“If a man or woman has a sore on their head or chin, the priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease on the head or chin. But if, when the priest examines the sore, it does not seem to be more than skin deep and there is no black hair in it, then the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread and there is no yellow hair in it and it does not appear to be more than skin deep, then the man or woman must shave themselves, except for the affected area, and the priest is to keep them isolated another seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread in the skin and appears to be no more than skin deep, the priest shall pronounce them clean. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean. But if the sore does spread in the skin after they are pronounced clean, the priest is to examine them, and if he finds that the sore has spread in the skin, he does not need to look for yellow hair; they are unclean. If, however, the sore is unchanged so far as the priest can see, and if black hair has grown in it, the affected person is healed. They are clean, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.
- Leviticus 13:29-37
The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
- Revelation 9:17-19
There you have every reference to “yellow” in the NIV. None of this sounds very good. The hair in a sore turning yellow may be a sign of a fungal infection and could spread to other people. At least that is what I learned in minimal investigation. Most of Leviticus 13 is protecting the Israelites from the spread of leprosy, but it is not certain if this is part of that or another rapidly spreading disease.
As for the Revelation reference of yellow breastplates, this is the outcome of the sixth trumpet and large portions of humanity will die as a result.
So, why did I have my first automobile painted yellow? It was a lemon, even slightly lemon shaped.
I graduated high school a little over 50 years ago. My Dad took my graduation money and a large portion of the money that I had saved, and he added some of his own money to buy me a used Volkswagen beetle, used but that year’s model. That should have been a red flag.
In those days, because of the hot summers, Florida started school later than most other states. I graduated high school; I bought my first car to commute to and from college; and I grabbed my grandmother to go on a road trip to Cocoa, Florida. To see my cousin graduate from high school. I added a couple of quarts of oil along the way. We almost made it. We broke down within 20 miles of our destination with an engine that had too little oil.
A local passerby stopped and told us that he would tell the people at the closest gas station that we needed help. This was long before cellphones. MawMaw was laughing. She said that it would be funny if this Good Samaritan stopped at the gas station where my cousin worked. Here we would be riding up in a wrecker and he would be laughing as he pumped someone’s gas. No, he got to laugh sooner than that. He drove the wrecker, having no clue that he was rescuing his own grandmother and cousin.
One new engine later, we finally made it back home. The year model of my new used car was the first year after the engine size was increased, but before the German engineers realized their mistake. The engine vibrated too much, and the frame could not absorb the vibrations which led to the heads cracking and leaking oil like crazy. I had engine work with every other oil change for the two years that I owned the car. If I had gotten a used beetle that was two years older, I might have never had engine trouble.
So, my Dad stuck to his word and told me that I could paint the car any color I wanted, and I chose lemon yellow.
On one of my many all-day Saturday oil changes and replacement of head gaskets or grinding of valves – yet another compression test failure – I roamed the street where the car dealer was located, and I found a carpet shop. Out back, before dumpsters were being used, they had dumped a huge pile of carpet scraps. I asked what the carpet was out in the elements for. They said it was small pieces after carpeting someone’s house. If I wanted it, it was mine. When the dealer finished the car repairs, I loaded as much carpet as I could into the car. Within a month, I had glued dark blue – light blue – cyan carpeting to the floor and inner walls of my yellow beetle. The carpeting was an inch thick shag carpet. I had the raw metal shell before that point. VW beetles were minimal in those days. I also found an abandoned American flag. I saved the flag, but I took the spread-eagle (plastic) off the top of the abandoned flagpole and used that instead of the shifting knob.
If you know those old beetles, reverse was obtained by pushing down on the shifter, then toward the driver and then back. If you did not know how to hold the eagle, it would bite you with its beak. Several people borrowed my car, once, and almost everyone complained about the shift knob. I would say that if they had treated my eagle properly, he would not have bitten them.
This was the car that I took on Lay Witness Mission Trips. I was the guy that would drive a lap around the town before I parked at the church that hosted the mission. For mission weekends, I tied banners to each side of the car with “JESUS SAVES” in painted red letters two feet tall (0.6 meters) on the banners. I would have to crawl through the driver’s window like I was a NASCAR driver since the banner did not allow me to open the car door. But everyone in town became curious about what was happening at the church.
