Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sat Mar 22nd Todays News

School reunions happen. Tonight is the thirtieth anniversary reunion. I didn't expect to get that old. I'm looking forward to seeing people, but more than a little intimidated too. Public transport means my journey each way will be a little under three hours. I will only spend about 90 minutes at the venue. I got lice, and am feeling lousy. I don't fit my clothes well atm because I've cut my medication and am more reliant on less insulin .. if the event were delayed half a year it'd be better for me. But it isn't about me. They are good people. They will have their own issues. And they bring a history, a memory of my youth I don't entirely despise. So, I'm getting this column done before I leave home. 

I'm a little worried at meeting that old school friend again who used to work in the Premier's office. Twenty years ago I turned to them for advice, and followed it. Ten years ago they initiated a conversation that was both innocent and terrifying. But I view it as I view family. They are what I call an inheritance. God has placed them on my path. I don't know what God wants me to do. I don't see how I fit in their space. But, I'm determined to make of it what I can. If only to spread the lice .. 

For twenty two years I have been responsibly addressing an issue, and I cannot carry on. I am petitioning the NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to remedy my distress. I leave it up to him if he chooses to address the issue. Regardless of your opinion of conservative government, the issue is pressing. Please sign my petition at

Happy birthday and many happy returns Jane Lam and David Rufful. Born on the same day, across the years. Remember, birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
=== Posts from last Year ===

Our reader Jennie shared this hilarious picture of her cat staring intently as moose raid the bird feeder! Alaska!

See more member photos tonight at ->

OMG! Is this for me?

Morning at Mono Lake


Another sunrise shot from Mono Lake. This picture was taken a very short time after the last one I posted just this morning. Here the sky erupted in a glorious explosion of warm colored hues.

I like to think that if there was once life on Mars that this is what it would have looked like.
 — withMiguel De La Cruz and Darvin Atkeson at Mono Lake.

Mitt Romney tweets wedding photo on 44th anniversary; Haters hate ==>






HARMONY DAY ....... my speech in Parliament just before Question Time yesterday..........

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (13:56): I rise to speak on this wonderful day of Harmony Day—a day when we can all come together and hold hands and sing Kumbaya! Let the sun shine in! 

But, on this Harmony Day, what a rabble and a farce we are seeing on the other side of the House. 

But the problem is not with the personalities; the problem is with the policies.

We have seen the most disgraceful array of policies from that side of the chamber, from GroceryWatch to the carbon tax.

We have seen Australian families and small businesses putting up with almost a doubling of their electricity prices under this government.

We have seen a loss of control of our borders.

We have seen the pink batts tragedy.

We have seen the overpriced school halls, the mining tax, the live cattle disaster, the set-top box fiasco—the list goes on and on and on.

And now we are going to see the most farcical question time in the history of this chamber.

It is time for this government to finally call it off—to go. The public have had enough. Your time is over.

It is time for an election, to give the public their say, to get rid of the most incompetent and untrustworthy government in our nation’s history. (Time expired)


Photo from Ministerial Wing of Federal Parliament earlier today.





From Sleepy Hollow



Well well well, an interesting development in the LACK of Greenland ice melt.

This is an interesting admission:

The melt extent algorithm used by Greenland Ice Sheet Today has been overestimating the melt extent, and as a result, daily images posted on this site in February and March may have indicated melt where none occurred.

This makes you wonder what other kinds of issues remain undetected in the satellite data. NSIDC has had to issue corrections in the past, when it was pointed out that their data and reality didn’t match. – Anthony

From NSIDC: An early spring re-calibration for melt detection

The algorithm for the Greenland Ice Sheet Today daily melt extent has been revised to account for unusually warm winter snow layers and residual meltwater deep in the snow. Meltwater from last summer’s intense melt season did not completely re-freeze through at least mid December. The adjusted algorithm shows greatly reduced melt extent for early 2013. This much lower extent is more consistent with available weather and climate records.

See here for NSIDC statement :

FOr more information here :











4 Her, so she can see herself through my eyes



President Barack Obama concluded his 51-hour trip to Israel today with a jam-packed morning that spoke to some of the more emotional sites in the Jewish state. He traveled to Mount Herzl to visit the graves of Theodor Herzl and Yitzhak Rabin, then went to Yad Vashem and delivered an address, quoted here.

Read more about the end of Obama's Israel trip:
 — withHanna Varmaz.

He regrets nothing
=== Todays Posts ===

Had Abbott succeeded, he’d probably have failed

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (11:35am)

A reverse can be just what you need to succeed:
Monday night, November 26, 2007, Victorian Liberal conservative leader Kevin Andrews was given the task by a meeting of right-wingers of telling Tony Abbott he would not have their support in his publicly declared ambition to run for party leader following the defeat of the Howard government. 
Abbott today:
As someone who I know well said to me afterwards: ‘Much better to be the last leader of the opposition than the first!’ It’s a blessing in disguise. 

The Bolt Report tomorrow - with a special emphasis on some hypocrites

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (10:16am)

On the show:
Unwanted boat people - and a little chat about activists who cry “racist” only when it suits them.
Guests Josh Frydenberg, Peter Costello and Bruce Hawker.
In NewsWatch, Sharri Markson on the ABC’s weird war against the Murdoch media.
Plus Your Say - and a few hypocrites exposed.
On Network 10 at 10am and 4pm. 

In other distressing news about ethnic identity

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (9:53am)

A team that scores 193 at nearly 14 runs an over? Should Australia worry?
Goed zo.
(Thanks to reader Tim Blair, who courageously returns to reading sports results.) 

