REFLECTIONS
by Al Maxey

Issue #292 ------- March 12, 2007
**************************
The mercy of God does not suspend the
laws of cause and effect. When God forgives
me a sin, He destroys the guilt of sin, but
the effects and the punishment of sin remain.

Thomas Merton {1915-1968}
"No Man Is An Island"

**************************
The Daughters of Lot
Sodom's Seductive Sisters

Seneca the Younger, who expired in the year 65 A.D., which was the same year most scholars believe the apostle Peter was martyred in Rome, once remarked, "Who, when he may, forbids not sin, commands it." There is much wisdom contained in that observation. Sin abounds in this fallen world of ours, and standing mute in its presence is hardly a virtue. Not only must godly men and women speak out for Truth, but they must speak out against every false way. As Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) declared in Poor Richard's Almanac, "Silence is not always a sign of wisdom" [April, 1758]. Indeed, to quote the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die." To forbid not, is in effect to command. A noted psychiatrist observed, "It is impossible to remain silent in the face of tyranny without, by this very act of silence, becoming an agent of that tyranny." This is why a good many disciples of Christ Jesus, myself included, who cherish their freedom from the tyranny of law, simply cannot remain passively mute in the presence of religious oppression. Speak out we must, for the eternal effects of saying and doing nothing, as the darkness envelopes those around us, are unthinkable.

Imagine yourself completely surrounded by a society that has surrendered itself to Satan. The eternal God is openly mocked and pushed from public view. Evil, corruption and immorality run rampant at every level -- politically, socially and even religiously. Perversion lurks on every corner; deviant behavior is the norm. "Eat, drink, and be merry" is the maxim of the masses, as they spiral ever downward in their godless exploitations and excesses. Imagine trying to raise your family in such an evil environment. Welcome to the world of Lot. Yes, Lot, the nephew of Abraham, had quite clearly made some very poor choices in life; perhaps even motivated by selfish interests. Those choices would bring with them some unforeseen consequences, as our choices in life often do. Lot beheld a land filled with the promise of prosperity, thus "he pitched his tent toward Sodom" [Gen. 13:12]. It was a decision that would prove to be quite costly, for "the men of Sodom were wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord" [vs. 13]. Nevertheless, Lot was perceived by his God to be "a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men, for this righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard" [2 Peter 2:7-8]. For an in-depth exposť of the nature of this city's transgressions against both God and their fellow men, I would refer you to Reflections #65 -- The Sins Of Sodom: Their Five Greatest Failings As Revealed In Ezekiel 16:49-50.

Had righteous Lot remained silent in the presence of the evil that surrounded him? Although we are not specifically told much about the years that he lived within this wicked city, there is clear evidence that the people were aware that he had come into their midst "as an alien" [Gen. 19:9]; thus, he was not perceived as being "one of them." He stood out as different. His daughters were still virgins [vs. 8] in a city where morality was perceived as an oddity. And when the perverted men of the city sought to bring the deepening darkness into his own domain one dark night, he spoke out against it boldly, characterizing their intended actions as "wicked" [vs. 7]. "Now he wants to play the judge," these Sodomites declared [vs. 9]. Clearly, Lot had absolutely no intention whatsoever of remaining silent. His righteous nature simply would not permit it. And yet, one of his statements to those malicious men that fateful evening has troubled saints for centuries. It seems so completely out of character; almost as base and senseless as the indecent intentions of these devilish dogs of Sodom. They had surrounded the house of Lot and his family, calling out, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them" [Gen. 19:5, NIV]. After urging them not to do such a wicked thing to his guests, Lot then uttered these almost unbelievable words: "Behold, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you like. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof" [vs. 8].

How on earth can Peter characterize Lot as "righteous" three times in just two verses when he offered his two virgin daughters to a howling horde of homosexuals for them to do with as they pleased?! Most freely admit that this is a very troubling passage of Scripture. It just doesn't seem to make any sense. Recently a reader emailed me the following plea -- "Brother Maxey, I have been troubled for quite some time by a statement made by Lot in Genesis 19:8. I have gotten no satisfaction from the commentaries I have referenced. Even if it was the culture of those folks to protect visitors in their homes at all cost, I still cannot empathize with someone giving his two daughters over to a sex-maddened crowd to do with as they pleased. I suspect many others may have similar questions about this passage as well. Perhaps you could enlighten us in a future Reflections. Thanks for all of your digging and sharing, and for the enlightenment your articles have provided."

