Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Isaiah 25:4-5: The shelter of the Most High

You have been a stronghold to the poor,
a stronghold to the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat;
for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
like heat in a dry place.
You subdue the noise of the foreigners;
as heat by the shade of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is put down.

I don't feel that I am in any spot of trouble at this moment, whether of circumstances or relationship. Nonetheless, I hope to remember that God is the stronghold of the poor and needy in their distress, shielding them well from the blast of evil. The wicked will trumpet their boast but God will mute it as a cloud shames the brightness of the proud sun and seals off its searing heat from the helpless face of the earth.

My hope must rest in God who is invincible. Under his protection, I can do his will, even for my enemies and so pour hot coals on their heads.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Church's Business and its Programmes

I'm reading T Desmond Alexander's "From Eden to the New Jerusalem". In it he maps out what he thinks is the biblical meta-narrative from Genesis 1-3 and Revelation 20-22. In a nutshell, the Bible is all about God creating a temple world for him to dwell with his people who are created to be royal priests, at once ruling over the other living creatures in the world by their numbers and giving worship to God. Despite the Fall in Genesis 3, God will accomplish his goal by the end of Revelation.

The church's business is therefore to work towards the building of such a temple world or the Kingdom of God. This requires people to be holy as God is holy, to obey God's word as an expression of love to him, to love God supremely and people as we love ourselves and Christians as Jesus has loved us, to trust God at all times and under all circumstances, to make disciples of all nations, and to resist the devil.

But we are often much better at the church's programmes than its main business. We have successful ministries but not godly ministers. We proliferate activity but not build godly lives.

  • Who do we know that we we can regard as an example for holy living?
  • Who do we know that is quick to obey God's revealed will?
  • Who do we know demonstrates his supreme love for God by selfless love for people?
  • Who do we know trusts God firmly and unshakeably?
  • Who do we know actively evangelises and sets a good example for others to follow?
  • Who do we know resists the devil and avoids every kind of evil?
Not many, perhaps not even one.

How then can a church truly succeed in its business?