Dependent and disarmed against a Russia on the march

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (9:15am)

Rupert Darwall on Russia’s theft of Crimea and how the Greens sapped our will to resist: 
Until the crisis over Ukraine, there was an inbuilt tendency in Germany to embrace closer ties with Russia…
Friendships aside, the most significant driver of German energy-related foreign policy has been its powerful Green Party… Germany’s Greens first emerged as a political force at the end of the 1970s at a time of acute East-West tension. In response to deployment of Soviet midrange SS-20 missiles, NATO decided to station Pershing missiles in Germany. Massive, sometimes violent, demonstrations against nuclear power and nuclear missiles swept Germany. Whether consciously or not, the protesters were doing the Kremlin’s work in trying to split the Atlantic alliance.
The protests turned the German left into the voice of radical environmentalism—a historical shift. Old Nazis and neo-Nazis had been the bearers of Germany’s culture of ecological politics, which had been marginalized with Hitler’s defeat. German environmentalism was antidemocratic and anticapitalist. The Nazis were Europe’s greenest party, passing laws to extend protected forests and banning animal vivisection while performing hideous experiments on human beings.
In October 1980, Germany’s Green Party was formed to stand in parliamentary and state elections. Eighteen years later it entered government in a Red-Green coalition with the left-of-center SPD and in 2000 successfully pushed for the gradual phaseout of nuclear power.
The Greens’ biggest triumph came with Germany’s adoption of its Energiewende, the transition to renewable energy. The policy is a long-term bonanza for [Russia’s] Gazprom. It means that Germany will buy more and more Russian gas because it cannot depend on electricity from unreliable wind and solar to power its industries and keep the lights on.
Disarmed and dependent. Brilliant.
As for the US… Charles Krauthammer on a deceptive or deluded Obama Administration:
Why, after all, did Obama delay responding to Putin’s infiltration, military occupation and seizure of Crimea in the first place? In order to provide Putin with a path to de-escalation, “an offramp,” the preferred White House phrase.
An offramp? Did they really think that Putin was losing, that his invasion of Crimea was a disaster from which he needed some face-saving way out? And that the principal object of American diplomacy was to craft for Putin an exit strategy?
It’s delusional enough to think that Putin — in seizing Crimea, threatening eastern Ukraine, destabilizing Kiev, shaking NATO, terrifying America’s East European allies and making the West look utterly helpless — was actually losing. But to imagine that Putin saw it that way as well and was waiting for American diplomacy to save him from a monumental blunder is totally divorced from reality.

(Thanks to reader Alan RM Jones.) 

Where’s part 2 of the ABC report which accidently discredited boat people?

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (8:52am)

Here’s a puzzle. On Monday ABC’s 7.30 ended a report on boat people towed back to Indonesia with this promise:
We’ll bring you part two of our investigation later this week.
Part one, as I noted, accidentally demonstrated exactly why these boat people should not be let in:

How could these 34 people from Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal — mostly Muslim countries that are neither war-torn nor famine-struck — think that threatening to kill our sailors, shouting “f--- Australia” and warning of another September 11 would make us unlock our hearts and our door?
And, strangely, part two of the report was not shown. Reader Peter of Bellevue Hill:
As best I can tell, there’s been no explanation given as to why part two failed to make it to air during the week. It will be interesting to see if it’s just been bumped to next week. But if it fails to appear, is it safe to assume part two has been canned? If it has been canned, it would be interesting to know the reason(s) why.

They are too white, protests a Fairfax columnist. Will she, too, be banned?

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (8:37am)

Fairfax columnist Ruby Hamad attacks members of a State Library of New South Wales panel for being too white. Will she, too, be dragged before the courts and have her article banned?
Last night the State Library of New South Wales hosted a panel event called ‘Multiculturalism: What are we afraid of?’ ... [T]he ‘distinguished panel’ was to consist of renowned human rights and refugee advocate Julian Burnside, Director of the Edmund Rice Centre Phil Glendenning, actor Jack Thompson, activist Imogen Bailey, and photographer Louise Whelan…
Comedian Aamer Rahman linked to the event’s webpage on his Facebook timeline yesterday morning, writing, ‘Four white people will be on a panel talking about ‘Multiculturalism: what are we afraid of?’ Apparently we are afraid of letting people of colour discuss race in a public forum.’…
Not surprisingly, the State Library received a deluge of complaints about the lack of diversity on a panel designed to promote diversity. This prompted organisers to update the event just hours before it took place adding a sole person of colour to the events information page, community organiser Isaac Kisimba....
... those of us from ‘different cultures’ are not specimens to be dissected and discussed by Smart White People....  white people .... a panel of white people ...  white people ...  distinguished white people ... predominantly white people ...
Yet I doubt this column, fixated though it is on skin color, will be banned because it lacks one critical element.  As I wrote recently:
The country’s most notorious racist today is someone whose most infamous article, now banned by the Federal Court for the offence it gave “fair-skinned Aborigines”, actually argued against divisions of “race” and the fashionable insistence on racial “identity”.
It ended with a paragraph the court does not let me repeat, but which I will paraphrase as precisely as my lawyer allows: Let us go beyond racial pride. Let us go beyond black and white. Let us be proud only of being human beings set on this country together, determined to find what unites us and not to invent racist excuses to divide.
We have a law which licences bullies more than it punishes them:
[Race Commissioner Tim] Soutphommasane, The Sydney Morning Herald, yesterday:

IT is regularly said that section 18C serves to protect hurt feelings at the expense of free speech ... (but) unlawful conduct must cause “profound and serious effects, not to be likened to mere slights” … One other thing is troubling ... much of the debate has centred not on how the vilification laws have actually worked during the past two decades.
Racial Discrimination Act complaints, conciliated outcomes:
1996-97: The complainant alleged he was denied the opportunity to apply for an advertised position because of his accent … The respondent denied the allegations but provided $5000 as an ex-gratia payment ... Both parties watched a video developed by the commission called Accents are Everywhere. 1996-97: An Aboriginal couple claimed that the property manager followed up arrears in payment of rent more ­energetically than with other tenants … the property manager was counselled … and chose to leave her employment. The real estate agency agreed to pay the couple $900 compensation for hurt feelings. 1998-99: The complainant claimed that during the telephone interview the manager said ‘You have an accent and I find it difficult to understand you’ ... The manager denied making the comment … the matter settled … (with) a written apology for any hurt feelings.

