Friday, November 23, 2012

Stupid Human Tricks

I can't write about Thanksgiving today because my heart is genuinely too full of the things I'm thankful for to write about them.  I can't write about Black Friday, because it will make me angry enough to drive away the heart of Thanksgiving which I'm not ready to give up yet.  So, despite the fact that the holidays gave me an excuse to take a break from my Hebrews 11 faith portrait series, I'm back again learning from Moses:

By faith, he [Moses] kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. (v.28)   Thematically, I couple this with verse 30 a little later: By faith, the walls of Jericho fell, after the Israelites had marched around them for seven days.

These fall into the category of "Stupid Human Tricks God Asks Us to Do".  There are many times God asks us to do things that, in our human understanding, make just no sense.

A wife friend of mine realized that God wanted her to leave some major family decisions in her wishy-washy husband's hands, even though she was convinced he would crash and burn.  God consistently told a man I know to reveal something he'd hidden from his wife, even though he knew it would hurt her and ignorance had left her in apparent bliss.  Two more wife friends felt led by God to wear only skirts or dresses during certain situations with their husbands, as a physical reminder to themselves of the different roles between them.  Such stuff doesn't make sense. We have such arrogant dependence on our own perspective of a situation, refusing to rely on God's knowledge of the spiritual underpinnings we can't conceive of.

We don't have to look in the Bible for examples of God asking things of us that make no human sense -- life is full of examples.  The nice thing about the Bible's examples, though, is that most of the time, we are given the perspective to see the ultimate whys in the strange requests of God.  God brought down the walls of Jericho to convince the people of Israel from day one of their conquest of the Promised Land that He was the one doing the conquering -- their only role was to praise and obey, teaching them the nature of their covenant and relationship.  God gave the passover ceremony to Moses and the Istraelites to observe on a yearly basis to be an annual picture in their faces of what he'd later be doing with his Son, so they'd recognize him when he came.  (A Jewish believing friend in a Bible study pointed out once the significance of the specific hours mentioned during Jesus' crucifixion -- that the hour he died was exactly the hour that the Passover lamb which the priests sacrifice in the temple to atone for the sins of the whole nation was being killed).

At a BSU Bible study in college, the leader made a statement that at the time was revolutionary for me: "Sometimes God's will flies in the face of human common sense."  Which, if He is truly God, only stands to reason.  But as I said, it was revolutionary for me at the time to consider that I had been limiting God by forcing him to fit into my own puny human reasoning.  Yes, our brain power is from God, and we are insructed to "always be prepared to give a reason", but we need to also accept that truth can be beyond our reasoning and still be absolutely true.

So how do we know what's true?  The same way the Israelites knew what was true.  They obeyed.  They were sure of what they hoped for and hadn't seen -- they were sure that God was God -- and acted on that, marching around a walled cities for seven days.  In a sense, they didn't really know until the walls fall down without their touching them.  But in another sense, they knew from the first step they took to march.

Praying in this holiday season that all of us will have the faith to continue to march and blow our trumpets -- and to give only God the glory when the falls wall down.

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