Obviously, with Christmas around the corner, most of us are focused on the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Around the same time, also announced by the angel Gabriel, was the birth of John the Baptist. Maybe its just me, but some passages of scripture just make me laugh. There stood Zachariah as Gabriel told him that he and Elizabeth were to have a son and Zachariah says "How can I be sure?".... Gabriel's response? "I'm Gabriel." As if to say, "You crusty old man! Do you know who you're talking to?" Right then, God took away Zachariah's ability to speak. Not only would he eventually get his voice back, but he would witness the birth of his son John the Baptist.
I believe the birth of John was a result of righteous living going as far back as Aaron. A legacy of love, if you will. Luke 1:15-17 says John would be great in the sight of the Lord and that he would bring back many of the people of Israel back to the Lord. He would also turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous. He would, in fact, "Go and make disciples...".
Before any of this would happen, scripture tells us that John lived in the wilderness. I believe this to be a geographical fact. When applied to ourselves, it's probably in reference to a spiritual wilderness. Most of us have, at some point, experienced a state of spiritual funk when we are aware of the voice of God but find ourselves doubting/disobeying because we can't make sense of it. As I've said in one of my earlier blogs, it's not always for us to understand. It is absolutely for us to obey. Luke 1:80 says that John made his first step into ministry when he matured. Maturity begins with obedience. Maturity begins when we humble ourselves before a far superior being and a supernatural love. Typically, it's after we surrender that God reveals to us the reason behind the command.
My prayer this Christmas is that we would put ourselves in the shoes of John, intently take that first step of obedience so that we, too, can live a life worthy of the title "righteous". Prepare the way of the Lord!
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Even when I was a kid "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" creeped me out. I always thought it had some evil undertones. "Daddy, I WANT a squirrell!" demanded this vile little creature named Veruca Salt. I've always loved movies. Once in a while, you come across those characters that you love to hate. Veruca exemplifies the "spoiled little rich kid" that wants everything her way right now. As the story unfolds, the squirrel she wanted so badly wound up being alot more than she bargained for. You might say she got what she deserved. I think I disliked her so much because a part of me identified with her.
Numbers 11:4-34 tells of the Israelites, after they had been delivered from Egypt, complaining about being hungry. Mind you, this was after God had rained down manna from Heaven and provided everything they needed and then some. The cry going up from the Israelites was "We want meat! We should have stayed in Egypt!" Even Moses (much like Veruca's dad...) cried out "What did I do to deserve this?.... Why did you dump the responsibility of these people on me?" God got angry. So angry, in fact, that he gave them exactly what they asked for. Scripture tells us that he gave them so much meat that they choked on it. Some translations say it was coming out of their nostrils.
We always seem to think we have this life all figured out and, if we get what we desire, everything thing will be just fine. We always seem to want that which we don't need.. I happened to grow up with a father who loved me enough to let me lie in the bed I made. Sometimes those are the best learned lessons, painful as they are. It never occurred to me that I was damaging our relationship and driving a big wedge in between us. By the way, a good word to define separation from our father is "Death".
The Israelites found themselves buried, literally, in a plot of land that was named "Kibroth Hattaavah" which means "Graves of the Craving". If we continue to go through this life focused only on what we want rather than what our Father wants for us, we WILL get what we ask for and suffer for an eternity. Since when do we know what's best for us?
If we were to execute life with the pursuit of glorifying our Father rather than ourselves, we would find ourselves rewarded in ways we could never imagine. We would find ourselves.... well.... LIVING.
I think, when I pull out of the driveway in the morning, the squirrel better move.....
Posted by Kevin Wallace at 7:31 PM