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Army  Protection

Israel told me this story of the Zapatistas after I gave the Sabbath sermon "Facing the Fire". I had given illustrations of Daniel's friends facing the furnace, John being thrown into boiling oil and not burning up. Then I shared how Chamula Indians have their homes burned for being faithful to God. How can these face the fire with such courage. Where do they get this kind of faith? I want this kind of faith that can face the fire with peace and courage.

There were 17 new converts ready to baptize but no ordained preacher available to do the baptisms. All were afraid to enter this dangerous region. A young man was willing to go so the conference did an ordination over the phone. Times were to risky to go and ordain him in person.

This young man told his local congregation he was going to go baptize and they pleaded with him not to go. Another pastor of another faith had been killed the week before. He insisted. The whole village insisted on going with them.

It was quite a distance for the to walk so they all started out early before daybreak. Over hill and valley they traveled on foot. Children and women were next to the pastor and the strong men of the village were on the outside surrounding them.

They came to the swinging bridge where another pastor had been killed during his cross and had fallen to the valley floor below. The plan of the Zapatistas was to shoot them as they crossed and have them fall also. As they neared the bridge the enemy was terrified by a surprise army of 800 on horses. These charged them and surrounded them till they fled for safety. 

Meanwhile the Adventist group passed over the bridge, did the baptisms and returned to their village. In a couple days there was a knock on the pastor's door. He was surprised to find the commander of the Zapatista group there on the porch asking for baptism. They had watched and heard the singing of hymns when suddenly a surprise army was after them. They could not do the shooting. After they overcame their fright, they went back to look for horse hoof prints. There was not any to be found.

God had been there with HIS mighty army just as HE had for the prophet Elisha.

Fear not, they that be with us are more than they that be with them. This was one of my favorite Bible verses throughout my whole journey into and out of Mexico.

2 Kings 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? 
6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that [be] with us [are] more than they that [be] with them. 
6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain [was] full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. 


Sometimes it is not guns or arrows but bitter words:

"Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer; preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: that they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep. {RH, March 15, 1906 par. 1}
"But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory." {RH, March 15, 1906 par. 2}