Apr 16, 2013

Israel Cries Out To The Lord

This is the fourth post in a five part series. It is inspired by the Book of Judges and my studies of that book. Posts will appear here and on A Deeper Church.

Read the first post.

Read the second post.

Read the third post.

But the Israelites said to the Lord, ‘We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best, but please rescue us now.’”

Can you hear them, the cries of Israel, can you hear them?

Crying out in the clefts and caves of the mountains in which they have taken refuge from their oppressors.

Sobbing prayers of longing for the days their ancestors wandered in the desert, homeless, but with God.

Muttering words of the Lord’s slow anger and abounding love in hopes that He might show Himself to be those things as they find themselves enslaved in a land that was supposed to be theirs.

How long before these cries and prayers and muttered words passed through Hebrew lips did these same Hebrews realize their distance from the One who called them to be set apart?

Days? Weeks? Months? Years?


Were the compromises big from the beginning? Was their turning from Him one giant step at a time? Or did they start small?

Does it matter how big or small the compromises were?

Does it matter how far away from Him they turned?

Does it matter how big or small our compromises are?

Does it matter how far away from Him we turn?

To do anything but directly face God is to face something else entirely.

And the more we turn away, the longer it takes for us to realize we are no longer looking directly at Him.

A glimpse of Him in our periphery is not a life focused on the Lord.

And then suddenly, like Israel, we cry out. We realize He has passed outside of our field of vision. Unsure of which way to turn, for Him who is to guide us is no longer visible, and so we cry out.

We cry out in hopes that He will be faithful to answer even though we have been unfaithful in our turning away.

We cry out in hopes that we will be rescued, as Israel was, again from our sin, again from our turning, again from our idolatry.

We cry out.

Does it matter how big or small our steps away from God are?

Apr 5, 2013

same teams

I am talking with friends about the Church, about the divisions in the Body, about the way the fighting and yelling causes me to mourn.

I begin to marvel at the fact that, even with all this fighting, somehow the Spirit still calls out to itself in each one of us, pulling us back to each other.

It is like dodgeball.

We’ve been divided into teams, and we are pressed against the back walls on opposite sides of the gym.

A members from each team stand closer to the middle, rubber balls in hand, waiting for someone to run forward, look away for a second, throw their ball and leave themselves momentarily defenseless.

Meanwhile those already out stand on the sideline cheering, waiting for a ball to be thrown, waiting for the impossible catch which sends the thrower out of the game.

Here, on the internet, we stand, divided into our different teams. A few well known names, and well known posts position themselves closer to the middle, ready to defend the rest of the team.

Occasionally someone darts forward to grab a stray ball, to lob it over to the other side. But mostly we just let those in the middle fire back and forth assuming they are the ones who will win it for us anyway.

What I notice is the way we keep running forward.

The ways we cheer and jeer from the sidelines.

We cheer from the sidelines because we want to be right. We want to win. We want our voice heard last and loudest.

We jeer because we are afraid. We are afraid of being wrong. We are afraid of losing.

But winning or losing is not the point.

And this is where the metaphor breaks down. Because we don’t just run forward to win, to get someone from the other side out.

Sometimes we do. Sometimes we run forward because they ran forward, and we hope in running, in lobbing a ball on their side, it will take them out of the game.

But sometimes we run forward because the Spirit says to run.

Because the Spirit that pulls you forward is the same Spirit that pulls me forward.

Because that Spirit is the same in me as it is in you. It may speak and make itself known differently in me than it does in you, but it cries out to itself from me to you in a way that draws us to one another.

If we stopped for just a minute we would notice that we are all dressed in the same jerseys. We are all playing for the same team.

We all have different roles on this team.

But we are on the same team.

Our shouts should be shouts of victory.

Because this win we are all fighting for? We’ve already got the “W.”

God has already won this battle.

He won it all those years ago on the cross, and when He did He called us together, to this one team, to this one Body, by this one Spirit.

I am on your team. I want to be on your team.

Apr 1, 2013

God Disciplined Israel for their Disobedience

“…and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.”



Israel did not like the discipline of the Lord. They ran from it, hid from it in mountain clefts, caves, and strongholds.

The rest of the post appears on A Deeper Church. Head over there to read the post in its entirety.