Archives For Exegetical Reflections

Noah’s Revolution

September 22, 2016 — Leave a comment

noah-2When we get past the cartoon images and mockery, Noah, at the command of God, was essentially the Ancient Near Eastern equivalent of a naturalist. He knew how to grow food, make wine, care for animals and build.

With God at the helm, Noah, and his family, in the face of recrimination and direct opposition, faithfully nurtured a carefully coordinated exodus out of moral chaos and self-destruction.

Drawn back from the veil of its Sunday School drawings, and oversimplified Atheist polemics, Noah’s story is about surgical renewal. It is about the preservation and conservation of creation.It is the application of strong medicine with the aim of total restoration.

With God, not just at the centre, but by choosing to be by humanity’s side, Noah and his family are man and woman equally united before God, against a darkened and morally corrupt World.

At it’s core is God’s determined push back against the Abyss and its fanatical legions; who seek the slow extinction of humanity through the happy intoxication of excess, ignorance and unbelief. From which humanity is viciously guided towards the precipice of its total self-annihilation.

Truth RL2016I like to read a book, then read what that author read before writing that book.

One thing we’re big on in theology [we have to be] is literary criticism:part of this scientific process is taking a statement back to its original source through questions, analysis, research and faith-filled dialogue about our reasoned conclusions.

It’s a sure guard against deception and ignorance. We want [or rather need] to be as sure as we can be that when and where God has chosen to speak, we are able to clearly hear and discern that Word.

A good reason for our focus on this is highlighted by Eric Voegelin in his 1968 book, Science, Politics & Gnosticism:

‘The deception of the reader occurs when a text or citation is separated from its context and is used in isolation from it’s original intended meaning.’ [i] (paraphrased)

Voegelin had just gotten through explaining how Karl Marx in his doctoral dissertation of 1840–41 misrepresented the statement, “In a word, I hate all the gods” , from Prometheus in Aeschylus’ ‘Prometheus Bound.’

Stating that, “anyone who does not know Prometheus Bound must conclude that the quoted “confession” sums up the meaning of the tragedy, not that Aeschylus wished to represent hatred of the gods as madness.”

‘In this confession, in which the young Marx presents his own attitude under the symbol of Prometheus, the vast history of the revolt against God is illuminated as far back as the Hellenic creation of the symbol.’ [ii]

From Genesis to Revelation on into Church History, the lesson is clear enough: not everyone who claims to speak for God is actually of God. We need to ask faith-filled questions, have a well-informed BS meter and in humility come to a conclusion about what is and is not genuinely of God. We do this by first establishing the what, where and to whom God has revealed Himself; what God has consistently revealed about Himself to humanity from outside of humanity.

Bonhoeffer, in his lectures on Genesis, recorded in DBW3: ‘Creation and Fall‘, substantiates good reasons for this process. According to him, in the Garden, God’s Word was used as a weapon against God. The result being a catastrophic fallout between the creature and its benevolent Creator.

The power to decree that which is right and wrong, good and evil, is now considered to have been taken up into the hands of humanity. Rather than a new day dawning [enlightenment], darkness descends [truth is hijacked] and humanity descends with it. The source that determines what good and evil is, is relocated; reassigned by, and lowered down to a Creatorless humanity. Humanity in its abstraction from God devours itself. Burdened with lust for dominion and power it seeks to overthrow God – “they want the kingdom, but they don’t want God in it” [iii]; which as we’re told in the Biblical accounts, is ultimately destined to failure and the overbearing governance of unjust, corrupt rulers.

‘Thus for their knowledge of God human beings renounce the word of God that approaches them again and again out of the inviolable center and boundary of life; they renounce the life that comes from this word and grab it for themselves. They themselves stand in the center. This is disobedience in the semblance of obedience, the desire to rule in the semblance of service […]’ [iv]

But this doesn’t happen without a decisive response from God. He isn’t wounded outside His own choosing  [e.g.: as He does for our sakes in Jesus Christ]. Neither is He killed off. Instead humanity is found to have mortally wounded itself.

However, God shows compassion. He acknowledges this and graciously intervenes, providing covering for nakedness, discipline (when necessary), direction and posterity. Despite its new rebellious claim-to-godlike knowledge and power. Its misuse of the divine-human relationship to oppress, deify self, murder and deceive. His creature is not abandoned. God remains God for us, even when He disagrees and takes a stand against us.

“Blessed is the man or woman who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They are like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when the heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

God chooses not to jettison His creature and instead chooses to heal and save it. Even though His creature is now so fused with, and consumed by the maddening effects of the primal Human act that deceptively puts God’s Word to use against Him.

