NOVEMBER EDITION... 2018
INTRODUCTION: What a great month, November. Of all the months so many people love to enjoy, it seems by November people begin to slow down and appreciate what they have received. It has also been a time do a bit of reflecting. America has in its tradition a focus of Thanksgiving as a holiday. Think about this my friends and readers. Here is a holiday that commemorates no hero, celebrates not battlefield, support no lobby that is behind it; no group or sect or party claims it. Yet, Christmas cannot dim it nor July 4th steal its glory. And all America loves it with quiet and intense affection that is reserved for it no other day of the year.
What makes Thanksgiving different? What makes it beloved? What makes it real?
Perhaps the answer is simple: Thanksgiving is an affirmation. It is our heart's testimony to a deeply held conviction-- the conviction that these things we call free and decent and American did not just happen to us. We did not get them because we were wiser, or more clever, or even luckier but another gracious hand was involved.
This conviction is the sum of many beliefs and experiences. The belief in the dignity of every human being. The belief in a real right and wrong. The belief in decency and honesty and integrity. The belief in a responsibility, under God, to our fellow-man, wherever he/she may be. For these beliefs, and the American way of life, Thanksgiving and the day we celebrate these realities is our joyous affirmation to a kind Providence for His blessings and guidance.
II. DIGGING DEEPER... "A WELL WATERED DESERT?"
Abraham's cattlemen and those of his nephew Lot were carrying on a feud among themselves. Abraham, the man of faith, said to Lot,the man who lived by sight, "The whole land is before you. Take what you want and I will occupy what you do not want." The Scriptures states: "Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah" (Gen.13:9,10).
The environment has definitely changed. Today the Jordan Valley is 1291 feet below sea level, the lowers place on earth. The temperature sometimes reaches 130 degrees in the middle of the day. Why all the contrast from an earlier period? We in twenty-first century have become well away of environmental changes. This should come as no surprise to us. There is an answer for the skeptic.
The discoveries of the archaeologists show that the Jordan Valley was well populated in the time of Abraham and Lot. (Approx. 2500-2000B.C.) A mound discovered at the south end of the sea of Galilee (Khirbet Kenak) shows the presence of a large city existing at the time when Lot "beheld the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered." Potsherds indicate that the city was occupied about the period mentioned above.
William F. Albright and Melvin Grove Kyle did archaeological work in the Jordan Valley in 1924. Their archaeological investigations "have proven that the most prosperous period of history of this was in the early Bronze Age (3000-2000B.C.) and that the density of its occupation gradually declined until it reached the lowest point in the early Iron II Age." (1) Nelson Glueck's exploration in the Jordan area before and after 1940 showed that this area had been densely populated. "He discovered more than seventy ancient sites,many of them founded more that 5,000 years ago...Thus the archaeological discoveries have shown that no one who knows the facts can set aside as inaccurate the Biblical record of Lot's choice of the Jordan area." (2) It is evident that Lot chose the part of Canaan popular with most people went there to live. Like so many carnal Christians of our time, he was "following the crowd."
The Word of God shows how a "well watered" plain can soon vanish. "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not just after evil things, as they also lusted." (I Cor. 10:6). "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:25). We could go on and one and quote such passages as: I Tim. 3:3; I John 2:15-17. These are for our instruction.
Lot looked on the well watered plains of Jordan and walked by sight. His paradise was destroyed. Abraham lived by faith and obtained a city with foundations. We have choices to make as well. Let Abraham be our example.