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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

AN IRISH CELEBRATION


March 17th is the day the Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Many who have no Irish heritage will join the fun. They will dress in green clothing, buy Shamrock plants, go to parades, make special food and drink green beer. The Chicago River will turn a bright green and some pubs will have little green mice running around the bar tops.

In order to understand why this day is so celebrated, we need to study the history of the beautiful country of Ireland, often called the Emerald Isle because of its lush green grasses. At one time this land was occupied by pagans who worshipped their pagan gods. But God had a different plan for this country and as always, what He has been planned will happen -  Ephesians 1:11.

God choose a boy named Patrick, who wasn't even born in Ireland, to come to their rescue, like a savior. He was born in Great Britain 385 AD (in the year of our Lord). At this time Britain was under Roman control. As a sixteen year old boy, Patrick was taken as a slave to Ireland and spent six years as a shepherd. This is significant as it ties in so beautifully with the Biblical theme of the shepherd and the sheep.

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. . .I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
John 10: 14, 15, 28 - 30

Patrick escaped and went back to Britain where he received an education and studied Scripture. After some ten years or so, he traveled back to Ireland as a missionary to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who had been deceived and believed in pagan gods. He often used the Shamrock, a three-leafed clover unique to this area, to describe the Trinity; God in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Eventually Patrick became known as the 'Apostle of Ireland' and was the first bishop there. We often hear that he was the Patron Saint of Ireland because he drove out all the snakes. Truth be known, Ireland didn't have any snakes, at least not after the post-glacial period.

In the Bible, snake and serpent are the same. In order to understand the allegorical nature of this story, we need to take a look at the first mention of the serpent in the Bible, which is a picture of Satan.

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God made."  
Genesis 3:1

The serpent came to deceive Eve and even today, Satan stays true to who he is - the great deceiver. Pagans often worship a serpent symbol, not because they love and honor it, but because they are fearful of it. So when we hear of St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland this is symbolic for driving out pagan gods and bringing in the truth of the gospel. He died in the year 457, or thereabouts. The year seems to be more uncertain than the day - March 17th.

 Here we are hundreds of years later paying tribute to this humble man. What we do for the Lord is lasting. I wonder how many people who are out celebrating this special day know what and who they are celebrating. Maybe you can share this information.

Lord, we thank you for always having a good plan in place. We know that heaven is your throne and the earth your footstool.