Kingdom Principle: Being right in the world is not relevant
|Jeremiah 1:4-10||Psalm 71:1-6||Hebrews 12:18-29||Luke 13:10-17|
For some, right is right and left is wrong. But if “right”, is right in the world, then being left-out of the world is the right place to be. It is well documented many in the world have viewed being left-handed as a shortcoming and this may have been transferred from how we view right and left in religion. This is not simply about the currently cliché statement “I’m not of this world” – is goes much deeper as embracing the desire to be left-handed in a right-handed world, and stepping up to be left out. (It always amazes me the stickers of NOTW that are pasted on the $70,000 vehicles driving down the road, and how we brand ourselves with that “unique” on our clothing….Just my thoughts…) A year ago, the focus of a post was, “If it’s not Right, ask – is it relevant? there the focus was to accept that life is not always what we expected it to be. Much like living under the unmet expectations of last week’s post. Yet from this place to know that God is just and life is not fair – therefore we must seek to know that which is relevant. This week we are pressing deeper “If is Right, ask – is it relevant? The focus now is to see that when everything is as you expected it to be – it still may not be right. For most believers, the previous vantage point is easier to digest. If when things are going “right” or the way we expect them to be we are quick to praise God and think I must be in the Lord’s Will. However if this is your thinking, then when things are not right you must therefore be outside of God’s will. This presents quite a problem when the life to which God has called us is not one of ease and comfort. In fact when we feel most out of control in our suffering– we have found the place where we have the greatest opportunity to let God be in control.
This is where we find Jeremiah throughout his life, God called him while he was still in the womb. (much like John the Baptist will be) Being born into the line of priests, the call of a prophet is one of confrontation and division. The priests of the time were notorious for ignoring social justice and ms-representing repentance all together. So God establishes his righteousness before his earthly father even has a chance at his rights, God declares, “Jeremiah – you are mine”… you are going to go left…. Rather than in the right ways of your father. God delivers (pun intended) both from the womb and the worldly expectation Jeremiah from what is going to be relevant. But when God promises to deliver Jeremiah, he is not promising Jeremiah an easy life. The Priests and other prophets will threaten to kill Jeremiah (26:8, 11), King Jehoiakim will kill Uriah for proclaiming a message similar to Jeremiah’s (26:20-23). The people of Jeremiah’s hometown will plot to kill him (11:18-23). Many will curse him (15:10). He will find himself cut off from happy celebrations (15:17). He will be placed in stocks overnight (20:1-6) and become a laughingstock (20:7). He will be beaten and thrown in a muddy cistern (37:15-16). He will grieve over the fate of the people who fail to listen to his warnings (9:1; 13:7; 48:32). He will not be allowed to marry, and will be lonely. This is not a difficult life for Jeremiah; in fact to not have this in his life is the difficult… Hear how Jeremiah captures this, “Yahweh, you have persuaded me, and I was persuaded; you are stronger than I, and have prevailed: I am become a laughing-stock all the day, every one mocks me. For as often as I speak, I cry out; I cry, Violence and destruction! because the word of Yahweh is made a reproach to me, and a derision, all the day. If I say, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name, then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with forbearing, and I can’t” (Jeremiah 20:7-9)
Jesus in turn blasts the Synagogue leader for being right. Yes – I said the synagogue leader was right… the focus for the time that the Jews gathered in the synagogue was to be God and His Word. Jesus was putting the focus on the woman and the healing brought the attention to him… (Theologically I can argue that Jesus is the Word and the focus remained on God) but look, this synagogue leader was doing the right thing. He was protecting the sanctity of the worship in the synagogue… much like if someone stood up in the church today and wanted to hold a public debate about how the church has wronged them the elders/rulers of the church would kindly (I hope) escort him outside to have the discussion or simply remove him from the church. And the “worship service” would continue. The blast by Jesus is that “you” who do what is right for your ox or donkey.. but not for this daughter of Abraham are wrong. Untie her from Satan! This may not feel right, but if you do not – you are the ones left out of the Kingdom of God.
As Jeremiah addresses above – to choose what is “right” in the world rather than the calling of God, is like having fire shooting in his bones. This fire will come for God is a consuming fire. Jesus came to baptize with fire (Matt. 3:11-12, Luke 12:49-50) It is not a fire that destroys, but rather gives life. The fire that destroys is of the earth, the fire that gives life is of heaven. Therefore receive the fire from the kingdom of heaven that cannot be shaken.
Okay – getting practical!
1. When is the last time you heard God calling you? If you are not hearing God, then you must learn to see the signs. Those who are not hearing God will be more likely to follow the “right” path as offered by the world. For it will seem only right to do what is “right”. Therefore what does approval mean to you? How do you get it? Who do you long for it from?
2. Are you set apart (sanctified) by God – this means you view your life as Holy. If you are set apart, then you can not be in competition with what else God has set apart. Meaning – the Sabbath is to be set a part, that is why it is to be honored (Duet 5:11) and if you are set apart, the Sabbath is not more holy than you, nor is anything that is set-apart by God. Make a list of the areas of your life where you are aware of their Holiness(set apart) as being more than others. Now ask the relevance of this set-a-part-ness of these areas. Why do you deem them to be more holy and be sure it is not because of something that you are adding to rather than because of God declaring it Holy.
3. Finally – In what ways to you need deliverance? It may be spiritually it may be physically… but try to think holistically about…. Focus on the question – is there any aspect of your life where you feel ashamed? It is God desire that this not be – therefore seek the Lord as you Rock.