Hmmmm….The Fourth of July

I had read a post from one of my friends earlier, who writes:

The 4th of July.  American Independence Day.  Most people have a lot of memories from this holiday.

Personally, I am a bit out of step with the culture.  I never figured out how to experience joy, pleasure or fulfillment out of watching my money go “bang.”

But, as usual, I do have other memories.

In working with survivors, we deal with a lot of tough stuff – wounds, critters, structures, programming…

If you wish to read the rest of the post, follow the link here.

The few Prophets I know at least moderately feel similarly.

And while the Fourth invariably sparkles because of explosions, and making money go “bang” (I swear at least two portions of my spirit are attracted to sparkles and sulphur), it is tied to some other memories.

My dad used to meet my mother in Baldwin every summer after he left, and then in Macon after he moved back to Tennessee, in order to pick us up for the summer.

I remember the smell of Jovan Musk,

and Budweiser,

and the time he lit Roman Candles from his boat in the St John’s River,

and the time we shot the Whistlers into the water and watched the explosions underwater,

and the times our families connected with Bob Purcell’s family,

and the time Nick nearly blinded himself adding lighter fluid to the grill, and Dad’s response of “so, did you learn your lesson, son?”,

and the trips camping in Salt Springs, and that one time on the side of the road in the middle of the night, where we put up a couple of tents and a few hours later, Dad saw some police lights in the woods and snuck up to one of the cops and asked what was going on, and the cop said that they had just had a major drug bust,

And the trips to Cedars of Lebanon that no one alive except for Pat remembers,

And the trips to Mammoth Cave and the spaces under the earth so massive you could fit a small city into them,

And the trip with Joey to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,

And his unending sense of enjoying a good laugh, telling a good joke, and his capacity to make anyone feel welcome,

And the scratch of his beard

And the summer I taught at a summer camp for his friend, Pam Stockett,

And the hoards of explosions and the smell of sulphur.

And the places and times when he in all of his drunken woundedness (even though he never laid a hand in an abusive fashion on me) actually manifested compassion and affection.

It was not just about the explosions.

It has been the fabric in the foreground of the explosions.

These summers, I am the father now, and my two sons visit me, and there is no alcohol floating around.

And they enjoy the explosions.

And soon they will also enjoy the camping,

There is a bedazzling, kaleidoscopic array of color that flows in the night sky.

And there is the memory of the year I drove back from Bryan, OH, on July 4, 2012 and remembering the conversation I had had with David and Wendy, after first hearing about what had happened to Hannah Pettengill, and David’s counsel to me concerning my response to Kresha’s list of demands.  And how I could accede to the list of demands for reconciliation except for one:  the taking of medication of any sort.  She was under the delusion that I needed to be medicated for depression and ADHD, and I realized the truth of what needed to happen–namely, that I had for years been starved for community.

And the memory of driving back through Cleveland, knowing what I was going to say in that conversation.

And the trip from Cleveland to Manhattan, and the realization that I needed to stop off in downtown, and walk around, something I had never done before.

And the calm solitude of what I felt when I was in the North Cove Yacht Harbor.  And the massive spirit of fear in the vicinity of One World Trade Center.

And driving out of Manhattan along FDR Drive.

And calling Kresha to tell her what I was going to agree to, and what I was not.

And the sound of something snapping in the spirit realm, like a brown stick, and hearing her accusation that I had DID.

And knowing where this thing was headed.

And the season of alienation, and the few friends that remained loyal in that season of aloneness.

And then…

Death over the course of 5 months.

Filing for divorce on December 7th.

Loss of credentials with the Assemblies on December 31.

And the divorce being finalized on April 15th, the same day as the Boston Marathon Bombing.

And then, the slow recovery of life…

The following July, the trip to Mount Washington.  And the decision that I had made to marry Pam.

And now, living in South Carolina and being able to enjoy my joy, walking with my family in a place where enjoying my joy is legal.

It is definitely an enjoyment of watching my money go “bang”.

But there are added to it a host of memories that…color…the whole experience.

Happy Fourth, gang.

If you enjoy fireworks, then hallelujah, get your fuzzy buns over here next year and most any year and let’s cook ’em off together.  And if you do not, fair warning, my home invitation is open on this day, but know that it will be loud.