(Thanks to reader Shane.) 

Media Watch upset Daily Telegraph wasn’t nice to Abbott-haters

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (8:18am)

Media Watch continues its obsession with Murdoch newspapers, and now complains that not enough nice things were said about the March in March hate-protest against Tony Abbott:
THE ABC’s Media Watch program has fired an astonishing series of questions at The Daily Telegraph, continuing a long-running taxpayer-funded attack on the newspaper’s columnists.
Former ABC rural reporter Flint Duxfield emailed six questions about The Daily Telegraph’s coverage of the March in March protest last Sunday.
The nationwide event was marked by placards attacking Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a “racist, sexist, elitist, homophobic, fascist”. A speaker addressing Newcastle marchers said Qantas chief Alan Joyce “should be shot somewhere in the back of the head” Protesters also brandished placards depicting the Prime Minister as Adolf Hitler and wore t-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as ‘F**k Tony Abbott’’.
The ABC and Fairfax’s muted coverage of the placards at the event was in stark contrast to the display both media outlets gave Tony Abbott when he spoke in front of “Ditch the Witch” placards about then Prime Minister Julia Gillard at an anti-carbon tax rally.
Duxfield questioned the Telegraph’s allocation of reporters to the March in March story on the day and the decision by the newspaper’s columnists to write about the protest in their columns during the week....
The questions ABC asked:
1. Did the Daily Telegraph send a reporter to the Sydney March last Sunday?
2. Why did the Daily Telegraph not see fit to cover this event as a straight news story, on Monday given it was of sufficient interest to justify four comment pieces?
3. Can you point us to any comments the Daily Telegraph has published which are supportive of these marches, as we haven’t been able to find any.
Can Media Watch instead explain why the ABC chose not to report a shocking speech at the rallies by union boss Gary Kennedy vilifying mining boss Gina Rinehart as a “filthy animal” and calling for Qantas boss Alan Joyce to be “shot somewhere in the back of the head”? Can it explain why the ABC promoted 43 of the protest signs on one puff piece, excluding any that might discredit the rallies?  Can Media Watch explain why it’s so concerned to defend the reputation of this disgraceful rally? Can Media Watch explain why it is not instead concerned by the role Fairfax journalists played in promoting the rallies, participating in them, cheering calls to kill politicians, and selling and promoting “F..k Abbott” t-shirts?
But when the ABC is headed by Mark Scott, who can be surprised that its bias is out of control?
(Thanks to reader Brett t r.) 

No mirrors in Gary Kennedy’s house, either

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (7:55am)

Union boss Gary Kennedy is outraged by alleged assassination threats against Julian Assange, but then suggests an assassination of Qantas boss Alan Joyce.
It is astonishing that he still has his job, even though he’s since apologised for saying Joyce should be shot “somewhere in the back of the head"”:

‘My comments were well below community expectations of acceptable language and sentiment,’’ he said in a statement… He said he had been abused and threatened since giving the speech, and had spoken to the police after they contacted him.
(Thanks to reader marg from nambour.) 

Gillard’s then boyfriend, accused of fraud, “threatened” WA premier

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (7:53am)

The AWU scandal

The AWU scandal seems to be far more significant than many journalists allowed themselves to believe possible:

A UNION boss accused of major fraud in the AWU slush fund scandal had intimidated and threatened to destroy the political career of a premier, Carmen Lawrence, according to a mining executive.
One of Australia’s most respected resources-company leaders from the era, Hugh Morgan, the former chief executive of Western Mining, said that Dr Lawrence had confided the threats to him when she was the West Australian premier…
An investigation by The Weekend Australian into the delivery by Dr Lawrence’s cabinet of a $60 million building job to Thiess Contractors without a public tender has raised concerns about taxpayer-funded contracts that are likely to be part of the royal commission’s probe.
After receiving the $60m contract following a late change that prevented a public tender process, Thiess paid more than $300,000 into [AWU official Bruce] Wilson’s slush fund over the course of the building works. The slush fund, the AWU Workplace Reform Association, had been set up and registered with the legal advice of Wilson’s then girlfriend, Julia Gillard, who was a solicitor at Slater & Gordon. The former prime minister has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
Mr Wilson’s trusted AWU ally, Ralph Blewitt, has told The Weekend Australian and police that Mr Wilson used his powerful union influence to threaten key ministers in Dr Lawrence’s Labor government that they would not receive preselection or support if Thiess did not get the job.
Asked for comment about the claims of Mr Blewitt and Mr Morgan, Dr Lawrence said yesterday: “This does not ring true."…
Mr Morgan said he became aware of Mr Wilson’s remarkable hold on the then Labor government when he had a meeting with Dr Lawrence amid a backdrop of AWU strife at WMC.
“Bruce had done everything he could to avoid signing an (industrial) agreement,” he said. “But finally, we got him to sign. I went to Carmen Lawrence and she said to me very directly, ‘Hugh, I cannot fulfil that because Bruce has informed me that if I go ahead with that agreement he will ensure that I do not get my preselection for the next election’… It seems remarkable that you can threaten the preselection of a premier...”
The AWU scandal, dismissed and ignored by so many senior press gallery journalists, could be far more serious than even I suspected:
Hedley Thomas and Michael Smith:

