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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Is God a God of Mystery or Exposure?

“And he answered and said unto them,
‘Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,
but to them it is not given’”
(Matt 13:11).

                We often say “God is a God of Mystery.”  If this is so, then how ought one to live?  How, in a world designed by a God of Mystery, may one know how to live?  The paradox is that God’s Law is exposed, while God and His mysteries are hidden

According to Jesus, the entire law and prophets are summarized in two commands: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (see Matt 22:36-40 and Luke 10:25-28).

The Wisdom of Solomon:

Though the Law is hard to follow, the commands are clear.  With a basic understanding of the law, one can live well.  Solomon had this basic understanding, and his wisdom was world-renowned.  Solomon’s wisdom was practical: do these things and you will live; do those things, and you will suffer.  And his wisdom was timeless: from his day to our own, one who faithfully follows his precepts is likely to live with more health, more peace, more joy and the modest prosperity of a well-satisfied soul.  The scriptures express the fame of Solomon’s wisdom: “And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom” (1 Kings 4:34).  So well known is this scripture that even today, we take it for granted that Solomon was wise not only among kings, but also among other Biblical heroes.  Rarely do we wonder whether others may have had greater wisdom . . .

The Heart of David:

                Perhaps we can consider Solomon’s father, David.  Solomon was known by kings for his wisdom, but, according to the scriptures, David was known by God as “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).  Which of the two might have greater wisdom: the one known by kings for his wisdom or the one known by God as being a man after His own heart?  Given that few ever ask or reflect on such a question, most consider Solomon to have held greater wisdom.

While Solomon had great “wisdom,” David knew and understood the things of God.  Reflect on this remarkable paradox: although David was King of Israel, his psalms spoke from a spirit of poverty.  He wrote about the humble man verses the man of wealth and praised the humble man.  “Men of rank are a lie,” wrote David, “In the balances they go up; they are together lighter than their breath. . . .  If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them” (Ps 62:910).   Such verses were written by a king?!  Only an extraordinary, deep-level revelation from God could lead a king to muse such thoughts. 

Unlike Solomon who gained his wisdom through a life of “vanities,” David did not have to learn the hard way.  He already had the spark of Christ’s hidden, knowing ways within him.  Without the hard lessons, David gained the deepest secrets of the Lord through the exposed nature of God: the Law.  As David wrote, those who love the Law gain a glimpse of God’s mysteries (Ps 25:14).   He “delighted in” the Law (Ps 1:2) and praised it as “perfect, restoring the soul” (Ps 19:7). 

                Why was Solomon’s wisdom world-renowned and David's was not?  Perhaps for the same reason that God hides His mysteries!  Just as God and His mysteries are hidden, so are His prophets and the depth of their wisdom.  Prophets have entered into the Lord’s deeper wisdom, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

Solomon had the kind of exposed wisdom that is clear and available to anyone who opens his eyes.  Therefore, people the world over marveled at Solomon’s wisdom.  Now David’s wisdom, by contrast, was so far superior to Solomon’s that people couldn’t see it.  They couldn’t grasp that kind of wisdom.  God’s hidden ways are hidden from the world, and David was privy to such deep-level wisdom that he missed the fame his son enjoyed.

                In fact, the wisdom of David appeared as foolishness to man.  Even David’s own wife Michal, his first wife, who loved him deeply, couldn’t grasp David’s deep-level knowledge of God’s ways, born of his passion for God.  So when David, out of this passion and knowledge, danced before the Lord and all of Israel in celebration, David’s wife rebuked him as “foolish,” unbecoming of kingly behavior before the maids of Israel (2 Sam 6:20).  But David rebuked her (6:21-22), and God seconded David, by withholding any children from her (6:23).  Perhaps Solomon knew how to answer two women who claimed the same baby, but would Solomon have known how to answer Michal?  David’s answer to her was as follows: “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the Lord.  And I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished” (2 Sam 6:21-22).  David’s answer is prophetic, as it requires a revelatory type of wisdom that surpasses logic.  Somehow, David knew how women who he had never met would perceive him.  According to Samuel, in the very next verse, God concurs with David.  Solomon didn’t offer prophetic answers like that.

                So is God a God of Mystery or of Exposure?  Both.  Read Solomon and you see the God of Exposure.  Follow Solomon’s instructions on godly living, pray with a humble heart, and then read David.  If you dawn a humble heart and pray for divine revelation, then you will begin to discover the God of Mystery.  What a thrilling journey you will embark upon!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Cookies are Gone

Mom leaves a plate of cookies
on the kitchen counter and leaves.
Child enters and eats the cookies.
Mom finds the cookies gone,
and severely punishes the child.

Who is really to blame?

Americans cry, “Drill, baby drill!”
“Drill and drill cheap!” they cry, and leave.
Oil company enters and drills cheap.
Americans find corners were cut for cheap drilling,
and they severely punish the company.

Who is really to blame?