09 March 2015

Journey Forth!

25 As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guards and to the officers, Go in and slay them; let none escape. And they smote them with the sword; and the guards or runners [before the king] and the officers threw their bodies out and went into the inner dwelling of the house of Baal.
26 They brought out the pillars or obelisks of the house of Baal and burned them.
27 They broke down the pillars of Baal and the house of Baal, and made it [forever unclean] a privy to this day.
28 Thus Jehu rooted Baal out of Israel.
29 But Jehu did not give up the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he made Israel to sin, that is, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
30 And the Lord said to Jehu, Because you have executed well what is right in My eyes and have done to the house of Ahab as I willed, your sons to the fourth generation shall sit on Israel’s throne. [Fulfilled in II Kings 15:12.]
31 But Jehu paid no attention to walking in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not quit the sins with which Jeroboam made Israel to sin.
32 [So] in those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel.  ~2 Kings 10:25-32 AMP
Jehu, in a blaze of Old Testament fervor, carried out the Lord's word to Elijah, that all of Ahab's house would be destroyed.  He slew grandsons, friends, any who were connected to that house. Then he went and utterly ruined the house of Baal. For this exacting obedience, the Lord had a word for Jehu, in verse 30: the promise that Jehu's sons would be kings of Israel to the fourth generation.

But Jehu stopped short . . . while he pursued with zeal other words God had given, eradicating Ahab's house and ruining Baal's, he didn't give up what was apparently his "favorite" bit of idolatry. I can see him justifying, reasoning that the Golden Calf was worshipped by his fathers in the wilderness while Moses was on the mountain, and that surely something that old had to be good. Or I can see him thinking it was such a small thing, and he had done so much, that surely it was enough to please the Lord.

I'm standing on the edge of something marvelous and beautiful, new and glorious; a faith-filled walk with my God I have only dreamed of.

I'm not going to stop short.

God has opened the way before me, and I am stepping into it.

This is a Jewish story of parting the Red Sea that I really love:
Behind them was an army bristling for war. Before them was an ocean, deep and impassable. They could neither advance nor retreat. They were ambushed. What could they do? 
Moses tried an age-old tactic: he cried out to God. But God rebuked him: “Why do you cry to me? Tell the Children of Israel to journey forth.” 
Journey forth, but how? There was an ocean before them! God never addressed this question, and Moses never asked it. God said to journey forth, and journey they did. That was the entire point. Don’t ask questions. Don’t raise doubts. If God issues a command, He will provide the means to see it through. 
Yet the Children of Israel hesitated. They were prepared to plow into the ocean, but they needed to be led. A leader appeared in the person of Nachshon, son of Aminadav, tribal prince of Judah. Leading his tribal column, Nachshon strode into the sea. Wading through the rising tide, the waters first reached his waist, then his chest and shoulders.
At the very last moment, as the waters reached his nostrils, the Red Sea parted and the Children of Israel followed him into the sea.
How's that for radical obedience? God said, "Go forward!", as the Israelites stood trapped between the sea and mountains. This was deep water, folks. And Israelites were notorious for knowing absolutely nothing about water. I've heard there was a saying, similar to our American proverb, "When pigs fly", that meant, "When a Jew builds a ship". Nachshon led his column straight into something that, culturally, they were wholly unprepared for. Laden for their journey with all the things the Lord had them take out of Egypt, who knows if they could even swim?

And yet, they strode into the sea in radical obedience to what Yahweh had said:
"Journey forth." 
Yes, Lord.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!