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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday message- on my way to Sodom

Sunday message has been rather quiet lately, and it's not hard to find out why.  Let's take a trip to Ezekiel 16.

Here we find the prophet comparing Jerusalem before the fall to her two "sisters", Samaria and Sodom.  For those confused on terminology, Samaria is the northern Kingdom of Israel, which fell before Judah (Jerusalem) did.  Sodom I'm sure you're acquainted with, though maybe not as well as you should be.  And as you read Ezekiel, he points out what Sodom's sin was- and we'll come back to that.  But what was Samaria's?  That you have to know a little Bible history.

When Jeroboam split from Judah, he had the problem of an ostensibly religious kingdom now cut off from their place of worship.  So he set up two symbolic golden calves, one in the land of the tribe of Dan, one in the land of Ephraim.  Now, the tribes' list traditionally removes Levi (as they had no land of their own) and splits Joseph into the tribes of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.  But in Revelation 7, you see that Dan and Ephraim have been removed from the tribe list for this sin, replaced with Levi and Joseph.  The sin being, they set out to do their thing, rather than God's thing, and slowly (maybe not so slowly) drifted into Idolatry.  Whatever the original intention, once they moved out of God's will, they lost it.

Sodom, though, everybody says, "Well, they were homosexual."  But the sin Ezekiel reveals in 16 has little to do with that:

Eze 16:49  Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and her daughters. Also, she did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 
Eze 16:50  Also, they were haughty and did abomination before My face, so I turned them away as I saw fit. 

You see, Sodom was in a RICH land, so rich it was compared with both the Garden of Eden and Egypt (Gen 13:10).  Pulling this verse apart further, there are three different words in the OT translated as "idleness"- one is out and out laziness, one is neglectfulness.  This one, though, is akin to "repose"- they just kind of laid around in a leisure fashion, like you'd expect the rich to do.  Not surprising then, even as wealthy as they were, that Abraham had to pull their fat out of the fire when Chedorlaomer and his buddies mopped them up in Gen. 14.  But the third sin is really fascinating- they didn't "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".  If you research the words here, you literally get they didn't "enclose the open hand" of the humble and downtrodden.  Didn't take the hand of the poor in spirit in their own.

And their disrespect of others was reflected in their v.50 sin against God- sinning openly, impudently, not caring whether God noticed or not.

Now there are a LOT of ways that I can point out that Sodom here, Sodom (also compared to Egypt, BTW) in Revelation 7, and the ship Tyre in Ezekiel and Babylon the Great in Revelation point right at something very much like our United States, but that isn't my point today.

Instead, I urge you to read farther down Ezekiel 16.  Three points come out in the remainder of the chapter which are on my mind today.

First of all, Judah is told that its sins are worse because they justify what Samaria and Sodom did (v 52).  They declare it clean.

Second, and perhaps the biggest personal point, comes from verse 56:

Eze 16:56  And thy sister Sodom hath not been for a report in thy mouth, In the day of thine arrogancy...

This was the closest to the way my Bible put it.  Basically, Sodom and her sins should have been a proverbial saying among them, something they should have been able to mock.


They should have looked at what happened to Samaria and Sodom and learned from it.  Instead, they went joyfully on with the sin, made worse by the examples set for them.

Which brings us to the third part, at the very end of the chapter.  In his description of the day of Israel's salvation, they aren't going to get away without remembering their past:

Eze 16:60  But I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will raise up to you an everlasting covenant. 
Eze 16:61  Then you shall remember your ways and be ashamed, when you shall receive your sisters, the older than you to the younger than you, and I will give them to you for daughters, but not by your covenant. 
Eze 16:62  And I, even I, will raise up My covenant with you. And you shall know that I am Jehovah, 
Eze 16:63  so that you may remember and be ashamed. And you will not any more open your mouth, because of your humiliation, when I am propitiated for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord Jehovah. 

Okay, let me unpack that.  Israel is going to be the people of the Kingdom of Christ, we know that.  Other people will be under them- including counterparts of Sodom and Samaria, not as sisters/equals anymore, but as daughters, to be guided and led.  But, the rub is, Israel is going to know that they were no better, were in fact worse than those now in their charge, and are going to feel a deep, mouth-shutting humiliation over it.  The thing that will keep them humble is looking at these daughters that they once scorned, knowing that their past sins were far worse, because they should have known better.