Of course, my brother-in-law would tell you about how my 8-Track stereo speaker wire got hung up in the windshield wiper motor. During a driving rainstorm, the stereo speakers suddenly stopped playing and the windshield wipers stopped wiping. My brother-in-law reminds me, especially since I had an engineering degree. We can gain humility in many ways, and having it forced down our throats is one of the painful methods.
But I was reminded of why I traded my VW beetle in for a Datsun (before the brand became Nissan). What reminded me? Several near-miss accidents lately with everyone texting, smoking, or eating a meal while driving, and me going in the ditch to avoid the accident. Okay, maybe not the several near misses, but the school bus that was driving on the wrong side of the road this morning was the last straw.
Near the end of my sophomore year of college, I drove home from school one Friday afternoon. South of my hometown there is an intersection of two highways. It still is a four way stop with huge stop signs. Why were the signs huge? Because in all four directions, it looked like you were in rural country. Entering the intersection from the north, you were going out of town. From the east or west or south, you had driven in farm country for a while, from the west, taking the by-pass around town.
I had come from the west where the road to the university was, and I was going straight through the intersection. I stopped and the only other vehicle on the road was a car coming down the hill from the south, over a half mile ahead, headed north toward the intersection. I started across the intersection, but out of the corner of my eye, I could see that the driver was not slowing down and was actually increasing speed. I still thought I had enough time to get across the intersection, but in my haste, I missed second gear. I still thought I could get out of the driver’s way, but the driver was increasing speed even more. The driver must have been near 100mph when she caught my back passenger’s side wheel. When the passenger side front tire, hit the curb for the huge island that held the stop sign that she never saw, my car flipped up on the back bumper and I started spinning like a top, hitting the stop sign and knocking it over. When I came to my senses, I noticed that the woman had taken a half mile to stop her car. She was driving a station wagon and pulling a trailer with printing on the trailer that identified her being connected to a Baptist church in the county south of us. Other than being dizzy from the spinning, I was fine.
She was ready to leave, even though my car was wrecked, but I insisted that we wait for the police to take a statement. This threw the woman into hysterics. She was still crying when the policeman arrived. Since she was crying, she sat in the front with him and claimed that she never saw the stop sign or me crossing the road and that she was driving well under the speed limit. She was late for a youth rally at a Baptist church in the county north of town and she had to leave right away. All the band instruments were in her trailer.
I found it odd that she was going straight when she should have turned left at the intersection to get where she was going. There were no skid marks showing that she ever tried to stop. The distance after the collision indicated that she was traveling at a ridiculous speed. And the stop sign could only be missed if she were blind (sunny day, no glare travelling north, and no fog. I made these points to the policeman, while I sat in the back of his police cruiser, where he kept criminals.
The policeman told me that he was a Baptist. She was a Baptist. And I looked like I was not a Baptist. I did not volunteer that I was Presbyterian, because most Baptists in those days thought only Baptists went to heaven. He said that if I had not been in her way, she might be at her destination by now.
I was lucky that her insurance company paid for the damages to my car, but the repair shop missed a detail during the repairs. The frame was bent. Every time I hit the brakes, the car turned to the right and headed for the ditch. Since the repair shop refused to correct their mistake, I traded the car in. At least, I got rid of the lemon. I have only had one car since that spent too much time in the repair shop.
What does this story illustrate? For one thing, times have changed. She got preferential treatment because she was a Baptist. Then again, in that part of the country, they might still have preferential treatment. Most of the country would condemn the Christian instead. It shows the difference in human justice and God’s justice. God’s justice is just. And dishonesty has not changed since Adam and Eve.
But I might be glad that a vehicle that was often in the shop for major repair is out of my life, but it was a cool ride, even though it did not have air conditioning. It was a conversation piece.
My love for my first car reminds me of God’s love for us. The car was a lemon. Who would want it? But I was fond of it. God loves us even when we were sinners. Something within us is just as broken as that car’s engine being too big for the frame. We make mistakes, and God is still there with us, and God wants us to be called brothers with Jesus, adopting us as His own children.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.