God's Foxhole

JessiePope.jpgJessie Pope spent about seventy days on the Vietnam War front.
Despite the fact that his military service occurred more than four decades ago, the memories associated with his duty are still strong in his mind. With a mere moment’s recollection, Jessie can re-live and vividly re-tell some of those harrowing experiences as if they had happened only yesterday.
The Viet Cong lobbed mortar rounds and rockets at Jessie and his fellow comrades-in-arms on a perpetual basis. At times, all the unit could do was hunker down and pray that a shell did not land nearby.
Jessie said the difference between life and death during those attacks was a well-fortified fox hole. He said that prior to VC engagements, the U.S. soldiers would dig simple foxholes to escape the shelling. They would then surround the foxholes with piles of heavy sandbags stacked several feet high.
Unless a shell actually dropped squarely in the shelter, the men would be safe from the hot shrapnel that exploded at impact. On the other hand, if a careless soldier decided to venture outside a foxhole during a time an attack was initiated, he invariably suffered injury, even death. Life outside the foxhole was dangerous at best and fatal at worst.
For Jessie, there was only one place for protection from enemy fire–it was a foxhole. Anywhere else meant trauma or loss of life.
As I think about it, God has always had a kind of foxhole for folks:
• In Noah’s day, safety could only be found in the ark (1 Peter 3:20). Everyone outside that gopher wood barge perished in the global flood (Genesis 6-8).
• In Israel’s day during Egyptian bondage, safety could only be found in a house with lamb’s blood on the door post (Exodus 12:1ff). Anyone who failed to go in the house where blood was applied suffered the effects of the death plague.
• In Rahab’s day, safety could only be found in the house with the scarlet thread (Joshua 2:12-21; 6:17). Citizens found outside her home died at the hands of the conquering Israelite army.
• In Joshua’s day, safety could only be found in one of the six cities of refuge (Joshua 20:1ff; Exodus 21:12-13). To be caught outside of either Golan, Ramoth, Bezer, Kedesh, Shechem or Hebron (Joshua 20:7-8) meant that you would perish.
Safety and protection could only be found in God’s appointed place–whether it was the ark, a specific house, or a chosen city. The same is true today. There is ONLY ONE PLACE where spiritual safety can be located. Jehovah’s foxhole is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; 1:1, 3-7; 3:10-11). All blessings are there (Ephesians 1:3); salvation is there (Acts 2:47). It is the only place of real security from the wages of sin.
For Jessie there was but one objective–stay in, stay down, and stay alive. What about you, dear reader? Do you want to experience eternal life (Matthew 25:46b)? If you do, then you must believe in Jesus (Mark 16:15-16; John 8:24), repent and turn from your sins (Acts 2:38: 3:19), confess that He is Lord (Acts 8:37), and be immersed for the forgiveness of sins (1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:38), at which time the Lord will add you to His church. Are you in the foxhole?
Jessie Pope is retired from the military and a deacon with the Kensington Woods church of Christ in Hattiesburg, MS.

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