Posts Tagged ‘Wolf’

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls 

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 76

It was some time later that David walked in the King’s Valley and touched the stone that reminded him of his son. It now lies under the rubble of years, but once it stood tall and stark against the sky for all to see. It was called Absalom’s monument because Absalom built it on his way back from Hebron after being declared king. It stood as a reminder to the people of Israel of a handsome young man who hated the authority of his own father, and held bitterness in his heart until it erupted like a cancerous growth and consumed him. It served as a reminder of God’s grace rejected.

Absalom, your pride blinded you, thought David, and now all I have left of you is this symbol of rebellious futility. How easy it is for someone like you to look on the outward appearance. If only you had known that God looks always on the heart.

You were like me in so many ways at various times in my own life; deceptive, stubborn and selfish, but I did not know that you would hold such deep hurt inside for so long against me. Your unrepented sin has festered into the poison of bitterness against the Lord’s anointed, and you have caused me grief I can barely carry.

At this same spot in the King’s Valley Abraham had once met with the king of Sodom: the man of God and a king of Godlessness. Perhaps it is appropriate you chose to build your monument here.

The lion of Judah and the wolf. As king David touched the monument it was as if this man after God’s own heart was touching the stony surface of Absalom’s heart. It seemed that God wept with him for his son and perhaps for all those with a spirit such as this.

 Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

Joab looked at the carvings on the hilt of the Canaanite dagger in his hand. Dedicated to the gods of war as it came from a Philistine kiln, it had once belonged to his brother, Asahel. It had been used by men with vengeance in their hearts to commit murder. The very shape of vengeance, thought Joab, cold, hard and razor sharp. On the handle was a carving of a lion and wolf in mortal combat. In the hands of avenging predators, it had already lain Absalom, Abner and Amnon in their graves.

Amasa, the new general of king David’s army was not on guard as Joab greeted him.

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

Postscript

Sitting in his favourite chair and looking back over the years that had transpired, he reflected upon David and the Son of David. He had experienced personally the incredible power of the forgiveness of Christ which stood in such stark contrast to the destructive power of bitterness and selfish ambition of Absalom, Joab, Ahithophel, Judas and so many others since king David.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he instructed his amanuensis to write words of eternal significance to the Hebrew Church. Such impact they have had upon my life already, he thought, even now as I write them to you who have ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the Church of the living God.

His loud clear, sonorous voice repeated the words that came from heaven’s throne, as his amanuensis inscribed the parchment, in flawless script with his stylus.

“Obey your leaders, and submit yourselves to their authority; for they keep watch as shepherds over your souls, and they will one day give an account to God. Let them do this work to which God has called them with joy and not grief, for this would be very unprofitable for you.”

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 43

“Tell me about this legend,” Absalom repeated.

“The story begins with the lion god,” said Obed-edom as the story of his childhood flooded back into his memory. “It is said that one day the lion, filled with pride, roared so loud that all of Canaan could hear, ‘I rule this domain!’ it said, ‘None can challenge me!’ But it’s roar was answered by the howling cry of the wolf high in the hills, ‘I will challenge you! Stay away from here or you will know the teeth of the wolf that devour even the strongest of foes!’

The lion was so annoyed at the arrogance of the wolf that that it stalked through the long grass and up into the hills until it finally came upon the lair of the wolf. A terrible battle took place and the wolf was killed by the powerful lion. The lion also killed the wolf’s mate and all but one of its cubs who hid itself in the back of the lair.

The wolf cub hid in the hills until it almost starved to death. But Molech, the god of war and strength, who was a master iron-smith, helped the wolf cub until it was fully grown, giving it teeth of iron. The teeth of the wolf are still made by the Philistines today in the kiln of Molech, in the form of daggers such as the one you hold today.

Then one day the lion heard the howling cry of the wolf, now fully grown, as it mourned over the loss of its family and vowed revenge. With teeth of iron, it came down from the hills to the plains where it continues to track down the lion to this day.

The lion and wolf still remain bitter enemies and the roars and snarling of lion and wolf can still be heard in Canaan during times of battle. One day it is said that the battle will be resolved, but in the meantime, the Philistines fight their enemies with the iron teeth of the wolf and the roar of the lion.

The lion and wolf god are the Philistine gods of war because they are two of the strongest of the predators. It is believed that when the Philistines fight, they gain favour with the wolf god and he will not raid and kill their flocks.

Of course, the Philistines also have many other gods, but the image you see on this hilt is the favourite mark of the iron-smiths. This dagger came from the kiln of Molech, where to my shame, a child was sacrificed to the god of war. I witnessed this murder and thought little of it at the time. When the Philistines fight they are supposedly fighting to avenge the death of their children.

I was the one who fashioned the blade and carved the image on the hilt personally. It was originally for a Philistine prince or king to carry into battle but I was captured before I had time to present it. It has a curse of vengeance upon it, my lord. So you see why it would be better to destroy this weapon. It has been dedicated for evil.”

