CATHY INSTALLMENT #23

Chapter Fifteen (continued)

“Why doesn’t God stop those people?” Joyce complained to Earl one evening. In response, Earl went for his Bible and sat back down with her in their shared recliner.

“You must read the history of the Jews in Samuel, Chronicles and Kings, Joyce,” he said. “It’s most relevant to the times we’re in.”

“Please, just give me an overview for now,” she said.

“Okay. During the latter years of Solomon’s reign, sometime around the middle of the tenth century B.C., the nation started falling away from God, maybe like we were in the States around the beginning to middle of ou own past century. The process accelerated, and in the midst of the fall God raised up prophets to warn the people to turn back or suffer the consequences.”

“What were the consequences?” Joyce interrupted.

“Oh, they were spelled out in great detail by Moses long before that. Chapter 28 of Deuteronomy is a particularly representative passage of that kind of thing. Want to hear it?”

“Sure. Then you can get back to your history lesson.”

“I’m warning you. It doesn’t make pleasant reading, but here goes:

“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth; and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God.

“Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies who rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face; they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the Lord swore unto thy fathers to give thee. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thine hand; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath, if thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them. And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.’

“Gee, Earl,” Joyce interrupted, “if Moses was talking about consequences, they don’t sound all that bad to me.”

“Ha ha. At first, after having fought for and succeeded in moving into their Promised Land, they were blessed beyond measure as a nation whose greatness and wealth culminated in the majesty of David’s kingdom and that of his son Solomon. Again, there’s an eerie parallel here with the United States before and shortly after our revolution. But hold on, now it starts to warm up.” He continued from where he left off.

‘But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly, because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The Lord shall make the pestilence cling unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, to which thou goest to possess it. The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blight, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be bronze, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust; from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies; thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them, and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcass shall be food unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall drive them away. The Lord will smite thee with the boil of Egypt, and with tumors, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart; and thou shalt grope at noonday as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways; and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her; thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein; thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof; thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee; thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long; and there shall be no might in thine hand. The fruit of thy land, and all thy labors, shall a nation whom thou knowest not eat up, and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always. So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. The Lord shallsmite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore boil that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head. The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king whom thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation whom neither thou nor thy fathers have known, and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations to which the Lord shall lead thee. Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy borders, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast its fruit. Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume. The stranger who is within thee shall get up above thee very high, and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him; he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover, all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed, because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee; and they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed forever. Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies whom the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things; and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.

‘The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance, who shall not regard the person of the old, nor show favor to the young. And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed; who also shall not leave thee either grain, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fortified walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land; and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters whom the Lord thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee; so that the man who is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children whom he shall leave; so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children, whom he shall eat, because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the
straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one who cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children whom she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD, then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and severe sicknesses, and of long continuance. Moreover, he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of, and they shall cling unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the Lord thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land to which thou goest to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest; but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind. And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have no assurance of thy life: in the morning thous shalt say, Would God it were evening! And at evening thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! For the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the Lord thall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spoke unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again; and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.’

“That’s horrible,” Joyce said when Earl stopped reading. “I can’t imagine such wrath from a loving God.”

“I can. Looking back on Jewish history, you’ll see that most of the evil came straight from the people themselves, both oppressors and oppressed, and their fallen natures.”

“You’re saying, then, that this curse of Moses actually came to pass.”

“Yes, of course. Look at the Holocaust of Nazi Germany. And that was just a part of the many pogroms and persecutions of the Jews as strangers in strange lands over the past two millennia. Moses’ prophecy here indeed came to pass. In living Technicolor. Now I’ll continue with the history lesson. After Solomon’s reign the kingdom split between the ten northern tribes and the two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and with the split both the Israel of the north and the Judah of the south declined into apathy, corruption and moral degeneration. God held His peace for over a hundred years of decline, but eventually in the eighth century B.C. Israel was conquered by the Assyrians. They were forced to intermarry with their conquerors, which virtually completed their destruction. The northern land became known as Samaria; the Samaritans within were looked down upon by the southern Israelites because of the consequent impurity of their blood. The south held out longer, but they, too, were conquered in 606 B.C. by the Babylonians under Nebudchadnezzar and carried away as a people into Babylon. This ejection from their land lasted precisely seventy years as foretold by Jeremiah – Jeremiah 25:12 – , after which they were allowed to return and rebuild both their temple and the city of Jerusalem.

That dispersion was only the first, and it was far more limited in scope and time than what followed. Thirty-eight years after the crucifixion of Jesus, Titus’ troops laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the temple so thoroughly that Jesus’ prophetic pronouncement that not one stone would be left upon another was fulfilled to the letter. Four years later the Romans under Flavius Silva battered their way into the Masada fortress to end their siege there. Virtually every person alive at the time committed suicide rather than submit to Roman atrocities. There were also accounts of starvation and cannibalism.

“Over the next two millennia there has been an almost unending series of persecutions against the Jews, ending only recently, in our own generation, as a matter of fact, with the creation in 1948 of the modern state of Israel.”

“Are you sure that the new nation was sanctioned by God? It seems to me that there’s a lot of animosity against them, both there and here. It’s doubtful to me that they’ll survive.”

“Oh, they’ll survive, all right. It will seem impossible, but that’s the whole point of the story of Gideon.”

“I don’t know that one,” Joyce said. “Tell me about it.”

“It’ll have to wait until tomorrow. It’s bedtime.”

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