[Ralph] Blewitt, whose credibility as a witness was helped by a ruling from Victoria’s Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritsen three months ago, is adamant that the corruption he engaged in was not limited to alleged fraud perpetrated in the now infamous slush fund that Julia Gillard, as a solicitor at Slater & Gordon, had helped to set up…
The slush fund into which Thiess paid the money and the Dawesville Channel project that Thiess developed - on time and on budget thanks to the toil and the industrial peace of [Bruce] Wilson and fellow official Blewitt’s AWU members - were always inextricably linked…
The project was a $60 million engineering triumph, almost wholly funded by taxpayers. It was handed to Thiess in late 1991 by WA’s then fragile Labor government led by Carmen Lawrence.
Blewitt will tell the royal commission that the project, the Dawesville Channel south of Perth ... was the ingenious opening gambit in Wilson’s scam…
“[Wilson] lobbied the Labor government to give the contract to Thiess. He had a double-edged sword - he would say to Thiess, ‘I will get you the contract, but I want the (slush fund)’, and he would say to the Labor Party, ‘We will support you in preselections and in the upcoming state election, but you have to award this contract to Thiess.’...”
The Dawesville Channel project was strikingly different from other significant taxpayer-funded projects - despite it being one of the biggest and costliest ventures commissioned by the Labor government in that era, there was no public tender. There were no competing bids. This was unusual. Thiess had it sewn up.
Julian Grill, a minister in the WA Labor government of [Brian] Burke and Peter Dowding, tells Inquirer that he regards it now as “extraordinary” that Thiess got the contract from Lawrence’s government with no public tender…

“I’m genuinely shocked to hear it. What is the explanation?”
Julia Gillard has repeatedly said she did nothing wrong and did not know what her then boyfriend did with the slush fund she helped as his lawyer to set up.
(Thanks to reader Peter of Bellevue Hill.) 

Bandt promises Qantas workers he’ll make their business suffer

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (7:31am)

Greens MP Adam Bandt poses with employees of a company struggling to survive crippling union restrictions and a carbon tax bill of more than $100 million a year - both of which he supports:

Incredible: oppose what could save Qantas, support what cripples it.
A tweet like that explains why the Greens, once given a taste of power, turn the electorate against them.
(Thanks to reader Piper.) 

Brendan stars at the ball game

Andrew Bolt March 22 2014 (7:19am)

The Herald Sun asks, with some justification:
Is 8-year-old baseball fan Brendan the nicest kid in Australia? 






















Amerigo Vespucci




Holidays and observances[edit]

““But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”” -Jeremiah 17:7-8
Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon
March 21: Morning
"Ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone." - John 16:32
Few had fellowship with the sorrows of Gethsemane. The majority of the disciples were not sufficiently advanced in grace to be admitted to behold the mysteries of "the agony." Occupied with the passover feast at their own houses, they represent the many who live upon the letter, but are mere babes as to the spirit of the gospel. To twelve, nay, to eleven only was the privilege given to enter Gethsemane and see "this great sight." Out of the eleven, eight were left at a distance; they had fellowship, but not of that intimate sort to which men greatly beloved are admitted. Only three highly favoured ones could approach the veil of our Lord's mysterious sorrow: within that veil even these must not intrude; a stone's-cast distance must be left between. He must tread the wine-press alone, and of the people there must be none with him. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, represent the few eminent, experienced saints, who may be written down as "Fathers;" these having done business on great waters, can in some degree measure the huge Atlantic waves of their Redeemer's passion. To some selected spirits it is given, for the good of others, and to strengthen them for future, special, and tremendous conflict, to enter the inner circle and hear the pleadings of the suffering High Priest; they have fellowship with him in his sufferings, and are made conformable unto his death. Yet even these cannot penetrate the secret places of the Saviour's woe. "Thine unknown sufferings" is the remarkable expression of the Greek liturgy: there was an inner chamber in our Master's grief, shut out from human knowledge and fellowship. There Jesus is "left alone." Here Jesus was more than ever an "Unspeakable gift!" Is not Watts right when he sings--

"And all the unknown joys he gives,
Were bought with agonies unknown."
"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" - Job 38:31
If inclined to boast of our abilities, the grandeur of nature may soon show us how puny we are. We cannot move the least of all the twinkling stars, or quench so much as one of the beams of the morning. We speak of power, but the heavens laugh us to scorn. When the Pleiades shine forth in spring with vernal joy we cannot restrain their influences, and when Orion reigns aloft, and the year is bound in winter's fetters, we cannot relax the icy bands. The seasons revolve according to the divine appointment, neither can the whole race of men effect a change therein. Lord, what is man?