Absalom was fascinated by the old man’s story and had no intention of destroying the dagger.

“Your story was superstitious nonsense, old man, but you have been most helpful.” said Absalom.

Obed-edom was quiet and prayerful for the rest of the day. Only Barzillai had noticed the change in his mood and after an hour of working with him in silence, he said,

“What troubles you, old friend? Has Absalom brought you bad news?”

“Absalom showed me a weapon that I formed just before I was captured. I have been responsible for making many weapons that have been dedicated to Molech over the years. I have made the smallest iron talisman that warriors wore into battle, as well as weapons of immense size and weight. Barzillai, you have heard of Goliath?” Barzillai nodded.

“I was responsible for forging the weapons he used,” said Obed-edom “and dedicating them to Molech to be used against Israel.”

“My friend, those days are now over. God has brought forgiveness to you and your family,” said Barzillai.

“That’s not my concern. I know now that God has forgiven me and I stand clean before Him,” said Obed-edom, “but the weapon Absalom showed me was the finest of all daggers that I have made. It is a thing of vengeance. A child was sacrificed in the kiln it came from and it is cursed. I am afraid that it will bring harm to whoever carries it.” Obed-edom did not realise it, but already the dagger had been used as a weapon of vengeance.

“I have learned that things such as your dagger have no power in themselves to hurt anyone, my friend,” said Barzillai, “It is only metal. It can be used for good or evil purposes.”

“But what about the curse upon it?” said Obed-edom.

“It seems to me that the curses of vengeance will only have an effect if there is first a foothold in a person’s life.” said Barzillai, “every one of us is susceptible to allowing a curse to have power in our lives, but with God’s help, we don’t have to open the door to it’s evil.”


 

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 42

Absalom was directed to an old man who was instructing Ammonite slaves about kiln making. He seemed very cheerful and pleased to meet Absalom and bowed down with his face to the ground when he realised that he was in the presence of royalty.

“My lord, I am your servant.” said Obed-edom.

“I have been told that you are a Philistine.” said Absalom.

“I was once a Philistine, my lord.” said Obed-edom with a smile on his face. “For many years now I have served your father the king and now I also serve the living God of Israel.”

Absalom ignored the comments and said, “I have something to show you that has the carvings of Canaanite origin. I want you to tell me what it means.”

“I will try to help you in any way that I can, my lord.” said Obed-edom. Absalom directed Obed-edom to move under one of shelters so that no-one else could overhear their conversation or see what they were doing.

He took the dagger from beneath his coat and handed it to the old man. Obed-edom stood transfixed for some time as he looked at the weapon. All the memories of demon gods and talisman came flooding back into his mind. He remembered the day of the birth of this dagger in the kiln of Molech and when he thought of the gruesome child sacrifice, he suddenly dropped the dagger as if it were red hot. Absalom reached for it immediately.

“Be careful, old man. I don’t want it damaged!” said Absalom.

“Why have you brought this weapon to me?” said Obed-edom. His face was white at the shock of seeing the dagger that he had once made. For a fleeting moment he thought perhaps that Absalom intended to punish him in some way.

“I want you to tell me what the images and symbols mean?” said Absalom. He was intrigued at the reaction of the old man. What hidden secrets does this dagger hold?

“You must destroy it immediately!” said Obed-edom, “It can only lead to harm. It came from the fire of Molech and was dedicated to the demon gods. It doesn’t belong here.”

“I’ll decide whether or not to destroy it. But first I want you to tell me all you know about it.” said Absalom, who was beginning to get a little frustrated.

“Yes, my lord. Of course.” said Obed-edom. He was dry in the mouth and needed to lick his lips and swallow several times as he recalled the ancient story, filled with superstition and demonic power to bring harm upon others, that he had heard many times as a child.

“The symbol on the top of the hilt is the Canaanite symbol for the god Molech and the symbol on the sides of the hilt is of the lion and wolf gods. Together they speak of avenging the enemy for the sacrifice of our children. The image that is carved is of the lion and the wolf in mortal combat. It comes from an ancient legend about these two powerful predators.”

“Tell me about this legend.” said Absalom.

Obed-edom tried to regain his composure.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS
Dagger for When the Wolf Howls
© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 28

It was 3 days after becoming one of the kings counsellors that Absalom remembered the dagger and went to the box in which he had kept his most precious of possessions since childhood. It was still there where he had laid it many years ago. As he withdrew it from its leather sheath, he noticed that the blade had lost some of its lustre, but the workmanship was still superior to anything he had seen and it was deadly sharp.

It was the leather strands bound around the hilt that drew his attention. They were darkened by the years, but he looked for end strands that could be unravelled. He finally found an end by picking at the leather around the base of the hilt and soon the strands were unwinding to reveal the hidden secrets of what lay beneath.

