Wednesday, June 29, 2016

small change?

The Word for today:
Ezekiel 40:1-47
The chapters of Ezekiel that we now enter present the Bible scholar, commentator, expositor--and the Bible blogger--with some challenging interpretive difficulties.
Well, sometimes you have to be smart to be scared. And since I'm too stupid to be scared by the interpretive challenges of Ezekiel, here goes:
What God wants you to remember is the sparrow. And he wants you to remember your hair!
You are about to encounter one seemingly insignificant detail after another. We've encountered them before, in the ceaseless details concerning the tabernacle, and in name after name on page after page of the genealogical records.
The measurements of the Temple are enumerated with the same specificity. The doors, the chambers, the windows, and the pillars are all precisely described. Why is so much space given in God's great Word to such minutiae?
I think the answer lies in the story of the sparrow. It was said by Jesus that if even a sparrow should fall, God knows about it--because he cares about it.
It was said by Jesus that God knows the precise number of the hairs on your head--which means that if a hair should fall out God knows about it and revises yesterday's total!
Which means that if God were to describe your personal rebuilding, he would, in the most precise detail, lay out every minute detail of every hour of every day. Things that don't even interest you about yourself interest God.
One reason we aren't interested in "the small stuff" is because we call it small. So when we rank the incidents of our lives in the order of their importance, we think of the day we had that successful interview, or the day we failed that big test, or the day we were accepted into a certain college; or the day we got the promotion, or the day we broke up with Susie, or the day Dad died, or the day the towers came down.
But God sees eternal consequences in the left you took in 1989 at the corner of Elm and Spruce, when you thought it might gain you a minute or two. He knows that left put you on 3rd street when, ironically, traffic was stopped for 10 minutes because a garbage truck broke down. Fiddling with the car radio, an old song made you smile when it reminded you of a person who gave you a break long ago. So upon reaching home with a recently softened heart, you didn't--as you had planned--lay into your teenage son (who had been undergoing stresses you had no clue about.)
That you didn't respond in the way you would have responded before the left on Elm which put you on 3rd behind the garbage truck with nothing to do but hit the scan button on your radio until the grace notes of that song popped up--
That you didn't say what you were going to say to a teenage boy whose heart was already in the breakdown lane, unbeknownst to you--
is the factor, God knows, which set off the most consequential eternal reverberations--for both you and your son--of any moment you ever lived.
Now tell me that details don't have consequences, and that the fall of a sparrow is small change.
But looking back on your life, you'll give it nary a thought. Why would anyone remember so trivial a thing as a left on Elm in '89?
We are described in the New Testament as Temples of God, because he is present within. The details of your rebirth and growth are no less important to God than the minute details of the reconstruction of the Temple, which we read about today.

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