In 1991, a record price of $264,000 was paid for a Quilt at Sotheby’s auction. The quilt, created by Lucinda Ward Honstain in 1867, was comprised of 40 separate individual blocks that were sewn together to create a magnificent piece of American History. Each block acted as a “mini historian” to the many encounters in the artist’s life, whether from social, political, or cultural setting. The quilt would later be named the “Reconciliation Quilt”. The quilt today is greatly admired by scores of people, as it gives an insight to the past and a snapshot of what life was like during the time of the artist from her own personal perspective of being alive and present during that age in history. While this man made article is indeed a national treasure and encapsulates early American History, a much greater work is seen in the early history of the Jewish people. While blocks of fabric are weaved together to create an inanimate object of great value, it is the lives and stories of the Patriarchs and other Jewish personalities from so long ago that are the foundation of that beautiful and priceless strand of the Human family known as the Jewish race. To understand the history of God’s majestic work in the Jewish past, is to understand with greater certainty, the authority and sovereignty of His work yet remaining in the future.
Perhaps no other human name is better recognized throughout all of history than that of Abraham. Though he possessed great wealth and riches in the eyes of the world, he also possessed something far greater in the eyes of God- faithfulness. Abraham’s deep desire to depend on God is certainly one of the defining qualities that God saw when He chose this man to be the non binding party in a Covenant that would guarantee Land, Nationhood, and Blessings (Genesis Chapter 12, KJV). Originally known as Abram, or “exalted father”, God changed his name to Abraham, meaning “father of a multitude” in Genesis 17 that foretold one of the key aspects of the Covenant to be made with him- the fact that he would indeed be the forefather of a vast multitude of people (Genesis 17:5, KJV). God’s grace is demonstrated in the life of Abraham very profoundly in the details of the Abrahamic Covenant. The fact that the covenant was an unconditional covenant, requiring absolutely no effort or commitment on Abraham’s part for its fulfillment is quite amazing. Abraham, as well as his descendants, were given the promise of land by God Himself. The fact that only 30,000 square miles of the 300,000 square miles promised has been possessed is not a problem for God. He has promised the land, and His promises will come to full fruition. The Covenant also called for a Nation (Genesis 17:4-8, KJV). Abraham would be the father of many nations as well as have many kings come from his lineage- including Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Along with Land and Nationhood, there was also the bestowal of blessings to any who would bless Abraham and his descendants, as well as a stern warning of curses that would abide on any who would curse him. Abraham was indeed chosen by God to birth the Nation that would be known as Israel. Abraham, with a faith and dependence on God, is a wonderful example for believers today, as well as a very important thread in the tapestry of early Jewish history.
The next great figure in early Jewish history would be that of Isaac, Abraham’s son. As a test of Abraham’s total loyalty to God, he is asked to sacrifice Isaac and proceeds to do so without argument until God stays his hand at the very moment he is about to kill Isaac on the altar. This is another great example of trusting God completely on Abraham’s part, but Isaac must also be given credit for believing in God’s plan as well. Isaac was a young man at this time, and would have no doubt been taught the major aspects and blessings of the Covenant made with his father. He had also been taught from an early age that the line of promise would continue through his seed as promised to his Father by God (Genesis 21:12, KJV). This early foundation of God’s Word built into his young life without question gave him the faith and courage to answer the test just like his father. While Abraham held the knife, it was Isaac who allowed himself to be bound and laid on the altar in obedience.
Isaac’s mission in the Jewish nation was to continue with the Covenant began with his father, Abraham, almost a century earlier. God appears to Isaac and confirms this promise and continued agreement (Genesis 26:1-5, KJV). Although Isaac was abundantly wealthy from his inheritance passed down from Abraham (Genesis 25:5, KJV), including a solid spiritual foundation, he is not without fault and mistakes. God’s grace is evident in Isaac’s life amid such failures, such as when he follows the half truth of his father and claims his wife to be his sister to keep from being killed (Genesis 26:9, KJV). The failures of Isaac show his humanity, yet his successes through God show his tender heart toward serving Him. Isaac, as his father Abraham, frequently built altars and “called upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 26:24, KJV). Isaac desired to know and do the will of the Lord. It is that holy ambition and zeal that makes his thread so valuable in the tapestry of Jewish history.