Yes, there is a great deal in this account that has troubled disciples of Christ for centuries. Some scholars feel that Lot made no effort whatsoever to be a positive influence to the people around him, and thus, in some ways, was little better than they. Henry Morris wrote, "Lot presents to us a rather disheartening picture. There is absolutely no indication that he tried to witness to them in any way, in order to turn them back to God and away from their sins. It is more likely that he tended to congratulate himself that he could do so well, commercially and politically, as a godly man living among an ungodly crowd" [The Genesis Record, p. 345]. Others feel the residents of Sodom had succeeded in affecting Lot and his family far more than he had succeeded in affecting them. Frankly, this seems more likely the case. However, it still cannot be denied that, in spite of his less than perfect performance in some areas, he was far more righteous than those about him. "Even Lot, the righteous one who was ultimately rescued, is shown to have been tainted by his association with Sodom" [The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 154]. Someone once observed, "If you live in a pigpen with pigs, you will have about your person the scent of swine!" True, you may not actually become one, but you can't help but be tainted by their environment. Such was the case with Lot. He hadn't become one of them, but he had been affected by them. He had compromised environment for economy; to gain material advantage, he had placed at risk his and his family's spirituality. "Lot was not wholly blameless; he had tempted God by exposing himself to temptation; God had not led him there. He saw that the plain of Jordan was well watered everywhere, and did not consider that 'the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.' The children of light ought to be wiser than this; they ought to regard their spiritual interest as being far more momentous than their temporal; but alas! ... the error of Lot is common still" [The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 22: The 2nd Epistle of Peter, p. 52].

There are two incidents, however, in this whole sordid account that cry out for greater consideration and clarification: (1) Lot offering his virgin daughters to the perverts of Sodom, and (2) the later seduction of Lot by his two daughters, and his impregnation of them both. Not to mention that Lot, during the latter event, was so drunk that he was hardly aware of what was transpiring. And yet, Peter characterizes this man three times in just two verses as "righteous" in the sight of God. "This is puzzling because in Genesis Lot is hardly notable for his righteousness" [The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 12, p. 279]. Part of the solution here is that oftentimes in Scripture "righteousness" is a very relative term [Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 8, p. 453]. It certainly does not denote "sinless perfection," but rather that one, comparatively speaking, far exceeds the attitudes and actions of those around him/her. David was a "man after God's own heart," and yet he slept with another man's wife, impregnated her, and then had her husband murdered. Tamar seduced her father-in-law, Judah, and became impregnated by him, and yet Judah says, "She is more righteous than I" [Gen. 38:26]. Of Noah God said, "You alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time," and yet after leaving the ark, "he planted a vineyard, drank of the wine and became drunk," exposing himself to his family [Gen. 9:20-21]. The reality is -- "There is none righteous, not even one" [Rom. 3:10]. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" [Rom. 3:23]. Righteousness is not a quality inherent within any man, but is reckoned to certain men by the grace of God. Lot was not a perfect man; far from it. But, God perceived within the heart of Lot a quality that set him apart from those around him, and thus he was counted as righteous ... in spite of himself. I don't know about the rest of you, but this gives me hope!! Praise God for His grace and mercy! Without it we would all be consumed by the "eternal fire," reduced to dust and ashes, just as Sodom was [Jude 7; 2 Peter 2:6].

Lot's Plan for his Daughters

Lot had welcomed these two messengers of God (most likely angels) into his home, extending to them a great hospitality, for which many of the Jews were widely known. "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it" [Heb. 13:2]. Lot took these two guests under his roof, which in that day and age was considered an almost sacred obligation. These guests thereby came under the protection of the head of that household, which was Lot. Any harm done to them during this time would be regarded as a failing on his part. These people took this quite seriously. Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, wrote that Lot "was a very generous and hospitable man, and one that had learned to imitate the goodness of Abraham" [Antiquities of the Jews, book 1, chapter 11, section 3]. That good and hospitable quality was to be put to the ultimate test that evening when "the men of Sodom surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter" [Gen. 19:4], calling out to Lot to send these two men outside so that they might have sex with them. What a foul, wicked, loathsome, perverted scene! Josephus says, "When the Sodomites saw the young men to be of beautiful countenances, and this to an extraordinary degree, and that they took up their lodgings with Lot, they resolved themselves to enjoy these beautiful boys by force and violence" [ibid]. Lot goes outside his home and makes this horrific offer to the mob: "Behold, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you like. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof" [Gen. 19:8].

