main job of a theologian is to impress you with their theological astuteness. In other words, they prove their doctrinal superiority by being confusing.

“You’re too stupid to understand, that’s why you need us smart theologians.” Is the attitude. We go along with them because they tell us why we don’t have to listen to all those parts we wish weren’t there, which suits our flesh fine.

You know you’re dealing with human theology when you are reading…

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Giving Heed to Fables or to Sound Doctrine?

The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

 

How naïve the Pentecostal church was back in the late 70s when, as a new Christian, I was getting my first taste of end time teachings. We were all convinced that things were so bad in the world that The Lord could possibly return to snatch us away during the next few minutes, (in a pre-trib rapture), or if not, then at least before the end of the week.

 

40 years later and He still hasn’t returned, and those days seem so tame compared to the present day.
Clearly we’ve never really understood the potential depth of mankind’s depravity.
I wonder how much worse things are likely to become in the world before the Lord does come back.

 

One thing that has clearly changed is the increasing fulfilment of Jesus’s prophecies about false Christs and false prophets; and how they have increasingly become part of the mainstream.

 

In a comment on after earlier post, my friend Roger recommended an article here:
http://herescope.blogspot.co.nz/2017/10/selling-out-blessed-hope.html

Towards the end of the article examples are given of several books related to “biblical prophecy”. I found one of them stood out when I read the description. That particular book:

asks whether God raised up President Trump as a fearless leader to guide America and the free world through a series of major crises as the biblical end-time narrative unfolds, as many people with prophetic gifts are predicting, and shows why everyday Americans and evangelicals have rallied around Trump as their last hope of saving America and averting the horrors of the Apocalypse

 

I feel I should be able to ask “need I say more”?  – Surely that brief description is sufficient to expose that book’s premise as being deeply (and demonically) flawed; lauding Trump as a God endorsed saviour, who will basically nullify God-given biblical prophecy about end time events. But I suspect many “evangelicals” will eagerly lap up its claims.

 

I’m not sure that, back in the 70s, any Bible believing Christian could have believed that such attitudes would be ever held by anyone within “the church”, particularly the “evangelical church”. Could we have ever believed that things within the church would become so off-kilter?

 

Of course, there were books and teachings of the time that I can now see (with hindsight and significantly more awareness of what the Bible actually says) were highly flawed.  But those that I came across at least made a token effort to present a Biblical viewpoint, and kept the gospel in mind, even if they added far too much personal interpretation and speculation to their Biblical content. Today, books like the one mentioned above, seem more intent on pushing a different agenda, far removed from the genuine Gospel of the Kingdom.