Gradually the ivory hilt of the dagger began to be revealed. It bore a strange inscription which fascinated Absalom but the savage image is what drew Absalom’s attention. Skillfully carved in the shape of a wolf and lion in mortal combat, the animals were portrayed with such powerful imagery, muscles tense and so carefully rendered that Absalom could almost feel the terror of the scene. He could imagine the piercing, savage eyes of each beast as claws, fangs and jaws lunged in to make the kill.

He also realised why Asahel, like the soldier he had seen in the marketplace, had covered the hilt with strands of leather. The dagger was an illegal weapon for an Israelite to carry since it bore the images of animals. No images or likenesses of birds, animals or fish were to be carved or worshipped by anyone in Israel. These animals obviously represented Caananite gods but Absalom was curious about the Canaanite symbols and the why the dagger was made.

Asahel had obtained the dagger as part of the plunder from his first raid into Canaanite territory. Concealing its hilt by binding it with leather, he had carried it with him into the battle against Abners army where he had lost his life.

Concealing the hilt by placing the dagger and its sheath inside his cloak, Absalom determined to find out more about the image and why it was so beautifully made. Joab was in charge of some Philistine iron smiths. Perhaps they would know. From now on he would begin to wear this beautiful weapon hidden from the eyes of those who might question the images on the hilt.

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS!

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Pastor Ross Cochrane

Introduction

In the book of 2 Samuel in the Bible is the account of an incredibly handsome young man, aching with the ambition to be king, whose name was Absalom. He was one of the sons of king David in whose reign this story takes place.

Soon after king Saul died, Saul’s son Ish-bosheth was installed by Abner, Saul’s general, as a puppet king over the Northern tribes of Israel. David reigned over Judah at first but his forces, under the leadership of Joab, were defeating Abner, paving the way for David to become king of both Israel and Judah.

This is the historical setting from which our story begins to unfold.

 

CHAPTER 1

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

The old man carried out his work with the skill that had made him a master of his craft. For 200 years, his family had carried on the traditions and mystery of the ironsmith. Obed-edom took pride in his work. His sons were learning from his many years of experience and they would continue to refine the secrets of this art for many years to come.

His sons had selected the ore from the quarry, their trained eyes choosing only the heavy ferrous coloured rocks which would be forged into the finest articles. Using wedges and fire, they split the larger rock faces, taking extreme care in what material they selected because their father would require only the purest ore with which to work and they had already been punished for bringing ore containing too much foreign matter.

Then they began crushing the rock on stone anvils, washing it with water from clay pots as they went, and handpicking the richest supplies of ore to be placed in baskets ready to be carried to the furnaces.

While they worked, some of the slaves were creating 10 charcoal pits, cutting and burning the wood and controlling the heat with layers of earth and water.

Overseen by the old master smith, other slaves began to mix crushed seashells and limestone with charcoal so that it could be used as a flux for the ore in the furnace.

It was at this point that Obed-edom gave the orders for the clay kilns to be built, 10 in all, above the charcoal pits and placed evenly, encircling the top of the gently sloped clearing of the hill. The largest pit, in the centre of the hill, was constructed first and reserved for the fire of Molech. From it’s flames fire would be introduced to the other kilns.

Gradually the dome-shaped kilns, like a nest of pre-historic eggs buried in the sand on their ends, were formed. Each dome was filled from the top with layers of iron ore, charcoal, limestone and ground seashells. Towards the bottom of the egg-shaped kilns was an opening into which the nozzle of a leather bellows was introduced.

Only the central furnace of Molech would be used to forge the household idols and the various amulets and talisman which would accompany the Philistine warriors to war. From such a kiln, Obed-edom had formed the weapons for the giant called Goliath in years gone by – the finest instruments of war, made by the most experienced craftsman in Philistia.

When the kilns were complete the old smith nodded to the priest who had been muttering occultic words continuously as the construction had been taking place, in an ecstatic state, to appease the spirits of iron. Molech would demand a human sacrifice to be made to ensure the success of the smelting and fashioning of weapons. Only a human life could give birth to the weapons of victory and life to the idols which would be created from the egg-shaped furnace.

Obed-edom watched as the priest introduced fire through the jaw-like opening of the central kiln, and two of his sons pumped the leather bellows until sweat poured from their skin and their muscles ached with exhaustion and others had to replace them. A smokey haze washed over the hill and was spirited away on the breeze. The Israelite raiding party saw it from miles away and moved relentlessly to its source.

At the height of the celebration as the Philistine warriors gathered, chanting and shouting their prayers and drinking the fermented potions that they hoped would make them invincible in the coming war, a newborn baby, a child of one of the temple prostitutes was brought to be cast into the central jaws of the furnace.