There have been countless "explanations" offered throughout the centuries as to why Lot made this offer, very few of which (if any) tend to fully satisfy most people. Most of these theories make an attempt to justify Lot's offer in some way, and therein, in my opinion, lies the problem with these theories. The Pulpit Commentary characterizes it "an infamous proposal which nothing can extenuate, and which the utmost charity finds difficult to reconcile with any pretence of piety on the part of Lot" [vol. 1, p. 252]. "It is incredible that some scholars suggest the inspired author of Genesis is commending Lot for offering his two virgin daughters to the men of Sodom. A biblical writer often reports the thoughts, words, and acts of different people without commending or condoning them" [John T. Willis, Genesis, p. 266]. Nevertheless, attempts have been made to present this offer in a more positive light. Some biblical scholars, such as Ambrose (340-397 A.D.), felt this was simply "the lesser of two evils." Chrysostom (349-407 A.D.) offered what has become perhaps the most popular and accepted view -- Lot felt bound to "discharge the duties of hospitality incumbent upon him." In other words, "so sacred were the persons and the lives of his guests in the eyes of Lot that he was willing to set aside even his fatherly feeling and duty, and to sacrifice his daughters to the lust of the brutes out in the street" [Dr. Paul Kretzmann, Popular Commentary of the Bible, vol. 1, p. 41]. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) felt that Lot "acted through mental perturbation." In other words, "Lot's offer may be accounted for only by the fact of his extreme consternation" [Dr. Kretzmann, p. 41]. He was under stress, so acted irrationally, according to this theory. "He was no doubt in a confused state of mind in the emergency situation thrust upon him" [Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record, p. 348]. Some have even suggested that Lot knew these two men were angels, therefore he felt greater protection must be shown to them than to a mere human (his own daughters). Thus, his action put God above man, in the eyes of those who hold to this view. Still others suggest Lot knew these men were only interested in other men sexually, and thus his offer was made with the knowledge that it would be refused by these perverts.

To be perfectly honest, I don't really accept any of the above explanations, although I will admit that the view that Lot's actions may have been influenced by great stress has some merit, and may well have been a factor. Frankly, I think Lot's proposal was utterly godless. Thus, I see no need to make excuses for him. He was wrong. It is my view that he had become tainted by the evil that surrounded him; he "smelled of Sodom." This had come to affect his judgments and actions in some very visible ways. "Whatever apology may be offered for so extraordinary a proposal on the part of Lot, nothing can be plainer than that it implied a strange obliquity of moral vision, and a serious deadening of fine moral feeling. It was clear proof that the immoral contagion had begun to affect Lot, and that it was high time for him to leave Sodom" [The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 1, p. 254]. Yes, Lot, by comparison, was a righteous man. And, yes, he was truly offended by what he witnessed in the residents of his city. Nevertheless, he remained there; he was hesitant to leave; and he was slowly, but surely, being brought down to their level. This righteous man needed to be grabbed by the hand and literally dragged from the influence of those about him, for he had lost the strength to remove himself. "And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh" [Jude 22-23]. Certainly this could be said of Lot.

I believe where many have failed in their interpretations of this event, therefore, and why there is such confusion among biblical students, is in their effort to try and reconcile Peter's characterization of Lot as "righteous" with the actions of this man as he sought to live within the midst of an ever encroaching moral darkness. "The difficulty arises from the high character given of Lot by St. Peter, but Lot was righteous only relatively" [Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 1, p. 77]. Lot was affected by the choices he had made, and those choices were bringing him down spiritually. Yet, in the eyes of God there was still a quality about this man that was commendable. He struggled within himself, just as Paul said that he did [Romans 7]. He was distressed by what he witnessed in the world about him, yet was not willing to extricate himself, and was, therefore, being tainted, perhaps without even fully realizing it. Yes, the "garment" of Lot "was polluted by the flesh" (as each of our garments are), and no excuse should be made for his falling short of the glory of God. Lot's actions, in my view, were contrary to the nature and will of Jehovah, yet are recorded to reflect the fact of this man's great need for rescue, and the awesome mercy and grace of the Almighty in His act of redemption, even for those unworthy. He has done no less for us today. "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him" [Rom. 5:8-9]. Lot was justified (counted righteous) by grace, and thus saved from the wrath to come ... while he was yet a sinner! "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, for by grace you have been saved" [Eph. 2:4-5]. Brethren, can any of us truly say we are any different than Lot?! We are sinners saved by grace!