In the spiritual, as in the natural world, man's power is limited on all hands. When the Holy Spirit sheds abroad his delights in the soul, none can disturb; all the cunning and malice of men are ineffectual to stay the genial quickening power of the Comforter. When he deigns to visit a church and revive it, the most inveterate enemies cannot resist the good work; they may ridicule it, but they can no more restrain it than they can push back the spring when the Pleiades rule the hour. God wills it, and so it must be. On the other hand, if the Lord in sovereignty, or in justice, bind up a man so that he is in soul bondage, who can give him liberty? He alone can remove the winter of spiritual death from an individual or a people. He looses the bands of Orion, and none but he. What a blessing it is that he can do it. O that he would perform the wonder tonight. Lord, end my winter, and let my spring begin. I cannot with all my longings raise my soul out of her death and dulness, but all things are possible with thee. I need celestial influences, the clear shinings of thy love, the beams of thy grace, the light of thy countenance; these are the Pleiades to me. I suffer much from sin and temptation; these are my wintry signs, my terrible Orion. Lord, work wonders in me, and for me. Amen.
Rebekah, Rebecca
The Woman Whose Favoritism Brought Sorrow
Name Meaning: Rebekah is another name with an animal connection. Although not belonging to any animal in particular, it has reference to animals of a limited class and in a peculiar condition. The name means a "tie rope for animals" or "a noose" in such a rope. Its root is found in a noun meaning a "hitching place" or "stall" and is connected with a "tied-up calf or lamb," a young animal peculiarly choice and fat. Applied to a female, the figure suggests her beauty by means of which men are snared or bound. Thus another meaning of Rebekah is that of "captivating." If, then, Rebekah means "a noosed cord," the loop was firmly around Isaac's neck. When Isaac took her as his bride he forgot his grief for his dead mother, and lived happily with his wife for twenty years during which time they had no children.
Family Connections: Rebekah is first mentioned in the genealogy of the descendants of Nahor, Abraham's brother (Genesis 22:20-24). When the pilgrims set out from the Ur of the Chaldees, Nahor was one of the party, and settled down at Charran where Terah, his father, died. Among Nahor's sons was Bethuel who, by an unknown wife, became the father of Rebekah, the sister of Laban. Rebekah married Isaac the son of Abraham, by whom she had two sons, Esau and Jacob.
The story of Isaac and Rebekah as a love lyric full of romance and tender beauty has been retold times without number, and is a charming record that never loses its appeal. Such an idyllic narrative is almost too familiar to need rehearsal, and too simple to require comment, yet because it constitutes one of the most romantic scenes in the Bible, its "moving scenes, so fresh and artless in their old world simplicity" have a pertinent appeal for present-day society. Ancient Bible histories with their arrestive characters and remarkable sequence of events and fortunes never fail to leave an indelible imprint on our hearts. The chapter recording how a wife was found for Isaac (Genesis 24) presents a link in the chain of events leading up to-
That far-off Divine event
To which the whole creation moves.
Through the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah, Abraham saw that day of Christ in which the church should become the Bride of Christ.
Almost two millenniums after the days of the patriarch whom God spoke of as His "friend," there were those who considered it a privilege to belong to the race having Abraham as its fountainhead. To be "a son of Abraham" or a lineal descendant of such a grand, great old divine was an honor, but Isaac enjoyed a still greater advantage for Abraham was his own natural father. What a rich dowry of blessing must have been Isaac's because of such a close relationship. He had the inspiration of his father's godliness, and the benefit of his prayers and wise counsels-even in the matter of securing the right kind of wife.
Abraham's opposition to idolatry is seen in his request that the partner for his son, Isaac, must not be "of the daughters of the Canaanites" (24:3). As he had refused a grave for his wife, Sarah, amongst the sepulchers of the Hittites (Genesis 23), so a wife for their son must not be sought among their daughters. Thus it came about that Abraham's trusted, godly servant, Eliezer, was divinely guided to Haran where Nahor, Abraham's brother settled. Too feeble to make the journey himself, Abraham gave his servant the most careful instructions, and impressed upon him the solemn significance of his mission. Confident as to the result of the search for a suitable wife for Isaac, Abraham assured the earthly seeker that he would be guided by God's angel. Eliezer, the intelligent, prudent, obedient and praying servant went forth. Seeking a sign of divine guidance, not to prove God's faithfulness, but for his own direction in the choice of a woman of character as a wife for his master's son, the servant came to Nahor's well at Nahor, and saw in Rebekah who had come to draw water the answer to his prayer and quest.
Eliezer lost no time in telling Rebekah who he was, and from whom he had come, and the purpose of his search. He revealed his tact in the way he wooed and won the heart of Rebekah. The gifts he bestowed upon her and the good things he said of his master, secured the favor of Rebekah's family who gave its consent to the proposed marriage. Faced with instant departure from her dear ones, Rebekah is given her choice-"Wilt thou go with this man?" Without hesitation, feeling that she, too, was following the leading of God, as Eliezer had, Rebekah replied in a firm voice, "I will go."
The caravan set out for Abraham's home, and now we come to a superb touch in the romantic story. Isaac was out in the fields at eventide for his usual period of meditation. He saw the approaching camels and sensed the success of Eliezer in the choice of a wife. Reaching Isaac, Rebekah, according to custom, veiled her face, and the end of this exquisite poem of the meeting of bride and bridegroom is stated in most expressive terms-"Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her."
Marrying "sight unseen" is a most dangerous venture, but in this case it was successful because "the angel of the Lord" had directed the events leading up to the union. When Rebekah saw the handsome, mild-mannered and meditative Isaac, her heart went out to him. As for Isaac, a man of forty, and some twenty years older than Rebekah, he instantly loved the most beautiful woman he beheld, and she remained his only love. Some matrimonial matches have been described as "Lucifer Matches," because of clash of temperament and temper, but the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah was certainly one "made in heaven." There would be fewer broken homes if only young people looking for partners would seek the guidance of God as the servant of Abraham did. We agree with Alexander Whyte when he says of the ancient record of the circumstances leading to the securing of a wife for Isaac-
A sweeter chapter was never written than the twenty-fourth of Genesis.... The picture of aged Abraham swearing his most trusty servant about a bride for his son Isaac; that servant's journey to Padan-aram in the far east; Rebekah, first at the well, and then in her mother's house; and then her first sight of her future husband-that long chapter is a perfect gem of ancient authorship.
As with other pairs in the Bible, it is hardly possible to separate Isaac from Rebekah whose lives were so closely knit together. Yet let us see if we can sketch a portrait of Rebekah herself.
Her Character
As a damsel, that is, a maiden around twenty years of age, Rebekah was "fair to look upon," meaning that she had an unaffected beauty. She was a virgin, and had a childlike simplicity. There was no trace of wantonness in her. As with her mother-in-law, Sarah, beauty carried its dangers. During his sojourn in Gerar, Isaac feared lest the physical charms of his wife might excite the desire of the king of Gerar and so he lied. Thus Isaac passed Rebekah off as his sister-a course of action which might have had dire consequences (Genesis 26:6-16). He fell into the same error as his father before him. Andrew Fuller says, "The falls of those that have gone before us are like so many rocks on which others have been split; and the recording of them is like placing buoys over them for the security of future mariners." But in the story of Isaac the buoy served no beneficial purpose.
