6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6,7 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
Do your kids ever tell you tall tales that are hard to believe? When my boys were little, they told me some doozies. Before Spencer started kindergarten he came in the house one day and told me that he had found a nest of live kittens. I thought that this sounded plausible, since we do live in the country surrounded by a forest. However, when upon further questioning he revealed to me that each kitten was about the size of a jelly bean, well, I had my doubts. In fact, I didn’t even go outside to look for them.
Later on, when Seth was about three or four years old, one of his playmates told Seth that our barking-yard-dog (who was named “Wallace Joe”) was stupid. Seth exclaimed, “Oh no, he’s not stupid! He’s smart! He can jump through a ring thing that has fire on it!” (I hated to burst my son’s bubble. But if you aimed an intelligence-detector-gun at Wallace Joe and then at a box of rocks, there would be no sizeable difference in the measurements. Wallace Joe might figure out how to eat a biscuit if you read him the instructions, but he really didn’t have enough sense to do the kind of tricks that the trained lions do in the circus.)
So, I was skeptical when Spencer and Seth were in elementary school and came in the house excitedly out of breath. They shouted that they had just seen an animal next to the pond that was brown and had whiskers. They didn’t know what it was, but when they cornered it, the beast growled and hissed at them.
Well, I’m ashamed to say that I wasn’t buying it. The more they talked, the more alarms went off on my “Tall Tale Detector”. I told them flat out, “It doesn’t sound right to me.”
Then Spencer snapped his fingers and slapped his hand to his forehead. “Wait a minute,” he exclaimed. “I had the old camcorder with me. I’ve got it on video.” After a quick hook-up of the VCR and a few seconds of cuing the videotape, he showed a very clear video of Seth chasing the animal that they had been describing. I was speechless, especially when I saw the kind of animal that they had seen. It was an otter.
(Just to let you know, we don’t see otters any more often in Mississippi than the average person in Arkansas does. Tell you the truth, up until that moment the only place I had ever seen an otter was on the Discovery Channel, at the zoo, or on a box of Otter Pops.)
I realized a valuable lesson that day. Just because a story sounds too wondrous to believe doesn’t mean it isn’t the absolute truth. That’s what’s most beautiful about reading the Holy Scriptures. I hope you’ll read today’s lesson text (at the top) because it is a great example of this. Isaiah writes great poetry—and you’d feel better just reading it at that level. But when you realize that what Isaiah is saying is literally God’s honest truth, well, then, it becomes life-changing. It will set your life on course and fill your heart with joy.
So, dear mama, spend a little time reading God’s Word’s this week. Better than that, believe the Holy Gospel, and feel the joy that relying on God’s eternal truth brings. I really think you otter.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” * He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is beginning his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 18) and Seth (age 15) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where Susan also once saw a panther cross the road when she was driving to work). You should write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.