The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"You have said the nation could have peace immediately in Vietnam if we trusted in God for our protection. But doesn't Judges 1:19 indicate that God is sometimes unable to save a nation from its enemies?" G. J., Indiana
God's power is unlimited. He made the universe and everything in it (see Isaiah 40.). He brought the Flood upon mankind. He delivered His people Israel from bondage in Egypt through many mighty miracles. He destroyed pagan armies to save those who relied on Him! Revelation 19:6 makes plain that God is omnipotent — all powerful. Judges 1:19 is not disproof of God's power, but proof of His power. This often misunderstood verse reads: "And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the in habitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron." The tribe of Judah never needed to have gone to war. They could have had God fight all their battles. But they did not want to trust God. They wanted to trust in physical things they could see. In sword s, in spears, in bows. Not in the invisible God. God had promised Abraham that his descendants — and that included the tribe of Judah ~ would inherit the land of Canaan. If the nation had relied on God, He would have expelled the Canaanites without any need for the nation of Israel to go to war. "And I will send hornets before thee," God promised through Moses, "which shall d rive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land" (Exodus 23:28-30). God would have punished the Canaanite tribes with hornets until they fled in utter fear to West Africa — the land they should have inherited in the first place. But the nation Israel did not trust the invisible God. They preferred to trust in their own strength, in their own weaponry. When the tribe of Judah met the primitive Canaanite hill folk, they had complete confidence that God would see them through the battle victoriously. They were not trusting God, however, as much as they were relying on their own weaponry. "And the Lord was with Judah [that is, the tribe of Judah], and he [not the Lord, but Judah — see any Bible Commentary for proof of the grammatical construction] drave out the inhabitants of the mountain. Suddenly events took a turn for the worse. The tribe of Judah encountered Canaanites armed with weaponry far superior to theirs. They panicked. In front of them were Canaanite armies using chariots covered with iron. The result? The tribe of Judah "could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron," No proof here of any feebleness of God. But plenty of proof of human frailty. Judah could have trusted God to fight their battles — the same as the State of Israel could today — the same as the United States could today in Vietnam. But who wants to trust God today? When will our nations learn their lesson!
"Where did St. Valentine's Day come from? What should I tell our children about these customs?" L. H., California
Schools are supposed to educate children. Yet how many are taught in school the surprising origin of Valentine's Day? Centuries before Christ, the pagan Romans celebrated February 15 and the evening of February 14 as an idolatrous festival in honor of Lupercus, the "hunter of wolves." The Romans called their festival the "Lupercalia." The custom of exchanging valentines — where did that originate? You might have supposed it is a Christian custom. It is not! Exchanging valentines and all the other traditions in honor of Lupercus — the deified hero-hunter of Rome" have been handed down from the Roman festival of the Lupercalia, celebrated in the month of February, when names of young women were put into a box and drawn out by men as chance directed," admits the Encyclopedia Americana article, "St. Valentine's Day." But how did these traditions come to be labeled "Christian" — when they are, in fact, pagan? And how did this pagan festival acquire the name of "St. Valentine's Day"? Who was the origin al "St. Valentine'" Why is the little naked Cupid of the pagan Romans so often associated today with February 14' Read the surprising answers in our reprint article on "St. Valentine's Day." It's free.