Monday, March 4, 2013

Flint Knives and the Gospel

by Steve Ray on March 4, 2013

FlintKnife sm1.jpg

Ah, excuse me? What do flint knives have to do with the Gospel? A whole lot! Abraham believed God against all odds and as a reward he was given the special sign of the Covenant with God. And what was that wonderful sign between them?

In Genesis 17:10-11 God announces this sign to Abraham: “This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.”

Ouch! What kind of sign is that? But Abraham obeyed and at 99 years old, Abraham dropped his . . . well, anyway, he did the surgery and again demonstrated his faith and obedience to God. And so did all the men with him.

Next we read of Joshua’s bloody job after the hundreds of thousands of men with their families crossed the Jordan River to possess the Promised Land.

“At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives and circumcise the people of Israel again the second time.’So Joshua made flint knives, and circumcised the people of Israel” (Joshua 5:2-3).

In the early Church, many of the Jews insisted that all gentiles be circumcised before they were allowed to be Christians. The Apostles, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the first recorded Church Council (Acts 15) said “NO!”  Thanks be to God!

These flint knives were made for me as a generous and remarkable gift by Mike Cook of Portland Michigan. He is a “flintknapper” and primitive skills enthusiast (and also a student of the Bible!). The large one has a handle made from the jawbone of a black bear!

They are beautifully crafted and will always be a gift I treasure and which I will use in my Bible studies and apologetic work. I am overwhelmed with his skill and kindness.

I have also provided his letter about his craft and the biblical wisdom regarding flint knives and circumcision. You can read it here. Enjoy — and thanks so much Mike!

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Today was exciting and every moment we were ahead of schedule! This is a great group and they love every minute of our adventures today – especially the dancing!

Shopping started the day. Most groups go shopping almost every day but we limit it so that we have more time to visit holy sites and pray. But we shop only at Christian shops to support the oppressed local Christians in the Holy Land. Afterwards we went to the Church of the Nativity to touch the place Jesus was born.

A local lunch at the Christmas Tree Restaurant of falafels and schwarma filled everyone’s tummy quite well before heading for Shepherds Field. This is where David tended his father’s sheep and we think he wrote the 23rd Psalm. We had Mass in the cave where the shepherds were staying.

Then to a marvelous Palestinian meal of roast lamb stuffed with spiced rice, lentil soup, many salads, traditional sweets and Turkish coffee. Then the Arabic music began and everyone jumped up and danced. Then back through the checkpoint to our Notre Dame hotel. What a day.

Click the numbers for the Bishop’s homily in the cave at Shepherds Field >>  713_0008