Five Dash Superman

The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;
    the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
    “I am one of the wise men,
    a disciple of the ancient kings”?
Where are your wise men now?
    Let them show you and make known
what the Lord Almighty
    has planned against Egypt.
The officials of Zoan have become fools,
    the leaders of Memphis are deceived;
the cornerstones of her peoples
    have led Egypt astray.
The Lord has poured into them
    a spirit of dizziness;
they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,
    as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
There is nothing Egypt can do—
    head or tail, palm branch or reed.

  • Isaiah 19:11-15

I wrote something not long ago about how the volume of the soil increases when you dig that soil from its natural, in place, situation and you dump it loosely into the truck.  The soil becomes even less in volume once it is compacted at its final destination.  I used clay as an example, but I got the information from my handy-dandy Field Manual, Engineering Field Data, FM 5-34, that I received as a young engineering officer.  The instructor called it our “Five Dash Superman.”  All military field manuals that begin “FM“ are “5-“ something, but this one was extra special.  We changed, at the instructor’s suggestion, from the standard binder to two metal rings.  That way, we could easily add pages when needed, and we did.

I put a variety of tabs in mine, on the sections that I frequented often.  Tell me that you need nails to do some type of carpentry and I can tell you, based off the size of the project, how many nails that you will need of each size and type (common versus finishing), but even more, how many pounds of nails are needed.  That page has come in really handy.

Soil information has been used a lot, testing methods for the types of soil as well as the volume equivalents are tabbed.  Additional information has been added for many military topics where I was less proficient and updated information on topics, like drainage design.

While I cannot remember why I placed a tab on latrine design, I wore out the tab on military engineering reconnaissance.  In large areas of Germany, I could tell you, at least back then, the best alternate route to take because the turning radius of the tightest curves in the road could handle your 18-wheeler and the flimsiest bridge could handle your heaviest load, or the heaviest versus the weight distribution, what pressure the vehicle exerts upon the bridge, and even warnings about speed limits due to load bearing restrictions.

What does this have to do with the Scripture above or with the price of cabbage, for that matter?

If you had me for a neighbor and you needed some help figuring out how to do a project or even what type of material to use and the amount you will need, I could be a wise counsel.  I might be lousy when cutting the boards, but my advice would be sound.  I am not that smart, but I have kept my FM 5-Superman handy all these years, for nearly 45 years.  I may not have superpowers, but I could help someone out with wise counsel by pulling out a book that easily fits in an oversized pants pocket or jacket pocket.

Of course, some of the information is dated.  If you need to destroy a structure using explosives, I can calculate how many pounds of TNT would be required.  I can then translate that into a variety of explosives, including C4, but there may be something now that is more potent, and I would not know the equivalency factor.

Umm, yes, another of the tabs in the book as, for a time, that was my wartime mission, to go behind enemy lines to blow things up.  Two of my favorite war movies are the two Navarone movies, The Guns of Navarone and Force 10 from Navarone.  I can relate to the explosives expert.

But never fear.  I have sworn to only use my powers for good.

Whenever the word “fool” is used in the Bible, its usual meaning is spiritual foolishness.  People who do not believe in God are fools.  That is not judgmental, but rather the definition of the word.  In Isaiah’s curse of Egypt, the counselors were fools.  They did not believe and trust in the true God, thus they gave poor advice to the government leaders.  Foolishness in spiritual matters leads to poor counsel and foolishness in political and every-day matters.

And while we may have a wise pastor and wise friends, we have the wisdom of the ages at our fingertips.  We have the Bible in a variety of translations.  God has provided us with wise counsel, but do we listen to those who believe what they read or those who add to what God has written or eliminate those portions of Scripture that are uncomfortable for them?  I take comfort in my discomfort, for God is teaching me where I need to improve.  If we find that Scripture is not a wise counsel or it says what we did not want to hear, we need to reexamine ourselves instead of cutting a page or two out of God’s Word.

If you need help building something, destroying something, or figuring out if the delivery truck can make it around that curve in your driveway, I am your man.  Not because of my own abilities, but I have my “Five Dash Superman.”

But if you need wise counsel in a spiritual sense, we have that, available to most of us, in the Bible.  But for that counsel, we need to read it and study it and ask God for guidance in understanding it.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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