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

SOCK IT TO ME BABY!!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday message

Not as a New Years resolution but as a means to work on personal problems, I am trying to make an effort to spend time in the Word every day.  The first two attempts have brought some rather interesting results.

The aim being to just hit a page "at random" (and if you are a believer, you know nothing is random with God), I ended up yesterday in Ezekiel 19 and 20.  The verse that caught my eye was 20:25-
I also allowed them to follow laws that were no good and rules by which they could not live.
 
 
This was the key block for me in understanding a passage where the Lord explains to Ezekiel the history of Israel's rebellion.  First, to Jacob and his sons, it was "walk in My ways, obey My word, and keep My sabbaths."  But when that didn't take during the captivity in Egypt, God added on the Ten Commandments- which on the one look was nothing but fleshing out the first, but on the other made it more complicated.  But that wasn't good enough, and they continued to rebel.  So He gave them the much more complicated Law that Moses passed down- the sacrifices, the rule of ritual, so many things you needed a rabbi at your side at all times to keep track of them all. In other words, "rules by which they could not live".  You see, every layer of continued sin brought another layer of SEPERATION FROM GOD. And then, as they continued to sin, God finally gave them over to exile- but then He gave them one more chance:

...and I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. (VV30-36)
Thus, Jesus was prophesied here as the last chance God was giving Israel- a face to face judgement, just as Abraham had received (and mostly passed).  But they were going to blow this one, too, as God continued:

As for you, O house of Israel, thus saith the Lord GOD: Go ye, serve every one his idols, and hereafter also, if ye will not hearken unto me: but my holy name shall ye no more profane with your gifts, and with your idols. (v 39)

And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have polluted yourselves; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed. (v43)
In other words, if you won't listen, fine, do what you want.  I'll make My kingdom without you, and you'll understand once you take your place in it just what you've done in seperating yourself from Me.

Which is fine if you're looking for history or disconcerting if you are a Jew, but what did it have to do with me?  That afternoon, we watched an episode of ADAM-12 in which a little girl got raped and nearly killed, and Malloy almost beat the perp when he said, "She asked for it! She got what was coming to her!"  The show being based on true stories, and the likes of which you see on the news all the time, I had a struggle with God over His "allowing" of such things (carefully trying to work my way through all the qualifiers).  This struggle boiled down to, when you strip away all of the "God does all things for good to those who believe" and "unable, as a human being, to understand the full plan of God," how does such a thing happeneing, how does a monster who could make the rationalization that a six year old "asked for it", how is this allowed at any level?  How can you convince people past their doubt when stuff like this happens?

My answer:  "You are upset, and I understand.  You are angry, and I do not blame you for it.  And maybe you doubt- AND IT IS THAT DOUBT THAT SHARPENS YOUR FAITH."  Faith is easy when you grasp all the whys and wherefores.  To have that faith faced with things that cannot be understood, that is the next level.

And that brings me to what I read today.  It was from Acts 17, Paul's famous sermon on the Areopagus in Athens, about the "Unknown God".  For Pauls message to make sense to the Epicurians and philosophers listening, he has to fundamentaly change their concept of God:

"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,
that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,
for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'
Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man." (vv 26-29)
Point being, not to try to understand God as a man.  We cannot picture Him, we cannot draw Him, and we cannot know the whole picture.  So we are in essence fighting two battles in trying to understand God: one in the sins that constantly place barriers to our understanding in front of us, and another in trying to see Him from man's perspective.  Is it not funny that the clearest way to see Him is in doing the simplest task God gave us:

"I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly." (Gen. 17:1-2)


7 comments:

  1. I remember this from Sunday school last week. This is my first year with the Bible and God and all, so I'm struggling. I've yet to fully accept my faith or a religion. But I'm trying...

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    1. I'm not surprised you heard something like this. Back when I was teaching Sunday school, I always could tell when God touched the message. We'd go out to the main service, and the pastor would say something that was exactly what I would say, and my kids would look back at me. I would just nod and look real wise, but as we all knew, God guided the discussion.

      And, as you can see, it can be a struggle no matter how long its been or what youve done.

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  2. I really enjoy reading your take on scripture. Very well put together. :)

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    1. Thank you. I'm going to have to start answering in the morning though- I just about deleted your comment instead of replying!

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  3. Great post. I think that is a very good response. It reminds me of a scene from my favorite television show, Third Watch (It ran from '99-'06 and isn't on anymore). If you haven't seen it, it is a show about cops, paramedics and firefighters. Some of the medics are sitting around discussing the worst calls they've ever gotten. One guy says something like "You ridei in this ambulance with me- how can you believe in a God when you see these horrible things every day?" and after a moment the other guy says: "I think you have it all wrong. The question is- how can you believe in man?"

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    1. Isn't it funn y that those who are usually first to jump on a tragedy with, "If God existed, this wouldn't happen", can look at it and still believe man is evolving.

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  4. CWM:
    The one thing that slapped me up the backside of my head while reading this was:
    "You can't understand the INFINITE with a FINITE mind..."

    Sounds like a reality check for us all.
    And when we figure THAT much out...things might not get EASY right away...just a little less problematic.
    A good start.

    I can work with that just fine.
    Excellent commentary.

    Stay safe up there.

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