For a moment, there was silence and each man felt the superstitious trembling that accompanied such an act, and then the chanting and shouting reached its crescendo as each man cut into his arms and chest with daggers to draw blood and work themselves into a demonic frenzy as the gruesome sacrifice was made.

Then it was time to release the metal from the kilns. Each warrior waited with anticipation and awe as Obed-edom, the master smith, eyes red from the smoke of the furnaces, released a small plug from the bottom of the central kiln and a flow of molten metal, a glowing yoke from the egg-shaped dome spilt out into a moulded crucible.

Soon the air would be filled with the sound of hammers as Obed-edom and his sons beat out the metal from the other kilns into blades of war, teeth of the wolf; long-swords and daggers that would be tested in the midst of battle.

After the slag had been drawn off from the metal of the central kiln Obed-edom began to fashion a small weapon from the purest of metal. It was skillfully hammered into shape and for some reason he found himself trembling with excitement at the surging hiss as the dagger’s point and blade were tempered with water. He continued with a polishing stone on the blade until the metal shone with a burnished lustre.

The hilt had already been selected from a piece of ivory obtained from traders and he had carved it especially for this purpose. He attached it to the shaft with such precision that it hardly needed to be bound and then continued to carve the image upon the hilt with smaller tools. He worked on the hilt of the weapon meticulously. This was no ordinary weapon. It had been borne from the jaws of molech’s furnace where life had been given to give it power. It would be presented to one of the Philistine overlords, or better still to a king or prince. It was a formidable weapon, well balanced with a razor sharp edge. The image on the hilt was carefully rendered to portray savage terror. Somehow it reflected the unexpressed rage that burned in his heart towards the priests and their human sacrifices and even towards Molech himself.

From the shelter of the trees and rocks surrounding the hill the Israelite commander, Joab, watched the proceedings and positioned his men.

Matthew 7:15 – HOW TO KEEP THE WOLVES FROM YOUR DOOR

Wolf at the Door!

“The spine-tingling howl was both compellingly beautiful and terrifyingly close. My nerves sung with alarm and the sheep moved restlessly. Was this a lone wolf or would we face a pack of hungry animals.

The other shepherds, with their woollen coats, hoods pulled up over their faces to protect them from the cold, were steering the flock in the darkness, whistling and speaking in comforting tones. All of a sudden a dominant male voice was shouting out orders and I realised that they were not shepherds but thieves! A wolf pack of men! The blow to the back of my head took me completely by surprise.”

In Matthew 7:15 (NASB) Jesus says “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

John MacArthur has an interesting explanation of Wolves in “SHEEP’S CLOTHING.” He says that shepherds wore woollen clothing to keep warm when they tended their sheep, “sheep’s clothing.” That means that false prophets do not deceive the flock by IMPERSONATING SHEEP but by IMPERSONATING THE SHEPHERD!

False shepherds disguise themselves as true shepherds. They claim to teach the truth but their words deceive, mislead, and, inevitably, cause harm to God’s people. In their greed, they impersonate the shepherd. It’s the perfect disguise, but they are out for personal gain, and not the benefit of the flock. RAVENOUS WOLVES! They are in it to fill their own appetite for fame, prestige, position, recognition. They come with their OWN AGENDAS AND PURPOSES for success at the expense of others.

Pastor Brian Houston this Sunday @Hillsong Church delivered an excellent message on Highs and Lows in the Christian Life. He said how most people in Australia believe in God, but He is devalued to a lower place in their lives. When reason, science, culture, money, recognition, etc are not subservient to Christ, they dominate and distort the way we live. Self rules. There’s a bank ad on TV at the moment that proclaims “I am king. I have control”. 2 Timothy 3:5 (NLT) “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”

Are some of our prominent Church leaders False Teachers today? The evidence would say yes! And they are anything but harmless. 2 Timothy 3:13-17 (NLT) says “…. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.” In Galatians 1:6-9 (NLT) Paul says “I am shocked that you … are being fooled by those who deliberately TWIST THE TRUTH concerning Christ …”

Unfortunately, the reason they succeed is because they also fulfil the selfish needs of those who follow them. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT) says “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”

With a worldview which doesn’t include Christ, false teachers neglect to preach about Jesus dying for our sins. 1 John 4 goes on to say “… But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God … You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them.”

Working in a High Care Facility for the elderly, I am often asked by a family to officiate in a funeral service. Occasionally a family will say, “We don’t want anything religious.” My reply is that I am a follower of Christ and that the service will reflect who I am, and that I would not be offended if they wanted someone else to take the service. I cannot be false to who I am and my message will clearly be from a Christian perspective.

The invitation Christ gives comes through His warning. Don’t be pressured to live according to a culture that doesn’t include Christ or His claims on our lives. The invitation is to acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that He died for our sins and offers us eternal life. Keep the wolves from the door by not feeding them.

Pastor Ross