Monday, April 22, 2013

What a dying child discovered

She collapsed beneath the ugly and twisted branches of the sun bleached shrub.

It stood out against the barren landscape like a withered hand straining its bare limbs like twisted fingers in surrender to the dark forms of the vultures that now began their ominous circle of the impending death that they now sensed.

Her eyes stung with tears and her gaze followed the scavengers sweeping shadows as they arced across the ground. Hot anger boiled up within her while watching the shadow of death tighten its circle of its descending pattern to caress the body of her son.

His breathing was slow and his lips cracked with severe dehydration.

It would only be a matter of time now. Soon she would lack the strength to drive away the hideous carcass feeders and they both would succumb to deaths certain call.

She had distanced herself from the fading life of her son. She could not save him and if he was going to slip away from her, she had no intention of watching it happen. 

"And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept." ~Genesis 21:14-16

As I read the text in Genesis 21, I cannot help but feel as though you and I are in the background of this event and we are unseen by Hagar. We stand together to watch and bear witness of the truly spectacular!

God is about to show up!

Hagar screamed and wailed as she clawed into the dry dirt at the base of that shrub. What was in the cry that she made?

Possibly it was similar to the cries that you and I make when we run head long into the walls on our path.

"I did what I was told, and now this?"

"All I did was submit to the authority that you allowed in my life and I have been severly mistreated by those authorities"

"What is going on here? All I wanted to do was to do what was asked of me?"

"I was not the one asking my masters to do God's work instead of letting God do His work through them."

"God, I did not make them doubt you, your ability and your power. Now my son and I are collateral damage to their unbelief?"

Any of these sound familiar?

This was a wall.

It was in the blog post, "God's Microwave", that I introduced a statement that I would like to repeat today.
"God’s purpose not his fairness settles the circumstances of our lives!"
Then the truly spectacular happens. I love this fresco above because it captures the event perfectly.
The child begins to cry, and God hears with the intention to do something about what He has heard.

"And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is." ~Genesis 21:17"And God heard..." WOW!!! This passage is so strong because the word God used here is the Hebrew word "El-o-heem". This is a name of God. The name is the definition of the character of the person named. "El-o-heem" means "The Righteous Judge".
 God reveals Himself to be seen in the nature He is needed to be seen!

The Righteous Judge shows up to hear the cries of Hagar and her son. He is perfect and His judgments are Perfect! As you read this text, feel free to implant God's name used here in the passage!

Remember the fresco style picture printed above? Scroll back to it for a moment and notice something powerful yet so simple. Abraham and Sarah are scolding and distant. Hagar is no longer focused on the injustice done to her and her child. Her gaze is completely focused on what she had not been able to see before this moment.

When the cry is made to God and He is given the right to judge the circumstance and you will allow Him and Him alone to pass the verdict, God can reveal to you a sustaining and a nourishment that you have overlooked.

"Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.  And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink. And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer." ~Genesis 21:18-20 
God opened her eyes to something that was there all the time. God did not allow her to be thrown out of protection and care. He was her protection, provision, and care!
Was Abraham and Sarah wrong? Absolutely!!!
Do good people do bad things to others? Absolutely!!!
When we focus on the injustice of others and on how our life is now in tatters because of those injustices we are missing an opportunity. God IS "EL-O-HEEM"!
He is The Righteous Judge that wants to rule on our behalf with a perfect justice! He wants to divert our gaze away from the wrongdoing and focus it on where it should have been all along! On HIM!
He is our provider!

I love art.

I have always had a fascination with the ability to express thought and mood through an image.
The Creation of Adam is arguably the most famous section of Michelangelo's fresco Sistine Chapel ceiling. Painted circa 1511–1512. It is traditionally thought to illustrate the Biblical creation narrative from the Book of Genesis in which God breathes life into Adam, the first man.

God is depicted as an elderly white-bearded man wrapped in a swirling cloak while Adam, on the lower left, is completely nude. God's right arm is outstretched to impart the spark of life from his own finger into that of Adam, whose left arm is extended in a pose mirroring God's, a reminder that man is created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26). Another point is that Adam's finger and God's finger are not touching. It gives the impression that God, the giver of life, is reaching out to Adam who receives it; they are not on "the same level" as would be two humans shaking hands, for instance.
What I see is one hand, the hand of God, reaching for His creation. Every tone of muscle on the arm of God is strained to reach a casual effortless raise of a finger.

What Michelangelo depicted was a powerful image of the relationship that we have with God. He is straining to touch us and we casually acknowledge, when convenient, His presence.

If you will take the injustices of life to God, what you will ALWAYS have your eyes opened to find is that God is and has always been straining to touch you! He is EL-O-HEEM!

As that child grew he was very much aware of the promise that The Righteous Judge had given him the day that God was allowed to be seen as The Righteous Judge!

I am not sure who this post is for today but I will say this, Hidden streams are only hidden if your gaze is set on something other than the stream.

Do people do bad things to other people? Absolutely!

Do good people do bad things to others? Absolutely!!!

Is God able to render The Perfect verdict?

A dying child discovered... "And God heard..."

The same God is still listening if you are willing to talk.

Climbing with you,

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