Beautiful Rebekah had been taken by Abimelech, but one day as he looked out of the window he saw Isaac caressing Rebekah, and he knew that he had been deceived. Isaac's untruthfulness was discovered, and the heir of God's promises was rebuked by a heathen king for his lying and deception. In the providence of God, Abimelech, an idolater, was made the protector of the child of promise (see Psalm 17:13). As "an amiable and lovely girl," as her name suggests, she was industrious, for although she was a member of a family of standing she was not afraid to soil her hands. The hard work of drawing and carrying water, the provision she made for Eliezer's camels, and the meal she prepared, speak of Rebekah as one who did not shun domestic duties. That she was a woman of faith is evident from what Paul says of her as being the recipient of a direct revelation from the Lord regarding universal blessing through her favorite Jacob (Romans 9:12).
Rebekah's best qualities come out in the simple yet heartwarming narrative describing her response to Eliezer's approach, in her service to him, and in her willingness to believe and act upon all he had told her. In his remarkable cameo of Rebekah, George Matheson uses the following terms or expressions-"a fine manner"-"remarkable tact"-"a sunbeam to her household"-"a very beautiful young woman, with the gift of physical charm which was apt to produce self-consciousness"-"the gift of intellectual sympathy"-"Rebekah's morning ray is a ray of sympathetic insight."
Modest and meek, frank and open, ready kindness, great energy and faith, graciousness matching her physical charm, describe Rebekah. When she became a mother she revealed how masterful and clever she could be-a direct contrast to Isaac who was probably more simple, slow of wit, and mild of manner than his wife. The lines of Wordsworth can express Isaac's feelings when for the first time he gazed upon the lovely Rebekah and came to experience her comforting love as she filled the empty place in his heart because of his mother's death.
She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament;
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair,
Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair.
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn. A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A spirit, yet a woman too!
Her Children
Motherhood came to Rebekah somewhat late in life when Isaac was an aging man. For twenty years she had been childless, and conscious of God's promise that the Abrahamic Covenant could not be broken, Isaac entreated God that his long barren wife might conceive. He graciously answered his earnest intercession (Genesis 25:19-34). As his prayer was in the line of God's purpose, it was sure of an answer (1 John 5:14). The years of waiting on the part of Isaac and Rebekah show that God has His own time for the fulfillment of His purpose.
Like coral strands beneath the sea,
So strongly built and chaste,
The plans of God, unfolding, show
No signs of human haste.
In an age of almost universal polygamy, Isaac took no handmaid, concubine, or second wife. Rebekah and he were bound together by the bonds of a mutual affection, and although childless, yet became the parents of two sons who were destined to be the progenitors of different nations. But when Rebekah became the mother of twins-the first of two Bible women mentioned as giving birth to twins-the other was Tamar (Genesis 38:27)-somehow she changed and was a different character from the young bride who rode south so gaily to meet her lover in Canaan, as our next glimpse of her will show.
The opposite characters of Rebekah's twins, Esau and Jacob, brought into sharp focus the dark side of their mother. As Esau was the first to emerge from her womb he had the precedence and was thus the heir of two things, namely "the sovereignty and the priesthood, of the clan-the birthright and the blessing. The birthright was the right of succession.... The blessing was something to be given during the lifetime of the father." We learn that as the boys grew, "Esau was a cunning (skillful) hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents." At the time of their birth, Jacob seized his brother's heel-an incident prophetic of the day when he would supplant Esau. Often in children there are characteristics predictive of the manner of adults they will be.
The divergence of Rebekah's twins in temperament, inclination, occupation, and religious aspirations is most apparent. Esau was wrapped in a raiment of hair, a rough man of the wilderness, a clever hunter with something of a wild daring spirit. Jacob was the opposite of his brother. He preferred a fixed abode, to dwell in his tent rather than roam the desert. Esau was probably more brilliant, attractive, forceful, daring than his twin brother. Jacob, in spite of his weaknesses and mistakes was the finer character, and on the whole truer to the Lord and more fitted to possess the blessing of the birthright. Further, there was the difference of regard on the part of Isaac and Rebekah toward their two sons that resulted in sorrow and separation.
Isaac loved Esau, but the love was somewhat sensual. He loved his son "because he did eat of his venison." Such love is of a carnal nature, for love in its highest sense has regard not so much to what the loved one gives as to what he or she is.
Rebekah loved Jacob, not because he was more of a "homebody" than his brother, or possessed a more loving nature than he, but because Jacob was the Lord's preference (Romans 9:13). Esau thought so lightly of the birthright that he was willing to sell it for a mess of pottage, and be guilty, thereby, of the sin of profanity (Hebrews 12:16). Jacob, however, recognized the solemnity of the birthright and wished to possess it. Esau thought of it as of no more value than a mouthful of food, but Jacob knew something of the sacred significance of the birthright and was therefore a more fit channel through which the blessing of God could flow to the seed of Abraham.
As Rebekah is often blamed for the partiality or favoritism she manifested for Jacob, it may be profitable to consider the matter of preference in family life. When parents single out one of their children as a favorite and shower more love and attention upon that one than the rest, such an unwise and unnatural course inevitably results in jealousy and strife. Although Isaac found "in Esau that strong practical nature, and energetic character which distinguished the woman he so dearly loved; and Rebekah saw in the gentle Jacob a replica of the father who had so strangely attracted her that first day when she met him meditating in the fields at evening," the partiality was absolutely indefensible and led to lying and deception on Rebekah's part.
What else can be expected but confusion and trouble when there is a crossing of purposes between parents concerning their children? Was the root-cause of Rebekah's unnatural and unmotherly preference of Jacob over Esau and her treatment of Esau as though he was not, the lack of deep love for her husband, and that union of moral and spiritual ideas and ideals characteristic of every true marriage? We are certainly told that Isaac loved Rebekah, but not that she loved Isaac. Somehow we feel that if husband and wife had been one in all things in that ancient home, Rebekah would have been more concerned about Jacob's character than his prosperity. But Isaac was partial to Esau and Rebekah partial to Jacob-which favoritism resulted in Esau leaving home, and Jacob fleeing from it. Rebekah's record therefore shows that while Isaac was faithful to her, she was unfaithful to Isaac in a twofold way. First, she cheated Esau, her oldest son, and Isaac's pet out of his birthright. Then she cheated Esau out of his father's blessing, which prerogative had the effect of a testamentary bequest.
Comparing the chapter of the romantic meeting of Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 24) with its perfection of writing, and the dark chapter of Rebekah's deception (Genesis 28), Alexander Whyte says, "That the ship was launched on such a golden morning only the more darkens the surrounding gloom when she goes to the bottom." Then dealing with the secret alienation that developed between Isaac and Rebekah, the same renowned expositor adds-
When the two twin-brothers were brought up day after day and hour after hour in an atmosphere of favouritism, and partiality, and indulgence, and injustice, no father, no mother, can surely need to have it pointed out to them what present misery, and what future wages of such sin, is all to be seen and to be expected in that evil house.
