We were reading in church tonight about Heaven and Hell in Matthew 13, among Jesus' parables of the Kingdom of Heaven; the Parable of the Sower, the Wheat and Tares, the Mustard Seed, and Leaven. The Wheat and Tares explained and the Field of Treasure, the Pearl of Great Price, the Dragnet, and in verse 52 the Householder.
In Matthew 13:8, we see an investment in agriculture reaping dividends of 3,000 %, 6,000%, and 10,000% profits. Then in Matthew 13:12, we see the stock options pulled from the investments that were not reaping dividends, but were suffering losses. I purchased stock through my employers with Lincoln Investment Annuities just before 9/11. It wasn't long afterwards that I began to note that my investment was a losing venture. I continually lost 25%, over a period of 2 years. I stopped the investments going in finally, and allowed the amount already invested to sit for another 2 years. It continued to lose, until i finally cashed it in and cut my further losses. Of course, this parable of the Sower is drawing a parallel to Heaven and Hell, where the investment will be finalized and totaled out as a loss or gain.
In Matthew 13:24, Jesus introduces the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, to further explain this process of the End of the Age/ Heaven and Hell cash out of investments. Once again we have an agricultural parallel to a Spiritual investment. Jesus sows good seeds. Satan sows tares to choke the wheat. In Matthew 13:26, we see that the presence of the tares was not immediately obvious. But, the servants had a keen eye for trending on the stock market, and noticed Jesus' investment losing on the short haul. Jesus, being the ultimate entrepreneur, was into long-range investments. He was not about to cash in His investment portfolio on a short-range market slump. No, He held onto His stock
options, knowing there would come a day when He would reap great dividends. He held onto the good and bad stock, allowing the little nest eggs to grow. But, this parable ended with a harvest and a bonfire in Matthew 13:30. In Matthew 13:39-40, Jesus explains to His disciples that the bonfire is Hell, and the harvest is Heaven; another stock cash-out.
In Matthew 13:31-33, Jesus explains the reasoning behind his hold and wait approach to the New World Stock Exchange, with two more parables. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a Mustard Seed, which grows and grows, until it is a huge branching tree that many can nest inside of the branches. The Kingdom of Heaven is like a starter lump of leaven that a woman rolled out in three measures of cornmeal. From that tiny starter, she cooked enough bread to feed many people. That was a lot of bread! This parable was an expansion on the agricultural applications Jesus had been making to this point. He was pointing out that when He plants a seed, it will grow, and it will multiply, spreading out and affecting everything it comes in contact with. His word will reap great dividends for Heaven, if it is allowed to spread.
Then Jesus explains how his disciples should respond to this inside tip. He gives them the parable of the Field of Treasure first. In this parable, a man sells everything he owns to invest in some future hope of gain. It was a risky investment, because how did he know the owner wouldn’t carry away the treasure before the purchase was closed? He was giving up what he had, for what he might gain. I bought a nice Mountain Bike, the weekend before I first started riding in group rides. I knew I needed a better bike than the $30 Wal-Mart bike I had been using. But, when I got into the bike rides around the state, I quickly realized that I needed a racing road bike to keep up. That was not an option at that time, after buying a mountain bike. But, a friend I met on some of the rides gave me a road bike that was a collector’s item. It had some value in it, but was no longer suitable for riding since it wouldn’t go fast enough. I eventually sold it, my old Wal-Mart bike, and my beautiful Mountain Bike with front wheel suspension. Together, and with more money, I was able to buy a nice road bike. But, I had to give up the other three bikes which I would have loved to held on to. I considered the Road bike to be worth more than all those. I did what I had to do, and I was excited to find I was able to ride at the front of the pack in the following rides. It was a worthwhile investment for me.
The second parable Jesus used to explain how we should react to His inside tip on the New World Stock Exchange was the parable of the Pearl of Great Price. This parable left off from the agricultural market, and ventured into the precious metals market. The Merchant was a collector, a man who valued pearls. He knew a good thing when he saw it. So, he sold all that he had, and went back and bought this pearl, because he expected to gain something of much greater value than what he already had, some future return on his investment. These two parables together show that though we may walk away from many potential uses of our capital while it is invested in the future coming Kingdom of Heaven, Heaven will be worth it all.
