Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lambs, and Tygers, and Lions! Oh, My!

The Word for today:
Joshua 10
The universe is full of dark matter. Scientists know it's there because it's got to be--because the sum total of gravitational force is far greater than the matter we can account for. Thus there has to be more than we can see.
There is a lot of "dark matter" in the Bible, as well. We postulate that God must have reasons--a rational basis--for the things he does, but we can't always see those reasons.
The greatest expression (that I've ever found) of the unaccounted-for in the heart of God was by British poet William Blake. Writing The Songs of Innocence and Experience in the late 1700's, he depicted seemingly irreconcilable opposites which emanate from the heart and hand of God.
Most of us will recognize this Jesus, the one who made the Lamb:
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb.
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
But do we recognize this Jesus, the one who made the Tyger?--
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? and what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
"The Lamb" and "The Tyger" are companion poems, meant to be read together. Thus one refers to the other--Did he who made the Lamb make thee? The unspoken but unavoidable answer is Yes.
The Lamb who died to forgive your sins is a consuming fire (1) as well--who reflexively, instinctively flashes forth to consume both sin and sinner:
The consuming fire broke forth upon Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6:6-8.
In Exodus 19, the people were repeatedly warned against approaching Sinai at the time the Ten Commandments were given, lest the LORD break forth upon them (19:24).
Leviticus 10 recounts the incident concerning Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, when fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.
In Joshua 7, Joshua and all Israel were God's agents for executing his judgment upon the Canaanites and upon Achan (their fellow Israelite) and his family.
And, lest we err by thinking that the consuming fire had been extinguished by the time of the New Testament and our current "age of grace," we do well to consider the incident concerning Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11.
We'll be traveling the road to Jericho over the next couple days. As we do, we'll be trying to shed some light on the dark matter along the way. We'll take the Lamb and the Tyger and the Lion of Judah along and by the time we get to Sin City, you'll wonder why you ever noticed any difference between them.
(1) Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29

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