One result of Rebekah's preference for Jacob was the spite and the sight of Esau going out and grieving his parents by marrying two ungodly women. Esau was forty years old when he did this -the same age at which Isaac married Rebekah. His parents must have seen in the foreign wives he brought home the firstfruits of the devil's garden they had sowed for themselves. "Their great grief would seem to have been almost the only thing the two old people were at one about by that time." Esau had seen little in his mother to admire and respect; therefore he was never in any mood to please her. What a different story would have been written if Esau's home had been "without partiality"!
Her Chicanery
Chicanery is described as the act of one who deliberately deceives, and this was Rebekah's sin. The destiny of her favorite son, Jacob, was strongly influenced by his mother's strong-mindedness, and thus she became the authoress of the treacherous plan to deprive Esau of his father's blessing. Isaac is old, feeble and blind, and informs the members of his household that the time has come to give Esau, officially, what was left to him after selling his birthright, namely, the blessing which carried with it the recognition of his headship, the ratification of the birthright. So Isaac told his favorite son to take his bow and arrow and go into the fields, hunt for his much-liked venison, and make a savory meal. At that time, a meal taken together was a common symbol of a saved pledge when father and son partook together. In such an hour of sacred fellowship the father bestowed upon the elder son his rank and place.
Rebekah overheard, and her deceitful heart was stirred to action. She set about to thwart her husband's purpose. Her favorite son must not be displaced, and her hopes for him dashed to the ground, by the impetuous hunter whom Isaac loved. Cunningly she devised the plan of impersonation. While Esau was out in the fields hunting, Rebekah told Jacob to go to a flock nearby and bring two kids for her to dress and cook and pass off as venison. While cautious about his mother's duplicity, he had no conscience against it. What made Jacob hesitant was the fact that his brother was a hairy man, while his own skin was smooth, and that if his father felt him and sensed the deception, he would not bless him, but curse him.
Rebekah, however, was equal to this fear of Jacob, and he followed the counsels of his treacherous mother. He put the skin of the kids upon his hands and upon his neck, thus making himself feel and smell like Esau, and so deceived his aged, blind father. Doubtless Rebekah stood nearby in convenient concealment to see how her ill-conceived ruse would succeed. Smelling Esau's clothes, and feeling the false hairy hands, Isaac was a little doubtful and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." But reassured by the repeated lies of Jacob, the deceived father bestowed the unalterable blessing upon his son, and Jacob, by fraud, became the father of Israel's race. To his discredit, he played the role successfully which his mother had drilled into him with masterly skill. Covetous of the sacred, patriarchal blessing for her favorite son, Rebekah felt she had to resort to duplicity to gain her ends, and in doing so she prostituted parental authority. "My son obey my voice" (Genesis 27:8), and Jacob the misguided son obeyed, and in his subsequent career bore the bitter fruit of his conduct when Laban deceived him regarding Rachel.
A deceiver Jacob was
Full of craft and guile;
Thro' long years he bore his guilt,
Unrepentant all the while.
Samuel Morely once said, "I am much what my mother has made me." It was so in a wrong sense in the life of Jacob, for as in the case of Athaliah, "his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly" (2 Chronicles 22:3). The thoroughness with which Jacob carried out his mother's plan of deception is surely one of the worse features of the narrative. Fearful of the failure of his mother's plot, Jacob said, "I will bring a curse upon me and not a blessing." But Rebekah replied, "Upon me be thy curse, my son, only obey my voice." The future scheming life of Jacob, however, was but the extension of the deceitful qualities of his mother, and both suffered as the result of adopting false methods to accomplish right ends.
When Esau found that he had been robbed of his blessing through the cunning scheme of his mother, he became a remorseless avenger and swore the death of his brother who was forced to flee for his life to Haran, some 500 miles away. Rebekah never saw the face of her much-loved son again. To add to her reproach she had to endure the grief of seeing her other son marry heathen women. Esau's heathen wives caused Rebekah to be weary of her life (Genesis 27:46). Esau received a promise from his father that he would be the progenitor of a great nation-the Edomites-and much misery accrued to Israel because of Edom. The wrath of Esau's enraged blood boiled in the blood of Herod the Idumean on the day he reviled the Man of Sorrows.
There are some writers who try to justify the actions of Rebekah by saying that she was prompted to take the course she did concerning Jacob because of the prediction that, "the elder shall serve the younger," but God had no need of trickery and deceit to fulfill His promise. Ambitious for her son, Rebekah sacrificed the love of her husband, the loss of the esteem of her elder son, and the peace of her soul, for the idolized son whose face she never saw again. Without doubt, Jacob was the divinely-appointed heir of Abraham (Genesis 25:23), and Rebekah seeking to overrule the purpose of Isaac in his blessing of Esau, resorted to deceit to accomplish the will of God. Her guiding principle was, "Let us do evil that good may come" (Romans 3:8), but wrong is never right (James 1:20). Esau had sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, and Rebekah catered to Isaac's carnal appetite in order to accomplish a divine purpose. Had she laid aside "all guile, and hypocrisies" (1 Peter 2:1), and reasoned with her husband about the solemn issue at stake she would have been saved from the disgrace which her worldly policy brought upon her own head and from the sorrow others had to endure.
Almost the last picture we have of Rebekah is when she tearfully witnessed the hasty departure of her favorite son. "A strong-minded, decisive girl had grown into an autocratic matriarch," and ends her days a brokenhearted woman. When she died we are not told. Isaac, although much older than Rebekah, was still living when Jacob returned to Canaan over 20 years later. It is assumed that she died during Jacob's long absence, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah near Hebron (Genesis 49:31). A fitting epitaph for her grave would have been, "Died of a broken heart." The only monument Rebekah has is to be found in the Anglican marriage service of The Book of Common Prayer where we read-
That as Isaac and Rebekah lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them.
While she may have been faithful during the first 20 years of marriage while she was childless, Rebekah, by her unjustifiable treacherous and wholly inexplicable intervention for her favorite son, stained her solemn marriage.
Reviewing Rebekah's life and character what are some of the warnings to heed? Are we not forcibly reminded that love which seeks success at the cost of truth and righteousness is of the earth, earthy? The devil's maxim is, "Nothing succeeds like success." But from God's standpoint nothing succeeds which does not follow the way of truth and honesty. Then, while she had physical beauty, her domination of Jacob and her scheme to deceive her husband revealed the lack of the beauty of a godly character. Further, Rebekah is a warning to all parents that there should be no favorites in the family; that all alike should be dear to them. If there is partiality for any in a family, it should only be for those who are weak and helpless.
Another warning bell is that when a wife conspires against her husband, or vice versa, they are guilty of a baseness which language cannot describe. When one partner finds that he has been betrayed by the other, the world becomes a blank.
The mind has a thousand eyes
The heart but one,
But the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.
There is one beneficial application we can make of Rebekah's prompt decision to follow Eliezer to meet her future bridegroom, Isaac -I will go! In connection with the higher betrothal of the soul to the heavenly Bridegroom, He comes to the sinner saying as Eliezer did to Rebekah, "Will you go with Me? Will you follow Me into that country where saints immortal reign?" When hearts respond to such an appeal, "Yea, Lord I will go. I will follow Thee, whithersoever Thou goest!" they are twice blessed.
[Ĕlī'am] - god is one of the family or god's founder of the people.
The father of Bath-sheba, wife of David (2 Sam. 11:3). Called also Ammiel.