The third personality, in what is so often referred to as the “Patriarchs”, is Jacob. Over 30 times in God’s Word, the names of “Abraham, Issac, and Jacob” appear together, many times directly from God as He is speaking (Exodus 2:24; Exodus 3:6,15; Exodus 4:5; Exodus 6:3,8; Exodus 33:1; Leviticus 26:42; Deuteronomy 6:10; Deuteronomy 34:4; Jeremiah 33:26; Matthew 8:11, KJV). God puts much emphasis on the fact that the Abrahamic covenant was instituted with Abraham, passed down to his son Isaac, and reaffirmed once more with his grandson, Jacob. It is interesting to note the differences in Isaac and his son in regards to their birth. Isaac, meaning “laughter”, was born after years of promise and much anticipation on the parts of his parents, Abraham and Sarah. Abraham had stumbled in trying to speed up the promise of offspring by having a child with Sarah’s maiden, Hagar. He learned that God’s timing is always right, and that God had another heir in mind for the continued promise, that being through the seed of Isaac. Perhaps Isaac had seen the struggles and heartaches that are associated with making decisions outside of God’s will and in the flesh. No doubt this would have given him the foresight and patience to allow God to do His will, in His way, in His time. Twenty years later Jacob is born, but the circumstances of his birth are not without problems. Rebekah learns that two nations are within her womb awaiting birth (Genesis 25:23, KJV). Jacob, meaning “supplanter”, or “one who grasps the heel”, would be the youngest of the two, yet would be the one to whom God would bless and entrust the Covenant relationship.
Jacob, like his father, Isaac, and grandfather, Abraham, would be one to follow God and obey His commandments. He had a close relationship with God, and relied on Him for protection in order that he may continue to live and serve Him (Genesis 28:20-22, KJV). While Jacob trusted the God of his forefathers, he also felt the need to assist God in getting what had been promised to him. Grace abounds in the life of Jacob through the fallacies of his misdirections. Perhaps the biggest failure on Jacob’s part was indeed the “buying” of the birthright from his older brother, Esau (Genesis 25:33, KJV). Jacob attempted to buy something he had already been promised by God, but was not accepting of God’s timing. To further compound the issue, Jacob and his mother would trick his father Isaac for the blessing reserved for the elder brother (Genesis 27, KJV). Through all of these mistakes, God allowed Jacob to continue with the promise that he would still help fulfill the covenant and continued to bless him and his descendants. In addition to the intense struggle that would ensue with his brother Esau (Genesis 27, KJV), Jacob would also struggle with his father in law, Laban (Genesis 29-31, KJV), and then ultimately with the Lord, Himself (Genesis 32:22-27, KJV). One of the biggest blessings seen in the life of Jacob would certainly be the confrontation with the Lord and the changing of his name to “Israel”, which translates, “a prince of God” (Genesis 32:28, KJV). God had given Jacob what he did not deserve- a chance through God’s wonderful grace to be found usable in the service of the King! A moment in God’s plan where He once again shows that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29, KJV). If God’s faithful Sages of early Jewish History are the threads He used to bind Israel’s tapestry together, then without a doubt, the obedience and faithfulness of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be the foundation in which everything is secured.
