After decades of Biblical study, I continue to discover there is much deeper meaning than I had ever imagined.
Christ calls me to
-people I'd not expect;
-be politically active for justice;
-love without restriction;
-accept those from whom I would normally recoil;
-be a student of the Bible and also the society in which I live;
-see the economic, social, and spiritual struggles of others;
-be a prophetic voice for justice, mercy, compassion, grace, and love;
What about you?
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After Pentecost Devotional - Day 59
“'Neither,' he answered. 'I am here because I am the commander of the LORD’s army.'
Joshua fell to his knees and bowed down to the ground. 'I am your servant,' he said. 'Tell me what to do.'” Joshua 5:14
We like to think of God being on our side when we should be thinking of our being on God's side, instead. It's more than semantics, it's about purpose, direction, and priorities. We want God to back up our plans, our purposes, our dreams, and our ambitions. We consider that we want what is best and are able to envision what God must want. Whether we recognize it or not, we want God to serve us like a jinn in a lamp. We want God to get us out of each tight spot and resolve our all of difficulties. We want God to obey our wishes and designs.
In the process, we lose sight of our claims regarding the identity and character of God. It is the Almighty of Hosts, Yahweh, whom we want to bow to our understanding and purposes. We would instruct this same Yahweh on what needs to be done, how we want it done, and when we want it accomplished. We don't really pause to consider the wisdom of instructing God. We don't really think through how ludicrous it must sound when we take it upon ourselves to have a wisdom that exceeds that of God. We don't stop long enough to reflect on there being an alternate perspective from our own.
Joshua encountered Yahweh's messenger with sword in hand. His question was whether the messenger were on the side of the Hebrews or the side of their enemies. The response, however, should have taken Joshua aback. “Neither. I am the commander of Yahweh's army.”
Should that not have meant that the messenger was on the side of the Hebrews? It is what we would normally expect. That perspective, however, misses the larger point. It was not God's place to take up the cause of the Hebrew people. It was the place of the Hebrews to take up Yahweh's cause.
Joshua's response is telling and should be matched by our own. He did not attempt to contradict the messenger, the commander of Yahweh's army. He did not attempt to offer guidance, direction, or otherwise influence this messenger. Instead, he simply bowed, placing his life and the future of the Hebrews in service to Yahweh's instructions, will, and purposes.
It is true that Yahweh wanted to hand the land over to the Hebrews. It is true that such was the plan and purpose of Yahweh. It is true that the land and its bounty had been promised to them as the descendants of Abraham. At the same time, there was more in Yahweh's purposes than simply handing the land over to a new people. This larger plan was not to be placed in subservience to the desires of the Hebrews.
While Yahweh may desire to bless us and provide for us, that is not the complete picture of God's purposes. After all, we are called to be the servants of Yahweh, not the other way around. It is by submitting our will, designs, and plans to Yahweh that we may actually enter the redemption of God's plan, rather than our own.
Take the time to consider that God's plan for your life may not be your own.
"Lord, help me remember my place as your servant, fulfilling your purposes."
The Bible on Homosexuality
The Bible is not arranged topically to address the issues that arise in our lives or in the consciousness of any culture or society. It is not a book we can easily run to in order to find neat answers to the concerns raised by people living far removed from the circumstances of the Ancient Near East of First Century Palestine. That is just not how it was designed.
Life's issues are generally much more complex than what we might dig from the Bible by quickly looking up a few words in a concordance or web search. Some themes are treated throughout the texts that compose the Bible. Others are hardly present at all. What one text may seem to say another might spin differently, challenging us to take a closer look at the first passage and the second, as well.
When it comes to a topic like homosexuality, we are dealing with a short list of passages that may or may not have anything to do with what we understand as homosexuality. To further complicate matters, …
Almighty Gun, we worship you. It is in you we place our trust and hope for our security. Where fifty-eight or more lie dead, We pass legislation for more of your presence. We hope you will protect us from our fears, Our fear of the "Other," the immigrant, the stranger, the colored ones. We fear our lives might be taken by those marketing terror. All the while, we are the ones in terror. We are the ones who instill, promote, and extend our own terror. We live in fear. We pack heat to make us feel stronger, more virulent, more protected. We return to the world of make-believe, in which we are the heroes standing up to the enemies all around us. We pray you will provide the energy and the aim we need. We pray you will protect us from our fears of unknown enemies. Then one of us takes a last stand, firing rounds from automatic weapons. "No, the guns are not to blame!" If only there were more gun worshippers present to stop the hail of lead! If only there were one more gun to halt the a…
People like to point to Genesis chapter one as an account of God creating the world in seven days. Actually, that account speaks of a six-day process of creation, not seven. That is not the whole story, however. Genesis chapter two is also a creation narrative. It does not present God creating the world in seven or six days. It speaks as though God created the world in one day.
The issue, however, is not one of mathematics and counting. The issue at hand is that the Bible is not interested in how many days, years, millennia, or aeons God took to create the world. That is a question for the domain of scientific inquiry to investigate. The Bible's questions and concerns are not with addressing when or how God created, nor with when or where. The Bible is concerned with issues of theology. It addresses questions more akin to who and why.
Genesis one is more concerned with how God fashioned order out of chaos. Genesis two is more concerned with God's purposes in creation as relat…