Two astounding facts about our God

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This week I noticed two astounding facts about God that previously slipped past me.  The first, that God speaks to His image-bearers, us! And second, He created us to be ‘enough’.

Just how does our Father speak to us?  With Moses, He used direct words, face to face. Do you remember jealous Miriam and how she griped to Aaron about the privileges enjoyed only by younger brother Moses?  Read how God responded as recorded in Numbers 12:6-8

Listen to my words: When there is a prophet among you,
  I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions,
  I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses;
 he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face,
 clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord. Why then    were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

With Moses, God used specific, detailed words.

Last night I began reading a book about grace.  The author quoted some verses from Genesis 3. God’s question to Adam about shame leapt out for the first time.  Don’t you both love and fear our Father’s direct interrogations? I still struggle with feeling different from others.  I have labeled myself ‘inadequate’ as a grandmother, compared to all those other grandmothers who seem to come by their roles naturally. Then when I measure myself against other Christians, I rate myself as ‘unloving’.  I know that much of my learned projections are meant to cover up what I am ashamed of.

Maybe you can relate!

Who told you that you were naked? Genesis 3:11 ESV

What does ‘naked’ represent? Think about babies.  They arrive completely exposed, unashamed. Having never been humiliated, they go months before learning to hide something about themselves.

Unfortunately, at a certain age, most of us develop a sense of something not being right with us. Something about us bothers others.  Messaging from others teaches us. It’s the words, the tone of voice, the face, the gestures that communicate our ‘not enoughness’.  Most of us acquire coping mechanisms.

I know some of my learned cover-ups. Other projections are still hidden from me.

Had Adam and Eve stuck with getting truth only from their Father, they never would have known anything else but an artifice-free, secure and loving relationship with God.

Eden 2.0, when Jesus comes back for us, will be safe place. We will finally believe what the Spirit of God has proclaimed through Jesus and the Bible, that our Father has loved us with an everlasting heart.  We were created ‘enough’, never to be shamed.

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Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Numbers 8:1 NASB

This verse stopped me cold. We’ve been journeying with Moses for some time.  Up to now, I hadn’t noticed that the Lord spoke specific words and Moses understood.

Don’t you find it incredible that a being, in a different category than us, should speak with a mere human with such detail?  The instructions Moses received were complex. Friends, our God intentionally communicates with us! When necessary, if His written word or the pressing of the Holy Spirit are inadequate for the situation, He resorts to out-loud words that a human being can understand.

Thinking of God talking with Moses motivates me to practice more intentional listening. Does God want to connect in this way?  Absolutely! We have His written word and His Spirit in us. And just maybe, some of us will hear the spoken sound of His voice

If counterfeit experts can acquire skill, spotting highly sophisticated replicas of money…. If young children can acquire the facility to understand and distinguish sounds, responding purposefully in two or more languages while growing up….then surely we can improve our ability to listen.

I think listening skills are transferrable.  So, this morning I resolved to practice listening more attentively to my ‘neighbor’.  I bet I’ll also hear God more often.

Focusing in on the wrong words!

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A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.  1 Tim 2:11

How’s that for a controversial admonition!  Why it’s enough to stir up some of us gals into a frenzy!

The other day, I listened to a podcast conversation where a woman, well-equipped to handle the Bible in a way faithful to the text, respond to some pushback about this thorny passage.

She handled it by pointing out that most ’21st century moderns’ pass over just how counter-cultural and preposterous was the idea, this new tradition, of women being included in LEARNING! Up until then, only men enjoyed the privilege of being taught.

Jews and gentiles alike would have balked initially at women acquiring any kind of education beyond that necessary for running a household. But Paul viewed men and women from God’s point of view. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:28

For as many years as I have read this section of Scripture about women who are to be ‘quiet’ in church, I had missed the main point.  That emphasis being that women were actually encouraged to LEARN.  What other facts have I missed by not giving each word of God equal attention?

Here’s one more example –

He (Jesus) answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ Luke 10:27

I’ve always focused on the ‘ALL’ as a modifier, as in: “You’ve got to be kidding!  love God with ALL my heart, strength etc.  How is THAT possible? I love too many other things as well!”

Having shifted my attention to examine each word for meaning, I realize that one possible interpretation of this admonition is this:

Given that every person is going to love something with all his or her BEST energy, that something must be GOD instead of something like…

  • a job
  • another person
  • oneself
  • money
  • the favorable opinion of others
  • one’s family or kids
  • leisure
  • one’s country

Doesn’t Jesus’ command change everything?  For it acknowledges that human beings are wired to be devoted to SOMEthing.  If we don’t wholeheartedly worship God as worthy of our full attention and energy, we will shift our soul and strength to something created.  And that is idolatry.

How about looking at a familiar passage to see if you can read it through fresh eyes?  What might you have missed?  Let me know in the comment section.

 

 

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