Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jephtah's dilemma - part 1

"Which Bible character do you most relate to and why?" - i often use this question as a ice-breaker in the groups that i am leading to try and see where people are at. Today as i read through Judges 9-11 i came across Jephthah again, only to find that i can (perhaps for the first time ever) relate to this obscure character:

So Jephthah, the son of a prostitute, was always frowned upon, rejected and even loathed because he would never completely fit in, never be one of 'them'. What he was (not by any doing of his own) made him unacceptable to others. But then, the proverbial paw-paw hit the fan and so they needed him for who he was, his skills and his strength. Now what, should he respond in spitefulness and anger and refuse to help or should he hear their plea and answer to the call?

How often have i not struggled with this same dilemma: it is often those who would not accept what i am who needs me for who i am. Do i hear their plea and answer to the call or do i lash out in anger and spitefulness?

Well, i will answer the call, i will pray for those who hurt me, i will help them to pick up the peaces when they need me to. I cannot choose for others how they respond to that which is different, but i can choose how i respond to that which they do out of fear, pain and ignorance.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A new perspective

Reading through Joshua 9-12 today, it struck me that this land that Israel is taking possession of is the same land that a previous generation thought impossible to enter (see Numbers 13:28).

A new perspective is what we need, a new unshakable faith in our God who gives victories over the giants we are facing.

My prayer is that i will not leave this up to the next generation (although this next generation excites me with their focus on possibilities), but that i will make that mindset shift and live the adventure.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Fall of Jericho

Today in my devotions i was reading again the story that i used to love as a child - the fall of the Jericho walls.
- now before i continue, allow me to say that i know this if far from an exegesis. It is not meant to be a sermon but a rather loose reflection on where in am. So, without further ado: this is what i felt when i read Joshua 6 today:

For a very long time in my life i have felt like the city of Jericho: strong and steadfast but with high walls all around me so that no one could enter, no one could come to close. I have been serving a purpose that i thought was mine, or perhaps i just wanted it to be mine. In this city of mine those who were allowed 'inside my walls' were given a falls sense of reality and security - they were as much prisoners as what i was (only they did not know it).

In the last few years, but certainly in the last few months, God has been at work in me in a process of breaking down the walls. The people around me did not see the cracks, but God in his grace and wisdom knew better and so in a process that does not make sense to most people (and even to me at times) began the process of setting me free.

There are those who has been a place of refuge for me in one of the most difficult times in my life and they will always be welcome inside the new city. Others will be welcome too, but few will chose to re-enter my life with the new (yet ancient) reality.

It is a painful process for me to allow the "people of God" access to my life, to allow the God of the people to brake down the walls so carefully constructed to keep me safe.

Yet i know that i am destined for more that what i could dream and the temporary embarrassment, the moment of nakedness and complete vulnerability will soon make way for the me that i was created to be...