friendship

Most Holydays {ex25:22}

Photo © Unsplash/The Joy of Film

Photo © Unsplash/The Joy of Film

In the Most Holy Room
of God's Desert House,
there was a small, open door
to the universe,
where God sat between
His angels and talked
with humanity.

Okay, so the angels were gold
and it was just one man
and God had to make Himself tiny enough
to be stuffed into a room.
Still, for those moments,
it was as if God could have
His cosmic family
together in the same place.

Kind of like a mom
who dreams of having everyone
home again
for Thanksgiving.

 

Dinner Guest {ex24:11}

Photo © CreationSwap/CreationSwap

Photo © CreationSwap/CreationSwap

What kind of God is this,
who issues an invitation
to a personal dinner,
an intimate feast?
Just a little get-together
for seventy of His
(I-hope-you'll-choose-to-be-My)
closest friends.

Indeed, one gets closer
as the courses proceed.
For this mountaintop banquet
was just the amuse-bouche on God's menu
of spiritual nourishment revelation.

None of those seventy elders
could have imagined
the truth about the God
who stood on the veranda of
brilliant blue lapis lazuli,

that His invitation
to feast with Him
would eventually become 
an invitation
to feast on Him,
that His offer of dinner
would soon be
an offering of Himself.

His body and blood,
our bread, our wine,
our life.

Has it not always been so?

 

Wonder-full Thunder {ex19:19}

Photo © Unsplash/Brandon Morgan

Photo © Unsplash/Brandon Morgan

Thunderstorms are my favorite.

I love watching the thick, black clouds
roll in from the west,
the wind whipping up leaves and dirt,
compressing the musty air like a balloon
until it bursts,
giving way to slick, saturating torrents.

I love the paparazzi pops of lightning,
the long, jagged, hair-trigger flashes of noon
radiating through the bruised sky,
connecting heaven and earth
in less than a second
for less than a second.

And I love the thunder,
the low, distant lion's growls
and the ear-splitting cracks
that break over your head
like an egg spilling a clangorous yoke.

As the storm rolls in,
I count the seconds between every flash
and every bellow,
anticipating the moment
when the delay is gone
and the light arrives with a boom.

In all this time,
I have never wondered
if, at that moment,
You were speaking to me.

 

God freely associates with sinners.

God freely associates with sinners.

1 Chronicles 3

I am generally amused by one of the accusations leveled at Jesus: He is a friend of sinners. The Pharisees saw Jesus associating with people of "dubious" reputation (according to them), and they couldn’t stand it. They despised those people, so in their paradigm, their God should also despise those people.

God is the only way to peace.

God is the only way to peace.

2 Kings 9

Before we get into the meat of today’s blog, I have to point out this verse because it actually made me laugh out loud: "The guard in the watchtower said [to the king], 'Your Majesty, the rider got there, but he isn’t coming back either. Wait a minute! That one man is driving like he’s crazy—it must be Jehu!'" (vs 20) Ha! It seems there were bad drivers all the way back in Bible times. Either that, or Jehu was a teenager.

God wants to be with you.

God wants to be with you.

1 Kings 6

Such a simple, straightforward message from God in today’s chapter: He wants to be with you. Period. In fact, the whole purpose of building a temple for the Lord was so that He could personally dwell amongst His people. It has always been the cry of His heart to be close to us: "The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 'As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.'" (vs 11-13)

God makes friends out of enemies.

God makes friends out of enemies.

1 Kings 5

It must have been quite a privilege to work on building the temple of God. Many tens of thousands of Israelites were involved in the process, as well as some foreigners. This was the little tidbit that caught my eye: "So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we [Israelites] have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians." (vs 6)

God cares about the things that matter to us.

God cares about the things that matter to us.