Today's reading: Joshua 7-9, Luke 1:21-38 (NIV)

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Today's Old Testament reading: Joshua 7-9

Achan's Sin
But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the LORD's anger burned against Israel.
2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven to the east of Bethel, and told them, "Go up and spy out the region." So the men went up and spied out Ai.
3 When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the army will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary the whole army, for only a few people live there...."

Today's New Testament reading: Luke 1:21-38

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people...."

Today's Lent reading: Matthew 25-26 (NIV)

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The Parable of the Ten Virgins
"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'
9 "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves....'
Today's Prayer

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. Do not forsake me; do not be far from me, my God. Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior. --Psalm 38:1,2,4,21,22

Today's Scripture Reading: Genesis 22:1-14

1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
2 Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love--Isaac--and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you."
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you."
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?"
"Yes, my son?" Abraham replied.
"The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?"
8 Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!"
"Here I am," he replied.
12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."
Today's Quote

"[Jesus] died not as a martyr but as the representative of a sinful race. Although God loved him infinitely, still, as the representatives of a sinful race, in his displeasure he poured down upon him the vials of his indignation. The death of Christ was intended to make an impression upon the universe, and all the circumstances attending it show what a wonderful effect it had. When he was nailed to the cross the sun refused to look on, and the heavens were clothed with sackcloth; the whole universe seemed shaking to its foundations. Heathen philosophers observed it, and said, Either nature is being dissolved, or the god of nature is dying . The dead could not sleep in their graves, the earth trembled, and the tombs opened, and those who had been dead issued forth, and walked into the city. The veil of the temple was rent in twain. God made a mighty impression upon the entire universe, when, in order that sinners might be pardoned, he thus made a fearful demonstration of his hatred against sin." -- Charles Finney, 19th century revival preacher, in his sermon "Christ the Mediator"

Something to Think About

Was it "fair" or "just" for Jesus to die for our sins? How does Jesus' death and resurrection change your relationship to God's law?

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