Month 6:17, Week 3:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year 5935:159 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Thursday 15 September 2011
When God Appears Perverse
An Important Key to Understanding
It has been a bad week with software and human error leading to the loss of the main sermon last Sabbath (I replaced it yesterday) and also a substantial devotional today which needless to say has been a huge discouragement. The odd thing about both experiences - and especially today's - is that the feeling is not unlike losing a child - in this case a brain- and heart-child - something uniquely created that can never be replaced. I think the feeling is related to the loss of a priceless cultural artefact that has symbolic and sentimental value for someone. In the end, though, even a piece of text is just a 'thing' and what matters the most is whether you still have it all together inside.
I am, frankly, having problems dealing with this. I was given two passages of scripture this morning, I chose the second, and wrote with great liberality. The inspiration was strong, it flowed beautifully, and I had actually finished it. I was satisfied that it would be a blessing to many and looked forward to getting this spiritual food up online. All that was missing was a picture to head the devotional and as I couldn't get access to one at that moment for technical reasons, I thought I might as well start tomorrow's devotional while I waited. And that's where things went wrong. In a moment of tiredness I thought today's devotional was the template for tomorrow's, deleted what I thought was the duplicate material, and erased the original. To try and get over the loss, I went and mowed our entire lawn (which is pretty big), plus some of my mother's, to try and overcome the deep sense of loss. Though exhausted, it didn't work.
To try and get past this I have decided to go to the original scripture Yahweh gave me this morning and we will see where the Ruach (Spirit) takes us. Maybe this was the one I was supposed to discourse on after all. I suppose I should have paid closer attention to it since this is the second time it has been given to me. Indeed, perhaps the loss of the devotional about the second one was a reminder of priorities. We shall see, since I never know what a sermon or devotional is going to consist of until I sit down and start writing. So let us go straight to this passage and in the version I originally read it:
Looking at this passage I can see that it is possible to approach it in many ways. Transcribing it carefully and meditating on it I could see many applications. But what was it that Yahweh wanted me to focus on for today's readers? I have highlighted the text that I understood was to be used, and then stopped. We'll come to that in a moment.
"Yahweh is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my Elohim (God), my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; Thou savest me from violence. I call upon Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. For the waves of death encompassed me, the torrents of perdition assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me, the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon Yahweh; to my Elohim (God) I called. From His Temple He heard my voice, and my cry came to His ears. Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked, because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from Him. He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under His feet. He rode on a cherub, and flew; He was seen upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness around Him His canopy, thick clouds, a gathering of water. Out of the brightness before Him coals of fire flamed forth. Yahweh thundered from heaven, and El Elyon (the Most High) uttered His voice. And He sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightening, and routed them. Then the channels of the sea were seen, the foundations of the world were laid bare, at the rebuke of Yahweh, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
"He reached from on high, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too mighty for me. They came upon me in the day of my calamity; but Yahweh was my stay. He brought me forth into a broad place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me. Yahweh rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my Elohim (God). For all His ordinances were before me, and from His statutes I did not turn aside. I was blameless before Him and I kept myself from guilt. Therefore Yahweh has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His sight.
"With the loyal Thou dost show Thyself loyal; with the blameless man Thou dost show Thyself blameless; with the pure Thou dost show Thyself pure, and with the crooked Thou dost show Thyself perverse. Thou dost deliver a humble people but Thy eyes are upon the the haughty to bring them down. Yea, Thou art my lamp, O Yahweh, and my Elohim (God) lightens my darkness" (2 Sam.22:2-31, RSV).
This beautiful psalm of David is more or less duplicated as Psalm 18, with a few variations, but has a prominent place in the prophet Samuel's writing. David wrote it in his earlier days as monarch - there is something remarkably fresh about this piece of figurative prose, a series of triumphant thanksgivings to Yahweh. Things were pretty uncertain in the early days of his reign as a fugitive and an outlaw from Saul, but from them he doubtless learned some of his most important spiritual lessons. For buried in this text, in the 26th, 27th and 28th verses, is an incredible truth: we see Elohim (God) as we are. Let me repeat them once more:
Are we not reminded, as we read these words, something that the apostle Paul would later say too?
"With the loyal Thou dost show Thyself loyal; with the blameless man Thou dost show Thyself blameless; with the pure Thou dost show Thyself pure, and with the crooked Thou dost show Thyself perverse. Thou dost deliver a humble people but Thy eyes are upon the the haughty to bring them down" (vv.26-28).
David had a revelation about the way people perceive and experience Elohim (God). His observations are so obvious and yet the flesh will always deny the obvious. Yahweh is loyal to those who are loyal to Him. Because they are loyal (faithful), they are able to directly see His loyalty (faithfulness) to them. To those who are blameless, walking in Torah-Truth, they will see that Yahweh is blameless too simply because He acts according to His own Torah - therefore they cannot fault Him. Those who are pure in thought, feeling and deed are able to connect to Yahweh on the same wavelength and see that He is pure. And yet those who walk crookedly, living perversely, are only able to see through the eyes of perversion, and therefore everything appears perverse to them, including Yahweh Himself! In other words, they not only can't see the reality of Elohim (God) but they project their own evil onto Yahweh and blame Him for their misfortunes.
"To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know Elohim (God), but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work" (Titus 1:15-16, NKJV).
As with David, Paul declares that Yahweh delivers those who are humble, who see as Yahweh sees by living as Yahweh commands. To the rebellious, unbelieving and disobedient, the Elohim (God) of the Bible appears to be perverse because they themselves are perverse, such that even their 'good works', as they suppose they are, are disqualified, because they are not works to the true Elohim (God) but to the one after their own flesh, Satan.
I have said this several times before but it needs to be repeated especially when believers ask how unbelievers can't possible want and love Yah'shua (Jesus) as they do! They reject Him because they themselves are perverse, and project their own perversion onto Him. It's as simple as that. What, then, will make them believe? They will believe only when they have come to see, by circumstance or by other means, that they themselves are perverse and can't do anything about it, no matter how 'good' they try to be. David understood this, Paul understood it. Only by surrendering and obeying will they finally come to see Yahweh as He really is.