Joel of Jerusalem Nov/Jan 1981/1982
Sometimes we see things which are hard to believe, but we know they are so. It is also funny to see how grown people can be as children and speak like them. They can confuse folklore and Bible truths.
Recently I was in the army again. One night we were on watch and, of course, we were not allowed to sleep. The nights are very long when there is nothing to do. We must watch all night, and every hour seems like a year. This one night I was on watch with some religious Jews who had many, many stories to tell, so the hours slipped by quickly.
The first story was about a ninety-year old man who was blind from birth. In a dream, an angel asked why he did not read the Psalms. The blind man told the angel that he could not read because he was blind. When the angel asked him what he wanted, of course the blind man requested sight so that he could read the Psalms.
One by one, each soldier told his story. When they had all finished, they looked at me and asked, “Have you something to say?” Sometimes it is difficult to begin with such people, but when they asked me, I knew that this was a special opportunity to speak for the Lord.
I told them that all their stories were just dreams. “What I will now read for you is not a dream, it is real,” I said. “It is about people who were blind but then they could see, and they followed the One who gave them sight.” “Where is this written?” they demanded. I opened my small Bible and read for them from Matthew 20:29-34 about the two blind men who cried out, “. . . Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David” (v. 30). And, of course, the Lord is full of mercy, so He caused them to see. “This is not a dream,” I told them.
I then read Acts 3:6 where Peter said to the lame man, “. . . Silver and gold have I none, but, such as I have, give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” The lame man arose and walked.
When I finished they said, “You have gone too far. How can you say the name of Jesus in our presence? You speak about Him as if He were holy!” “Of course He is holy,” I replied, “and He always will be. He is everlasting.” “If you continue to speak of Him, you will have trouble from us,” they warned me. “I am not afraid, not of you,” I replied. “You are afraid of the truth, and so you speak of dreams and make them seem like facts,” I told them. “When I read for you from the Holy Scriptures, you all trembled with fear. The things I have told you are not dreams but facts.”
“Why is it that you do not believe what our rabbis have written?” they asked. “Because they are all stories which they dreamed at night and wrote the next day,” I replied. “How do you know this?” they asked. “I know that I believe in one God, and what is written in His Bible is holy because it was written through His Holy Spirit and not by people who took all their stories from dreams. Now you want me to believe the rabbis’ stories as fact. Show me even one small point that is written about them in the Bible,” I replied. “Ha, ha! Now we can say we are equal,” they said, “because there is nothing written about Jesus in the Bible either!” Again they had given me a good opportunity to speak about the Lord Jesus, so I started by reading Proverbs 30:4. “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” Then I read Daniel 3:25: “. . . Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”
This was all new to these men. Their “deaf” ears were beginning to open. These men who had for so long gone in darkness were beginning to see the light – not a dream, but the truth.
After that they did not ask for any more stories, instead, they wanted everyone to read a verse from the Bible and then have a discussion about the verse. So, everyone took his turn. Then it was my turn. I choose Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” And, of course, I also took the opportunity to illustrate the verse. Their eyes began to see and their ears began to hear, and I believe even their hearts began to open up to the truth. I say this because before when I read Scripture, they trembled with fear. Now they not only had no fear, but they also took my Bible, which included the New Testament, and began to read it. They even asked for Bibles of their own with the New Testament.
I read for them Isaiah 9:2: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”
I thank the Lord that He can use every situation to bring glory to Himself. Out of their stories came my opportunity to testify for the Lord. The Lord is in every place, and He can accomplish that which is impossible for us.
Please pray for these soldiers as they have been confronted with the truth.