When we read something that appeals to us we are often eager to apply its benefits to ourselves. We even pretend that we have invented a new thought or maxim, unaware that a hundred souls may be gobbling up the same messsge with varying expectations and emphases. The one thing that rarely occurs – I know from experience – is that we give the credit to the Holy Spirit for opening that particular window into God’s heart.
Even if the Biblical kernel is combined with an observation in nature a Messianic significance is necessary or the exercise is futile. How likely is a reader to look under rocks (in the text) without seeing them? How often does a sentence or verse appear in glorious maturity with the Cornerstone in place? The number of people finding light from a gold plated Ten Commandments box is equal to the crowd that walks around picking up gold nuggets that are strewn everywhere. No mining is necessary! Consider that and meditate before beginning a message run without giving credit to the One who hid the gold in the first place.
Thunder and angels
John 12:29 reports that God spoke and people who were saturated in the very words of God had no idea what he said. Some in the audience said they heard natural noise, thunder. Others assumed that an angel had spoken. The voice we hear seems to be the echoes of our imagination.
The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Loud and confusing
Sometimes the noise of battle overpowers the gospel’s joyful sound. Sometimes it is the noise of battle with no battle. I detect that the John 12:29 phenomenon plays out more often than we would like to admit. The thunder-angel game is comfortable and costly. If God speaks and it sounds like thunder or if one mistakes his voice for an angel (or vice versa) we are in a deep pit with smooth walls.
Loud and low
There is quite literally a lot of shouting. Church can be loud, and its sounds can be mindboggling stupid or sensible. Slogans and mottos, maxims and downright nonsense pollute the air. There are stories that studiously avoid the gospel, even when the story is from one of the four gospels, whence we get the lowdown on the Saviour’s voice.
19. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. 20. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
This turning point of Moses’ leadership is aimed at LIFE IN CANAAN (LIC), and includes the essential statement of Judaism. It also states Israelite obligations with devastating clarity. The personal responsibilies were to do the CSJ (commands, statutes, and judgments), to take possession of Canaan, and to keep (guard) in an attitude of reference the CSJ.
“Ya gotta love” might have been the end of exhortation. Let’s face the fact that Moses was not commanding things that did not exist to become reality. He was stating expectations. It gets complicated when God’s uniqueness rises to the top of the confidence list. I mean the Shema which puts on blinders about how many gods have been part of Israel’s experience up to the Deuteronony turning point (and since).
The Shema calls for attention: hear, there is one God. It does not say “Israel has had one god; that’d be a false report.
When did he command you?
What Israel had to do to have the Life in Canaan as promised are alien to the viability of Abraham’s family.
Is it slightly schizophrenic to embrace the Shema as a statement of faith without hearing what God’s spokesperson – it is not Moses or the prophets- has said?
Can neighbour be reduced to “partners in fables” or battered out of shape with the cyclical bloodbath of animal blood? Christians have more commands than Jews and face no risk of condemnation, exile or deportation. God has commanded repentance.