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Thoughts on Galatians 6:9-10

Galatians 6:9-

9 And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Paul’s next comments provide an exceptional piece of encouragement. The word for “give up”, “ekluoh” is best translated as “weaken” or “fail” or “loosen”. In other words, the idea that is carried here in this part of the text is that our faith in Christ’s faithfulness does not give way to unbelief.

This is a major temptation for all believers, no matter the maturity level or the “time in service”. The major temptation is the one that proves to become a killer of faith. And if our faith is something that we allow to die without nourishing it, then there is a very good chance we will give up in precisely the times when we should not give up. God did not design us with the built-in capacity to fail. Rather, He made us with the built-in capacity to succeed and persevere. The capacity to fail is something that came through the Fall of Man. Because we have to daily be crucified with Christ and bring our bodies into subjection to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 15:31, 1 Corinthians 9:27), a benefit of this process is that we can grow in perseverance, which is critical if we are to continue in Christ and not become weary in doing good.

Paul’s promise to those who do not give up is that we will reap the harvest that is our unique harvest. The Greek word that is translated “due season” is better translated as “in each person’s unique season”. That is, each person’s season for reaping a harvest is unique and custom-fitted to that person’s unique design. God has customized a time for each of us to reap as we each sow. My harvest may not look like your harvest, and my timing for reaping may not look like your timing. But I am still responsible, when you reap your harvest, is not to become jealous of the harvest, but to celebrate your harvest with you. That harvest could be the return of a prodigal child, or a financial harvest, or a relational harvest, or the harvest of someone’s salvation for whom we have labored and in whom we have sowed much truth in the context of a relationship.

Your job is to keep sowing. It is not to determine the timing of the harvest. That is God’s job.

10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are the household of faith.

There are a few things that I would like to highlight here for our application.

First, the concept of “doing good”: “Verse 10 has much in common with verse 9: in both verses the central call is to ‘do good’ and this doing good is related to an ‘appropriate time’ (Greek kairos).” [1] Paul uses the phrase “do good” to tie together 9 and 10.

There is a good that we are to do that should be consistently expressed both inside the church and outside the church. No matter what, our calling as a body is to “do good”.

God, both created us, with original intent as good, and called us good (Genesis 1:31). As a result of the fall, much that was good in our intention was lost. But the marring through the fall does not excuse us from doing good in accordance with our design.

Now, let me step on a few toes here. We as Christians love to focus on how bad our capacity to do bad and to constantly sin is. Thank you, Jean Calvin and Martin Luther. And while we have to struggle and fight against sin, as Christians we struggle against sin from a place of victory; we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, EVEN WHEN WE DO NOT FEEL LIKE WE ARE SEATED. And given that in Christ, we are new creations, the capacity for the original design has been restored. It has been restored in us to do good.

Good is our responsibility, and given that we follow and hopefully know the Author of all good, doing good should become our practice.

Second, there is a question that we should rightly ask “to whom should we do good?”

Let the light shine that others may see your good works and praise your Father in heaven (Mattew 5:14-16). This is the answer to the lawyer’s question of “who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). We are to do good to those who are not believers.

Also, love your brothers and sisters as evidence of your love of God (1 John 2 :9-11; Luke 10:29, John 13:35). The letter of 1 John covers this set of principles and evidence of love extensively.

Let me throw out a scholars’ note for those who are not scholars of Greek. Ever second-year student of New Testament Greek is required to translate the entirety of 1 John. It is the easiest book in the New Testament to translate. It is also one of the most uncompromising books in all the New Testament. For verse after verse, John gives us really high standards and shoots incredibly straight on what it looks like to actually have evidence of God’s love in us. It is quite possible that God set this up intentionally so that scholars would not get so puffed up in their knowledge that they forget the priority of love.

Hello? The message here is simple; the root of doing good is our love of God and our love of people. We keep the First Commandment First, the Second Commandment Second, and the New Commandment New.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

-John 13:34-

Paul’s next phrase in verse 10 is curious:

“…and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Why would Paul exhort the Galatians to do good to other believers?

There are two reasons that I can think of.