Then Jesus leaves off on both the precious metals market and the reason for our investment, and returns to His Heaven and Hell comparison of His own investments in us. He gives the parable of the dragnet. In this parable, fishermen are seen taking in fish with nets, large scale investments, without regard to size or kind of fish. When men fish with poles and bait, they are fishing for a particular kind of fish, and use particular bait. But, the dragnet was not choosy. It took in all it could reach. But, then the fishermen sat down and separated the good fish from the fish not worth keeping, and some were thrown back into the water. In Matthew 13:49-50, Jesus explains how this compares to Heaven and Hell.
I have never been a farmer. And, I’m not into precious metals, or fishing. I do know how to cook since I have been a Householder for 26 years. So, the last parable in Matthew 13:52 about the Householder really sinks in for me. I didn’t just set up house yesterday. I have maintained a household for the better part of three decades. Over the years I have acquired a lot of “stuff.” Some of it is old. Some of it is new. But, most of it is of value to me. Though I bought some of it new in more recent years, some of it, like my nightstands, are “Late Yard Sale/ Early Flea Market” antiques. I wouldn’t dare get rid of the old things because I need them. They have their purpose. Since I bought the bed years ago, when I didn’t have the money for a dresser, etc., and I don’t have a new bedroom suit in my pocketbook right now, I carried these two pieces with me when we moved, right along with my nicer furniture. I need them. I value them. Jesus used the parable of the householder to sum up his teaching in this chapter to explain to the disciples that they need to take the old lessons and the new lessons when studying the Bible. We can not allow ourselves to throw out the old lessons we learned, in exchange for the new teaching. Likewise, we can’t sit idly on our old lessons, and think we have it all. A wise student of the Word takes the old treasures and the new. A wise student looks openly at what he is taught by others, as well as at what he is reading himself in the Word. He prayerfully builds his treasure of the Word from the best of the old and the new.
This chapter of Matthew is fascinating. I enjoyed the lesson, and couldn’t walk away from it when I got home. Sometimes I find my mind wandering, darting around the Bible during a Bible Study. But, for some reason in this chapter, I found myself riding around on this same track, until I had re-read it about ten times, like running laps at the park. There is so much in this one chapter, like in Luke 13, that ultimately layers into a vignette of Heaven and Hell. It is a veritable treatise on the Kingdom of Heaven and our investments there, as well as Jesus’ investment in us. I’m glad I made it to church both services today. I feel well fed in the Word.
Children typically have the most difficult time seeing things as they really are. People use the saying alot that children are brutally honest. That is really not so much an issue in the world of a child. Physically and mentally, they have a different perspective from adults. They also have a different, smaller set of experiences on the world. They are not miniture adults, after all. They are children. Therefore, it is unrealistic to expect that children might have an acurate concept of who they are in God's universe. They need for adults to show them what their "true colors" are.
I have never been into a lot of the "self-concept" teaching that we encounter today. I believe concept is built on tangible evidence. It does no good to tell a child, "You are a great student!" if that child can not read. Teach the child to read, however, and the child will feel successful.
I found the greatest success tool when I worked with inner city kids was the camera. I took lots of pictures and set them on the classroom computers as slideshow screen savers. The look on the faces of the children when they saw their pictures was priceless. The picture always showed them being successful in class. The child would sit up straighter, and you could see they could now see themselves as a student, doing valued work. I think they could see themselves as likeable through the eyes of someone who liked them. That makes all the difference in perception...perspective.
