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Flight 961

It was a typical flight. One that occurs thousands of times every day around the world. Ethiopian Air Flight 961 took off November 23rd, 1996 from Addis Ababa. Onboard were 163 passengers and 12 crew members. Among those flying that Saturday were Mr. & Mrs. Andy Meakins. Andy was an elder at the International Evangelical Church of Addis. That large Bible-believing church was pastored by a dear friend of mine up until last year. In less than two hours more than 120 people died, including five from Andy’s church. Andy never survived the crash.

Somewhere near Kenya the hijack began. An unidentified number of men declared themselves escaped convicts taking the flight to Australia. Then things turned horrible. Brandishing an ax and a supposed bomb they stormed the flight deck. After savagely beating the copilot and throwing him down they proceeded to order the plane to turn eastward. In spite of the nearly empty fuel tank they forced the pilot to continue.

With dangerously low supplies the pilot tried to plead for a refueling stop to no avail. After trying to hug the coast, the hijackers threatened to blow up the plane and so the pilot tried to make it to the Indian Ocean Island of Comoros. When it became evident they would not make it, Captain Leul Abate (2)announced to the cabin passengers, “Listen, guys, we’re all dead people, there is no argument now.” People began to scream one witness said, others began to pray.

The crash is now well known, captured on the film of a Japanese honeymooning couple. They caught the descent of the 767, dip of a wing, the flip the crash and the disintegration over the water. What the news reports never reported was contained in a fax to us this week. It was the inside the cabin account of Andy Meakins wife who did survive the crash. This is what she told her church . . .

As soon as the captain told us we were going to crash I heard the distinct snap of my husband’s seat belt. He was up and out of his chair. Going down the aisle row by row he earnestly shared the gospel of Christ with any who would listen. Before the sickening screech of twisting metal and the 110 mph crash of our plane into the water that snuffed out Andy’s earthly pilgrimage, he had led 20 passengers to Jesus Christ for their salvation. Andy never made it back to the safety of his seat belt. But, he took twenty souls with him to Paradise.

You see there was a safe spot in that plane. A shelter where no twisted wreckage could permanently harm. A haven that no crushing impact could erase. Andy knew and shared the divine directions. “God’s directions are the only way to make it to happiness now and forever!!” He knew how to escape the plane before it was too late for eternity. Do you know those directions? Are you following them? Have you shared them lately?

  • The Divine Teacher Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: LEADS US TO…
  • The Divine Witness the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. (KJV) WHICH GIVES US…
  • THE DIVINE DIRECTIONS: Psalm 19:8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. (KJV)God’s statutes give directions to only secure place in the universe

The Statutes

Some explanations:

  • KD says: “declarations concerning man’s obligations.”
  • Scroggie said: “God’s directions designed to secure obedience and check disobedience.”
  •   Others have said: “God’s guidelines for living.”

The word statute or precepts is the Hebrew word (#6490) pik-koo-deem; 24 times in Old Testament, only in Psalms.

Here and Ps. 103:18 translated as “remember His commandments” Psalm 103:18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. (KJV)

  • Ps. 111:7 translated as ‘all His commandments are sure Psalm 111:7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. (KJV)
  • and 21 times Ps. 119 in all, but 3 stanzas (3, 15, 19)

Always translated precepts v. 4, 15, 27, 40, 45, 56, 63….etc. Always accompanied by words of positive action such as:

  • v. 4 keep also (v. 63, 56, 100, 134, 168) Psalm 119:4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. (KJV)
  • v. 15 meditate (v. 78) Psalm 119:15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. (KJV)
  • v. 40 longed Psalm 119:40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. (KJV)
  • v. 87 forsook not Psalm 119:87 They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts. (KJV)
  • v. 93 never forget (v. 141) Psalm 119:93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. (KJV)
  • v. 94 sought Psalm 119:94 I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. (KJV)
  • v. 110 erred not Psalm 119:110 The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts. (KJV)
  • v. 128 esteemed Psalm 119:128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. (KJV)
  • v. 159 love Psalm 119:159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O LORD, according to thy lovingkindness. (KJV)
  • v. 173 chosen Psalm 119:173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts. (KJV)

So what is it we are keeping, ….An insight is in the base or foundation verb. This noun derives from pah-kad (250 times or more). This verb means

  • In Ex. 3:16 I have surely visited you
  • Num. 3:39 Moses & Aaron numbered
  • Ezra 1:2 hath charged me to build
  • Isa. 13:11 punish the world
  • Gen. 39:4,5 He made Joseph overseer
  • Ex. 38:21 as it was counted
  • Now in the negative:

 Sam. 20:18 David’s place was empty

 I K. 20:39 if he be missing

II K 10:19 let none be wanting

Catch this: this word precepts and the verb it stems from speak of “a definite accounting”, something counted has an assigned number for each item, troops mustered are seen to be present, etc., so negatively one unaccounted for is missing, empty, wanting

So, what’s that to Ps. 19:8? God has met with man to give His accounting of all that matters in life and life to come! His precepts or directions. So, the directions of the Lord or divine directions are… “right” – literally straight, or correct path, laying out right track. See the idea: God’s account of things is the straight road to our true goal!

God’s divine directions or precepts are right. Now, “rejoicing the heart”, literally: “delight and pleasure to inner being”.

Let me quote the eminent Hebrew team K&D: “their educative guidance, taking one as it were by the hand, frees from all tottering, joyous (in) conscious of being headed toward the right goal.”

Well — that says it all. “God’s directions are the only way to make it to happiness now and forever!!”

How Do Those Apart from Christ Die?

Nietzsche (insane babblings)
Churchill “What a fool I’ve been”
Kaiser IX “I’m lost for sure and I know it.”
David Hume “I’m in the flames” (terrible scene)
Napolean “The emperor dies lonely and alone” (terrible flight)
Caesare Burger “And now I die completely unprepared”
Hobbes “I stand before a fearfully, terrible plunge into darkness!
Sir Thomas Scott “Until the moment I thought there was neither God nor hell, but now I know both as I am sealed unto damnation by the sentence of the Almighty”
Stephen “Lord Jesus receive my spirit. Lay not this sin to their charge.”
Lord Jesus Christ “It is finished!”

So, What Should We Do?

Only one thing to do if you have perfect and straight directions from God to the true and only goal of life!! Follow them!

1. Swindoll, p. 61.
2.USAToday, 11/29/96.
3. Sanders, THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST, p. 90-92.
4. Scroggie
5. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit, pp118-120.


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