Skip to main content

Come Near

Proverbs 3:11-20

11 My son, don’t despise Adonai’s discipline or resent his reproof;

1 John 3:18-4:6

18 Children, let us love not with words and talk, but with actions and in reality!

19 Here is how we will know that we are from the truth and will set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 if our hearts know something against us, God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts know nothing against us, we have confidence in approaching God; (CJB)

19 “And on these grounds, we will know that we belong to the truth and will persuade our hearts in the presence of the Unchangeable: that if our hearts blame us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all. Beloveds, if our hearts don’t blame us we have the confidence to come near to God. (Derived from Mounce Interlinear)

Matthew 11:1-6

asking, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for someone else?” Yeshua answered, “Go and tell Yochanan what you are hearing and seeing(CJB)

asking, “Are you the Coming One, or should we expect another?” Yeshua answered them, saying, “Go and report to John what you hear and see—” (Derived from Mounce Interlinear)

I often feel as though I’m panning for gold when I read the Book: sifting through wet sand for gleams of reality. What struck me most in the reading from Matthew turns out to be a bit elusive to communicate. It has a great deal to do with the habit Jesus has of answering a question with a sideways jump. Every time he does this, his purpose seems to be to cause his hearers to form their own conclusions rather than rely on Jesus’s words. It’s as if Jesus is saying, “You figure it out!” or “Don’t ask me, use your brain!”

Working backward, the 1st letter of John is saying the same thing: talk is cheap. John also drives the point home by describing what in modern terms would be called ‘cognitive dissonance’ but my grandmother called a ‘guilty conscience’. When I really pay close attention to the sense of what the author is saying, it’s that God is greater than any judgment we might make, even of our own selves. In other words, it’s wrong to put our own self-judgment higher than God and use it as a justification for trying to avoid God’s Presence. If we are honest we will thoroughly understand that God is greater than our conscience, and we will be convinced in our deepest hearts that because God knows everything, that it would be pathetically silly for us to use our shame or misgivings as an excuse to avoid God’s company and reject the gift of divine well-being.  Shades of Adam and Eve in the Garden!! What’s more, John makes the same point that the Gospel makes, that we know the truth because it’s self-evident, if we only stop to figure it out for ourselves. If we don’t understand, we’ve learned through experiment and experience that we can trust ourselves to figure it out, and so we are encouraged to keep on trying.

This is also the same wisdom that the Desert Mothers and Fathers were trying to express when they told a young hermit to “Sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.” I know this wisdom first-hand from my experience teaching Karate: Karate will teach itself to you, but you absolutely must devote all your energy to the “action and reality” of trying to figure it out! The only way to learn is to experiment, and you are the only one who can do the investigating and draw the conclusions. Keep on doing this!

One more backwards step to Proverbs:

Don’t despise Wisdom’s discipline,

or begrudge her lessons.

Whether we are confident or not,

Truth is our home, nowhere else.

Unchangeable Love is the air we breathe

and the ground we walk on.

Blame is irrelevant to Reality.

Shy or not, ashamed or not,

Trust God; be trustworthy—

Come Near.

Popular posts from this blog

Apples and Carts

Acts 11:1-18 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
11 The emissaries and the brothers throughout Y’hudah heard that the Goyim had received the word of God; 2 but when Kefa went up to Yerushalayim, the members of the Circumcision faction criticized him, 3 saying, “You went into the homes of uncircumcised men and even ate with them!” 4 In reply, Kefa began explaining in detail what had actually happened: 5 “I was in the city of Yafo, praying; and in a trance I had a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being lowered by its four corners from heaven, and it came down to me. 6 I looked inside and saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, crawling creatures and wild birds. 7 Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Kefa, slaughter and eat!’ 8 I said, ‘No, sir! Absolutely not! Nothing unclean or treif has ever entered my mouth!’ 9 But the voice spoke again from heaven: ‘Stop treating as unclean what God has made clean.’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled back up into hea…

Potter's Field

Matthew 27: 1-10

3 When Y’hudah, who had betrayed him, saw that Yeshua had been condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the head cohanim and elders, 4 saying, “I sinned in betraying an innocent man to death.” “What is that to us?” they answered. “That’s your problem.” 5 Hurling the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, he left; then he went off and hanged himself. 6 The head cohanim took the silver coins and said, “It is prohibited to put this into the Temple treasury, because it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use it to buy the potter’s field as a cemetery for foreigners.

Wow. Just….wow.

Blood money.  The priests seem to have been unaware of the irony that it was their own actions which tainted the money in the first place. It also seems that it never occurred to them that their own agent would repudiate them by returning the money. Talk about cognitive dissonance!

‘Dirty’ money; ‘blood’ money; ‘tainted’ money; ‘toxic’ money; money ‘laundering…

The Straight Path

John 1:19-28 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
20 he was very straightforward and stated clearly, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 “Then who are you?” they asked him. “Are you Eliyahu?” “No, I am not,” he said. “Are you ‘the prophet,’ the one we’re expecting?” “No,” he replied. 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? — so that we can give an answer to the people who sent us. What do you have to say about yourself?” 23 He answered in the words of Yesha‘yahu the prophet,  “I am  'The voice of someone crying out:
‘In the desert make the way of Adonai straight!’”  (Isaiah 40:3)
English Standard Version (ESV)
23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight *the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
*Or ‘crying out, ‘In the wilderness make straight’

I was caught by the difference between “A voice crying out in the wilderness,” and “a voice crying out, “in the wilderness make straight”.”
I thought, “What difference does it make?” but I kept feeling that somehow it did.