As the called out body of Christ, the Church is made up of born again believers. These believers, according to Romans, chapter 12, have many different functions, but act as a whole. Just as each Christian is a “member” of the body and may serve different purposes within the body, so is the case with early Jewish history, as God would choose some of His leaders to take on different roles than what is perhaps expected, but that would, in the big picture, accomplish the furthering of His master plan. One great example of this is seen with the next personality- Joseph. Joseph would be Jacob’s favored son, but more importantly, Joseph would be God’s favored servant in the line of promise. While Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew the immense privilege and blessing of communing one on one with God through His audible voice, this is not the case with Joseph. It would be through dreams that God would choose Joseph and relay His will for Joseph’s life (Genesis 37, KJV), which no doubt required a greater amount of faith and courage on Joseph’s part! Joseph’s relationship with God, however, was not weakened in the smallest amount due to the lack of physical signs by God to prove he was chosen for a purpose. No matter how rough and unfair the times and challenges may have seemed, the Scripture gives no record of Joseph ever becoming bitter or dismayed that God had lost control of the situation. On the contrary, Joseph handled himself with integrity and humility as he was rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery (Genesis 37:28, KJV); falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:14, KJV); unfairly imprisoned by Potiphar (Genesis 39:20, KJV); and forgotten by Pharaoh’s chief butler (Genesis 40:23, KJV). Joseph is indeed a picture of a faithful man of God who may not understand God’s methods, but always trusts His plans. God’s grace abounds in the life of Joseph through all of these ordeals. Joseph faithfully completes the task given to him by God, to continue the line of promise and to protect the family. Further proof of his faithfulness and God’s blessing is found in his offspring, which would include such wonderful and mighty leaders as Joshua, Deborah, Samuel, Gideon, and Jephthah.
While Joseph would be a leader sent ahead to save the children of Israel and prevent annihilation from famine, Moses would be a different type of leader, who would be used by God to deliver the Israelites out of a different situation altogether- Egyptian bondage. A new king had risen up who “knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8, KJV) and became very hostile toward the children of Israel and took them into bondage to prevent being overcome by them. Moses, through the divine appointment and protection of God, would be born to Jewish parents, escape an ultimatum from the Pharaoh to be killed, be preserved through the ordeal of being hid and alone in the river’s edge, and be delivered into the Palace to live as the Pharaoh’s son (Exodus 2, KJV). This “reeds to royalty” childhood would place Moses in the peculiar circumstance of seeing his fellow Israelites beaten, abused, mocked, and made to labor intensely without mercy until one day, while seeing a brother beaten, Moses retaliates and kills the Egyptian. This would set off a series of events that would ultimately drive Moses to the wilderness where God would be waiting. God had not forgotten His people, neither had He forgotten His promises. It would be through the circumstances of Egyptian slavery that Israel would turn again and seek the face of God, and God would “hear their groaning and remember His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob (Exodus 2:24, KJV). Moses had a very faithful relationship with God, yet he felt inadequate, at best, for the task. God’s grace is seen in Moses as He tenderly leads him to be the kind of deliverer God needs. Ultimately, Moses’ temper and disobedience would prevent him from entering the Promised Land, yet God would lovingly take him up to the mountain top so that he might get a glimpse of what he had desired to achieve for God. While he would not enter the Promised Land, Moses still had the amazing privilege of delivering God’s law to the people; introducing the feast days to the nation of Israel; overseeing the building of the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, and all of it’s furnishings; and being the vessel used by God to pen the first five books of the Bible. Moses was definitely a golden thread in the tapestry of Israel’s history.
After the death of Moses, God would need another strong and faithful man to lead His people. That need would be filled in the man of Joshua, who is chosen and commissioned by God in Deuteronomy 31:23. Joshua had received “on the job training” under Moses as his assistant, soldier, and scout. He had also been exposed to the rebellion of Israel as he would witness first hand the hardened hearts of God’s people. Joshua’s mission would be to continue to lead God’s people and carry them in to the Promised Land. Grace is seen through Joshua’s story in the strong leader that God allowed Joshua to become. He would take over leadership of a rebellious people after wandering in the wilderness for 40 years with Moses. Courage would be the cry of the hour, and Joshua would answer the call with a tremendous faith in his God. His relationship with God would be one of total reliance, as he would seek to do God’s will and lead with a spirit of wisdom given by God (Deuteronomy 34:9, KJV). Joshua would be a valuable part in Israel’s history.
