Gods of no account

The difference between god, gods, and God may make little sense, but in a world where a single deity is said to be real the difference is like night and day,  and quite literally, like life and death.  We may think it is weird for a person to have a god fashioned by human hands, but even the people with an invisible deity have tons of objects that assist them in their devotion; objects ranging from literature to charms, amulets, objects of mysterious origin and worldwide fame.  When a city gangster pulls a pocket knife on Crocodile Dundee, a rugged Aussie outdoorsman, he pulls out a humongous blade, saying, “That’s not a knoife. This is a knoife”.  A real deity cannot be ranked by size, or the number of devotees. Most ancestral or tribal deities are just that; ancestral and tribal, and the imagination of people wanting to be recognized as associates and friends, if not outright deities themselves, of a great deity are too many to count.

Wazzup and what’s coming up

An incident in Yeshua’s life illustrates how connected intelligent people can be to daily life.  The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ “And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ “Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?  An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.” (Matthew 16:1-4, NASB)

Isaiah had a rough time dealing with people who saw themselves as God’s messengers or officials of some sort.  I suspect he may have had a chuckle or two from what they were claiming.  Isaiah’s generation was not very different from ours in this century 2500 years later.  People expected God to advance their interests and they put God, his interest and his instruction, at arms length.  They could not be convinced that calamity was knocking at their doors.

Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; As for the former events, declare what they were, That we may consider them and know their outcome. Or announce to us what is coming; (Isaiah 41:22, NASB)

A genuine deity ought to know past and future equally

Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together. (Isaiah 41:23, NASB)

Behold, you are of no account, And your work amounts to nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination. (Isaiah 41:24, NASB)

Mankind has built nothing bigger than a single neighbourhood. The gods we have fashioned are dwarfed by the failed empires. There are god who affect nothing in the world, who do not see or hear, and are carried about by people even when they have legs and feet. We have not forgotten the Egyptian deities who were decisively exposed by the events in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. It is surprising that the Egyptians did not calculate that the sun was going to die, or notice that the moon was scarred by meteorite bombardment and was barren lifeless. The ancestral homeland of Jacob was known for its amulets – called gods, elohim and teraphim in Jacob’s departure from Padan-aram.

Now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father’s house; but why did you steal my gods (elohim)? (Genesis 31:30, NASB)

Jacob’s uncle wants to know

“Now Rachel had taken the household idols (teraphim) and put them in the camel’s saddle, and she sat on them. And Laban felt through all the tent but did not find them.” (Genesis 31:34, NASB)

Exactly what was Laban looking for

“She said to her father, “Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the manner of women is upon me.” So he searched but did not find the household idols (teraphim).” (Genesis 31:35, NASB)

The household gods were untouchable because Rachel had put them in a virtual vault: the circumstance of her menstrual flow and the camel saddle on which she was sitting.

Why one is more than enough

Hold your horses, tanks, missiles, firearms, homicidal state warriors, and perjured justices! Most people expect a deity to protect, defend them, and supply their needs, even those things people can easily do for themselves. Deities are supposed to have excessive kinds of powers that are represented by military and people-in-council. Obviously, amulets, charms and idols neither see, nor hear, much less aim, fire weapons successfully. They most certainly do not have any wisdom to impart to intelligent human beings. One blank stare from a carved deity, one sacrifice it can never consume, one tear it can never dry, is sufficient to end the illusion that any dead material or living entity we can control, can be confined to a country, city, house or box is a deity.

No-Cross Chaos

The devil has succeeded in counterfeiting the seal of God, the love of God, the work, and the word of God. Every where we look we see the signs or substitute and idols. Even the cross, the means of atonement, has become a hub for twisted views and raw idolatry.

The cross of Christ is not an add-on like the clause “in Jesus’ name “. A lot of Christians are trying to receive the Bible’s riches without the cross. Nothing in the Bible smells good without the Nazarene. In our quest for personal integrity we line up things which are neither original, redemptive, nor unending.

  • Seal: the Holy Spirit or one command?
  • Assurance of salvation: obedience or Holy Spirit indwelling?
  • Love: obedience or caring for people?

Middle class, upper class ministry

Covetousness and carnal desires guide positive thinking, and none of the greater (or great) things promised by people preaching victory and abundance even come close to the gift of the Holy Spirit. By carnal desires we do not mean bodily interests but those desires that belong to the human and temporary experience. Crossless preaching is worse than looking for an accusation against Christ.

One has to violate one’s conscience to put distance between one’s beliefs and one’s practice. Whether the interest is food, drink, festivals, family or ancestral practices, chaos and emptiness follow the abandonment of Messianic atonement for sin. There is no truth that compares to “came into the world to save sinners“; not circumcision, not tireless labour, and not promises to try to be faithful. Faith establishes faithfulness, and none of the situations in which we find ourselves makes us victims. In the midst of all our chaotic situations we are assured of God’s peace and love.

One God, One Book?

How did Israel get away with open idolatry all the while pretending to worship one God? There was no freedom of religion: Babylon and Nineveh fared better on that score. How do we get from worshipping one God to having idols?

“Do not worship idols. Do not make statues of gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19:4

Could the Israelites not have arrested, charged and tried every idolater. The sentence: death. If the law is primary the churches should be executing people. If not for idolatry for the very obvious profanation of the Sabbath.

We can be sure that no church will start executing people openly. The church will do what Judea did: get the civil power to silence perceived threats. The Romans were ready. The obsession with the ten commandments is a quick and easy doorway to tyranny. They never led to justice, mercy and faithfulness.

And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.

Leviticus 26:30

In New Testament times the world was still in the grasp of Satanic idolatry. The Jews were not an exception. They led the assault on worshipping the one true God.

Kingdom Shmingdom

To all the revelation, insight and vision that gets paraded before believers every weekend we give an open ear and a fertile heart, but too often we struggle not to shout out a bold protest and usually end up muttering “Kingdom shmingdom” as a shield against the fatal contamination of demonic doctrine.

Sabbath and law; circumcision and faith

At least a couple of Christian thought groups have figured that they can attract attention to a retired view of God and use that view to impress their audiences that they are in a class by themselves. One prominent retired view proposes that the gospel finds fulfillment in the kingdom of priests (or priestly kingdom). Another marches to the drum of a sabbath-law foundation. These two are shaky and full of holes because they contain the same rebellion against Christ that the allied scribes, elders and chief priests mounted in New Testament times.

There is no fear of God that saves people from sin. If it is the beginning of wisdom it ought to lead to repentance. If it is the door that opens onto life’s square it ought to lead to the one who gives life to the dead.

Junk sayings

Here is a phrase you have probably heard. It is trash. Someone’s mouth is in gear but the engine is not running.

Believing by faith

Maybe one can talk without words but no Christian can believe or live without faith.

Must get home

Heaven, tent, temple, Holy Land(s), churches, altars, sanctuaries and dedicated buildings have all been thought to be God’s residences. We know that things, especially those made with human hands, are poor dwellings. They are inadequate and unnecessary for a great family life.

Shekinah – God’s residence with humanity- is a matter of loving care. Often we get terror and insularity, barriers and partiality, cruelty and false pride where we should find FATHER-LOVE.

Finding home – where God lives – should be everyone’s quest