God’s Scheduling

Israel took a long time to take over the Promised Land. Joshua did a lot, but there was plenty left to conquer after he died. One would think with the Lord of Hosts (“Lord of Armies” for those who read the NIV) with you, taking over the Promised Land would go smoother and quicker.

But God knew what He was doing. Exodus 23 tells us why it took so long for Israel to conquer, “lest the land become desolate and the wild beasts multiply against you.”

God did it because of the animals! If Israel wiped out all the cities there wouldn’t be enough Israelites to live in those cities and possess the houses. By the time Israel got big enough raccoons would live in the roof, spiders would take over the basement and porcupines would do in the furniture.

So, God took His time, letting Israel gradually grow to fill the Land they gradually possessed. God’s promise was that they would eat crops they didn’t plant, drink from wells they didn’t dig and live in houses they didn’t build.

Can’t do that all at once! God knows what He’s doing. Important lessons abound: be patient, trust God, don’t whine, don’t give kids more than they can handle, and other lessons. I love little treasures like these verses.

Stuff

* Article about “bliks,” which represents the concept of people looking at the same thing yet coming to opposite conclusions. He relates it to the free-will/election debate.

* I know this makes me a horrible person, but things like this make me feel ill. I would not sing a song about this kid, I’d smack him. “Hey, I don’t know where the line to Jesus is kid, quit following me.”

* Seth Godin was wrong about marketing books and publishing? No way.

* Should we have church on Christmas Sunday? It’s even amazing this is an issue. Most churches will; most people will not be there. Which makes me wonder, hey, where’s the line for Jesus?

Time for God to go to Work

“It is time for thee, LORD, to work:
for they have made void thy law.”

I love cool verses! This is a cool one. The Psalmist is calling on God to act because people are acting as if God hasn’t said anything, they are disregarding God and everything He said.

When people disregard God’s Word there is no hope for them other than God breaking in upon them, most likely through judgment.

To be deaf to God’s Word, to harden your heart, stiffen your neck, and set your face like flint to ignore God is to set yourself up for trouble.

God desires all men to repent, so if you ignore His Word you won’t be brought there. Perhaps God will pick on you some to get your attention.

If you resist His work on you, you may leave Him no recourse than to end you. He’s done it before and He’ll do it again. It’s better to take time to hear His Word now and respond by faith.

The Joy of the Law

Psalm 119’s length has brought it fame. Its repetition has brought it neglect.

We know it’s about the Word, but we seem to miss the sheer joy the psalmist has in the Word. To us the Law seems like drudgery, something awful foisted upon us, something that merely points out how horrible we are.

Yet the Psalmist seems to have a very positive reaction to the Law, as if he likes it and stuff. Observe:

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

“Grant me thy law graciously.

“I delight in thy law.

“The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

“thy law is my delight.

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

“thy law do I love.”

What’s up with that? Many things! Imagine living in a world with very little revelation from God. The only eternal, abiding truth you have is the Pentateuch. Imagine the solidity these words bring to life!

The Law reveals righteousness and truth, what great stuff to know.

Today we rejoice in Christ and this is not a problem, the revelation of the righteousness of God in Christ overshadows the Law, and this is good. But Christ established the Law, He’s not a contradiction to it. If we rejoice in Christ we rejoice in the Law, He is the author after all.

The Work of Pastors and the Work of Parishioners

“The apostles complained rightly when they said it was not meet they should leave the word of God and serve tables; their vocation was to preach the word. But the person whose vocation it is to prepare the meals beautifully might with equal justice protest: It is not meet for us to leave the service of our tables to preach the word.”
–Dorothy Sayers

I wonder how this idea smacks your brain. Many will like it, others will be outraged that she seems to say table-servers don’t have to study the word.

According to Ephesians 4, God has gifted men to edify the Body of Christ. Not everyone has these gifts. Pastors should dedicate themselves to the Word of God just as much as a mechanic dedicates himself to making your car run or the dentist dedicates himself to taking all your money to put over-priced metal devices in your kid’s mouths.

You don’t want to go to a dentist who until last week was a police officer. You want a dentist who is passionate about sticking his hands in people’s mouths and messing with teeth.

I imagine the same is true in selecting a pastor. You want a guy who is dedicated to God’s Word. Those who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel. In context it means guys who teach the Gospel should get paid to do so.

The benefit of this is that they can dedicate their minds to the Word. Unfortunately, pastors rarely actually do this. They are too busy doing weddings, separating the fingernails of the singy women from each other’s throats, and doing self-help seminars.

The reason there is a backlash against pastors getting paid these days is because people aren’t getting their money’s worth. Pastors aren’t dong what they’re paid for.

Furthermore, pastors who know they aren’t doing their job then belittle everyone else, condemning them for being too busy to attend their programs they spent all day organizing.

Thus, parishioners resent their pastor’s work and pastor’s resent their parishioner’s work. Perhaps Dorothy has the solution for us?