The Daughters' Plan for Lot

Following the dramatic rescue of Lot, his wife, and two daughters (although Lot's wife did not make it all the way to safety), they fled to Zoar. Perhaps fearing this community might also soon be overthrown by God, Lot and his daughters soon left Zoar and lived in a cave in the nearby mountains [Gen. 19:30]. "There it was that he lived a miserable life, on account of his having no company, and his want of provisions" [Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book 1, chapter 11, section 4]. The fortunes of Lot had changed drastically. He had gone from sitting at the gate of the city of Sodom (which some scholars feel indicates he had achieved a significant level of prosperity), according to Gen. 19:1, to huddling in a mountainous cave. His wife was dead. His possessions gone. Only his virgin daughters remained with him. Although these two young women had escaped the destruction of Sodom, they had not escaped the pollution of Sodom. They too had "the scent of the city" about them, and it would soon become visible in their behavior toward their father.

Fearing that they would never be able to find husbands, and thus would never bear children, they formed a plan whereby they would both become pregnant. The elder sister said to the younger (the name of neither is known), "Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. Let's get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father" [Gen. 19:32, NIV]. So, they got their father drunk on wine, then Lot's oldest daughter had sex with him, "and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose" [vs. 33]. The next night the youngest daughter did the same thing [vs. 34-35]. "Thus, both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father" [vs. 36]. The fact that these sisters felt they needed to incapacitate their father prior to having sexual intercourse with him may well speak favorably of Lot. "The surreptitious air that hangs over their behavior shows that they knew their father would not have approved of such a perverted sexual practice" [John T. Willis, Genesis, p. 270]. On the other hand, his daughters seemed to know he "was susceptible to much wine, which is a further reflection on his inferior character and influence" [ibid]. "Ironically, in his own drunkenness Lot carried out the shameful act that he himself had suggested to the men of Sodom -- he lay with his own daughters" [The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 159]. "Twice overcome by wine, he is twice in succession dishonored by his daughters; and twice over, while in his drunken stupor, he allows himself to commit an act which almost out-Sodoms Sodom" [The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 1, p. 262]. Although a few scholars have suggested that these daughters were in actuality merely step-daughters (that Lot had married a widow with two young girls), and that they were therefore not any blood-relation to him, this is little more than a feeble attempt to soften the sin of incest. There is no indication that these two women were anything other than Lot's own daughters.

Others have suggested that the actions of the daughters were, in fact, quite noble and godly; that they merely sought to provide their father with a continuation of his blood line (since, after all, he was old, his wife was dead, and the men to whom they had been betrothed were dead). Adam Clarke, for example, wrote, "After considering all that has been said to criminate both Lot and his daughters in this business, I cannot help thinking that the transaction itself will bear a more favorable construction than that which has been generally put on it" [Clarke's Commentary, vol. 1, p. 127]. Clarke's reasoning is that their intercourse with their father was not sexually motivated, but rather motivated by a desire to provide their father with a continuing bloodline (and themselves with sons). Therefore, Clarke believes the account to be "capable of an interpretation not wholly injurious" to the piety of both Lot and his two daughters [ibid, p. 128]. In light of such motivation, "we can understand, though we cannot cease to abhor, their incestuous conduct" [The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 1, p. 261]. "Even if it was not lewd voluptuousness which caused the two daughters of Lot deliberately to plan this sin of incest, it shows that they had imbibed freely of the poison of Sodom and were acquainted with the most unnatural vices. The desire for children and for the propagation of their family cannot excuse their revolting act" [Dr. Kretzmann, p. 43].

