Wednesday, June 9

Curioisities in The Bible (Part One)

The Bible has a plethora of curious events - from Moses' shining face to Joshua's "Long Day," and many other curious and interesting things just waiting to be soaked up - to learn about. So, as I tend to wonder what to write about from day to day, I thought I would start a small series of messages on Curiosities.

Some of these things that I will be covering are well-known, some or lesser known. Some are interesting things to note, some are things that go unnoticed.

Moses. Who was Moses? We know Moses from writing the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), A Psalm or two, and the book of Job. He is also known for what he did during his life. I will go more in-depth with character studies this summer,
but Moses was a man foretold by prophets who would lead his people, the Israelites, out of Egypt into the land of Canaan.

Exodus 34:29-31 says, "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders if the community came back to him, and he spoke to them."

How do we interpret this? Literal. After being in the presence of God, Moses' face shone brightly, but not so bright that he blinded the Israelites. Verse 35 goes on to tell us, "They saw that his face was radiant. And then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD." So, Moses would put a veil over his face each time he went to the Ark, after its creation that is.

However, Moses did not always keep his face hidden. 2nd Corinthians 3:13-14 helps us understand this better. It says, "We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away."

In other words, after seeing the Lord, Moses' face would always shine bright. After a while, the glory would start to fade, so he would wear a veil. Sometimes, he would wear a veil because the shine was so bright. So a curiosity of the Old Testament is revealed through Paul in the New Testament. Amen.

What of Joshua's "Long Day?" Well, I will compare it to Hezekiah's "Reverse Day." Both made very lofty requests of the Lord: That he alter the heavens, change the flow of time and space for them. And God listened. While Joshua's request made the Sun and Moon stop, Hezekiah's request made the sun and moon go in reverse cycle. In Joshua 10:12-14, Joshua and the Israelites fight the Amorites over Israel. Joshua asks God to stop the sun and moon, and so he does - because he was helping Israel.

Joshua 10:12-14 says, "... 'Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.' So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation triumphed over its enemies, as it is written in the book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!"

Many scientific explanations have been tried, but we must all draw the same conclusion, for it says there was never a day before or after - it was a miracle from God. God literally stopped a day in time so that Israel could fight its enemy that would destroy them. Habakkuk 3:11 later references this event. "Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear."

Now. Hezekiah. Hezekiah had become Ill and was at the point of death. Isaiah c
ame to visit him to tell him he would not recover. Hezekiah told the Lord, (2nd Kings 10:2) "Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." Before Isaiah left, God told him to go back to Hezekiah and tell him that he would heal him.

2nd Kings 20:8, Hezekiah replied, "What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day from now?" (NIV) Verse 9 continues, "Isaiah answered, 'This is what the Lord's sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow [moon] go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?'" Verse 10 goes on, "'It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,' said Hezekiah. 'Rather, have it go back ten steps.'" Verse 11 concludes, "Then the prophet Isaiah called on the LORD, and the LORD made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz."

The Shadow, or Moon, went backwards in its cycle. Another Miracle - God showed Hezekiah time in reverse. Now, whether this was a local event or global event, we do not know. However, 2nd Chronicles 32:24 tells us, "In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign." However, Hezekiah's heart was proud and he did not fully turn from his ways.

Verse 31 tells us, "But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart." So, it appears that this backwards day was a local event, and Hezekiah was not the only who who saw this. Either that, or he told many people.

Between "The Shining," Joshua's "Long Day," and Hezekiah's "Reverse Day," God's miracles and signs shown in the Old Testemant alone are... miraculous. These "curiosities" of the Bible are very interesting, and we can learn an important lesson from them. Not only is "Nothing too hard for the Lord," but it shows that God is willing to even go to shifting the flow of his Universe to help us.

God cares about his "beloved" so much, that he will do anything for us. That's why he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for us - so that we did not need to continue animal offerings any longer, so that our fine would be paid in full, and we would finally have access to Heaven, to be with him.

If you have not turned to Christ, and God has placed it on your heart to turn to him, allow me to cite a verse I am so fond of using. Romans 10:9 tells us that if you "Confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that he is risen from the dead, you will be saved." Accept his gift, pray as often as possible, spend time with God everyday, read his Word - the Bible, and follow him. "In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make you path straight." (Proverbs 3:6)

I will continue my next post with this series of curious and interesting things found in the Bible. Of course, the whole Bible is full of these things. A good way to find them, dear friends, is to read them for yourselves. Take Care, and God Bless. Troy Hillman

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