So, to why the Sunday message has been quiet, I let God judge.  Have I "made clean" my own sins?  Have I been impudent in them before the Lord?  We all have our "pet sin", that we give ourselves permission to commit, as if God needs to make a concession to us for all the good we do.  Where are you, where am I, with that pet sin?  Are we Samaria, starting out with good intent and ending with ashen rationalizations?  Are we Sodom, impudently doing the pet sin, and "God can't stop me"?

Or are we just Jerusalem, knowing better, awaiting the day God removes our opportunity to speak for Him?  Hopefully, I still have time to speak.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Vacation day 7.5 part two

So when we last left Chris, he was alone on the Observers' deck, loudly arguing with himself that there was nothing to fear but fear itself, while his knees shouted, "BS then, BS now!"  I finally talked myself into leaving the room and at least walking to the front end of the ship.  Moments later, I was pretty much frozen about 4 feet from the door, and slowly retreated.  About this time Laurie returned from the pilot room and shared the camera's view, which you saw yesterday.

"Laurie!  Thank God you're back!"

This is the room I was frozen in.

Later, we began our descent.  Not near as bad going down.

And just so you know it WAS a big ship and I wasn't a TOTAL weenie...

Now we didn't have Google maps problems this time, though we did have some "how did we miss that sign" problems... as well as a sizable construction hump getting in...

And then it was off to the key note, the gem of our vacation... lunch at TONY PACKO'S!!!!!

Yeah, the line was HUGE...

There were over 500 signed "buns" on display... running an interesting gamut...

No lie... every president from Jimmy Carter was there... Maggie Thatcher...  Teddy Garvin, even!  (Those that don't know the name, it's a hockey thing)

This flag was flown on the USS Toledo, a nuclear sub, and the entire crew signed it!

Of course, the M*A*S*H crew (Klinger helped make the place famous).

Was it worth it?  HELL YEAH!

A real Chris Martin Hall of Fame in one shot:  Hugh Downs, Sparky Anderson, Don Shula

Originally, celebrities signed real buns, but they began to crumble.  Only these two survive- Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale.

After lunch, we headed for the zoo.  I just missed a shot at an MLK mural on a building, but I did get the important one that came next...

So we found the zoo.  And many of you know we have a world class "children's" zoo in Fort Wayne.  How does Toledo stack up?  Well, if you took Ft Wayne's zoo, cut the exhibits and the fun stuff by around two thirds, and spread over a good twice the land area, you'd prolly still enjoy it better that Toledo, but it would be more similar.  Anyway, we salvaged some fun from it.

You got to touch a STARFISH- we were told it was ticklish.  So was my pet rock.

"Hey, you want to go out for dinner?  My meal... er, my treat."

Giant clam

"Baby, once you've had gar, you'll never go back..."

Sloth bear is well named... seconds later, he took a nap in his water.


I think you get the theme here...
 The African train was about half the size of  FW's with half the animals and a guide who told us that while the African Hunting Dog (above) looks like a hyena (I think he was going for jackal here), that a hyena "was actually a cat."  WTH?????

Then, off to the "Arctic Encounter"... until he finally came out (below), the only "arctic encounter we were having was the AC in the basically abandoned indoor display.

Can't see the hippo?  Go to the next slide...

Still not happy?  Well, if you really want to know what they're doing....

...well, you asked...

I think the elephant looks like a rope... Eww, wait...

Baby galapagoses... galapogi?

Laurie and her friend, Quetzalcoatlsaurus...

So it was we staggered out of the zoo, and in our tried and true tradition, turned the wrong way out of the parking lot.  But we persevered, having only two questions- why didn't you tell us South Detroit was in fact US 24, and why didn't we listen when you told us South Detroit was closed ahead?  And with the last of our long trips in the books, we ended with a near exact 600 miles on the odometer from Monday to Thursday.  Hope you enjoyed as much as we did!