Sunday, June 30, 2013

Meditations on Isaiah 5

God’s vineyard, which He had planted in the most fertile ground, held his choicest vines: a superior variety from which God expected bountiful clusters of luscious, sweet and succulent grapes.  (Is. 5:1-2)  Such is Judah and Jerusalem; such is the church today.  These are his peculiar people, his treasure and his inheritance; from which God expects fruitfulness.  He looks to find hanging from her limbs the fruit of justice, goodness, righteousness, and peace. (Eph. 5:9-10) 

Yet what he finds is the fruit of injustice, evilness, unrighteousness, and war.  He finds his people consumed by the love of pleasure: alcoholics in need of drinks; addicts in need of drugs; and whoremongers in need of sexual perversion.  He finds his people without regard for the Lord or His works or His deeds and blind to the fact that their actions will call for His judgment. 

The people feast upon evil while Hell enlarges herself and opens her mouth without measure to feast upon those who sin against God.  They have become so depraved that sin seems normal, acceptable, even preferred.  Among the people, those who are good are considered evil. 

The people refuse light and choose darkness.  They give honor to drunkenness, drug abuse, gluttony, and all manner of sexual perversion.  Indulgence is exalted as their god.  The people give dishonor to God.  The heroes of the people are those or that which gives the most powerful stimulation: that buzz; that high; that trip; that ultimate feeling of satisfaction and that climax.  They continue to press the limits, even unto death. 

Wealth is exalted as god.  The people are lovers of money.  They oppress the struggling middle-class and turn deaf ears to their cries.  They are blind to poor.  They create war to line their own pockets and create the fatherless and orphans among the people and make no provision for those wounded in war.  Workers are not paid fair wages for their labor.  Every man trying to reach the top by any means necessary.  Ethics and fairness are lost concepts.  The wealthy buy justice and make law.  They hold government and the church hostage.  They kindle the fire of God’s wrath.

Unto Judah and Jerusalem, God sent a terrible earthquake.  So many people died in a single day that bodies of the dead lined the streets and laid there unburied.  And yet the people did not repent.  Even today, God has sent storms, tornadoes, earthquakes and fires, and still the people will not repent, but rather grow more perverse, more evil, and more unjust.

So God prepared an enemy for war.  They were fit, alert, well-prepared and ready to march: such a contrast to the easy-going, unprepared, careless and fun-loving attitude of the people of God.  Judah and Jerusalem were prepared for captivity.  They became captives of the Babylonians.  They became captives of the Media-Persians.  They became captives of the Greek. They became captives of the Romans.

Think not that God has not prepared an enemy to war against the church.  He has prepared the Anti-Christ.  He has prepared the Beast.  He has prepared the False Prophet.  The church is made ready for martyrdom.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Father's Love

Luke 15:11 - 20 "And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.  And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country ... And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." The key phrase here is "But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him..." 

From this I understood the Father's anguish when his son left home.  The father watched his son as he left home.  His eyes were fixed on his son, until his son's figure disappeared in the horizon. He watched to see if his son would come back, even glance back, but he did not. The father had no idea of where his son was going, neither of what would become of him.

Days passed and the father grieved.  He looked at the places he used to see his son.  He heard his son's voice in the wind and lingered over the memory of his son in his mind. He often called his eldest son by the name of his youngest son, because his youngest son had been pressing upon his heart and occupying his mind.

Every day as the father worked in the field, he watched the horizon, hoping to see the shape of his son in the distance.  Surely it was the heart of the father that reached across space and touched his youngest son's heart and beckoned him home.

Then his youngest son turned from the far off country and made his way toward home.  While he was yet a great distance away, his father glanced up from his work as he had always done.  And this time he saw the answer to his prayers, the fulfillment of his heart's desire: his son returning home.

I think about the anguish I felt in my heart after I dropped my daughter off to college and turned and journeyed home.  I knew this was for her own good.  I trusted that she would be safe and sound.  But a part of my heart was missing.  There was an empty space.  I must have called her every day for about the first month.  Not that she needed this.  I needed to hear from her. 

Then I think of others whose child is missing, and they don't have a number to call, don't know where to go find their child, don't know how their child is doing, and don't know if their child is even alive.  Then I think of others who through death have lost a child or loved one forever or with the hope of meeting them again upon their own death. Surely their grief was far more painful than anything I had experienced.

It is said that time heals all wounds.  Perhaps the wound is not fully healed, since it usually leaves a scar, some mark or trace to indicate its preexistence.  Our imperfect love heals over time.  And gradually, I stopped calling so much.  And gradually those who have suffered the loss of a loved one move forward and gain some sense of normality.

Then I think of God, who loves with a perfect love. He who exists beyond time and whom time has no effect, where yesterday is still fresh today.  How much more than I can even fathom that God grieves over one child he has lost, over one son who has turned his back to Him.  To one unaffected by time and who loves with perfect love, the absence of the beloved produces infinite grief.

How can I turn by back to one who loves me so immensely?  And surely if I did, the thought of his love would compel me to turn again to Him!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bright Light

I am a bright light
Shining in the night sky:
Big and bold and beautiful;

Often admired,
And by which many are inspired.
I am indeed honored in this place.

I know that I am a dull rock,
Having no light of my own.
The light I give is what I have received from you.

I am pleased to be your reflection.

Reprinted from "I Do", by Doris Trueheart
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Happy Father's Day!

Luke 15: 11 -12 "And [Jesus] said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father ..."  Often when asked, "Who is he?"  The response is a description of one's occupation, such as, he is the mayor, he is a lawyer, or he is a doctor.  In this case, a man's whole identity was tied up into being a father.  There is no mention of a mother.  We don't even know if she is living. Neither do we know if the certain man was the biological father, although we often assume that he was.  Nonetheless, his sons could have been adopted.  Regardless of how he acquired two sons, we know for a fact that he was consumed into loving them, providing for them and instructing them.  All that he did as an occupation was for the care and provision of his two sons.  He was so much "father", that his identity overshadowed that of his two sons, for his two sons were identified as sons of the certain man.  The name, reputation and substance of the father was that of his sons.

I am thankful today to be a son of God, the Father, and I wish every Father everywhere a Happy Father's Day!

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