"The older daughter had a son, and she named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today. The younger daughter also had a son, and she named him Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the Ammonites of today" [Gen. 19:37-38, NIV]. The Moabites and Ammonites would come to be known in later Jewish history as "the sons of Lot" [Deut. 2:9, 19; Psalm 83:8]. Their relationship would be a troubled one throughout history; at times cordial, at times warlike. Because of certain indiscretions against the people of Israel, "No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the Lord; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the Lord" [Deut. 23:3]. Nevertheless, we discover that Ruth, who was a Moabitess and a godly woman, would become one of the ancestors of both King David and the Messiah. Also, Naamah, an Ammonite woman, and one of the wives of Solomon, was the mother of King Rehoboam, who was also in the ancestral line which led to Jesus the Messiah. Thus, the union of Lot with his two daughters would actually result in two links in the line of descent to Jesus, the Son of God. Additionally, "during the Babylonian exile, the Moabites and Ammonites provided a safe refuge for the Jews who had fled Judah -- Jeremiah 40:11" [The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 160].

Following the birth of these two sons, both Lot and his daughters disappear from the pages of history. The Pulpit Commentary notes that perhaps their greatest shame is, from that sordid event forward, "to live an unrecorded life, to die an unnoticed death, and to sink into an unknown grave" [vol. 1, p. 262-263]. Lot and his daughters were real people, who led real lives, and who faced real challenges of faith. Lot, obviously, was perceived by God as a man who, in many ways, was far more righteous than those who lived around him, but he was also still just a man, and susceptible to the failings of men. In Lot, and even in his daughters, we too often see ourselves. We make poor choices, we hesitate when called by God to move on, we display lack of trust by taking matters into our own hands, and we often are forced to endure the painful consequences of our actions. Yet, our many failures in no way diminish His faithfulness! Even when we may at times "flirt with the fire" through our human weaknesses, His divine power and infinite grace and mercy reach out to grab us by the hand, leading us to a place of safety. Praise God for His awesome compassion and love. Without it we would all be reduced to ashes.

***************************
Reflections on CD
www.zianet.com/maxey/offercd.htm
***************************
Down, But Not Out
A Study of Divorce and Remarriage
in Light of God's Healing Grace

by Al Maxey
Order Your Copy Today
www.zianet.com/maxey/mdrbook.htm
***************************
Readers' Reflections

A Special Offer --- As was noted within the Readers' Reflections section of my last issue, a dear brother in the state of Alabama (who happens to share a birthday with me) has taken on the task of publishing my article (in tract format) on the indwelling and empowering of the Holy Spirit. This tract is now in print, and is already selling quite rapidly (he's only charging enough to recover printing and shipping costs; all proceeds go to producing more tracts; I am not receiving a single penny, and have no desire to). For those of you who might like to order a supply of this tract for your congregations, or to distribute to friends, neighbors and loved ones, you may contact this brother for more information. His name and contact information (which he graciously gave me permission to make public) is:

Another Special Offer --- If you have never heard of the singing group known as The Sounds of Glory, then you are missing out on a tremendous spiritual blessing. They live near the Houston, TX area and have released several CD albums of spiritual hymns. Bro. Lanier Stevens, one of the leading members of the group, is a good friend and long-time supporter of my weekly Reflections, and he has sent me some of their CD's (including their new one). Brother Lanier wrote: "Brother Al, I am sending you a copy of our new CD Signature Songs, which has 15 of our most requested songs, all recorded with our new bass singer, Rodney Britt. It's really pleasurable to listen to, even if I do say so myself -- as old Walter Brennan used to say, 'No brag, just fact!' Seriously, Al, your work and writings have made such an imprint on my life and have been such an encouragement to me and (in my opinion) our whole brotherhood, that I just wanted to give you this CD to encourage you. Again, let me thank you for your bold, yet kind and Christ-like, spirit in the work that you do. You are ever in my prayers!" I thank Lanier for his kind words, and also for his gift. He gave me permission to share his group's website with you all, and I hope you will check it out and order some of their albums. You will be blessed. The web site is: www.thesoundsofglory.com.

From a Reader in Oklahoma:

Dear Bro. Al, In your last Readers' Reflections section there was a comment from a minister in Alabama. He wrote -- "After reviewing what you have written, I have not found any of your articles to be either enlightening or uplifting. You may therefore remove me from your mailing list." Translation -- "Al, You blathering liberal you!! I have the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, and if I read what you write I just might come to understand that maybe I am wrong on some things, so don't bother me!!" Isn't it amazing that we have so many "Defenders of the Truth" who are so afraid of it?! Keep up the great work, brother!

From a Reader in Texas:

Brother Al, Your Reflections on "Abba! Father!" was another excellent article. Keep up the good work, and may God give you strength and wisdom as you battle the forces and ideas of evil.

