Genesis of blog 9.7.3
All things have a beginning. For us, Judaeo-Christian people of the BOOK, the beginning of all beginnings, of course, is “In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth.” And, of course, everything in it, including me. So, everything I experience is in that context. In fact, in Paul's letter to the Ephesian church he suggests that we can think of ourselves as a poem that God is writing; I like that.
Saturday/Shabbat, January 18th, 2014 on our calendar, the 17th of Shevat, 5774 on the Jewish calendar, a convergence occurred on a street in Winnipeg called “Noble”. Since retiring from the English classroom in 2007, I have been asking the LORD to help Himself to me, to reveal His calling for me in the remainder of the life He will grant to me. That day He brought me into a space where three people who are very close to me, and whose ability to hear His voice I trust, confronted me and made me see what had been stirring in my being for some time, and which my wife Grace, one of the three, had been noting and pointing out to me. And I, finally, like Isaiah of old, said “Here am I; send me.”
Now that may sound very bold coming from a little boy born to rather conservative Mennonite parents in southern Saskatchewan, with the accompanying load of false humility that such a heritage provides. I’m trusting, however, that within this learned attitude, it is a measure of redeemed humility that does remind me how very small I am when I stand in the Presence of the Great I AM and say to Him, “Help Yourself to me.” But yesterday did feel like that to me; like a ‘here am I, send me’ experience.
I know that my “Conscientious Objector” father, who saw me first in November, 1942, when I was already six months old, and my strong mother who tended the farm and her newborn son alone till Dad returned from alternative service, prayed me into the convergence that occurred on Noble Avenue yesterday. The depth of their quiet love for Israel revealed itself to us when we packed up their small library, which contained several books that have become favorite books in my library, after my parents made their final journeys through the Valley of the Shadow of Death; a few years ago now, at the ages of 90 and 94.
Before going to bed that night, I worked on an image that I selected to use for my first blog entry. When I saved it, for some reason, I noted that it consisted of 9.73 MBs. Why that seemed important was unclear, but during the night the thought arose that, since numbers are considered to have meaning in the context of Hebrew thinking, and I had been drawn to note this number, I should follow this ‘rabbit trail’ to see where it would lead. (Grace will tell you that such an inclination is common in the man to whom she has been married for almost 50 years). After all, Alice found something quite interesting; but, you say, ‘that was just imagination’; true, but, I say, ‘where does my imagination come from? My imagination comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.’ So, being, as I said earlier, a person of the BOOK, I counted 9 books in from Genesis, settled on 2nd Samuel and resolved that, in the morning, I would read 2nd Samuel 7:3.
I did that in the morning and discovered: “Nathan replied to the king, ‘whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.’” Well, if that doesn’t make you bold, what will?
Some of you, I’m sure, are already saying, so much for an imagination that comes from above; it obviously does not include the ability to count. If it did, he would realize that either he miscounted, or was ignorant of the sequence of books in the Bible.
And, of course, you are right. I had missed Ruth. So, the 9th book is the first book of Samuel, not the second. (It must be time to apply the first blog-shaping dose of that humility). So what does 1 Samuel 7:3 say? “And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, ‘If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.’”
The context of this word is a story in which the Philistines, who had captured the Ark of the Covenant, but returned it to Israel in fear, have again arrayed themselves for battle against Israel. It is the story of a day in which “the LORD thundered with loud thunder against the Philistines and threw them into such a panic that they were routed before the Israelites.” The story concludes with Samuel setting up a stone monument and naming it ‘Ebenezer’ because, he said, “Thus far has the LORD helped us.” The power of the Philistines was broken, Israel’s territory returned to her, the surrounding peoples delivered from the Philistines and peace established.
Because the theme of that passage is at the heart of the stirrings within me, and I know that my blogging will be as a passionate Advocate for Israel, this passage does seem significant to me. So I will take it as a sign to go for it.
Perhaps I’ll return also to Nathan’s word to David and receive it as encouragement: “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”
This is probably enough for a first entry. I’m not sure if there is a “Blogger etiquette” book that would inform me regarding the maximum length of any one entry, but this seems like an effective point at which to conclude. Now that may leave you wondering about that 9.73MB image below. Well, I do owe you an explanation, and I promise I’ll come back to it next time; which I’m thinking will be in about a week.