Monday, November 5, 2018

A Bunch of Bull or a Lot of Blessing


Exodus 31:18  And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Exodus 32:1  And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.

Here, we go from the possibilities of Bezaleel’s mastery to Aaron’s misery.

There surely cannot be a juxtaposition of more contrast than these two back-to-back events in the Bible, or could there be? Israel's wilderness experience provides us with several of these head-scratchers which beg the question, “What’s wrong with these people? On one page, victory, on the next, disaster!”

One moment they are singing and dancing in victorious celebration after their Red Sea victory, the next they are griping about their living conditions. It's embarrassing to repeatedly read these huge read these mood swings. 

One moment they are chowing down on roast quail, the next they are choking on the bones. 

But this one! Moses is communing with God about a glorious tabernacle replete with lavish furnishings, to be fashioned by the master craftsman Bezaleel, and less than one rotation of the planet later, Aaron (yes, that Aaron, the supposed high priest of God) is succumbing to the murmurings of these ingrates and is somewhat less than masterfully engraving a bull calf to be venerated by the multitude. 

"Up, make us gods" they demanded, while Moses was up, recording the demands God. 

They hadn't seen Moses for forty days since he’d hiked up into the God cloud, so hey, “Outta sight, outta mind, right? Let's do a drastic culture change, make a cow, call it god, get naked and boogie down!"

Aaron, the second in command, supposed to be a man of God, allows his brains to leak out of the hole in his head and says, "Uh, yeah, bring me the jewelry of Jewry and lemme see what I can come up with."

Later, when he's trying to justify the unjustifiable, he says to Moses, "I threw the gold into the fire and, boom! out comes this calf!" 

I said all that to say this, as I shake my head at the mercurial nature of these wilderness wanderers, I think of all the grand victories granted me by the Almighty, and then find myself the very next day worshiping at the altar of worthless idols. 

The difference between the children of Israel in the Sinai and me is that I'm not in the Sinai. They were in dire straits. They literally didn't know where the next meal was coming from, where they'd get a drink, where they were to pillow their heads or what they were going to wear. I've got all those boxes checked. They lived from hand to mouth, God's hand to their mouth. I live from God's hand to my bank account, to Walmart and the grocery to my mouth. They lived with a question mark over their heads, I live with an exclamation point over mine. 

I am saying, it should be much easier for me to stay true to God than it was for them, and yet my story parallels theirs in disturbing ways. Aaron's silly explanation that didn't hold water, "Boom, there came out this calf!" really isn't as far-fetched as some of the measly excuses I offer when convicted of my idolatry. 

It goes back to Adam and the sinful nature we inherited from him.
"Adam, where are you?"
"Over here, we are hiding because we are naked and afraid, like those people on A&E."
"Adam, what did you do?"
"It's the woman you gave me, she shoved that pomegranate at me and forced me to eat it, so it's really her fault." 
(Pardon the paraphrase)

Well, as the problem repeats itself and infinite number of times, the answer remains the same. We are guilty of doing stupid stuff, even though God is so good to us. He reproves and corrects us, forgives us, and restores us in His love and compassion. 

But do we learn our lessons and grow or we ignorantly (or willfully) re-offend and relapse?

It's part of these wilderness wanderings on the way to the Promised Land. Today, I vote for the tabernacle with the mercy seat over a bunch of bull. God, grant that my resolve and your grace allow it to be so tomorrow also.



Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Little Leaven


Jos 23:11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. 12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: 13 Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

God's warning applies to us still today. We must be wholeheartedly with Him. We must withhold nothing from Him.

As Ananias and Sapphira kept back part of the price of the land to their peril, so will we greatly suffer if we cling to unsurrendered areas of our life.

Israel of old greatly erred by intermingling with the locals. It brought the leaven among them and proved to be their undoing on many occasions.

Are we totally surrendered to the One who gave His all for us? Do we cling to the old rugged cross with one arm while embracing elements of this old ragged world with the other? It is best to let go of that which will always let us fall and cling to that which is unfailing.

Don't allow the leaven of this world's system keep you from total victory.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Incensed



Incensed

Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Measly and pusillanimous, that is how I generally regard my prayer efforts. I don't pray enough, there is not enough passion in my prayers. Sometimes they don’t seem to resonate. They proceed more as cacophony than symphony. They are not thorough enough. So much to pray for, so few prayers offered up.