‘That is the ultimate possible rebellion, that the lie portrays the truth as a lie. That is the abyss that underlies the lie—that it lives because it poses as the truth and condemns the truth as a lie.’ [iv]

Sources:

[i] Voegelin, E. 1968, Science, Politics & Gnosticism: Two Essays, (paraphrased). Kindle (Loc.492)

[ii] ibid, 1968

[iii] Johnny Cash, U2 ‘The Wanderer’

[iv] Bonhoeffer, D 1937, Creation & Fall, Fortress Press (pp.109-116)

[v] ibid, 1937

The information revolution may one day be described as the age of politics, power and propaganda.

It’s good to know the differences and to act justly on them.

 ‘Do not become slaves of men [or women].’
– (Paul, 1 Corinthians 7:22-23, ESV)

 

ThoughtsonSocialMedia_blogpostMay1st2015

Self doubt and/or limitations inherited from an abusive past do not mean that you are incapable of meeting resources and ability, with ambition.

‘An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered’ [i]

“I tried to find religion…”

When I reached out, they just cut and ran. No money, only ashes; no status, only trouble; a no-name from a fatherless family tree.

Nothing they could leach from. Deemed ungifted; nothing they could market from.

So they shut the doors, turned the lights out and pretended not to know.

I tried to find religion…

Instead…God found me.

‘My imperfect prayer,
our unkempt words,
our wandering hearts,
our broken selves,
our arrogant thoughts,  
our noiseless words,
my eyes are toward you,
O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave us not defenceless
and…
may we pass safely by’
(Psalm 141 paraphrased)


Source

[i] Chesterton, G.K. All Things Considered, ‘On Running After One’s Hat’ Kindle Ed. p.41

Song: We As Human {featuring Lacey Sturm}, ‘Take the Bullets Away’

ReflectionsBeside still waters.

Along paths of righteousness.

In a dark valley, overflowing cups.

A soul restored for His name’s sake.

A table prepared in the presence of enemies.

Followed by justice and mercy.

The Lord Shepherds; makes; leads; comforts; blesses;

…allows and invites us to dwell. In. His. House. Forever.

 

@Luke 16:10

September 28, 2014 — Leave a comment

Reputation is not always a mirror of a persons character

 

I came across this reinterpretation of ‘Be Thou My Vision’ while listening to the Spotify playlist ‘Hymns for Hipsters’.

Rend Collective’s version is addictive. I’m also in awe of the fact that they didn’t omit verse three. Of which, the more modernised versions seem to generally leave out.

Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou my whole armour, be thou my true might;
Be thou my soul’s shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.

Phrasing like:

Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Can remind us that ‘negativity wastes life, that sin drains us of our strength’, so we are to ‘seek God first, and his righteousness. Because He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble[i]

I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son.

That, ‘all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For we did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but have received the Spirit of adoption, as sons and daughters, by whom we cry, “Abba Father”[ii]

Be thou my battle-shield, sword for the fight.
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:

That, ‘a person’s life does not consisIMG_20140801_121310t in the abundance of their possessions’[iii]; we are more than what we own,  and we are not what forces outside of God try to define us as[iv]. The temporary power of the world is a borrowed one; ‘these powers are confronted by the ultimate word already spoken.[v]

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always.

That, we are called to ‘live wisely in evil (extreme?) days[vi], not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man’[vii]

 High King of Heaven, my victory won.

Finally, the words of this hymn can remind us that, the ‘Bible is not the telling of a dream, something viewed only as transcendent (beyond us), without relevance or connection to actual reality…Because in spite of all appearances[viii].

Scripture is victorious over the world because it attests to the light of Jesus the Christ. Victor![ix]

 

(h/t Jenny, from DelightfulOak.com for introducing us to the phenomenon that is Spotify)

Source:

[i] Psalm 31:10 (NLT); Matthew 6:33-34 (ESV); Psalm 46 (ESV);
[ii] Romans 8:15 (ESV)
[iii] Luke 12:15 (ESV)
[iv] James Cone, ‘God of the oppressed’.
[v] Barth, K. 1938 C.D I/II Hendrickson Publishers p.677
[vi] Ephesians 5:15-16 (ESV)
[vii] Ephesians 6:6-7 (ESV)
[viii] Barth, K. Ibid, p.678
[ix] Barth, K. Ibid, pp.676 & 679
[x] Barth, K. Ibid, p.676
{Full lyrics: Be Thou My Vision}