1) Because the Galatians were likely wrestling with the sins of enmity, strive, jealousy, division, and envy (as 5:20-21 warn against, the “works of the flesh”), Paul was bringing the expression of doing good to bear as a counter-measure to the works of the flesh. Christian, let’s apply that same counsel to ourselves, because jealousy and fear flourish at times in the church, which is precisely where they should not. Jealousy and those other sins, the sins where we want what God has given someone else, are rooted in a spirit of poverty. We don’t believe that God has a set of really good gifts set aside for us, and so we want what He has set aside for someone else.

a. Let’s back up for a minute and frame the reality first of all.

b. Paraphrasing Romans 8:32, God gave us the thing that is most precious to Him: His only begotten son. What is a little bit of stuff?

c. When we do not believe that we are wealthy in spiritual things, when God has given us His son, our mentality is that of a pauper or a slave.

d. God designed you for sonship.

e. This means there is a whole boatload of wealth AND responsibility that He has set aside and purposed to give to you, only you. There is a problem that has your name on it.

f. You were designed for a specific problem. And if you do not solve that problem that God has designed you to solve, He will have to give it to someone else to solve.

g. I don’t know about you, but I want to leave this life having lived in a place of fulfillment, and having solved the one thing that is in the center of my design.

h. Back to the main point. God has a problem for you to solve, and if you walk in the sweet spot you were made to walk in, and tackle the major problem that God made you to tackle, then He will also provide the resources to meet that need.

2) Paul also wanted the Galatians to model what God’s family looks like. When you have a fully functional family that is full of purity, truth, affection, loyalty, tender affection, self-control, wisdom, and joy, who does not want to be part of that?

Let me tap one other theme here. Against the backdrop of what I just stated in Point #2, there is the opposite of that picture that is rooted in flesh: betrayal. Read the following from Psalm 55:10-12

“For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng.”

We are designed in the household of God to be a family that is a place of safety and trust, not a place of betrayal and envy. Yet that does sometimes happen in the church. And when it happens among those we ought to count as siblings and close friends, the sting of the pain is real and deep.

Creating a place where people know their identity and their talents and are free to develop those talents, and are celebrated for who they are in Christ and what they bring to the table in Christ, helps to guard against the unreasonable fleshly behavior that results in betrayal.

And we must be ever-vigilant, and ever-ready to do good. Especially to those who are of the household of faith.


[1]. Douglas J. Moo, Baker Exegetical Commentary of the New Testament, vol. 9, Galatians (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 388,

Merciful Maps and Profound Plays: God Reveals Himself More in Ezekiel

By Eric Hatch

July 2, 2018

As we read Ezekiel’s writings, including most of the last post about it, God would forgive you (if you asked!) for thinking the prophet only describes a God who revels in judgment.  However, Ezekiel’s audience finds bountiful hope and a cornucopia of details throughout his book, including amazingly detailed maps and powerful drama.  Both continue to provide color in our process of learning God’s true character.  We will study the unique way God directs Ezekiel to use plays to explain God’s response to His people’s sin.  First, though, we will provide some context for Chapters 40 to 48.

Maps Detail God’s Redemptive Heart

This closing section foretells the merciful plans of the Eternal God of Isaac and Jacob for their descendants.  Ezekiel receives The Word of The Lord with boundary lines for how God will apportion the restored land first promised to Abraham and his children.  This may seem straight forward – that God has a specific plan to give each tribe a place to build and call home.  However, Christians may find these chapters difficult to harmonize with Apostle John’s words in The Revelation and other end-time prophecies.

In this layout of a future kingdom promised by God to the nation of Israel, Ezekiel provides pinpoint, “GPS” cartography, laying out of the boundaries of each tribe of Israel’s allotment of land in a restored and future kingdom.  From my view, this detailed description may have provided John with his framework of Jewish apocalyptic writings.  Yes, I believe that God directly inspired John’s description of numbers: for example, the 144,000 Jewish converts to Christ during the Great Tribulation period and the New Jerusalem, a city over 1,000 miles wide, and just as long and high (yes, tall enough to stretch into Outer Space).  With reformed Temple worship including animal sacrifice, even seemingly after Christ’s “once for all” sacrifice (Romans 6:10), these last 9 chapters may scare away more Christians and theologians than any of Ezekiel’s writings, even the graphic descriptions of 16 and 23!

