So the LORD God
formed from the ground
all the wild animals
and all the birds of the sky.
He brought them to the man
to see what he would call them,
and the man chose a name for each one.
I love, love, love books and years ago wouldn’t have dreamed of writing on their pages; these days I should probably just go ahead and buy stock in the yellow gel highlighter company.
I’ve practically drowned my copy of Yawning at Tigers by Drew Dyke; its pages are dripping yellow and it might possibly glow in the dark.
The first chapter’s thoughts pause me and cause me wonder: What would it take to cultivate a daily awareness of the otherness of God? How would my life be different if I did? How would I pray differently? And, more importantly, how might God answer my prayers differently?
These thoughts are found in just the first 11 pages:
“…we have heard reports of a foreign entity in our midst…however, we often fail to appreciate the gravity of what that presence means.”
“he is called ‘a consuming fire,’ ‘Judge of all the earth,’ and the ‘Lord of hosts’—a title that portrays God poised for battle, at the head of a heavenly army.”
“God is not human, that he should…”
“God is radically different from us, in degree and kind…wholly other, dangerous, alien, holy, and wild.”
“But for the most part we neither tremble in fear nor thrill with excitement at the prospect of encountering this wild deity.”
“We give mere mental assent to truths that should leave us shaking.”
“…we’ve succeeded in making the strange ordinary.”
“We’ve forgotten how big God is.”
“…his holiness is dangerous, even deadly.”
“The good news is that this dangerous God turns out to be a lover. And he’s not content to love us from a distance.”
“He’s the Intimate Stranger, and we are the objects of his fierce affection.”
“The Holy of Holies beckons, and we’re free to enter. Just remember to tread lightly…he’s still the same God.”
…“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God,
the one who always was,
and who is still to come.”
There’s such an infinitesimal space between (1) continually and prayerfully holding someone in God’s presence, and (2) beating them over the head with my attitude, Bible, and words.
I grimaced when I reread what I wrote—but only because it’s so true.
(1) is an amazing gift of grace; both for me and the one I hold to the Lord.
And (2) is an amazing aggravation; both for me and to the unfortunate one I’ve targeted.
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor—
sick people do.”
Then he added,
“Now go and learn the meaning
of this Scripture:
‘I want you to show mercy,
not offer sacrifices.’
For I have come to call
not those who think they are righteous,
but those who know they are sinners.”
I’d have to work hard to misinterpret Jesus’ words; so here’s my personal take-away:
Attitude trumps action.
Don’t be self-righteous.
Acknowledge I’m a sinner in need of a Savior.
I think this scripture passage is beautiful; not with poetic grace, but with the bold, wildly undeserved, and redeeming grace of God.
Only Aaron and his descendants
served as priests.
They presented the offerings
on the altar of burnt offering
and the altar of incense,
and they performed all the other duties
related to the Most Holy Place.
They made atonement for Israel
by doing everything that Moses,
the servant of God,
had commanded them.
1 Chronicles 6:49
Aaron didn’t earn the honor of performing the duties of the Most Holy Place; nor did he deserve to make atonement for Israel.
While his brother, Moses, was consumed within the holy presence of I AM WHO I AM on top of Mt. Sinai; Aaron was busy too, leading the LORD’s people astray at the bottom of the very same mountain.
And when Moses’ hands reached out to receive the two stone tablets, still warm from the hand of God; Aaron’s hands were reaching out to cast melted gold earrings into a golden calf.
God definitely noticed; and even interrupted Moses’ time with him on the mountaintop to say:
…Hurry back down!
Those people you led out of Egypt
are acting like fools.
When he reached the bottom, Moses found Aaron leading a wild drunken revelry of worship around the lifeless idol.
When confronted, Aaron denied responsibility; and then claimed that he’d only thrown the earrings into the fire and the calf jumped out fully formed.
Judgmental words leap to the front of my mind at this point in the story and I want to blast Aaron. But if that’s where I stop, I’ll miss the best part of the story; because God, boldly and inexplicably, stepped in and cleaned up the mess.
He took Aaron’s dirty hands, guilty heart and lying tongue and redeemed him; and Aaron could then perform the most sacred duties of the Most Holy Place.
God uses unlikely people. And he knew, even before he laid the foundation of the earth, that someday I’d need his transformational gift too—because at the heart of it all…
I’m just like Aaron.