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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Grandview Road farm
This snow blanketed farm is on Grandview Road north of Mount Joy. Many preserved farms dot our landscape and we are sure grateful for that, including this one.
Located here on Google map
Click on photo to enlarge

"Go And Tell That Fox!"

Message summary: We need to recognize those who oppose God's truth such as Herod. Jesus did not practice a "get along at all costs" outlook but rather demonstrates here the bold speaking of truth. And that's a good model for us all!

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

"At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to Him [Jesus], 'Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.' And He said to them, 'Go and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem’" (Luke 13:31-33).

Red fox in snowOne of the most elusive animals in our neighborhood is the fox. They live along the old hedge row across the road from our house and along the trail leading to Donegal Creek. But the other day we saw one right outside our office window, likely in search of food. He looked right at me and then Ester saw him dart across our front yard. I have also seen their tracks in the snow right up to our front porch. But so far we have not managed to get a photo since they get spooked so easily. (That's a stock photo to the left). A concern we have is according to an online search there is a slim chance the fox could see a very small dog as prey and attack it.  Whether Sadie would be classified as "very small" is uncertain, since she maintains a heavier weight than other dogs of her breed due to her enormous appetite.*

During the spring we have seen the fox cubs (also called pups or kits) playing in the field across from our home although they are very skittish. They have a very distinctive bark (listen here for a 10 second video) and at times can be heard all the way across the other side of the large field from our house. It's just one of the many interesting sounds of the country!

Foxes are mentioned several times in the Bible, the first being an incredible display of prowess by Samson (Judges 15:3-5). Another time it's used in Nehemiah 4:2-4 as mockery to the Jews rebuilding the wall. In Song of Solomon they are used in a love letter! (2:14-16).

Foxes are mentioned in two different senses in the Gospels. Once in the passage where Jesus says, "foxes have holes" (Matthew 8:20). We've shared about this in a previous Daily Encouragement message, "Foxes Have Holes".

The other is the text I want to tackle today. I've never written about this and I don't believe I ever preached on this passage. That's because it has an element in it that I have a hard time understanding. Pro tip: I don't think I'm the only preacher who tends to avoid passages that are harder to understand or explain. In fact I've noticed fellow preachers who tend to gloss over a harder part and I want to say, "please explain that!"

So what's hard about this passage? My Mom told me when I was a youngster, "Don't call people names". It sure seems that Jesus is calling a Herod a name when he says, "Go and tell that fox".

Bible teacher Leon Morris points out that this is not a compliment but a phrase expressing "utter contempt". John MacArthur writes, "For Jesus to make such a derogatory statement was highly unusual; Herod is the only individual in the New Testament for whom the Lord expressed such contempt. Rabbinical writings often used 'the fox' to signify someone who was both crafty and worthless. The Pharisees, who trembled at Herod's power, must have been astonished at Christ's boldness."

Jesus was here expressing an intense emotion and disdain for what Herod represented and what he had done. This was after Herod had killed Jesus' cousin, John. Later during His trial He would say nothing to Herod at all, again showing contempt for him. As Leon Morris has remarked, "When Jesus has nothing to say to a man that man's position is hopeless. Herod was a dead man in every way." (Preaching the Word – Luke, Volume II: That You May Know the Truth)

The lesson for us is that we need to recognize those who oppose God's truth such as Herod. Jesus did not practice a "get along at all costs" outlook but rather demonstrates here the bold speaking of truth. And that's a good model for us all!

Be encouraged today!

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, in the post modern era in which we live and work,  raise our families and conduct our affairs, we have seen an all out attack on truth by those who have their own revised and enlightened version of truth. But, as believers, we know that this raging battle can be traced back to the garden of Eden. Those who sell their souls to the devil by repeatedly abusing their free will to speak truth, and rather choose to promote falsehoods are sometimes beyond our reach. Thus we commit their souls to You since only You can melt a heart of stone and turn it into a piece of pliable clay such as You did with the Apostle Paul. We choose to follow Your truth, not the opinions of man. Amen.

Can you think of another time Jesus called someone a "name"? See Matthew 23:33

* The Aggressor - Just this morning Brooksyne had to separate Sadie and Mollie ever so carefully as they were only about three inches from each other's faces as Sadie was moving in on Mollie's food; their body language declared their intentions when they both had a narrow stare, their bodies grew tense, the hair on their neck raised up, their teeth bared in a snarl, and their low growling grew into a raging growl.

Typically Sadie sits quietly behind Mollie while she eats her food, then moves in afterwards to lick the empty bowl. This time Sadie had crouched right next to the bowl while Mollie was still eating so Mollie became rather perturbed and rightly so. Who wants to be stared at the whole time you're eating breakfast! You'd think Mollie, the 45# dog would be the aggressor but Sadie, almost from the beginning, is the aggressor with food. Brooksyne has moved Mollie's dish into another room but to no avail, Sadie woofs hers down and heads to Molllie's dish. It isn't the age or size of the dog, it's the appetite that seems to guide one's aggression in the canine world, or could that also be present in the human world when people get hangry?

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"What A Faithful God Have I"  Video  So much good music that we never hear it all, it seems! Sunday we sang this song I had never heard before in the small country church I attended Sunday in southern Lancaster County. If you listen just once you'll find yourself repeating the chorus all day, since the tune is catchy and the lyrics are simple.

Some winter scenes from snowy Lancaster County

Today it's supposed to be in the mid-fifties with lots of sun but we still have a few snow day photos to share after our recent snows.

Shenck's Mill Covered Bridge
Shenck's Mill Covered Bridge. The large headbanger was installed since we lived in this area due to oversized trucks trying to go through the covered bridge!
Click on photo to enlarge

Shenck's Mill Covered Bridge
Another view Shenck's Mill Covered Bridge and Chickies Creek
Click on photo to enlarge

Cow on road
This Amish boy was having quite a time with this stubborn heifer on Valley View Road.

Horses in snow
These horses seemed to be having fun frolicking in the snow on Valley View Road.

Phil Huber
Yesterday we had breakfast with Phil Huber, who is the general manager at Audrey's, where we serve as chaplains. Phil is a lifelong Lancaster Countian apart from several years that he was the general manager at the Sight and Sound Theater in Branson, Missouri.

That's an interesting connection since Branson was where we honeymooned and not far from Springfield, MO where we met in college. At that time (1976) Branson had not developed into the major tourist area it is today.

Finally today:

Coal delivery
This morning we had a coal delivery, 4 tons of black diamonds!
Anthracite coal

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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