1 SAMUEL 1

In 1 Samuel chapter 1, there is an interesting story of a man with two unhappy wives. Both were blessed in different ways, but neither was happy with their blessings. Instead, they wanted what they didn’t have. Hannah, the eventual star of the story, had her husband’s heart and affections. Whenever the family was dining together at the temple, Elkanah gave Hannah "a double portion because he loved her." (vs 5) He showed this affection to her even though she was barren. Of course, Hannah was distraught over the fact that she had no children. For women of that time, a childless existence was usually accompanied with feelings of shame and guilt.

God is just a guy who wants friends.

God is just a guy who wants friends.

JUDGES 6

If you’re one of the people who reads this blog every day but doesn’t necessarily read the Bible chapter that goes with it, I urge you to read Judges 6. I am nearly beside myself with delight at the picture of God in this chapter. The Israelites are at their idol worship once again, when God realizes that there is a man—Gideon—who has a willingness to listen. Even though he has grown up in a home where his father worshiped Baal and Asherah, Gideon is apparently open in his heart to an audience with the Lord.

God is consistent.

God is consistent.

DEUTERONOMY 34

After the death of Moses, the record in Deuteronomy 34 says this: "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." (vs 11)  As I read this, it dawned on me that many of God’s good friends are found in the Old Testament, before the testimony of Jesus.

God wants all the things He cannot command.

God wants all the things He cannot command.

DEUTERONOMY 16

I direct an adult volunteer church choir. Some have mused that this is akin to herding cats. An adult volunteer choir is a special sort of group. It is made up of people who love to sing but usually, at least subconsciously, believe they really can’t sing all that well. After all, they’re not "professionals." So they assume they could never achieve a "professional" sort of sound. Consequently, the majority of rehearsal time is spent in trying to persuade them to get themselves out of the way so their voices can do what they intuitively know how to do — sing properly.

God places a high degree of importance on knowing.

God places a high degree of importance on knowing.

DEUTERONOMY 13

I found a mantra in this chapter of Deuteronomy: "If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, 'Let us follow other gods' (gods you have not known) 'and let us worship them,' you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer." (vs 1-3)

Duologue {gn18}

Photo © Unsplash/shttefan

Photo © Unsplash/shttefan

When God mentioned circumcision to his friend,
Abraham didn't think twice
or question once.
Not a single word on the tip of his tongue
about removing the tip of his—
well, you know.

Perhaps it was the finality of
bearing heaven's mark forever in his flesh
that made Abraham bold enough
to dicker with God.

After all,
you'd have to be bold to question
The Judge Of All The Earth
about his morality
and offer suggested improvements
to his strategy.

To be fair, though, it was
The Judge Of All The Earth
who invited himself over for dinner
and initiated the whole conversation.

He knew there weren't any righteous people left in Sodom,
so why even bring it up?

Maybe
The Judge Of All The Earth
wants more
than a burnt offering in his gut
and a pat on his back.

Maybe
The Judge Of All The Earth
craves
genuine
unabashed
face-to-face
friend-to-friend
toe-to-toe
duologue.

 

God wants to be included.

God wants to be included.

LEVITICUS 17

Growing up, I attended a small, private school. Each class was small — no more than 15 to 20 students — and the majority of classmates remained together through school, all the way from Kindergarten to the senior year of high school. After nine weeks of first grade, someone decided that I knew enough to be advanced into second grade, and away I went. Entering second grade in the middle of the year wasn’t easy. I was the youngest kid in the class, and — what’s worse — my older brother was already there.

God wants to hang out.

God wants to hang out.

LEVITICUS 3

Have you ever thought about God as a guy who just wants to hang out with His friends? Perhaps it’s not our usual picture of God. It’s easier to think about Him doing big things, like creating planets or running the universe. But, in Leviticus 3, we get a glimpse of a God who has (among other things) set up a local hangout in the sanctuary.

God wants to be close to us.

God wants to be close to us.

EXODUS 25

"Just like me, they long to be close to you," sang Karen Carpenter. It is also the revealed heart-cry of God in Exodus 25. Here, He requests offerings from those who are so moved — offerings of gold, silver, bronze, and other expensive items. Does God want to go on a shopping spree? No, He wants to build a home.