Sunday, April 25, 2010

with or without me

The Word for today:
Jeremiah 36

mark this:  Jeremiah 36:22-23 --
It was the ninth month, and the king was sitting in the winter house, and there was a fire burning in the fire pot before him. As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire.

Here in the USA, we get to vote, to cast an opinion.  And I hope you do.  It's an expression of liberty, with which God has endowed us; which generations of soldiers have upheld at the cost of their lives.

That little voting booth is a monument to American political freedom, a secular 'holy of holies,' infusing us with a small surge of power.

In that booth, behind that curtain, what each of us thinks actually counts, and carries influence. But the influence ends here, in the transient now, with choices concerning assessor or councilman or senator or president.

Moreover, a problem can arise if the voting experience lends us the mistaken impression that issues of essential truth, beyond the political process, are also contingent upon our approval, and await our say-so.

Cultural commentators classify our era as a time of transition, from "modernism" to "postmodernism."

Modernism decrees that truth is not an absolute--that each individual defines his own truth (1).

Postmodernism goes a step further into the darkness, and decrees that there is no truth to define.

But the Bible teaches that His Truth is marching on, inexorably accomplishing the purpose for which God has sent it. (2)

I have a friend who guides an annual mountain expedition. When one of the climbers was injured on the ascent, he told me that it reminded  him of our relationship to God's Truth:  "The mountain is what it is (3).  We can accommodate to the mountain; but it doesn't accommodate to us. We either tread carefully--or we fall."

A couple times every year, I fish the maw of the Niagara River, underneath the Peace Bridge where Lake Erie enters. The powerful currents pile against the massive bridge supports and turn my boat in slow, centripetal circles. I will not allow my boys to fish with me there, because the river doesn't care.

The mountain and the river, like gravity, are no respecters of persons (4). In like manner, the Word of God doesn't care what I think of it. It is not subject to my approval or disapproval. Indeed, I am in subjection--to its force and dominion, and to its King.

We read today how King Jehoiakim carved up and burned the Word of God.  His actions were symbolic of the people as well: they had heard God's Word and rejected it.

Despite what we might think, we can't cut the Word of God out of our lives.  Despite what they might think, people who never open their Bibles can't shut the Word of God out of their lives.

Evangelists, as they should, exhort us to make a decision about Jesus.

But know this, and know it well:  Whatever we decide about Jesus--whether we take Him or leave Him--we do not pass sentence on the Truth.

Whether we take Him or leave Him, we pass sentence only on ourselves: He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life (5).

And His Truth marches on, with or without me.

(1) cf. Judges 17:6; (2) Isaiah 55:11; (3) see Exodus 3:14; (4) see acts 10:34; (5) 1 John 5:12

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