Israel would once again defy God and be rebellious upon Joshua’s departure from the scene. God’s Word says that the time following Joshua that “there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25, KJV). To protect His people from possible total destruction, God showed grace once more in the practice of raising up Judges to serve as the person to rebuke, but yet deliver, Israel from her horrid sins and spiritual adultery. God’s Word says that “the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them” (Judges 2:18, KJV).
God, being a gracious and merciful God, provided the way for Israel to return to Him and to live righteously and be His people. He provided the leadership, wisdom, boldness, and strength in the personage of Judges. The judge would deliver Israel out of the hands of the oppressors and once again set their eyes upon God. Unfortunately, “when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way” (Judges 2:19, KJV). Victory for God’s people was short lived. Their hardened hearts were all to quick to return to a sinful state of humanity when no Godly leader was present. Gideon would be a judge that God would raise up in times such as this. God chose Gideon to judge Israel, and to deliver Israel from her enemies, the Midianites. For seven years, the Midianites had fought and conquered Israel, causing Israel to live a defeated, and cowardly life. Israel was so trodden down and oppressed that they “made dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strongholds” (Judges 6:2, KJV). Israel had nothing that the Midianites had not taken from them: land, food, livestock, shelter, and riches had all been robbed from Israel’s coffers because of their defiance of God. Alas, a prophet is sent by God to announce deliverance when Israel cries out unto the Lord for help (Judges 6:6-10, KJV). Gideon is visited by an angel of the Lord and given the charge to deliver Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6:11-13, KJV). Gideon’s relationship with God could be classified as “weak” in the fact that he is quick to make excuses and offer God other alternatives than himself to bring the people into battle. His insecurity in himself created eventually a deeper dependence upon God. It took great courage for Gideon to fulfill his Godly charge, and God allowed him to hone his spiritual muscle in the first task given to him in destroying the idols of his father’s house. (Judges 6:25-32, KJV). God’s grace is also seen in the patience God shows with Gideon as he works through his own insecurity, unbelief, and even fear. Perhaps one of the most applicable lessons from this historical Jewish figure is the fact that God does allow him to ask “why” (Judges 6:13, KJV). There is a vast chasm of difference between a humble and reverent cry to God why things happen, versus the disrespectful and prideful heart that demands a response from God. God no doubt recognized the hurt and discouragement in Gideon’s own heart, and was gracious with him to allow him time to realize it was truly God speaking to Him. Gideon would indeed deliver Israel from the hands of the Midianites, and would serve as Judge for forty years over Israel (Judges 8:28, KJV). A timely character is found in Gideon. Another great example that no matter how weak the man or common his background, God can raise up His man for the job in any age, under any circumstance.
Judges would continue to rule Israel for over 300 years. Israel would continue to rebel and follow false gods after the death of the judge, until God would allow them to be delivered and conquered by her enemies until she would once again turn to God and cry out for help. Samson is another great Jewish character who is God’s answer to those cries. Israel had rebelled against God and had been delivered to the Philistines for forty years (Judges 13:1, KJV). God appoints Samson to be the deliverer of His people before birth (Judges 13:5, KJV). As Samson would grow up, he would try to do a lot on his own, apart from the power of God. Included in his downfalls would be a temper problem and his weakness to not allow his personal desire overcome his devotion to God. Samson’s mission was indeed to deliver the Israelites from the hands of the Philistines, but Samson’s anger and the results of it would prevent that from happening. The Nazarite vows that were placed on Samson would become, over time, less important to him in his quest for personal glory and satisfaction. His willingness to disclose to Delilah one of the sources of his power (Judges 16, KJV) would be the ultimate mistake that would sever God’s power from his life for a time. Imprisoned, with eyes gouged out, Samson would once again find God in the darkness. Grace is seen in Samson’s story in the fact that all who will return to God can be forgiven and restored. God later used Samson to mount a great defeat of the Philistine leaders as he would destroy them in the ruins of their false god’s house (Judges 16:23-31, KJV) which would grant a partial freedom to Israel. The tapestry of Israel’s history is rich with “second chance” warriors for God, and a great comfort to all who have ever fallen in service of the King and have been restored.
