December 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
After spending the morning running a few errands and showing a friend around my new office, I remembered I hadn’t read the advent devotional yet and figured if I didn’t sit down now, I would most likely forget it later. I’m pretty happy that, not only did I remember, but didn’t hesitate to stop what I was doing! Progress!
Toady’s passage was Isaiah 25:6-9. I’m sure there is a ton to be learned from these words, but the only thing that continues to resonate in my mind, is part of the poem that accompanies these verses.
As I crawl, I see the mountain itself open up before me, as a mouth wider than the horizon. It climbs into the sky, higher and higher until it is beyond sight, and devours Sheol whole. The mountain now stands above me, and on it sits a table of bread and wine. Abraham and his children gather around it. My limbs are now guided toward that table, and soon I shall join with those who have walked this path before.
My God swallows whole the great swallower. I the eaten have become he who feasts. My body and soul shall never be devoured, but will sit at the table of my Lord forever.
The picture painted by this author is so real, so dramatic, that it shocked me a little… Okay, maybe a lot. It seems I’ve forgotten this promise from God, forgotten His overwhelming power. I honestly think my thoughts default to the loving Father who gave his Son, the God-man hanging on the tree, the One who lavishes me with blessing upon blessing. Because of Jesus, I’ve never known the relentlessness of God’s wrath, I’ve never felt the universe rip apart with a whisper. I’ve put God in a soft bunny costume and forgotten the One who shattered the unbreakable walls of Jericho, demolished Sodom and Gomorrah, and flooded the entire earth. How can I even attempt to understand this God?
Although I don’t think you can characterize God, C.S. Lewis did a good job with his character “Aslan”. This gentle and loving lion whose roar can silence the world. Such an intriguing God we serve. Another author, Ted Dekker, who I’ve referenced in the past, also portrays God in a similar fashion with his character “Elyon”. This character’s physical appearance changes throughout the series depending on the situation, going from playful little boy to unmatched warrior to a wise old man, but regardless of how Elyon looks, his true nature remains the same. I love the ways these authors have attempted to display God, and both have shown me some of His attributes that I have trouble understanding from the Word, but I must say that within this reality, both of these characters are no more than a glimpse of our God, a human’s feeble attempts to capture the impossible.
I have no hesitations in saying that I could never do a better job, but when pondering this verse and poem, I have to believe that a God who had promised something this big, is so far beyond human comprehension, that creating a fictional character to display even a part of His attributes is next to impossible.
Tangent….. Back to the poem.
Isaiah give an image of this feast the poet speaks of in verse 6 saying:
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
What a joyous occasion to look forward to. How great the moment when I can look down off the mountain and say “I have arrived, I am Home.” It gave me chills, a longing for Christ, an excitement for His return.
After mulling this over for a bit, I opened the Bible to Colossians 3. I had read this a few days ago, but the words weighed heavier on me when considering them with an eternal mindset.
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Really good stuff. This passage only increased my yearnings for Christ, and challenged me to check myself, my thoughts, and my motivations. I have died, my life is hidden with Christ IN God. What the heck am I doing? Why is that fact not the end-all be-all of Blake Hunter? If this God, who has done, is doing, and will do such great things says “This is what I have for you, this is GOOD, this is WHO YOU ARE, you are MINE”, there shouldn’t be anything in this world to distract me. This is the hope I must cling to.
My point is that, this God, who will swallow up Sheol and seat Himself at the top of the mountain, is the God who has hidden me with Christ. He is the God who has invited me to feast at HIS table! My prayer today is that my longings and yearnings would cease to be defined by the foothills this world has to offer, and instead be solely on the Mountain-maker, the Death-swallower, the Lion, and the Host of the mountaintop feast.