I’ve been thinking a bit about the end…not of the world so to speak because frankly I’ve asked for an extension of the Apocalypse and as far as I can tell it has been granted…no really I’m thinking about how things end in general.
Of course we get the usual “as in the days of Noah” group-think thrown into the equation, if you are a believer of sorts it is unavoidable…but we should revisit that a little before we disregard it. What exactly happened in the flood narrative?
We all can see the story tells of God being quite disappointed with humanity, doing a “reboot” of the planet by direct intervention and a demonstration of power…and at the end of the event He basically says:
…“No I will not take that path again, the path of direct power and judgment, as long as the earth remains…and to prove it I will turn my weapons (bow) pointing to me and not down…I set it as a sign in the sky unavoidable and plain for all to see…”(complete paraphrase of Genesis 9:9-17 just to prove a point)
As if to emphasis His reticence in the decision the Holy Spirit will inspire the Apostle Peter to tell us that Jesus in his descent into the other-world went and preached to the DISOBEDIENT from the days of Noah…NOT the good guys…it’s almost as if God says…”control-alt-delete” and then goes back to restore the files he deleted many thousand years later during the descent into hell by Jesus.
Here’s my first point: God is not interested in using unrestrained power, direct influence to change the planet…the bow as a weapon pointing towards Him is a sign of this for nearly 6000 years and we still don’t get it.
So knowing that, the idea that unrestrained power and direct influence are not on the agenda, how does that inform your prayer life?
Are there prayer models of “direct influence” that you are depending on that are not really serving your development into a fully responsible child of God?
Maybe He’s waiting on you to do something.
Jesus most regularly used the parable as a means to communicate the kingdom…what parable are you informing to bring the kingdom into reality…what form are you giving faith to fill with substance?
I think many of us are waiting for direct influence and God is looking for something in parable form that He can fill indirectly…selah.
Do something prophetically as a parable and see what happens.
Second point: Knowing that the line of direct power is not something God is using, should we use it?
This is more to the point of where I am thinking about the end…when I get to the book of Revelation, the unmistakable truth there-in is that God finished what He started and it shows up as a city coming down and a place where the nations can come to be healed…He does not eliminate nations and He also does not go out there to heal them, they will need to get the leaves and the living water themselves, our ideas of the end need to include the idea that God is not going to use direct power to do any of this.
This will contradict almost all of our current models of power and hierarchy in place…and if that does not seem to serve the point enough consider that family is the primary motif for Gods kingdom…who here thinks using direct power in the family dynamic a good thing?
In example: You have teenagers…they have a different idea of responsibility and life than you do…if you use direct power to control them, “I am the boss and what I say goes”…that line of approach might work for a while but eventually it fails and fails in the worst possible way because it does not simply fail to enforce your agenda, it actually creates a divergent and anti-you agenda that eventually blows up in your face.
Yet this is the model almost every church and ministry I know of is using…questions are not only forbidden, ask enough and you will be scandalized and sent off as the sin bearer, the line of direct power is not only sacred (touch not mine anointed) it is enforceable by exile.
No one who has ever gotten past the teen-age years with off-spring in complete relational health has ever used direct power as the way to do it…family mandates individuals and direct power is an affront to that model.
The end in Revelation reveals that God is not interested in trashing what He started, quite the contrary it is the result of people using direct power models to control that causes all the conflict…it is a “Lamb” on the Throne and Gods power is best seen in sacrifice not judgment.
Here is my final point…all use of direct power eventually lead to some form of judgment…it is the nature of the seed sown…when the religious leaders of Jesus day would not give up their direct “I’m in charge” kind of power, it eventually led them into a conflict with him that ended in judgement…the not to subtle point is that when we resort to demanding people subject themselves to us and our models we have started something that will eventually destroy us, it is inevitable and clear in every message that God sends us…even in His own story…
The days of Noah say one thing very loudly…that is this…the demanding use of direct power to control or establish our own way will eventually turn the weapons back in our own face…the bow in the sky is God telling us that to live by the sword means you will die by the sword and not even God is exempt.
You may disagree…good for you…the fact that you are free to establishes my point.
Rather than leave this thought as the main thought, I would like to suggest that the primary influence of Heaven on earth requires us to abandon *direct power on our culture, in our churches, and through the family…instead God’s kingdom is radically different and requires a different set of understandings to even bring it to earth, that is why the “parable” is so effective…a story, a prophetic act can do more to transform our world than a show of power, at least this is the conclusion God brings us by sending Jesus and not another flood…selah.
*Excepting direct confrontation with darkness (darkness being identified as demonic influence with no legitimate claim but not defined as flesh and blood), that is the ONLY place direct authority and power is authorized in scripture, and that also figures into the flood account there were influences (Nephilim)taking over that needed direct ending.
After reading this I feel I need to say something about the nature of freedom…the most beautiful expression of humanity is a free person…disease enslaves the body, mindsets enslave the heart, the past often enslaves the present…but as people who have choice we should always encourage others to choose their own path, choose their own persona…when I look for someone as a friend I may initially be drawn by sameness, but love always develops out of “otherness”…likeness gives us a path to connect, but uniqueness makes the connection meaningful…love cannot function in isolation, and one of the worst forms of self-imposed isolation is to surround yourself with only those who are exactly like you…there is no real love there, only homogeneous affection.
This is the end result of trying to control others by direct power…we eliminate their freedom and make them like us, this is why Jesus would tell the religious leaders their own sons would be their judges, because the nature of that model eventually destroys itself…freedom is life, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty…another way to say that is options.
We need each of us to be completely different because we all carry the same likeness of God…but it’s His kindness in you that makes you beautiful, His grace in another, His smile, His laugh, all of the different ways we are, are essential because without you, I cannot love Him.