How do you see yourself in God's Kingdom? Do you see yourself as a failure, of little value to the kingdom? Do you let the devil kick you around for mistakes? Positive thinking is of little value. Find something to do for God and do it. Then see how you feel. Let Satan see your true Kingdom colors. Forget the positive thinking and turn all the lights on. The companion video lesson on my Animated Faith Zone
for Kids today has more on this topic @ http://www.animatedfaithzone.com/index.html
It is raining today, here, so the power just went out again. :-/ Glad we will be moving in a few weeks. As my battery is draining, I decided to get cracking on tonight's blog...about the Kingdom of Heaven. If you've known me long you've heard much of what I talk about before. I've definitely spent a lot of time talking about the Kingdom of Heaven, as this article and the study of the topic was first shared a decade ago on my now ancient Geocities website. I discovered the articles online recently on a site that rescues, catalogs, and archives "sites of interest" from the nineties now defunct websites. I was pleased to see some of my writing was available and retrieved it that way. I don't have much, proportionately speaking, of my old Reason2believeHim blog saved either, that I was publishing after the Geocities site closed. I only have the hardcopies of what I did print. If by some chance you were reading then, and you have ventured my way again, and you have copies of my old blogs, I would be grateful if you shared them with me. Of particular interest would be some of the fictional writing, such as "Hi Tech Joe Finds the Light on Quad." I don't have a copy, and doubt that I could
re-create it. Just goes to show, you should never stop when you are working for God. Don't throw it all away. I am human and my faith has been known to fail me. Sometimes we all need a recharge.
Jesus spent a lot of time talking about the kingdom of God, during His earthly ministry. He was literally obsessed with talk of it. "Kingdom of Heaven" this, and "Kingdom of God" that!" He saw the kingdom as a work in progress..."The kingdom of heaven is like...," and he saw the kingdom as a place to look forward to arriving at one day soon. Paul, like Jesus, seemed to have in mind an
"eschatological dualism" when talking about the kingdom. This term refers to the two sided coin of our Kingdom Ministry. The Kingdom is here in our hearts, and the Kingdom is yet to come in its fullness. He talked about what it would be like in heaven, while spreading churches across Asia minor and writing two thirds of the New Testament.
Since I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, I am a stranger to this world. Yet, I am in this world. I am on a journey. But who starts a journey without the destination on their mind and the road beneath their feet? When I was young, I kept watch on the road signs to see if we were almost there yet. Now, when I travel, in the driver's seat, I still calculate the miles left to home every ten miles along the way. Jesus said the meek would inherit the earth. But, one day the earth will be consumed with fire. I'll pass on that one. I put my investment in the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 11:12
God's Word runs quickly across the Earth, and in and out of our hearts, lifting us up to the level of the personal Savior. Yes, God is high and lifted up, and God is with us. While we have God with us via the Holy Spirit, the Word is a remarkably tangent way to reach God. My goal on my websites is the propagation of the Gospel. I like to see God's Word run. I feel that technology is a great way to move the Gospel of Jesus Christ, an excellent vehicle. Of course technology still needs the human component in the driver's seat.
I read a tweet today on Twitter by Tommy Tenney, (Pentecostal Author of God Chasers) "What if the apostle Paul only embraced theologically the technology that was existent at the time of Moses or Abraham? Don't be a Luddite!" That is true. Paul, Moses, and Abraham were from different generations, and neither were capable of what you or I have at our disposal today. The Luddites were rednecks of the Bible, bowmen from the islands, sons of Shem and Noah. Their descendents had not received the message of God's Word in Isaiah 66:19. But, God had plans for them. Jeremiah 29:11
There is a change in the presentation of the Scriptures here now, since I have added the code across all three sites for Reftagger. This will allow me to just cite the reference for Bible verses, as in tonight's blog, while preserving and sharing the Word. If you hover your mouse cursor over any Scripture reference, the actual verse appears in a small popup window, as long as you are hovering. I chose the New King James version for this feature, and plan to actually type out any version I choose to use that has a noteworthy difference, such as the King James 1611 version. After all, it is not my purpose to just fill the screen with Bible verses, but to present and provide access to the Gospel to help us on our journey to Heaven.
Jesus spent a lot of time talking about heaven, more than any other subject to my knowledge. He mentioned the Kingdom of God some 54 times in the Gospels, in reference to Jesus' words. And, He mentioned the Kingdom of Heaven 30 times in Matthew. That totals 84, even though many of the instances are overlapping, being recorded in more than one of the four gospels. But, so are the other topics Jesus spoke about. And, I haven't found any topic that comes close since I started searching at the beginning of this milenium. I could be wrong. :) And, this doesn't take into account other names for Heaven, like when Jesus told the thief in Luke 23:43 he would be with him in Paradise. More than anything, I just want to go there...and take a lot of people with me. Get on board!
Hear the Parable of the Cedar:
Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair
branches, and with forest shade, and of a high stature; and his top was among
the thick boughs.
