Life In The Blood

Life In The Blood

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

A common practice for thousands of years was to drain “bad blood” out of the body. In fact, there are still some cultures today that practice this. The greatest doctors who were thought to be extremely smart would commonly drain the “bad blood” out of their patients if they were sick. For the longest time it was believed that if you were sick you needed to let this poisonous blood out of your body in order to be healed. 

Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”

December 13th 1799 a man was riding a horse through his plantation. It was a day like any other, and everything was perfectly normal. Little did this man know that in less than two days he would be dead. The decision he made that day in December proved to be fatal. While he was out riding he got caught in the rain, and when he returned home he decided to hold off on changing out of his wet clothes because he didn’t want to be late for his dinner party. The next morning, he worked outside in the bitter cold as he had the day before. The whole day he worked through the pain that had developed in his throat. Nevertheless he pushed on and tried to ignore it. 

That evening his symptoms worsened, but he decided to see if they would improve by the morning. This man woke up and things had only gotten worse. He called in three well-known physicians and he received good news that it was just a cold and a slight fever. The physicians assured the man that he would be just fine. All they had to do was drain the sickness out of his body and he would be healed. 

This fatal decision resulted in the death George Washington. 

Bloodletting is now seen as an incompetent practice. Yet it was practiced worldwide until the late 1800s. Millions of people died thanks to this lack of understanding, but guess who knew NOT to do this right from the start? The life is in the blood and God is the one who revealed this fact to us. 

Sometimes we are a little slow in catching on to the wisdom that God has revealed in His Word. If God was right about the blood, what else could He be right about? 

Rehoboam’s Folly

Rehoboam’s Folly

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

One of the facts I remember and retained from elementary school is that the purchase of the Alaska Territory by the United States from the Russian Empire was known as “Seward’s Folly.” $7 million for a frozen wasteland thousands of miles from Washington, D.C., right after the Civil War surely must have seemed bizarre (at the time, it was also called [President Andrew] “Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden” and “Walrussia,” among other things)(a few details from History.com).  History has long since vindicated the wisdom of Seward’s vision.

Rehoboam’s folly was folly from beginning to end. Though God’s foreknowledge and providence caused Him to work through these events to keep His promise of bringing the Messiah, Rehoboam was no willing accomplice. Instead, he committed an inexcusable blunder that proved him to be an apple falling light years from his father’s tree. How could he be so foolish?

First, let’s quickly review what happened. Jeroboam hears about Solomon’s death, and he leaves his exile in Egypt to return to Israel. The nation had high regard for the son of Nebat and summoned him to go with a delegation of them to ask Rehoboam to lighten the yoke of taxation his father, Solomon, had levied on them in order to fund the building projects the chief of which were his own house and the temple (cf. 9:15). Rehoboam asked for three days to consider their request. When they return in three days, he not only refused their request but answered them harshly (10). 

So what contributed to his foolhardy decision at the start of his reign? There are several implications. Cronyism appears to have played a part. He favored the flatterers from among his own friends and associates, “who grew up with him” (10).

Ego likewise factors in. Their flattering suggestion was to tell the people, “My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins! Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (10-11).

Akin to cronyism was his bias against the older, wiser counselors who served his father. It’s certainly not unique to Rehoboam to consider the counsel of the aged to be out of touch and irrelevant (cf. Job 12:12).

Then, there was a lack of empathy. Leadership is doomed where leaders fail to hear and grasp the plight of the people.

Finally, there was divine foreknowledge. God knew the arrogance and pride of Rehoboam and He used it to fulfill His divine will. The writer ends the paragraph, saying, “So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the Lord, that He might establish His word, which the Lord spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (15). 

God’s people today do well to revisit the folly of Rehoboam in order to be reminded of the wisdom of impartiality, humility, empathy, and compassion. Failure to do so is foolish indeed!

Jesus Didn’t Retire

Jesus Didn’t Retire

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

garyandme521

Gary N. Pollard III

Satan tried to trip Jesus with a killer deal: “I’ll give you every nation in the world if you worship me” (Matt 4.8-10). This wouldn’t have been a temptation if he couldn’t deliver. What might Jesus have gained by having Satan give up control of every nation on earth? It would have made his job a lot easier! He wouldn’t have to fight with Pharisees or other hostiles. He wouldn’t have to disappear after teaching or healing. He could avoid the kind of rejection that broke his heart (Luke 19.41). 

Sometime after this encounter, Jesus started to recruit followers. He may have had Satan’s offer on his mind as he was calling Peter (Matt 4.18ff). He knew Peter would be so ashamed of him that he’d deny any connection to him (Matt 26.69-75). He knew that every one of his followers would abandon him when he most needed them (Matt 26.56). 

He still lived his life, he still taught, he still sacrificed himself for everyone. How many of us would still pursue something if we knew how painful or difficult the outcome would be? How many of us would continue to pursue something if we were given the option to take an easier path? 

Jesus didn’t even retire once his mission was accomplished! He faced homelessness, assault, rejection, betrayal, injustice, torture, and execution. I would have retired after that in a heartbeat, and I would feel that I had more than earned that retirement. 

After he went back to be with the father, he rolled up his sleeves and got to work. He’s a full-time mediator (I Jn 2.1-2). He’s making sure the natural universe operates as it should (Heb 1.3; Col 1.17). He’s keeping evil in check (Phil 3.21; I Cor 15.27). When the end comes, he’ll destroy the universe and judge every human who’s ever lived (Heb 9.27; II Pet 3.7-10; Rev 20.12, 21.1-2). 

Whew. He still loves us (Rom 8.35; II Cor 5.14; Gal 2.20; Rev 1.5)! He still gives grace with generosity (I Jn 1.7; Rom 5.15-21, 6.14). We serve a tireless God who invested everything in us and will do so until the end of time. Life gets us down and we ask, “Why?” Just remember who’s watching our backs and won’t ever let us down! 

The wilderness of Judea