November 2010 Posts

The Silence of God- Andrew Peterson

It’s enough to drive a man crazy; it’ll break a man’s faith

It’s enough to make him wonder if he’s ever been sane

When he’s bleating for comfort from thy staff and thy rod

And the heaven’s only answer is the silence of God.

 

It’ll shake a man’s timbers when he loses his heart

When he has to remember what broke him apart

This yoke may be easy, but the burden is not

When the crying fields are frozen by the silence of God.

 

And if a man’s got to listen to the voices of the mob

Who are reeling in the throes of all the happiness they’ve got

When they tell you all their troubles have been nailed up to that cross

Then what about the times when even followers get lost?

‘Cause we all get lost sometimes…

 

There’s a statue of Jesus on a monastery knoll

In the hills of Kentucky, all quiet and cold

And He’s kneeling in the garden, as silent as a stone

All His friends are sleeping and He’s weeping all alone

And the man of all sorrows, He never forgot

What sorrow is carried by the hearts that He bought

 

So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God

The aching may remain, but the breaking does not

The aching may remain, but the breaking does not

In the Holy, Lonesome echo of the silence of God.

When our worship gatherings and our lives don’t match up…

Isaiah 1:13-17 (The Message)

“Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings-
meetings, meetings, meetings- I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evil-doings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.”

The Highest Form of Worship

In Matthew 22, Jesus is asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”  He answers by quoting what’s known as the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).  “Shema” is the Hebrew word, “hear” (from the same root word that means “obey”).  The Shema starts with, “Hear Oh Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE.”  Jesus brings the entire Law (613 laws) down to one.  He took the non-core down to the core, the essence, the non-negotiable.  He said: Love God comprehensively (with all you are) and love others.  We love God as we love others.  He says, “the second is like it…”.  They asked Him for one commandment and He seems to give them two.

The Hebraic approach to Scripture was this: Hearing and obeying are one in the same.  You don’t hear the Word of God and walk away from it doing nothing.  If so, you didn’t hear it.  To say you believe or agree with Scripture and not act on it, (biblically speaking) is to say you don’t believe it or agree with it.

It’s interesting to note: The Shema was first and foremost a declaration of radical monotheism.  That was the distinction of the Jews- there is one God (not many gods or no god).  It was a radical commitment to the one true God.  The first commandment in Exodus 20 states the same unprecedented truth: “You shall have no other gods before me”.   The implication is clear.  There is one God and no other.  The Incarnation didn’t change this truth or this radical devotion.  In fact, it simply shifted this comprehensive devotion to Christ Himself.  The very reason the Jews wanted Jesus crucified was that He claimed to BE this God in the flesh.  The Romans wanted Christ crucified because He claimed to be Lord of all- and not subject to Caesar or any man.  Think about it- the great declaration of the early church was not “Jesus is Savior” (though that was central to the kerygma).  The great declaration of the early church was, “Jesus is Lord”- Lord, Master, King above all kings.  It was this truth and commitment that resulted in countless martyrs in the early Church.

So, listen to the words of Jesus. “If you love me you’ll obey me” (John 14:15). “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and you do NOT do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).  To love God is obey God. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the NAME of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:23). It all comes down to this: Love God. How? Love others.  Love God=love others.  The converse is true: If you don’t love others, it’s proof- you don’t love God (1 John 4:20).

The highest form of worship is obedience.