The waters made it great, the deep set it up on high with its
rivers running round about its plants, and sent out its little rivers unto all
the trees of the field.
Therefore its height was exalted above all the trees of
the field, and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long because
of the multitude of waters, when it shot forth.
All the fowls of heaven made
their nests in its boughs, and under its branches did all the beasts of the
field bring forth their young, and under its shadow dwelt all great nations.
Thus was it beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches: for its
root reached to great waters. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide it:
the fir trees were not like its boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like its
branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto it in its beauty.
I have made it beautiful by the multitude of its branches: so that all the trees
of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied it.
Ezekiel prophesied this parable to the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was apparantly from Assyria. Egypt often had foreign Pharaohs. Quite an odd thing. We wouldn't do well to have a Japanese President of the United States, I don't imagine. Oh, but this Pharaoh had prospered, and multiplied his greatness. He saw himself as a cedar, so to speak, but forgot he was planted in the Garden of God.
If you compare the NKJ text above to the Old King James, it only differs basically by substituting male and female pronouns for the pronoun "it," when referring to the Cedar and the waters of the deep. The Old King James uses "He" for the Cedar because the Cedar is symbollic of the Pharaoh, a man. Likewise, the groundwaters (waters of the deep) are personified as "her." The waters in Revelation are symbolic of "many people." That leads you to see many people here who are fed and made rich by the Assyrian, putting them on the receiving, or feminine, end of the trade. In the same way today, America is a woman, Russia is a Mother, etc. They are feminine because they are traditionally led by men, it seems. It is only metaphoric, so they are basically the same.
God had bad things in store for the Assyrian, Pharaoh of Egypt, which is a symbolic name of the devil and of the Antichrist, along with the name, "the Man of Sin." You see, God sees you in respect to whose side you are on... or rather, whose work you are doing. Are you against Christ? Then He sees you as Antichrist. Are you for Christ? Then you are a Christian. There is no middle of the road, no purgatory either, no other garden in which to be planted.
Luke 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathers not with me scatters.
No neutral territory it seems. Either you become a planting of the Lord, or you become plucked out of the Garden of God. But, that's not my point. What most strikes me about this parable sleeping among the prophets, is the fact that the Assyrian was in God's Garden. He was planted by God. He was given his dominion from the Lord of Hosts. The Magnificent Creator delivered all this into his hands, then judged him for his works.
We are saved by grace, through faith in the blood of Jesus. But, that does not cause us to despise works, does it? James says that if we say we have faith without works, then he will show us his faith by his works.
James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me
your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
But, we are judged by grace, right? Wrong. try door #2.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of
life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the
books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it; and death
and hades delivered up the dead who were in them: and they were judged every man
according to their works.
This pretty much measures up to what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents. The Master judged the servants for the works they did with the talents they had been given. But, there are two interesting things to note here in this Old Testament Parable.
1. We all belong to God... whoever you are...however you see yourself.
2. God is in charge.
Whose side are you on?
Matthew 25:14-15 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling
into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his
goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to
every man according to his own ability; and immediately took his journey.
The roar of the lion is no new sound. Some of the references to Jesus roaring like a lion appeared many thousands of years before the first advent of Jesus on Earth. C. S. Lewis wrote a picturesque trilogy based on the coming of the Lion that he called the Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia being the abode of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.
Joel 3:16-18 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice
from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be
the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall you
know that I am the LORD your God... And it shall come to pass in that day, that the
mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the
rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth from the
house of the LORD..."
Of course, we all wait in hope for the return of the Lion. Jesus is the Lion and He will call His children from afar on that great and notable day.
Hosea 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion:
when he shall roar, then the children shall come trembling from the west.
The image of the Lion fits well, because is Jesus not the King, much like the Lion is the King of Beasts? Actually that is quite a striking metaphor, seeing as how the King of the Beasts must be a beast himself. God, being the Creator of mankind, was not a man himself, until he robed Himself in flesh like clay, and took upon Himself the likeness of a man in Jesus Christ. Then He was able to call Himself the King of Men... the Son of Man... He who was first the Son of God now walked in the clay that He created. Now... the Lion could call Himself the King of all Creation, because He dwelt in our earthly realm.