I will note here that I don’t feel qualified yet to interpret the closing passages of Ezekiel and all of its minute detail.  However, we can know for sure that Ezekiel completes his prophecies in the same place as John does in Revelation.  At the end of his writings, Ezekiel writes in 48:35, “the name of the city from that time on shall be, The Lord Is There.”  Then, as John finishes The New Testament, John writes in Revelation 21:3 this description of the New Jerusalem in language complementary to Ezekiel’s hope-filled name of our future home:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.”

With these passages, let us build our hope on The One True God and His desire to reveal Himself in the short-term, when we commune in the spiritual realm, and His promise to live with us in the long-term, when He will physically and perfectly inhabit our new home.

Looking at both John and Ezekiel’s writings, I admit to confusion.  I try to  understand how God sees present-day rulers in Israel/Palestine, and the ongoing fight for land in The Middle East, and the promise of a perfect nation ruled by “The Prince of Israel”.  I also don’t understand when and how the Lord’s coming will occur, as described by John.  Nevertheless, God promises His mercy, and He even maps it out in detail because He will fulfill His words.  His grace is consummated for all women and men who care for Him.

Profound Plays Tell God’s Tragic Tale

Still, Ezekiel contains an even more uncommon narrative style, when compared to other parts of The Bible: 2 forms of drama.  In Chapter 4, Ezekiel acts out a true “One Man Play” among the exiles from Judah in Babylon, preaching each day while laying down outside for over a year (390 days)!  To depict God’s wrath on Jerusalem, he also builds dirt dioramas of The City of David and shows in excruciating detail how The Babylonians will destroy Judah.

In the second form of drama, Ezekiel performs as God’s avatar, his direct reflection to reveal how God acts in relationship with His rebellious children.  In Chapter 24, God tells Ezekiel of his wife’s impending death, but God requires Ezekiel NOT to mourn her passing.  Seemingly the cruelest job of any prophet, God wants the exiles in Israel to understand their deep, ongoing sin.  It’s almost like God says to His people, “See, look at Ezekiel.  He doesn’t even grieve the loss of ‘the delight of [his] eyes’.  Like him, I have no more tears to cry for you.  My wrath will be spent.”

This harsh picture of God shows the other side of God’s character, seemingly in contrast to the tender story in Amos about God’s buying back unfaithful Israel.  There, Amos, acting in the part of God, marries the prostitute Gomer, who bore children not fathered by Amos.  Then, when Gomer returned to prostitution, Amos bought her back, knowing that she still was unfaithful to him.

Both of these examples of “prophet as performance artist” complement each other, similar to the proverbial “two sides of the coin”.  We can’t have a coin… without 2 sides!  God acts at different times and in different circumstances with wrath toward His children in rebellious disobedience and with mercy toward the sinner.  These sets of actions provide more evidence of the significance of reading the writings of Ezekiel.

See, many preachers and seekers of The Lord Jesus Christ (including myself, occasionally) emphasize God’s mercy when responding to sin and unfaithfulness, as seen in the “reality drama” of Amos and Gomer.  However, just like the best human fathers, God not only provides mercy, but He also doles out discipline.  By reading all of the prophets and their proclamations, we see a glimpse of the true depth of God’s personality.  What majesty I see in this nuanced revelation of God’s goodness: just, fierce, forgiving, merciful, and always trustworthy!  And I know this about God because I read all of the counsel about Him in scripture.

God Reveals Both His Mercy and Justice

How should this two-sided (NOT two-faced!) picture of God affect His followers and our sharing of His grace with humanity?  For one thing, we only understand the character and actions of God as we seek Him in and through His past words in The Holy Bible.  For both believers and seekers of The Lord God, we can and should use our studies of the Old and New Testaments to push our awareness of His divine nature.  Remember that God doesn’t expect us to somehow discover a jewel about Him after innumerable unfruitful searches in the garbage heaps of Worldly Wisdom.  I am, similar to greater minds of the past like Isaac Newton, a follower of Jesus Christ and a person concerned with living my life in the logical world created by Him.  Therefore, I “use a metaphor popular at the time [of Newton]: God created two books, the book of Scripture and the book of Nature, and both books are true.” (Seen at https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-book-of-nature-the-book-of-scripture).  We need not worry if reality seems hazy at times, whether within one of God’s “two books” or when comparing Nature with Scripture.  As we wrestle with the meaning of The Bible, and as we learn more every day about the intricacies of God’s Creation, let us seek to find both what is real and what is holy.  As we do, we will know more about how God relates to us and what we must know to follow Him.

