Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nov | 15 | Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves

Key Word:- BECOME

Title:- Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves

Jeremiah 35:6,7 “We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, saying, 'You shall drink no wine, you nor your sons, forever. You shall not build a house, sow seed, plant a vineyard, nor have any of these; but all your days you shall dwell in tents, that you may live many days in the land where you are sojourners.”

One of the highlights of my pre-teenage life in the 1970s, was the annual arrival of the travelling Gypsy Fairground which would arrange itself on the coal slack floor of an abandoned railroad station in my small town. Dangerous rides, toffee apples, candy floss, small-time gambling, bright lights, orange gold fish in clear plastic bags, coconut shies and popping air guns that formed part of a comic 1812 overture of grinding Wurlitzer music, all accompanied by humming generators and the smell of diesel and air pellet cordite. It was fantastic!

At that time Gypsies, or ‘Gypo's’ as we disdainfully referred to them, were the most exciting, dangerous and exotic people me and my young pals had ever come across and so like most things we don’t understand, or find frightening, or that does not conform to our norm, we held them in dreadful derision! ‘Cher’ didn’t help with the release of her 1971 hit single, ‘Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves,’ which also painted them in the same stunningly disdainful light.

More than anything though, I remember that Gypsy kids, despite always having very dirty faces, scraped knees and torn clothing and snotty noses, were never the less, seemingly stronger and healthier than many of us were and were always ready for a fight. My father, a fighter himself, stopped going to the fairs long before this, having bemoaned the passing of the gypsy boxing booths that used to accompany these travelling extravaganzas! These places of punishing pugilism, were extremely popular in his time, indeed, it was not too long ago that I myself bumped into the women's undefeated world 'fly' and 'bantam' weight boxing champion, 'Battling Barbara Buttrick,' who then in her 70's, started her career long ago, in these same Gypsy fighting arenas. Gypsies!

Well so what? Well today in 1943 Heinrich Himmler made public an order which placed Gypsies on the same level as the Jews. Around ½ million gypsies were exterminated in the death camps, though many experienced fates worse than death, in the cruel experiments that preceded both their gassing and their burning.

The ‘Kenites’ of Bible times were Nomads, Gypsies if you will, who accompanied the Israelites into the land of promise. Moses favoured and married a Kenite wife and Jael, of ‘tent peg through the temple’ fame, was also the wife of Heber, a ‘Kenite.’ The ‘Rechabites’, were descended from these same fiery ‘Gypo’ folk then and made sure they retained their nomadic and Gypsy like lifestyle even after Israel settled in the land. John of Jerusalem, reports that Jonadab the Rechebite was a disciple of the prophet Elisha and it was this same Jonadab that led his tribe into a religious and aesthetic lifestyle where they kept themselves as Gypsy strangers and Gypsy pilgrims in the land, separate from sin, pure in action, faithful in conduct. These particular Gypsies were neither tramps nor thieves but honou
red by God Himself, who pronounced that a son of Rechab would minister before Him forever. Imagine that! A ‘Gypo’ standing before God forever.

What can we take from all of this today? Well, maybe three important things.

Firstly, let’s note that in the end, racist evil is all consuming. It may begin by being discriminatory but at the last, it will burn us all up. Let’s remain at peace with all who wish to remain at peace with us. Let’s do evil to no one. Let’s not let this genocidal genie out of its bottle again.

Secondly, lets learn that God has His people everywhere. In heaven there shall appear before His great and Majestic throne, all of our brothers and sisters from every tribe and tongue.

Lastly, remember, learn and never forget that God honours those who are committed to journeying with Him, whoever they are!

Let me ask you today then dear friend, does any of your life bear the marvelous mark of the Gypsy? It appears to me that God greatly loves the travelling man, the fighting man, the man of horse and no fixed abode.

Listen:- These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

Pray: - Jesus, may my vows honour You and may both they and You bless my children for ever and ever in Your great name I pray, amen.


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