Saturday, May 31, 2014

Looking for a Hero

I’ve always found 1 Kings 13 to be a mixed-up sort of chapter.  It has such an odd assortment of characters, none of whom behave quite as one would expect.

The first character we meet is a man of God who faithfully delivered to Jeroboam the message of judgment that God gave him, refused the king’s attempt to flatter him, was gullibly led astray by the first person who claimed to have a contrary word from the Lord, and was finally killed by a lion as punishment for his disobedience.

Then we have Jeroboam himself, the wicked king who turned down God’s promise to make him a lasting dynasty and sought to build up an alternative religious system.  Despite his wholesale rejection of the true worship of God, however, he had no qualms about asking God to heal the hand that withered upon his attempt to seize God’s messenger.

But the strangest character to me is the old prophet of Bethel, who deceives the man of God with a false word from the Lord, and then delivers a true word from the Lord pronouncing judgment on the man of God for the disobedience to which he himself had tempted him.  When the judgment falls, he then goes after him, brings him back, mourns over him, and has him buried in his own tomb, apparently for no other reason than the hope that it will protect his own bones from being desecrated when the man of God’s prophecies come true.

This chapter is decidedly lacking in heroes.

At the same time, however, this chapter is a vivid picture of why we need a hero.  The deception of the man of God at the hands of the old prophet and his subsequent violent death were a picture of what was going on with the people as a whole.  His disobedience brought about swift, sure judgment.  The doom that had been pronounced on the false worship of Bethel may have been less swift, but it would be no less sure.  The chapter ends with Jeroboam continuing in his wicked idolatry, ignoring the example that God had just provided of what happens to those who rebel against His commands.  

We get a hint of a hero in the prophecy delivered by the man of God concerning a future son of David, “Josiah by name,” who would execute God’s judgment on Bethel.  But even Josiah was not the hero that the people of God needed.  His reign marked the last stand for righteousness in the kingdom of Judah before the rapid downward spiral that led to the Babylonian captivity.

Israel was living in disobedience and rebellion.  Kings, priests, and prophets all alike failed to bring about any lasting change, and God’s judgment was well deserved.  God’s people throughout all of history need a hero who can not only issue an external call to repentance, but who can atone for our sins and change our hearts from the inside out.

We need a Hero who is also a Savior.

And God provided.

In Christ, those of us who, like Jeroboam, have sought God when convenient and rejected Him when inconvenient are given the ability to offer true worship.

In Christ, those of us who, like the man of God, have been led astray by the lies of those who falsely claim to speak the word of God are taught to know and live the truth.

In Christ, those of us who, like the old prophet, live for our own selfish ends are enabled to die to self and live for Christ.

God’s judgment is sure, but the escape that He has made for His children in Christ is just as sure.

He is the only Hero we’ll ever need.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Samuel's Birthday Party

Samuel is three years old today!  Here are some pictures from his party:


Katie made a fire truck cake for him.  He wants to drive a fire truck when he grows up.


His favorite part of the party was opening his presents.




Yay! A fire truck!


There are many fun things to do in the Wades' yard.



Andrew likes to hold his cousin.  We know because he tries to grab him out of our hands.


A terrifying ride with Uncle Seth!


We played a game where you have to race with a balloon between your legs.


Samuel decided to just carry the balloon.




John won by hopping like a kangaroo.


Even Andrew and James did it!



James' balloon popped!

Monday, May 12, 2014

John Newton on Religious Liberty

"...I am glad of liberty to worship God according to my light, and therefore am willing that others should have the same liberty.  
Toleration, if considered as a matter of favour, is an insult upon conscience, 
and an intrusion upon the prerogative of the Lord of conscience.  
I should be glad of a toleration to eat, if I might not eat without it,
 yet I should think it hard if I could not breakfast or dine without the leave of Parliament."

Monday, May 5, 2014

Picture Roundup

How many boys fit in a wagon?


Helping Ray celebrate his birthday.


Burning Christmas trees.


Watching the lunar eclipse.


Enjoying the Wades' new swings.


Cousins, with a couple of friends added in.


Andrew does everything with great intensity.


Becca made the blue-edged doily, patterned from the pink-edged one made by our great-grandmother.


Making donuts.


They were every bit as good as they look.


Ever since I got back from Israel, I had wanted to try making falafel, and I finally did it for my birthday this year.  It brought back a lot of memories!


Our sweet little guy, Ezra.



James.


We've been having some work done on our property, which involved a giant pile of dirt at one point.  The little boys thought that was pretty neat!



Samuel loves holding babies.


Becca had her wisdom teeth out recently, which necessitated the eating of many interesting smoothies.



Brothers.


Ezra helping Uncle Seth with his homework.


Playing with soap bubbles.