The last man to be used as a Judge over Israel was Samuel. Born to Hannah and Elkanah, Samuel would be an answer to a prayer of infertility (I Samuel 1:1-28, KJV). In thankfulness of the magnificent blessing of a son, Hannah returns Samuel to the Lord to be of service to Him in the temple. It is while growing up under the leadership of Eli that Samuel would be called by God to serve Him (I Samuel 3, KJV). One of the first trying tasks would be to deliver judgment on Eli for the lack of disciplining his wicked sons. This would give Samuel great courage and confidence in the Lord, and he would remain close to God all through his life. He was faithful in service in that he “did let none of his words fall to the ground” (I Samuel 3:19, KJV). Along with being the last Judge for Israel, other missions for Samuel would include turning Israel from idol worship, defeating the Philistines (I Samuel 7, KJV), placing Saul, Israel’s first King, on the throne (I Samuel 10, KJV), and later anointing David, God’s chosen King, for the throne of Israel (I Samuel 16, KJV). Grace is seen in the life of Samuel, as he is a great picture of what any person can attain in total surrender to God. Samuel was used mightily from his youth to accomplish many victories for God. He loved Israel, but yet he was always faithful to deliver the message to the people whether it would be accepted or not. No compromise can be seen in the life of Samuel and his standing for the Lord. God’s Word declares that “Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life” (I Samuel 7:15, KJV). A rich and deep study can be found in the person and life of Samuel. A mighty man used of God that faithfully accomplished his tasks and became a most valuable thread in the tapestry of Jewish history.
Perhaps one of the hardest tasks Samuel had in his life was to anoint a King who God was not ready to place over His people; but, due to the insistent cries and complaints of the children of Israel to be like like all other nations, would allow them to have what they so desired. Saul would be anointed to be King by Samuel and would be Israel’s first earthly king. Saul’s mission and mandate from God would be to lead Israel in the right path (I Samuel 12:23, KJV). Saul’s relationship to God was broken at best. While he was indeed allowed to be King by God, his disobedient, impatient, and arrogant attitude would prevent him from continuing in the throne. God had provided leadership, security, and fellowship with Israel, but Israel had rejected Him. They wanted a physical, human “warrior” to be a representative to the nations. Grace is seen through these events in that, even with the rejection of God Himself by His own people, God would not forsake them in the days ahead (I Samuel 12:22, KJV). God would also lovingly and mercifully through Samuel set forth the requirements to have a successful and long lasting kingdom: “If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers” (I Samuel 12:14-15, KJV). This would be very clear in the life as Saul as his impatience while waiting for Samuel to offer a burnt offering overcomes him and he breaks God’s law and performs this task himself. In this act of rebellion, God announces judgment through Samuel to King Saul: “Thou hast done foolishly: thou has not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue…” (I Samuel 13:13-14, KJV). While Saul would have the honor of being the first earthly King of Israel, sin would keep Saul from fulfilling God’s plan.
One of the most richest and valuable properties of God’s Word is that of balanced disclosure. It is within the pages of Scripture that one reads the magnificent accomplishments of human vessels in the service of God and is also privy to the failures of those same human vessels. God, in giving the Word, opens grace and mercy in its pages to show people generations removed from the actual accounts, that God chooses to use human people to accomplish His will. These humans remain the same as humans of today- prone to failure and mistakes in the service of the Lord. One of the greatest people in all of God’s Word to have such an open life before the reader is that of David. While David would be prone to failures in his personal life, it is without a doubt that God chose him to be king of Israel: “the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people” (I Samuel 13:14, KJV). It is with David whom the Lord would establish the Davidic Covenant declaring “thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16, KJV). Through early beginnings as a shepherd boy, David would be chosen by God to be His King (I Samuel 13:13-14, KJV). His mission would be to lead God’s people and begin a prophetic covenant that still has a futuristic fulfillment. David’s heart as a victorious warrior would show great courage and dependence upon his God. As a Psalm writer and poet, he would share his victories, his failures, and his despairs with the reader. David, as a natural man, endured all the emotions of men today. Unfortunately, these emotions would lead to adultery and even murder. Grace is seen in the life of David through all of his misdirections, and his tender heart towards God. Amidst the many trials and stumbles in his life, God still chooses to call him a man after His own heart. Countless pages could be written on this early Jewish personality. As King of Israel, he would serve the Lord faithfully, and would give honor and glory to Him before his people. His heavy involvement in war would prevent him from building God’s temple, yet he would father the next strand in the rich tapestry of Jewish history.