Thank you for your consideration… and remember: Holy Spirit is directing us all on a journey to unity in Him, through Christ, bringing us all closer to unity in Heavenly Father.  “God, bless those who read this.  In Jesus’ name, amen!”

I will share in my next post about more of the somewhat obscure parts of Ezekiel.

 

Blessing of Stillness #14

The Stillness Before We Respond to an Increase of Testing or Trial

 

Beloved, I call your spirit to attention, in the name of Yeshua.

 

Listen to the word of G-d for your spirit for today.

 

The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, ‘You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.’ They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh;

 

Exodus 5:19–20

 

Spirit, there was a moment after the king of Egypt died, when the children of Israel had a moment to cry out for rescue (Exodus 2:23).

 

Following that season where they were able to catch that breath to cry for rescue, they settled back into the rhythm of bondage and building in the brickyard of Pharaoh.

 

Then these two men showed up to advocate as servants of the Most High for the release of this nation in bondage.

 

Then the nature and difficulty of the task increased majorly.

 

Then, the sons of Israel had a choice as to how they were going to respond to Moses, Aaron, and G-d.

 

Spirit, there is a moment before you respond to the increase of adversity, where you have an opportunity to respond to the increase of the fire that you are in.

 

There is a moment for you to be still, if you take advantage of it.

 

It may not look like a moment because for a season the difficulty of your trial has increased, likely past what you consider your breaking point.

 

But it is a moment all the same.

 

So, I bless you to recognize that moment when it comes, as subtlely as it comes.  I bless you to stop before you respond to G-d, to discern whether this season is something akin to a contraction that will result in your delivery from the dark press of your slavery, or whether it is the result of something else.

 

I bless you, spirit, to recognize precisely when Father is attempting to deliver you from a place of anguish.

 

I bless you, spirit, to recognize the timing of Father’s deliverance, even when you can see nothing else.

 

I bless you, spirit to hope when there is not a logical reason to hope.  I bless you with a recovery of the hope that was first yours when you came to know the L-rd.  At the first mention of the recordance of your name in heaven’s books and in the book of life, I bless you with a deep recovery of, and celebration of, the hope that is now yours, and remains yours, even when you despair of hope in your immediate circumstances.

 

I bless you, spirit, with a raging defiance against hopeless.

 

I bless you with hope while you still are.

 

Yes that was a complete sentence.

 

You do not exist, spirit.  Rather, you ARE.

 

The Scripture in the Greek of Acts 17:28 says “In Him we live and move and we are.”  We do not merely exist, like a bump on a log, with no active principle.  Because we are in Him, We ARE.

 

There is a principle of being-ness that is not part of mere existence.  There is the capacity for active kenesis and the expression of potential.  Mere existence can be had without execution or movement toward an objective.  Mere existence can be had without desire.  But we have desire, and zeal, and passion for things and goals.  We do not merely exist, we have a movement and a motion and a flow in us that impels us toward various ends.

 

Therefore, I bless you with the movement, and motion, and flow, and desire, and zeal that comes with BEING beyond mere existence.

 

Spirit, you have been placed into the Fire of His Radiance and Holiness, as an iron poker in the fire.  And in the fire, you take on the characteristics of the fire, the light, the warmth, the power of the fire.  And yet, you are still unquestionably iron.  Even when the fires increase, it is to strengthen you for the journey ahead, for the wilderness that is coming.  Father knows what is required.

 

So, everyone who is born of Him, becomes endued with the potential to live and move and be as He is.

 

Spirit, I bless you with a revelation, even in your brokenness, that you are still endued with the nature of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Though it is days, weeks, months, or years since you might have been in the fire of his tempering and proving, or though you are right now in the midst of those fires, and feel like you may be falling apart into a million pieces, you are still full of his fire, zeal, and purgative strength.

