Thursday, October 13, 2011
Have you ever thought about the moon? I have. I love the moon. Moonlight is soft, and quiet. It's inviting to the imagination, and calming to the senses. The heavens truly do declare the glory of God. Unfortunately, I sleep in the basement. This limits my view of the moon considerably. But on the nights when the moon is full, I can lay awake in bed and just stare at it, considering...
...have you ever thought about the fact that this is the same moon? The very same moon that God created during the creation week. The same moon that watched the wreckage of human morality as the population sacrificed their sons and daughters upon alters of fire to gods of wood and gold...and even sometimes to the moon itself. The same moon that watched Noah's progress on the ark, and then watched the flood waters cover mount Ararat.
The same moon that viewed the erection of Babel. The same moon that saw the misery of Job. The same moon that watched God send plagues upon Egypt. The same moon that saw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The same moon that beheld Balaam's folly. The same moon that beheld Gideon and his three hundred win an impossible victory. The same moon that watched David flee from his enemies, and later saw him King. The same moon that watched the temple be fitted together into a house worthy of the Lord, and later saw it fall because of the sin of God's people.
The same moon who saw the prophet write Is. 53. The same moon that witnessed an infant's birth in a stable. The same moon that watched a storm be calmed by a Man. The same moon that saw the same Man torn, beaten, bruised, bloodied, scorned, mocked, ridiculed. The same moon that saw three crosses upon Golgotha. The same moon that watched the traitor who hung himself buried in Aceldama. And finally...the same moon that saw an empty tomb.
But none of this is really about the moon. It's about the Creator who spoke everything, including that moon, into existence. It's about the One who commanded kings, who ordained judges, who put words into the mouths of prophets, who shapes the fate of empires, who cares about the lowest wretch, who hears every prayer, who saved the world with His own life's blood, who spared not even His Son, and who continues, even as you read this, to uphold the fragile vapor that is your life. With one breath, He could end this entire universe, but He doesn't.
"Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." And nothing (neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature) can change who He is. He created the heavens to declare His glory; to be His signature on all of history (His story, that is).
In my opinion, the moon has been privileged just to watch God at work. And so are we. And you know what? We're even luckier. Because all the moon can do is watch...but God has chosen us to act. Think about that for a moment.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
MIT. Mighty in Training. Believe it or not, if you believe in the risen Son of God, Jesus Christ, this is you. I suppose this post is the counterpart to my previous post, entitled 'Charity'. This time, I want to discuss the more warlike side to Christianity. "Warlike?" you might ask. "I thought Jesus was a lamb."
"Absolutely!" I reply. "AND a lion."
I have some really amazing people to introduce you to today. The Warriors of God 'hall of fame', so to speak. They are referred to by God as the 'Gibborim'. What the heck is a Gibborim? Well...take a look at this word, and you are examining your very own destiny. This word, my friend, is the key to unlock your future. Not convinced? Just wait.
But before I introduce you to these hall of famers, you must catch a glimpse of the way God describes them. The Hebrew word for "Mighty" is...get ready..."Gibbowr" (ghib-bore). Hence the name "Gibborim". Doesn't just saying that word make you want to draw your sword? Some of the definitions as listed in Strong's Concordance are as follows: powerful; by implication, warrior, tyrant:-- champion, chief, X excel, giant, man, mighty (man, one), strong (man), valiant man.
Meet Eleazar the Ahohite. Eleazar was listed amongst the ranks of 'the mighty men whom David had'. Why? Several thousand years ago, on the soil of Israel, a huge band of Philistines prepared for battle. They marched on God's promised land, to kill, usurp, and destroy. All the men of Israel had fled...save four. These four stood to 'defy' the Philistines. Who were they? Mighty Men. One was David, son of Jesse...one was Eleazar the Ahohite. Of Eleazar, it says in 2 Sam. 23:10 "He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary." Ponder this for a moment. Four...against a LOT of enemies. I think I can understand this weary hand thing. Here's the rest of the verse: "and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil."
What made Eleazar a 'mighty' was not only that he stood with three other men against many enemies. It was not the fact that he fought till exhaustion. He was mighty because even when his muscles burned, and his life was compromised, and things looked impossible, he still fought. When every ounce of endurance in his body was called for, and every drop of blood was on the line, his hand clave unto his sword. Welcome to the league of the Mighties.
Meet Adino the Enzite. He is also listed amongst David's Mighties. He was, in fact, the Chief among the Captains. This one man stood courageously against eight hundred foes with...a spear. And slew them all in one day.
Shortly after David was anointed King over Israel, he and his men marched on Jerusalem, which was in Jebus, and held by the Jebusites. These Jebusites hurled insults down on David and his men. The bibilical text says they "were hated of David's soul". David's ire was so raised that he said, "Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites...he shall be chief and captain." Now, amongst the ranks of Israelites David brought was one called Joab. With every fiber in Joab's being, he wanted to be first in David's kingdom. He desired this place so much that, ignoring all danger, he ran up the gutter to the top of the wall and struck the Jebusite in the face.
"Nice. Inspiring. It makes me want to work out more. But what does any of this have to do with me?" My answer is...Everything. Is. 9:6 is a prophesy of Christ. And it refers to Him as -get this- the Mighty God. In 1 Cor. 6:19-20 says "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your bodies, and in your spirit, which are God's."
So here it is. We are bought with a price, we are not our own. And who is our Master? The Commander in Chief of the league of the Mighties! He has commanded us to flee conformation to this world, and to seek His image, with all that it entails. We are privileged beyond belief to have the Lord of Hosts living in us, and us in Him. He is not a man, that He should allow cowards and the half-committed to be numbered amongst His ranks. We are representatives of the ultimate Mighty One, and He has equipped you and I with all that we need to show His strength in our lives.
My response to all this when I first learned of the league of the Mighties was something along these lines: "Whoaa, God. Hold on. This all sounds fantastic. But this is me, Haley, we're talking about. 5'1", 106 pounds, extremely unimpressive. The one who loves ballet and Jane Austen. I can't be a Mighty! Who are we kidding?! This must be one of those gender specific, only-for-the-spiritually-elite messages. Can we maybe talk about something I am more comfortable with?"
Smiling gently, my Father took my hand and set my bible on my desk. "I have not called you to make yourself Mighty. I haven't called you to slay 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey. But I have called you to let My Strength be shown through you. I have called you to let Me wield your life as a weapon against darkness, to shatter the plans and strong holds of My enemies. I have called you to be a willing vassal. Will you trust Me?"
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fullfilled."
So, my fellow MIT's. God wants to use you. He wants to use you Mightily. Will you trust Him?