Wisdom is a valuable quality. Godly wisdom is a priceless gift. Solomon, David’s son, would be a man who was blessed to possess both. Such wisdom would still not perfect Solomon to the point of being without sin and failures in his life, as he was yet still a man. He was chosen by God through Nathan the Prophet for a Godly mission- to reign upon his father’s throne and continue the will of God for the nation of Israel. Just as any other government that rules a people, there would be power struggles. Solomon would see the promise of his kingdom attacked before he would ever take the throne in the plots of Adonijah, another of David’s sons (I Kings 1:5-9, KJV). This attempt would be put down as David would call for Solomon to be anointed King while David was dying (I Kings 1:30-40, KJV), and would be placed on the throne after his death (I Kings 2:12, KJV).
Solomon would be a man who loved the Lord, and desired to follow Him. When asked by God what Solomon desired of Him, his reply was to “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad…” (I Kings 3:9, KJV). God was pleased by Solomon’s request and answered, “I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days” (I Kings 3:12-14, KJV). The grace that God had shown to his father David, would now be extended to Solomon. Scripture records that Solomon indeed enjoyed the gift of wisdom that was unchallenged throughout his reign, and that people from all over the earth came to hear his wisdom and counsel (I Kings 4:29-34, KJV). A product of this wisdom would include mercy in his judgments and in his dealings with Israel. While Solomon would not refrain from warfare and capital punishment to defend his kingdom, he would also grant mercy, giving ample chance for a window of correction, such as in the case of Adonijah’s attempt to take the throne promised to Solomon (I Kings 1:52-53, KJV).
The largest task given to Solomon by God would certainly be the building of the Temple. There was a great promise that was attached to its completion and continued obedience to God by Israel and her king: “Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform thy word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel” (I Kings 6:12-13, KJV). Solomon would complete this task, and would also receive yet another confirmation of the covenant promised to his father David of an eternal kingdom upon Israel forever (I Kings 9:1-5, KJV). Solomon, like his father David, sought to please God and do His commandments. While he would yet falter in his personal life like his father with fleshly desires, God would chasten him in love and continue to use this willing servant to fulfill the covenant began with his father.
Israel’s history is rich with those who chose to be used by God for His work. A common thread that runs throughout the lives of each individual is the fact that they were indeed human vessels with imperfections just like people today. Nothing qualified them over any other human being in a worldly sense other than their relationship with God and their willingness to perform the tasks assigned to them. The tapestry of early Jewish history is so very rich in promises, and warnings, that can be spiritually applied to the church and individual believer today. The same power that rested upon these early characters remains available to the believer today if one is willing to follow God and obey His Word. Today’s believer has the wonderful grace and blessing of having the entire counsel of God’s Word set before them to be ingested at a moment’s notice, and not having to wait for a prophet to deliver a message from God.
If one would desire to study and appreciate the Reconciliation Quilt today, they would have to drive to Lincoln, Nebraska and view it in a museum. If that same individual would desire to study and appreciate a much older and precious work in the antiquity of the Jewish Nation and its people, they would simply need only to pick up a copy of God’s Word and begin to read its pages. The quilt holds no spiritual merit and will eventually return to dust. God’s Word is alive and waiting to reveal an eternity of beauty and grace to all who will receive.