 

I bless you, oh lovely spirit, with the revelation of his intimacy as you flourish in the midst of increasing trials, and as you are still to discern if this are indeed His contractions to propel you out of the situation you are in.

 

I bless you with discernment of the nuances of your situation, as many as Father needs you to have right now.

 

I bless you with the capacity to embrace the moment of stillness, as the sweat drips from you, as you consider the nature of what is happening to you and within you.

 

I bless you with shalom and stillness in the name of Yeshua.

Arthur Treats Serina…Then Serina Treats Arthur

Serina (pronounced with a flipped R) Fleck leads the Sapphire Austria office, out of Innsbrck. She has been in California recently and, in the course of a day’s activities, she and Arthur evidently made their way to Farrell’s Ice Cream (picuted above).

Now if you know anything about Prophets, they are really simplified in their worldview. There are heavy absolutes.

Binaries.

Black and white.

Good and bad.

Right and wrong.

In and out.

Up and down.

Quick to judge EVERYTHING, amd have a strong opinion about everything all of the time. They are usually very vernal-expressive

But if you really want to foil a Prophet, your best bet is a quick-on-the-draw Exhorter. Exhorters are presentation-driven, colorful, flamboyant, social, people-oriented, relational, and without something to say in response to anything, anyone, anytime. In fact, they usually habe an unused quota of words and anyone that will give them the time of day is in for a…ahem…treat.

Granted, these stereotypes are crude, but they will serve the purpose of this post.

Arthur writes:

DID SHE REALLY H.A.V.E. TO?

Serina and I were out running around this evening, doing some fathering stuff.

I recently found out about a facet of her design I didn’t know was there, so I was looking for a doo dad that might help her unpack her treasures.

Afterwards, I took her to California’s Ultra Exhorter ice cream parlor… .

She orders the Parlour’s Tin Roof. I ordered the Black and White.

She promptly made a snarky comment about Prophets.

The G-d Who Remembers His Covenant (Ex 2:24)

During those many days the king of Mizraim (Egypt) died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help.  Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to G-d.  And G-d heard their groaning, and G-d remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  G-d saw the people of Israel–and G-d knew.

Exodus 23:23-25 ESV

Let’s tease this one out a bit at a time:

During those MANY days…

That is to say, those days were not merely a few; the time between Moses’ fleeing Egypt and his return was 40 YEARS (Acts 7:30).  That is more than my lifetime, and more than half of some of your lifetimes.  This process is over in a few chapters for us, but for the sons of Jacob, this process was like the pulling of saltwater taffy, or the long drawn-out process of forging a strong sword.  Think Glamdring, or Narsil. Over and over the machine turns, and the taffy is stretched farther and farther.  Over and over the hot steel is reinserted into the flames and the bellows inserts more air into the process, stoking the coals that much hotter, to the place where more and more impurities are removed, yielding a weapon that will not yield when the battle gets hot and long.

the king of Egypt died

This says that the breaking point was the one who already had a motive for killing Moses died.  At that point, and at no other point.

and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help.

Finally, the Scriptures record, Jacob’s seed groaned.  Even in the bowels of a slave, something within intuitively, instictively knows when enough damage has been done.  This is a moment of stillness in the bondage, a moment to ponder because of the death of the Egyptian monarch.  Maybe they will let us go finally.  No Pharaoh to drive a building program, and no need to drive the engine of this Ruler empire.  And, in this moment, the groan and the sighs are released.

Their cry for RESCUE from slavery

They did not just want relief.  Isaac’s born wanted someone to rescue.  They wanted deliverance.  They may have not fully understood the implications, because they were being beaten in the brickyard, and building Pithom and Rameses, but they cried for RESCUE.  Something deep within the spirit of even the most broken slave knows that slavery is not right, and that LIBERTY is right.

Came up to G-d

It arose as incense to the ears of the One who could rescue them. G-d’s heart as Father is for rescue.  He is a compassionate Father.  He is an affectionate Father. He is a tender-hearted, not-distant, Father.

And G-d heard their groaning

It was in the moment of temporary transition, when the King of Egypt died, that the King of Kings, the Man of War, heard the groanings of his יחיד.

Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.”

