Today Jonathan shared with us the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, with the breakdown of trust and obedience that led first to their expulsion, then a downward trajectory for human society as their firstborn son became a murderer. This is not a story that we can park comfortably in the mists of mythical pre-history, but one that speaks here and now to each one of us – as the issues of trust and the nature of our relationship with God affect us every day.
Today Jonathan based his talk on the golden calves that appear twice in the old Testament – once when Moses ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, and a second time 500 years later when king Jeroboam (king of the northern kingdom of Israel) sought to persuade his people not to go to Jerusalem in order to worship God. The main problem here was not with the calves as such, but with the spirit of independence that led to them – the spirit that suggested that we can choose our own way to seek and to worship God; our own way to present God to the people.
So here is a warning to us all not to set up for ourselves images of our own making in place of the God who has revealed himself to us.
One of my daily readings yesterday was entitled “Boundaries for Blessing”. It caught my eye, as much of what we are doing in church recently has been about seeking God’s blessing.
So just based on that title, what springs to your mind? What are the boundaries for God’s blessing?
Here are the sort of things that occurred to me, off the top of my head –
– Listening to God. Discerning what he is telling us to do, rather than just my latest, best idea.
– And related to that, we’ve used the metaphor, of surfing the wave, getting in his slipstream. Seeing where God’s Spirit is blessing, working, moving; and going there, doing that.
– Taking God seriously, giving him time, putting him first, following him.
– Obedience, living in a way that pleases him.
– Relating well with, loving others. You may have noticed in my recent reflections that I have been thinking a lot about agape love.
Well, I am sure you can correct my thoughts, and add some of your own!
This particular daily reading was based on the law, the 10 commandments. It presented them not so much as rules to restrict us, but boundaries for our relating with God and with each other, and thereby enabling and facilitating those relationships.
This is relevant to our new Sunday series launching this week: – “God wants to know you – The story of God and us”. The Bible is the story of how God wants to know us, draw close to us, befriend us.
From Genesis to Revelation, the story is of a God who wants us to know him, to love him, to be restored to him. A story that is told through his interactions with a chosen people, not as an exclusive relationship, but as a model. And the Bible describes this model for us. We too, then, can follow this way, be his chosen people, and come to know him. From the story of the garden of Eden, through the calling of the patriarchs, the exodus, the exile, the Messiah Jesus, the cross, eternity; the aim is for God to dwell with humanity.
God wants to know you. God wants to bless you. Boundaries are not there to spoil things; they are there to enable our relationship with God, and so to bless us.
God bless you