Archive for August, 2008

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CROSSroads

August 13, 2008

The CROSSing…

We are created in his image. (Gen1:27) He endows us with reflections of His Character and Nature.(Rom8:29)  Consistent with that truth we are always true to our nature as He is true to His, Immutable, and consistent.(Mal3:6)  We are true to a nature that is damning and to our detriment. (Rom3:23, 6:23)  He is true to a nature for good and for His glory. (Rom1:20, John1:1, Tit1:2, Ps9:7/100:5, I Pt1:25) 

Two parallel tracks, never to meet, one sovereign the other subordinate each heading in opposite direction. (Is55:8)  The fullness of His character is displayed in that the Sovereign creates a point at which two parallel lines meet, impossible but for grace.(Mk10:27)  At that point courses reverse and the nature of one begins to change, the mirror image becomes more complete.(I Cor. 13:12)  We begin to reflect not only consistency in nature but character as well.  Our destination forever changed and our arrival at the point of His purpose and design.(Icor15:19-23) This is what happens when two lines cross.

“for while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.(Rom5:6-8)”

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The Fig, The Shepherd, and other thoughts…

August 5, 2008

 

 Reading the Old Testament can be difficult, at least for me.  There is often a great deal of background info that is required to understand what I am reading.  Occasionally things catch my eye and as a result are in need of further study.  A while back I was reading the book of Habakkuk one of the “Minor” Prophets which appear toward the end of the OT between Nahum and Zephaniah, or roughly 40 pages before Matthew.  Written around 600 years before the birth of Christ, Habakkuk ponders several questions as he gazes at Israels uncertain future and God gives His response.  The book to me is a book of hope and optimism, indeed Habakkuk recognises and rejoices in God of his salvation (3:17) despite difficult times.

The Third Chapter is what caught my eye, starting in verse 17 which was written “to the choirmaster” as a psalm to close out his Prophecy : “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herds in the stalls, 18. YET I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”  Quite bleak until verse 18 wouldn’t you agree?. 

What struck me about the passage is that all the examples given are covered by our Lord in the New Testament.  Summer will be near when the fig tree blooms (Matt24:32), and from this they will know that He is at the Gates(Mark:28-31).  Those who are gentiles have been grafted into a cultivated Olive tree(Rom11:24)  Christ was “thrown out” of the vineyard his father prepared and rejected by the workers(Matt 21:39) but He of course is the True Vine (John15:1), the fields once barren of food are now White for harvest(John4:35) sown onto fertile ground and ready for the reaper.  The best parallel is in the Shepherd, for while in Habakkuk the flock was cut off, and the stalls were empty of its herds, now the flock has found its Shepherd who will lay His life down for His Flock(John10:1-31).

All of these may not be direct parallels, but what is amazing is that this litany was written 600 years prior to there ever being a hope of fulfillment, and yet Habakkuk had hope and rejoiced in God.  All the OT prophets, we are told in I Peter 1:10-12, did what they did and wrote what they wrote considering the Christ; they ‘Searched and inquired carefully'(v10) ‘inquiring about what person or time His spirit was indicating to them(v11), ‘it was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but us'(vs12). 

We can be inspired in that while Habakkuk did not see the Christ, or experience the saving grace of God by His sacrifice, he believed.  In fact he blessed God in difficult times when all seemed hopeless knowing that in God his salvation lay.  He truly had faith the substance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.(Heb11:1)

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So That They Will Know…

August 4, 2008

                                        That I am the LORD.

A little word study and perspective.  While reading the book of Ezekiel, a phrase kept occurring often enough to catch my interest.  Many times we may question the importance of reading Gods word, especially the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) in light of the fact that they tell basically the same story, slight variations here and there but often almost verbatim.  The comment has been made why focus on all that repetition, here is why.  God in His sovereignty knows our thought and minds (Ezek 11:5) and knows that we often need to hear the truth over and over again for it to sink in.  Thank Him for such a fact, in that in His Mercy he renews our spirit day by day (2Cor 4:16) by the washing and regeneration of his word (Tit3:5)

So in this light, the phrase which pounded in my ears chapter after chapter was “So that they might know that I am the Lord.”  This declaration is His Justification of actions taken in prophecy and in real time in Ezekiel’s life.  It occurs 26 times in this book alone, “so that they will know,” “so that you will know,” “so that Egypt will know,” “so that Israel will know,” “Then they will know,” “thus you will know,” “All nations will know that I am the Lord.”  Every action God declares, points to His soveriegn control and Power in every situation, and is taken to bring Him glory and declare is control and Glory to all who witness.  When one reads what He does in this book, what He did, what He promises to do it is not always clean and pretty.  He is allowing Jerusalem to be brought low, Israel to be torn in two, Egypt to be distroyed, people are dying and Kingdoms are falling all so that WE will know that He is the Lord.

Chapter 37 is our hope, and the ultimate display of God’s mercy and grace, Ezekiel’s vision of a field of bones, God tells Ezekiel to speak to the dry dead bones, Ezekiel obeys and the bones are regenerated, muscle and tendons join and are covered with skin, but the new bodies lack life.  The Command came for the breath of God to come and breathe “on these slain, so that they might live.” (Ezek 37:9)  Upon this command “they lived!” 

We are so reliant on God for life, both physical and spiritual, we can never forget that, “HE has caused us to be born again to a resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (IPeter1:3)  He is our life-source, and His actions while seldom understood by His creation may now and forevermore be justified so that we might know that “He is the Lord.”

Ezekiel Chpater 37:1-14 (Click on Photo above to link to text)