And G-d remembered his covenant with his friend, his חיד, and his son, and at that moment of stillness, the plan of rescue went into motion.  And of all the people, G-d selected the man who lied about a speech impediment (more on that later), and who really did not want the job.  But G-d would not pick someone that was not able to communicate deeply the nature of G-d.  G-d wanted this unconfident Exhorter who was blocked and found himself on the backside of the desert in the Arabian Peninsula (Galatians 4:25), who could communicate the nature of G-d to this generation of slaves.  That is what it takes to break the back of slavery.  An Exhorter.

And G-d didn’t remember his covenant the way a man who forgot his appointment with his doctor suddenly remembers.  I say that when the text says, “G-d remembered his covenant”, what it really seems to be saying is that “G-d mentally, emotionally, and with the fullness of His Spirit dwelt on and obssessed over it.”

He brooded over it, just as the Sun of Righteousness arises and flutters over a sick, infirmed situation with healing in His wings, and just as the Ruach Ha-Kodesh fluttered over the chaotic, turgid maelstrom of defilement in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (see what I did there?).  He brooded over the desolation of tohu ve bohu.

He brooded and knew.  It occupied his thoughts deeply.  And who thinks more deeply and comprehensively about the release than Father.  He thought of the days when a generation of sons would RISE from a generation of slaves, and of the days when He would be the one to RAISE them up.

And here is one of the reasons Deuteronomy is my favorite book of all and is the heart of the whole testament.  Here is one of the reasons Deuteronomy governs the whole canon, and why you should get INTIMATE with this book:

and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’

Deuteronomy 1:31

Father heart of G-d, gang. Period.  Eat that, breathe that, live that.  There is a compassion in the FATHER heart of Father G-d.

He is the G-d who remembers his covenant.

The Author of Those Ezekiel Posts

David and Eric at Cracker Barrell

Many of you are no doubt aware that there are posts on Ezekiel that have begun to show up on my blog.  Posts not written by me.

First of all, if you have noticed, then here is the post that gives some small detail of the man behind those posts, all of which have been sanctioned for publication here on TPH.

Permit me to indulge a small blurb on him.

His name is Eric Hatch.

I first met Eric while I was sequestered at Evangel University during my season in graduate school (AGTS).  Back then, he was very passionate about things like Kazakhstan (if you do not know what Kazakhstan is, then it is part of a greater region that deeply has my heart, including a major swath of nations that constitute the lion’s share of the world’s global Muslim population), and well-considered communication, and a deeper relationship with our great King and Husband.  His heart is truly noble, though he might not admit that.

I reconnected with him regularly and more intentionally a few years back after several years of intermittent conversation.  I specifically reconnected with him because Father told me it was time to do so.  And the more I have talked with him, the more rich the conversations have become.  Much of our conversation on his part, has been framed with the cavernous wisdom he brings to the table as we discuss matters scholarly and theological, especially from the more Reformed sides of our like-precious faith.

His is the sort of Teacher that deeply considers the Scripture and methodically mines out and polishes nuggets and fathomed treasures.  These gems are then polished, lightly placed upon cashmere cloths, and then deposited in the accounts of his listeners.

Truly, when I talk about the Redemptive Gift of Teacher, this man excels many of them, and though he would never say it in light of the many tests, trials, and the ways in which Father has refined him in the crucible of the last 15 years, he truly has grown into a masterful Kingdom lapidarist.

Above is a true reflection of what this man’s friendship does to my spirit.  And, yes, that is my spirit shining through in the picture of us at Cracker Barrel.

Those posts on Ezekiel are things the like of which we have studied over a long course of Saturday mornings the last several months, and he has been the one to open my eyes to the gems that glimmer in the works of Ezekiel.  For the record, Chapter 23 is probably one of the more powerful gems in the book, as vulgar and pornographic as it is at time.  While I will not spoil the why of the pornographic language of Chapter 23 (I will leave that to Eric to expand upon), I will say it is worth due consideration.  The book is more than Chapters 1 and 37.

For those of you that are SLG tribesmates of mine, I would use the series of Eric’s posts to augment the way you read this second-favorite book of the Old Testament of mine (Deuteronomy is my favorite).  I would consider the various hard things which Eric brings to light.

And I would encourage you to drink deeply from my friend’s well.  His are thoughts worth considering, and I count his friendship among my most-treasured.