Isaiah 31:4 For thus has the LORD spoken unto me, Like the lion and the
young lion roaring over his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth
against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor disturbed by the noise of
them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for its
Oddly matched battle usually, between the lion of Judah and the multitude of world leaders! (Our leaders are our shepherds, I hope we vote in the matter.)
Isaiah 42:13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up
jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, shout aloud; he shall prevail
against his enemies.
And on the Lion marches...coming, coming in glory! Hear the battle cry? Our Champion is leaping and charging ahead, leading the Kingdom Saints!
Jeremiah 25:30 Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and
say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his
holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a
shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the
There will come a day when all will see His face in glory. After the rapture of the church, after the havoc of the man Antichrist, the man of sin, has devastated Earth with the climax of sin's effect which began at the Fall, after the desecration of everything called holy on this earth! Then comes King Jesus, charging on a white horse, leading the saints in their glorified bodies. Then we will not only behold Him, but we will be like Him, for we will have seen Him as he is.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not
yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up
your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he comes and rains
righteousness upon you.
What a beacon of hope imbedded in this passage of judgment! It begins in
verse ten with God longing to punish. Then comes the harvester metaphor. Then
this gem of a promise in verse twelve, and then a reversal of the promise is
given in an indictment against the people of God who have not listened.
The Harvester Metaphor points out the loving care God has given to His
people. They were like a heifer that has been trained gently how to thresh the
corn in the threshing barns. This is quite an easy job for a cow, considering
the care the heifer would get. They were fed all they could eat, and were not
yoked together to plow, which is very hard work for a cow. They were not
muzzled, but were allowed to eat as they worked.
Deuteronomy 25:4 You shall not muzzle the ox when it treads out the grain.
1 Timothy 5:18 For the scripture says, You shall not muzzle the ox that
treads out the grain. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward.
But, now due to the sin of the people, God is going to “yoke them to a
plow,” so to speak. They will be sold into bondage to another country, and
forced to work, backbreaking work. Sin is never easy on the flesh or spirit of
man. And, sin makes our life much more difficult than God intended it to be.
Take the Fall in the Garden of Eden. God promised life for obedience,
and death for sin. Adam and Eve chose “Door #2.” So now we work with the sweat
of our brow, suffer in childbearing, and eventually we all will die. But, that
was not what God had planned for us, was it? No. And, now what have we gained?
We have worked for 6,000 years, and the job is not finished yet! We toil day in
and day out, and we’re getting nowhere fast. The earth spins around one more
time, as we work and toil at our labors. But, the job isn’t completed. Pointless
work… work that is forever incomplete, as earth spins.
Hosea 11:10 They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion:
when he shall roar, then the children shall come trembling from the west.
Notice that God is comparing Himself to a ferocious, destructive
Hosea 5:14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to
the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them
away, and none shall rescue him.
Next He compared the tribe of Ephraim to a silly dove. But in chapter 11 the
lion is no longer behaving fiercely, nor is the dove acting stupidly, like it
has no sense. But, the lion is sounding a call to bring His people home. Oh, can
you hear that call of the Lion of Judah??!! He is calling His children home from
afar! And, now the silly doves are no longer muddleheaded in sin, but they are
winging their way home from the land of bondage, following their Lion-Savior’s
God transacts a change in our lives as we allow ourselves to be changed.
Only by listening to His call can we ever escape the bondage of the world. Only
a birdbrain would choose “Door #2.” We must not allow ourselves to remain in
this land of bondage, but we must break free into God’s Kingdom. One day soon we
will wing our way home.
For Sale, barely used life. 1964 Model, fully restored in '79.
Hi-quality sound system. Shifts gears easily, excellent transmission.
Exterior needs some body work. Lo-mileage. Only driven to church
twice a week for 32 years by a Christian lady.
God has a plan for every life. I just don't know how far I've gotten in His plan. I look at the lives of great Christians who have gone before me, and I have to wonder, what could I accomplish if I were on the shoulders of these giants? nanos gigantium humeris insidentes - Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants (Latin)
No, instead of mounting the achievements of the past, I strive to go my own route, and being quite dwarfed myself I fail to accomplish much in the way that would propel this Gospel forward towards God's coming Kingdom. Why am I here...now...in this moment? What can I do for God, if...? What is it that God needs? These are all questions we have to answer for ourselves.
