Thursday, July 14, 2016

they also sing

The Word for today:
Ezra 3
Bear down today. Concentrate. If you do, the Bible will start to sing to you. You might even become part of the song.
Songs have repeated words, called the chorus.
A stanza, on the other hand, will introduce some new element of action or character development. Then the song heads back to the chorus.
Then another stanza with more new information. Then back to the chorus once again. And so the song is sung.
The Bible is constructed in just the same way, making it one big song.
First Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden.
Then Cain is banished from the presence of the LORD to the land of Nod, east of Eden.
Then Cain's descendants were banished from Babel and dispersed throughout the nations.
A thousand years pass until Israel, having become a nation, is enslaved in Egypt. Then a deliverer, Moses, comes along, and they return to their Land in Canaan.
There the nation grows in size and influence, but eventually they turn to idols. And so they are taken captive to Babylon. Enslaved there for 70 years, deliverers (first Zerubbabel, then Ezra and Nehemiah) bring them back (in two stages) to the Land, now called Judah.
More time passes until the ultimate deliverer, Jesus, is sent to free them from their ultimate oppressor, sin.
But Israel did not follow this Deliverer to freedom, so once again, in 70 A.D. (just as Jesus had predicted) the land was overrun by foreign forces (this time Rome) and the people were dispersed among the nations.
Two thousand years pass by before we begin to see yet another return of Israel to the Land. They reassemble, again, in stages--first the flesh, then the spirit of the nation is to be restored, as predicted by the parable of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. Many biblical commentators say this gradual return is happening (since 1948) before our very eyes. Having returned to the land physically (flesh restored to the bones) there is yet one stage to complete. That stage will be Israel's spiritual return to the LORD Jesus Christ, whom they have up till now rejected.
Note the structured progression of this long song--
Subjected to their own sin in Eden, Adam and Eve are delivered from an eternity in that cursed state;
Mastered by sin outside of Eden's gates, Cain is delivered from the vengeance due a murderer;
Totally in thrall now to sin, the Babel-onians, lest they sink inextricably into sin, are delivered to dispersion;
Enslaved in Egypt, Israel is delivered to the Land;
Captives in Babylon, Israel is delivered, again, to the Land;
Consigned to Holocaust, Israel is delivered once more to the Land.
Finally, when the nation is spiritually born again, the blood-stained and sin-cursed Land will be renewed, giving way to new heavens and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17, Revelation 21:1, 2 Peter 3:13)
The song is sung yet again in the New Testament, when the prodigal son, banished by and to his own carnal desire, came to himself at the prompting of the Spirit and heads back home. (Luke 15)
And the song is sung anew today, re-enacted in the lives of all those who are following the ultimate Deliverer all the way from the enslavement of sin to New Jerusalem, by way of his cross. (Isaiah 52:1, Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 3:12 & 21:2)
My life became another stanza in that song, and yours can too--but only if you'll attach it to the life of the Chorus.
We stanzas are many and varied, each from our particular Babylon. But all of us put together aren't a song without the Chorus.
Because the Chorus holds it all together:
In him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)
He upholds the universe by the word of his power. (Hebrews 1:3)
He holds the cosmos, the Bible, the church, time, space, history, my life, my sanity, and hopefully yours as well; he holds it all--everything--together.
The song makes no sense without him. With him, the whole thing will be brought back to harmony, until all of us and everything join in:
Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it;
shout, O depths of the earth;
break forth into singing, O mountains,
O forest, and every tree in it!
For the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
and will be glorified in Israel.
 (Isaiah 44:23)
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together.
 (Psalms 98:8)
The pastures are clothed with flocks;
The valleys also are covered over with grain;
They shout for joy, they also sing.
 (Psalms 65:13)
They also sing. I also sing. So can you.

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