Kingdom Principle: The Kingdom of God is a Paradox.
|1 Samuel 1:4-20 1 Samuel 2:1-10||Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25||Mark 13:1-8|
The word paradox is often used interchangeably with contradiction. Literary and other artistic uses of paradoxes imply no contradiction and may be used to describe situations that are ironic. A. W. Tozer has captured well the paradox of our faith. “A real Christian is an odd number. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen; talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see; expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another; empties himself in order to be filled; admits he is wrong so he cannot be declared right; goes down in order to get up; is strongest when he is weakest; richest when he is poorest and happiest when he feels the worst. He dies so he can live; forsakes in order to have; gives away so he can keep; sees the invisible; hears the inaudible; and knows that which passes knowledge.” As we journey through the Scriptures we are discovering the principles of the Kingdom of God. Over the next two weeks we are closing out the season called “After Pentecost” as well as the end of Year B, there are 3 years to the lectionary calendar. This marks the first complete year for which Kingdom principles have been extracted for this blog. One may quickly think we are over a third of the year through figuring out how to deduce the Scriptures to a simple set of principles by which others can base their life. However we must contend with the reality that the Kingdom is a Paradox. And when you reduce the Kingdom to Principles they may lead you back down the path of obedience and Obedience will bring you to the door. However – as we have seen Obedience is not enough, and submission is required. It is required because without paradox, then faith is obsolete. Therefore – The Kingdom is not ours to solve or reduce to simple patterns of life. The Kingdom is within in our life and before us all as an expression of faith, placing our trust in the King. In this season of After Pentecost we have wrestled with such paradox’s as:
- Those with prosperity no longer are considered servants.
- With faith you have peace and prosperity.
- To be a servant you must have faith.
- To be great you must be a servant.
- Favor is granted to those who walk in submission.
- Those who walk in submission are willing to give everything away.
- Therefore those who have favor, give it away.
- The Power of the Kingdom is opened to you by faith alone.
- Faith is only possible by the seed of the Father, being born in your spirit.
- In order for you to be born of the spirit, you must first die to the flesh.
- The Father longs that all might enter the Kingdom being born of the spirit.
- Why then are not all in the Kingdom, if God is all powerful.
This week we return to the beginning of 1 Samuel to hear the story of Hannah – she is barren, and therefore shamed and shunned. Yet, Hannah is loved by her husband, and she Hannah cries to the Lord for a child, and then immediately promises to dedicate and give the child to the priest to raise – yielding her again without child. The Prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2 demonstrates the reality of paradox long before our time that lays the foundation for the Kingdom of God. The disciples ask Jesus in Mark 13 – to help them to understand the signs of the times… and yet the answer they seek is still not given. The answer is captured in Hebrews 10:23 – “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” And because of this truth – the Kingdom is opened and we move forward in submission to Jesus – for he is our Great Priest, Prophet and King. Paradox is a part of our lives – yet we find ourselves confronted by the Paradox of the Kingdom and cry out in complaint rather than confession. To further understand the paradox’s of our time – from a perspective of this world – you can read the words below, or watch the video…. http://youtu.be/Lru9i0Za-q8.
- The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
- We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
- We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
- We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; We’ve added years to life, not life to years.
- We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; We’ve done larger things, but not better things;
- We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; We write more, but learn less; We plan more, but accomplish less.
- We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; We have higher incomes, but lower morals; We have more food, but less appeasement; We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
- These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
- These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet, to kill.
As we seek to further develop our relationship with God, each other and the world. We seek to do so by uncovering our Patterns that produce our Paradigms in order that we may practice our Principles as an expression of Worship. Pattern: Repeated way of approach or process Paradigm: Way of viewing reality and understanding the implications of a pattern Principle: A determining characteristic yielding fundamental direction in any paradigm Paradox: When a principle conflicts with paradigm, resulting in a new pattern. So what shall we do: Embrace Paradox and Confront Chaos (hence the name of this blog)…. Chaos is to be without order under the rule of a Tyrant. This is only confronted with Peace. To have Peace is to be able to embrace paradox. Our Principles guild us, even when it requires faith to make a leap of understanding. As the disciple wanted a clear answer – what they were given by Jesus was, hold fast and don’t be alarmed. Be rooted and grounded in what you have received. So let’s today make a list of what you have received. Where can you point to places in your life where God has intervened? God has set a pattern by which we shall follow – and yet God is not bound to the pattern nor our interpretation (paradigm) of that pattern. Where in your life is a pattern being challenged? How might you submit the pattern of your life to discover a new principle by which the King will reveal himself unto you?