From a Minister in Missouri:

Bro. Al, I've just read your latest Reflections, and I really fear for the soul of that reader from Alabama. He doesn't understand what he is rejecting. Brother, that is scary. While I am so very thankful that I've found freedom in Christ, in part through your grace-centered Reflections, I can still see very clearly that road leading to eternal separation from Christ that I was on (Legalism). I am truly afraid for that man's soul, because that is exactly where I was not too long back.

From a Reader in Missouri:

Dear Al, I'm so saddened by the response you received from that minister in Alabama. Not shocked, by any means, but saddened. I find it rather suspicious that he found nothing at all in anything you had written that would serve to enlighten or uplift him. Amazing what prejudice and a closed mind can do to a person! I nearly always find something challenging or informative in your Reflections; something that causes me to study something again, or to give serious reconsideration to some point of view I have held for years. I am often uplifted in spirit. Thank you, Al, for all the hard work, time, and effort you put into these weekly articles. Even though you are much stronger than I am, I know that it still must not be easy for you to always hear such "lamb-blasting" from critics.

From a Minister in Kansas:

Dear Brother, One Cup man here! Sorry I haven't emailed lately, but I've been down with the flu bug that has swept our area of the state. Several years ago, Bro. Ervin Waters told the One Cup brethren (he is still a part of this group) that we cannot debate our way into unity! Ervin was right on the money with that statement. Unfortunately, many brethren have not learned how to discuss their differences without debating one another. The reader from Alabama who wanted to debate you in a public setting sounds like just such a person. Some people, frankly, are looking for debates in order to promote themselves, and make a name for themselves, rather than promoting the cause of Christ. Some of them just want to be the next brotherhood gunslinger. Dialogue is good; mud-slinging isn't. God bless all who truly seek unity.

From a Minister in Texas:

Dear Bro. Maxey, I just read your article titled "Abba! Father!" It was very well done! In 1982 my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Israel through a generous gift from other Christians. While standing by the Sea of Galilee, we were quite near a Jewish man who sat on a lawn chair at the edge of the sea while his two small sons played in the water nearby. Suddenly, I heard one of the little boys turn toward his father and call out, "Abba! Abba!" He then said something else that I didn't understand due to a limited knowledge of Hebrew. However, it seemed obvious the little boy was doing just what little American boys would do. He was saying, "Daddy! Daddy! Look at me!"

From a Reader in West Virginia:

Dear Bro. Al, I just listened to a sermon delivered by Rick Atchley. I really recommend this one. His three lessons delivered in December as to why they are going to a Saturday evening instrumental service were great, and he continues to develop the concept of the power of music in this latest lesson. The lesson is titled "Why Music Matters" and is dated Feb. 7th. It can be found at: www.rhcc.us/audio.php. Al, please keep up the good work. I really appreciated your Abba article. You have helped me to understand that our Father wants a close relationship with His children.

From a New Reader in [Unknown]:

Al, Your article "The Nature of Man" [Reflections #32] was recently sent to me. I read it with interest as the thoughts presented were very familiar to me. These are the very same doctrines I have been reading in the Scriptures since my childhood. Your work was very well researched and very well written. I really enjoyed reading this article, and must admit that I have not yet looked at any of your other articles. However, I look forward to reading a great many more of them if they are as Scripturally sound as this one! The correct understanding of man's nature is a very important doctrine, as you have shown.

From a Reader in Texas:

Dear Bro. Al, It gives me a headache to think about the amount of study you do for all of us!! Thank you again and again! Or, to put it another way: Amen and Amen!! Looking back over the past 90 years of my life, the missed opportunities that I've had to help spread the Word scares me at times. Of course, it does no good to cry over spilt milk, as the saying goes, so I'll just continue to do the best I know how right now. Bro. Al, I want you to know that I'm right there with you, supporting you. It is so good to know the church has such a person as yourself to contend for the Word and its wonderful message to the world. Soldier on, dear brother! (PS -- If there is a library in Heaven, your works will be there, I am sure.)

********************
If you would like to be removed from or added to this
mailing list, contact me and I will immediately comply.
If you are challenged by these Reflections, then feel
free to send them on to others and encourage them
to write for a free subscription. These articles may all
be purchased on CD. Check the ARCHIVES for
details and past issues of these weekly Reflections:
http://www.zianet.com/maxey/Reflect2.htm