Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: “‘But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, e

“‘But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.’” (Ezekiel 36:8-12)

We just returned from Israel. Zion Oil & Gas held its second shareholders meeting as a public company and celebrated the dedication of its second oil well, to be drilled in September. I’m not in the oil business and I’m not a Zion Oil shareholder. I’m just an interested party.

Twenty seven years ago my father wrote a little book titled The Great Treasure Hunt. It explained his idea that Jacob (Israel) had left an inheritance to his sons that wouldn’t be available to them for a while. Not until, as Jacob put it, “in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)

Jacob passed on an inheritance to his sons that God had promised him – the same one God had originally granted his grandfather Abraham.

“‘…Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.’” (Genesis 13:14-15)

In Jacob’s Blessing were passages that hinted at something more than the typical inheritance of those days. Crazy as it sounds, my father believed some of those passages referred to oil … not olive oil … petroleum.

Like I said – crazy.

There wasn’t any geological or historical proof when Dad made public that the Bible promises the children of Israel a great petroleum discovery for “the last days.” Only scripture and only the faith that God’s Word is true, regardless of the evidence.

But faith and scripture seems to be enough for some folks. It was enough for Dad. And it was enough for John Brown, who had just undergone a dramatic personal experience with God; a life changing, life giving metamorphosis, we refer to as being ‘born again’, when he ran into my dad.

By 1981 Dad had known about the Bible’s promise of an oil discovery in Israel for some time. Dad too, thought the idea was a little crazy … even though he believed God showed it to him … even though scripture promised it. It took him five or six years to get his head and his heart and his research around the idea enough to share it with the rest of the world.

Dad had just begun telling people that Jacob’s Blessing included a huge last days oil discovery in Israel, when he received a call inviting him to speak at a church in Clawson, Michigan.

It was winter and it was Michigan, and he had already scheduled the time for a sunny beach in Mexico. But he felt the tug he recognized as the Voice of his Employer. When God said, “Go here, and not there,” Dad generally complied. Shorts and sunglasses went back in the drawer and Dad went to Clawson.

Dad had been speaking to audiences for years. He could speak on a thousand topics at the drop of a hat. In Clawson he spoke about the promise of oil in Israel … the Voice again.

John Brown was in the audience that day. He was a newbie when it came to things Christian. He may have not been up to speed yet on just how things were done in the religion, but he figured out one thing pretty quick … the Voice. Like my dad, when John felt like God wanted him to do something he did it.

John listened to the story of Jacob’s Blessing and the promise of oil in Israel that day and he believed it. A few years later John traveled to Israel for the first time. While he was there he came upon a passage of scripture from Solomon’s prayer of dedication over the first Temple in Jerusalem.

“‘As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name - for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm - when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.’” (I Kings 8:41-43)

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