Esther 4:14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then
shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place;
but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou
art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
It would be so much easier if we all had an Uncle Mordecai to tell us what to do for God. That seems to be the work of the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, in our lives. The Spirit within us compels us to move, to actually do something.
Philippians 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were
already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also
I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have
apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark
for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Yes, the Spirit compels me to reach for what God calls me to do in this world. It is for this reason that I realize I need to sell out to God all that I hold back from Him. After all, He already paid for the sale on Calvary.
*There is no ending for tonights blog...since it is just a series of conclusions.
Luke 12:49-50 I am come to send fire on the earth; and would that it were already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I constrained till it be accomplished!
Yes, the Peacemaker was self-acknowledged to be the source of conflict. Here, Jesus admitted to having ulterior motives for everything He would do during His brief, yet fiery ministry. Nothing that happened during those days of fire and long treks afoot happened merely as coincidence. What appears at casual glance to be a series of vignettes, ultimately layers into the beautiful story of grace. Jesus came with a plan, and He knew the cost before he implemented the first step. That much is apparent in the above verses. Yet, not only did He come to Earth to die, but we are allowed to see His weakness, His trepidation, even His human fear in this candidly honest statement of His mission. Nothing hidden, no secrets to His purposes, but He lays the facts before His friends who had no idea of what those words would hold.
Imagine you were one of the disciples, at that moment. Would you have asked for clarification of that comment? I didn't think so. Neither would I. It just doesn't seem like something you would want to know the meaning of, from their perspective. I mean, think about it. If you have left all to follow Christ, would you want to hear that he was on a mission to die? I think not. Jesus admitted that if He must die to obtain this salvation, so be it...and let's get on with it now. Nothing held back, no posturing or parrying. He admitted this mission would consume not only Himself, but many others with a fire of division and judgment. Then, following right along with his no holds barred mentality, He went a step further and added that this mission would engulf Him. It would swallow all that He is and within this passion he would lose His own being.
I can see that happening. Can't each of us identify something that controls and engulfs us? I have always felt an engulfing passion for teaching, much like Jesus' baptism in these verses. It is an ambition that is larger than me, bigger than my ability to contain. I never really chose teaching...but rather teaching seized hold of me. I was called to the job, and I felt like that was all there was to be. And, when I thought I might not have that dream, I felt like an eagle was perched on my shoulder, with a broken wing, unable to fly. Yet, the dream would not leave. I chafed at the pain of seeing the wounded creature faltering in defeat, and tried desperately to rid myself of the dream, which would not leave. But, oh the majestic joy that filled my heart, until I felt it would explode, when I achieved that dream. Watching the eagle soar fills me with an euphoric sense of pleasure. Make no mistake, I am living my dream with every word that I write. As I have said before, the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. My calling to teach cannot be revoked by anyone. I can't stop teaching. It is who I am. Short of a power failure, or rigor mortis, nothing can silence me. I dare the devil to try. This dare is not because of my own ability or backing, but because of who I am in Jesus Christ. I know who I am.
And, the word of God is something that consumes me, like Jesus' fire. Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like a fire? says the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Yes, the Word is a hammer and a fire! It pours into my soul, pounding out a cadence and a rhythm, pounding in my temple like a hammer, burning in my heart, pushing me to not only read, read, read, but to write, write, write! Oh that I could consume the Word, for it is consuming me! Ezekiel was instructed to eat the Word, in the form of a little book, in a vision. But the Word, once tasted, begins to eat away inside your heart, like flames of a fire.
I can see why Jesus is called the Living Word... the Logos. The Word makes me alive. It fuels my soul. I feel the life, the living Water, when I drink from the Words of God. I feel thirsty without the Word, as if I have no strength, and perhaps as if I have no God. And, if I read too much, and don't write or speak, it burns within me like a fire that threatens to consume me. I, like the apostles, cannot help but speak the Words that I have read and heard of Jesus.
Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Same, same! Their hearts burned because the Word of God... Jesus Christ...spoke to them. When I open the pages of God's Word, my heart burns within me because His Word is living in me. The odd part is that filling up on the Word brings a peace to my life, like an infusion of sanity. How can something that drives you like fire, fill you with such peace? Oh, but I always try to offer a drink to my guests when they come over. If you're thirsty... Psalms 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that
trusts in him.
Exodus 2:1-2 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bore a son: and when she saw him that he was a fine child, she hid him three months.
God Bless Jochebed! Oh the love of a mother's heart! (We find her name in Numbers 26 by the way.) Giving birth to a child, though not a unique event, just happens to be one of the most meaningful events in a woman's life... to her. Yes, every mother has a child...but, this was her child. No government mandate would stop a mother's love from pounding in her heart. You have to wonder what she was thinking. Breaking the law is really stupid, you know. She was a criminal! She hid a child the government ordered executed. Picture this poor girl, for she had to be still young, with a smile on her face as she held this chubby little baby. Now, she already had a boy and a girl, older children. But, something in her heart refused to reject this child. To look at this silly laughing baby and know she would defy the law to keep him, was easy to understand, if you are a mother.
Other Hebrew women had seen their children killed. They suffered the grief. They cried and screamed as the child was torn from their arms to be dashed to pieces. Who did Jochebed think she was to hide her baby? Did she think her baby was so special? She had to have suffered the pains of childbirth in silence, without even calling for a midwife. Maybe her husband did the unthinkable and delivered the child himself. I can hear Jochebed crying, grabbing her husband by the arm and pleading that he not call a midwife, because they would kill her child. No, she must deliver this child in silence and hide him today.
The verse says she saw he was a "goodly" child, probably meaning pretty, or cute. Loveable. But, that describes most every mother's baby, does it not. What made her baby so special? Well, there you have the difference in the saved and the lost.They both know they are lost. But, the Christian decides that regardless of how little they deserve salvation, they want it. The Lost accept that they don't deserve salvation. They won't take it. The Saved found themselves at a place where they would not be denied heaven at any price.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Lawbreaker! Just who do you think you are Jochebed? Do you think your baby is so special? We find later that this baby had a speech problem, Moses. But, God spoke from the mouth of Moses. God can speak from a rock. God has spoke in various times and in various ways, you know. (Hebrews 1:1) It doesn't really matter who you are, because God is the one speaking. Dear Jochebed, God will speak. Go ahead. Step out on faith and hide God's promise. Lay little baby Moses down in the bulrushes, and watch God bring him up out of Egypt.
In this story you see a mother who had no idea, no plan. She was just taking it one day at a time. She only knew she could not allow this good baby to be killed. Each day she hid him, not knowing what else to do. Finally, she knew she could hide him no longer. She had to have a plan. Oh, but God already had a plan waiting for her. Moses would not only be saved, but he would become the salvation of his people. Jochebed couldn't have realized that this had been God's decision all along. Here she thought she wanted her baby to live, and all along it was God's child. God put that love in her heart for a reason. God would not only sustain the child, but He would make a way of escape, when Jochebed's resources were depleted.
And, to think, God lets us have a part in His plan...when we will ask for His will. He could do it without our help. But, God chose to use Jochebed and her "good" child. Afterall, God used David and a rock. He could have killed the giant with just the rock. But, David chose to get involved in God's will. David hooked his sling up to God's rock. Just who did he think he was?! Still wet behind the ears, and you think you're going to fight a giant? Sit down boy!
You see, the problem was that the other men had been there working all the time. David had not been on the battlefield, serving in the war. They saw him as coming fresh out of Father's protecting arms, to criticize their work. Had David seen war, they might ask? Where had David been while they were faithfully serving the country? Here he was catering lunch. But, David had been serving in the sheep fields of his Father. He was working elsewhere. A job is a job, is it not, when you are in the employ of Dear Old Dad. Somebody has to watch the family business. They must have wondered who David thought he was.
I never read what becomes of Dear Old Dad and Mom (David's Dad Jessie and Moses' Mom Jochebed.) But, Moses delivered a nation from bondage. David became King of Israel, and his son after him, and Jesus will one day sit on his throne. Imagine, being part of such a great big plan! That's where we find ourselves...right in the middle of God's glorious Kingdom!