Daily Devotionals

Devotional: November 24th

This past weekend I got to watch a couple of episodes of Bonanza. You know, with Ben Cartwright and his sons, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe. Got a quick trivia question for you. Every time Ben Cartwright introduces Hoss he calls him Hoss. What is Hoss's given name? Time's up. It's Eric. Just thought I'd throw that in for those of you who remember Bonanza. I remember when it first came out we had a black and white TV. It was advertised that Bonanza was in living color, which a lot of programs weren't at that time, and Dad kept saying that it would be great to be able to see that scenery in color.

But back to the action. Folks, that might have been a kinder, gentler time for television, but people still died on Bonanza. The two episodes I watched had three people die in the first one (two by gunshot, one beaten to death) and two people die in the second one (both in a stagecoach crash). I can't remember really dwelling on the violence that much. Somewhere in the body of the story was a lesson that was struggling to make itself known. The two lessons taught over the weekend were solid ones.

In the first episode a woman was trapped by her past. Her father and brother had been criminals and she was assumed to be of a damaged stock as a result. The townspeople of Virginia City never cut her any slack to allow her to become a part of the community even though she was a hard worker and honest. Her boyfriend was a criminal who filled her head with empty promises about going straight, but in the end was found to be still nothing more than a criminal. The woman actually helped the posse capture her boyfriend after he had beaten a store owner to death. It was then that the people recognized her honesty and welcomed her with open arms.

In the second episode a Southern sympathizer came to pre-Civil War Virginia City to induce the silver miners to sell their silver to him so he could in turn use it to help finance the war program of the Confederacy. He came to Virginia City looking specifically for Little Joe, whose mother was from the South. Through a series of events Ben Cartwright's family became divided as Adam and Little Joe found themselves on opposites sides of a fence they didn't understand. The final scenes brought it all into focus as Ben Cartwright confronted the man with his own situation and declared that the greatest principle was family, not politics.

What these two episodes have in common is the understanding that people can choose either the right or the wrong way to accomplish what they feel is best for their life. The Israelites had faced similar challenges as they came out of Egypt. Their responses had not always been the best. Finally Joshua laid it all out for them to understand simply. "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which our fathers served on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15 The bottom line is, it's our choice. We have no one else to blame if we reject the Lord Jesus Christ.

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