You've Got the Wrong Guy!

Scripture: Ezekiel 9:9, 10 NLT

Then he said to me, “The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see it! The Lord has abandoned the land!’ So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done.”

Observation:

Oh, the irony.  The injustice, indeed.  Just prior to this in Ezekiel's vision, the Lord shows him the idolatrous sins of the people, and how they've defiled the temple.  And then, with the temple filed with "detestable sin", they complain that the Lord isn't hanging around like a kicked dog, waiting for a chance to make up.

Application:

Is there anywhere in my life that I'm doing that? Attributing to God faults or shortcomings that are my own? Or that belong to my heritage or culture?

Yesterday, God led me carefully through a simple, everyday experience, so I could learn one very important thing . . . He really IS a jealous God, and he doesn't want me to be better friends with anyone else than I am with Him. ;o)  He taught me gently; just whispered a gentle check through the Holy Spirit when I wanted to turn to a mortal (and a pretty darn awesome one at that) for an answer to a dilemma.  I mulled over that for a bit, because even though I listened to the Holy Spirit, I still did a teensy bit of mental foot stomping.  And then, it hit me.  God was jealous! He didn't want me to be better friends with anyone else than I am with Him. :o)  I laughed long and loud at that . . . not derisively, but because it tickled my sense of humor to realize that the Lord God of Hosts sees me just as He sees the Israelites and Judah.  He doesn't want anyone to come before Him.  And that's pretty cool--definitely worthy of joyful laughter.

Prayer:

Father of mine, I glorify You for Your incredible, patient, endless love.  For Your faithfulness to me, while I'm learning to be faithful to You.  For Your awesome sense of humor, and the way You make me laugh as You show me more and more relationship all around me--between people, between Your people and Yourself, and best of all, between You and me.  And I love how it feels like You show me these things, in part, to see me laugh. :o)  Keep it up, my God, please!  I just want more of You, and to sing and laugh and walk with You all the day long.  Because You are Good.  So, so good! In Jesus' name, Amen. :o)


Pondering, or missing the point?

Scripture: Revelation 1:12-20 NLT

"And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man.  He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest.  His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire.  His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves.  He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said,  “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels  of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches."

Observation:

John is using imagery here, rich in meaning to his audience.  But much of the poetic he employs simply isn't part of my cultural dialogue.  (We prefer oil-rubbed bronze here over burnished, but I'm familiar with wool, being a spinner & knitter.) ;o)  So John's descriptions tend to read literally in my mind's eye.  I see a man with fire shooting from his eyes and a long, stiff, double-edged tongue waving around.  But when I stop to think about it, I remember Paul telling the Ephesians to arm themselves with the sword of truth, and it begins to make sense.  And maybe burnished brass is trying to describe the way Jesus' darker Jewish skin shines with glory.  I highly recommend stopping and thinking about scripture.  Pondering.  The coolest stuff comes through the Holy Spirit when I do that.  (Pondering, btw, means slowing down and thinking about what you're doing.  Love that.)

But then! . . . then comes the best part.  John is overcome, and faints dead away.  And then, in my minds' eye, I see Jesus coming and kneeling over John, and touching his face or forehead with so much love, and reassuring him with all of the incredible love and gentleness He has.  He's not standing, aloof in power and majesty, reaching out magically without moving a muscle to wake John up, then booming out in command "Don't you dare be afraid!"  He loves John. He's comforting Him in deed and in spirit, as well as word.  John knows Jesus, and this is a moment rich in meaning and comfort and security.

Application:

The Son of God in full glory revealed Himself to His servant, and that servant needed a little additional help in order to bear that glory.  It wasn't easy, as the flesh, when surprised, tends to take over. lol But God cares tenderly for us.  He knows us.  He knows me! He wants so, so badly to manifest Himself to me in any way that I can possibly bear, possibly see, possibly understand.  He's always trying, kind of like a friend desperate for attention, saying "Hey, watch this!" as he does amazing things in my life.  The question is, will I see it?  Will I stop and think?  Or will I trundle on my oblivious way, seeing only a frightening figure, blazing with glory whose eyes and mouth are mortal dangers to me, blasting commands from his position on high?

Prayer:

God my Father, thank You so, so much for the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the urging to ponder as I feast on Your word.  Thank you for opening so many things to my understanding, and for waking me tenderly.  Please, keep guiding me.  Keep showing me Your love more and more.  Strengthen my knees and guide my feet as I walk daily in Your will for me, and let me draw ever closer to You.  In Jesus' glorious name, Amen.