Encouraging though, what prayers I do pray, as a child of the Most High, are regarded by heaven as a sweet-smelling savor which engulf the throne.

With all that God has to do, the Almighty desires communication with me, one of His kids. Imagine that, I get to incense heaven with my petitions, praise and intercessions!

Thank you, dear Lord, for hearing and answering my prayers. Forgive my lack of communication with you. May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto you. All-knowing God, know that I love you supremely. I offer you my service today. Empower it with your Holy Spirit. Amen!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What's in a name?

Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

"...his name JAH"

"Name" here speaks of God's individuality, authority, character. His very name tells of His renown.

Then we come to this curious demarcation of the Lord. We are used to the familiar usage of Lord, God and sometimes, occasionally, Jehovah. but here is a once and only usage of "JAH" as it stands alone. It is actually a contraction of Jehovah, but is used commonly as a suffix in many of the Bible names with which we are familiar. For examples; Eli(jah), "God of Jehovah"; Isa(iah), "JAH has saved"; Jerem(iah), "JAH will rise", etc.

The common usage of this suffix to Hebrew names indicates the centrality of God (JAH) in the lives of His people. He is integral to anything and everything.

In our culture, it seems as if God is an add-on. The phrase "God willing" is sometimes an afterthought rather than an all-important thought.

Our society hears the name of God used in blasphemy more than in praise and reverence.

What a crying shame that God's holy name is so misunderstood and misused. Would to JAH that we would pause, as the ancient scribes did, at the majesty of His name as it is presented, and make spiritual preparation before even invoking His holy and majestic name.

Let us consider that glorious name in whatever form we hear, say, read or otherwise engage it today. Names convey meaning, but true meaning is found only by the power of His name, JAH.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Place in this World


Ps 105:16-21
He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant...

The ancient bard said that all the world is a stage, and we, merely actors.

I fully subscribe to this sentiment. There is a place for each one of us trying to navigate our way through life. The intricacies of the grand design of God demand that each of us play his/her part well.

Joseph was the man whom God had sent to Egypt to save the world. A strange way to do so, for sure, but there is no doubting his role. He went from being hated of his brethren to slavery in Egypt to imprisonment due to libel to interpreter of dreams to viceroy of Egypt to savior of the planet.

Had it not been for God's anointed man, in the right place, in the right time, in the right circumstances, who knows what would have become of mankind.

Friend, did you know that you are also God's anointed child brought to your present station as a set up? Perhaps not to save the world, but possibly to save one soul, which is more valuable than the entire planet. It could be your own children, your neighbor, a loved one. Possibly your part is to plant a very important seed in a very needy heart.

Whatever role God has planned for you in this great drama of life, play your part well. Obey the Director's cues. Eternity will reveal the final act.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

God's Peace in a Changing Season

As summer breathes its diminishing gasps, the first leaves of a not yet existent autumn have begun to drop. A mixture of summer's fading heat and fall's palette of glory meet to present the world with its most beautiful gift, autumnal equinox.

God evidences Himself in scenes like this to ease the furrowed brow worried by nagging and unknown cares. His pervading Spirit anoints His children with the power of His Word and the subtle changes of creation.

Coffee meets study meets nature resulting in a reminder that, in His presence is the fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Surely, the cares of this day will rush in like a swarm, but this moment, this frame of time offers a peace that the world cannot give and a joy it can't take away.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Stupid things Atheists say:

1. "Your God is dead." Wait, I thought you didn't believe in God?
2. "You people worship the dead man on a stick."
And yet, He still loves you and one drop of the blood He shed while on that stick will cleanse you of a billion sins.
3. "My god is my intellect " poor unbeliever, you got cheated big time. 
4. "I don't believe in the sky fairy."
Yeah, well, God doesn't believe in atheists either.
5. "While you are praying and dreaming of heaven, I am busy making this world a better place." Yeah, I noticed that as I drove by St. Cynics Hospital, St. Reason Orphanage, St. Agnostic Thrift Shoppe. Thanks for your contributions.
6. "If there really is a Good, let Him prove Himself and strike me down where I stand right now."
And, if there really is a God, wouldn't He be kind and patient enough to give you time to rethink that challenge? It's called Mercy and grace. Take advantage of it while it's available.

Philippians 3:18-19
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)