Saving Moab

Author’s Note: This was not a devotional, but a blog originally published in July of 2011.

Read this if you have ever thought, “God is a disciplinarian who sits around in Heaven, takes his little finger, and swirls it around in my life to have a quick laugh.”  I have a friend who believes this, so you can admit it too.  Surprise upon surprise, this is not the truth.  But don’t believe me, look it up for yourself.

Jeremiah 48 is about Moab. Moab was not always friendly neighbors to the southern nation of Israel.  The people descended from Lot (Genesis 19:30-38), and in fact, the modern day Palestinians might have some Moab blood in them.  They did not worship the Lord.  Archeologists found a temple to the “God of Mars” in their country.[1]  Kir Hareseth, also known as Kir Heres was the capital city.  Remember these facts as we scourer Jeremiah 48.

Other notes to take into consideration is that Moab makes an appearance in Genesis 14, Deuteronomy 2, Numbers 21-22 and 31, 2 Kings 3, Isaiah 15-16, and Ruth.  Ruth makes her new home with Naomi in the same land that approximately 700 years later faces Jeremiah’s prophesies.  Jeremiah’s contemporaries knew about Moab.

Now let’s see what Jeremiah 48 has to do with those that believe God lives in the clouds.  What grabbed my attention came in verse 36 from the New English Translation (NET):  “So my heart moans for Moab like a flute playing a funeral song.  Yes, like a flute playing a funeral song, my heart moans for the people of Kir Heres.  For the wealth they have gained will perish.”  It sounds like Isaiah 16:11, NET:  “So my heart constantly sighs for Moab, like the strumming of a harp, my inner being sighs for Kir Hareseth.”  Kir Heres and Kir Hareseth were the same capital city of Moab.

Moab is not Israel, God’s chosen people. So why does God care?  Why does his “heart constantly sighs for Moab” (Jeremiah 48:36)?  God didn’t change over time, so was he just playing nice and lumping the region into this destruction and slight compassion like some think he does today?  Did he swirl his little finger in Moab to have a quick laugh?

You can’t catch the tenderness of this verse in Jeremiah without reading the rest of the 47 verses in Jeremiah 48.  Most of them talk about “cries of great havoc and destruction” (verse 3), or demands the people to “wail and cry out” (verse 20) because Moab’s towns have “overweening pride and conceit, her pride and arrogance and the haughtiness of her heart”  (verse 29).  The people were prideful and ignored God.  That’s the reason for all the destruction.  All the threats add up to the window into God’s heart seen in verse 36.  God disciplines, but he does it out of love, whether Moab belongs to him or not.

This says two things to me.  1) God has compassion on everyone.  Whether you love him or not, he still loves you and weeps over prideful decisions that cause you to move farther away from him.  Moab wanted nothing to do with God, and he still had a sensitivity towards them that caused him to look out for their future.  2) God has affection for all creation, including me.  Including you.

So if Moab seems to reflect the thought process towards God, read Jeremiah 48.  Not only does he present some scathing futures, but also allows the reader to see the motivation.  He doesn’t act to have a laugh.  He acts to save people from destruction.

Photo by Khadeeja Yasser on Unsplash

© 2011, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.


“And…Scene!”

“And…Scene!”

By Mollie Bond

Scene One:  Noises of the house party warm your heart, after all, important people have accepted your invitation, including the doctor!  Some dust falls from your ceiling.  When the boards start splitting in your roof, a few guests glance either at your or the ceiling.  You wonder if the wife had a hankering for a new sunlight and forgot to tell you, so now she is getting your attention.  It starts to look brighter in the room as a huge hole opens up, just enough for a man to come through.  And then he does.  “And…Scene!”

 

Scene Two:  You slam the door shut to your pickup, wondering, “Who can afford a house like this?”  You’ve got three friends and a sick friend with you.  He’s had cancer for years, and this is a last ditch attempt to get the doctor’s attention. You have come prepared—saw, work gloves, and the pickup truck holding a nasty old couch with your dying friend.  He’s going to see the doctor today.  “And…Scene!”

Scene Three:  The disease is desperate to take your life.  You’ve got some pretty good friends, but this is going too far.  Too weak to care, you rather ponder how much it will cost to get the roof replaced after the lawsuit that you are sure is also coming to take your life.  Maybe there will be enough to get something wild in your last days after replacing the stranger’s roof.  Why not replace the worn carpet at home?  Maybe get the bogus red to match the 70’s print couch.  The very same couch you are now riding on to get to the doctor.  “And…Scene!”

These three scenes correlate to not only the same story, but a true story told in the vernacular.  The true story:  “One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there.  And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.  Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.  When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.  When Jesus saw their faith, he said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven’”  (Luke 5:17-20).

The scene is set.  This is close to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. So many people wanted to see him, it’d be like the paparazzi had the facebook warning he’d be at this party.   Then these fellows decide to ruin a perfectly good mud and straw roof and lower this sickly guy down.  The sick man is probably dirty, smells, and definitely unwelcome.  So Jesus says, “Friend, your sins are forgiven” (v. 20).

The guests of the party had issues.  “Who does this guy think he is, forgiving sins?  Only God can that!” they say.  “The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, ‘Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?’  Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, ‘Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?  Which is easier: to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up and walk”?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins….’ He said to the paralyzed man, ‘I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.’  Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God”  (Luke 5:21-25).

Jesus heals the sick friend, instantaneously.  Why did Jesus make everyone upset, and then give them a “warm fuzzy”?  Jesus always went straight for what lasted longer.  The man would eventually die of something else, but at least he had the chance at eternal life.  Jesus kept his eternal perspective at all times.  His focus saved others.  It’s the fourth scene.

Good story, but how does it apply?  Answer this question for yourself.  Which perspective do you have:  The house owner, passively watching; the driver of the pickup, actively getting your friend to Jesus; or the sick man, who not only needs help physically, but first needs sins forgiven?  Decide before the eternal director calls out, “And…Scene!”

Mollie’s Moving Mishaps: Episode Two

The following is taken from:  http://www.changingzipcodes.com/wordpress/?p=251

It’s a great site for those moving, or just trying on new houses.  I highly recommend it.  And thank you to the editor of the site for “showing” me the value of showing, not telling.

Mollie

 

Mollie’s Moving Mishaps: Episode Two

Last week I posted the first part of Mollie Bond’s moving story. This is part two. Last I checked, she is alive and well in Kansas and planning another move to Chicago. Some people never learn!

Moving with Mollie:

Part Two “Victory over Vans”

By Mollie Bond

If the weather was the only issue that kept our first move from going as planned, I thought we would be able to handle anything.  An unexpected visit of rain delayed the first leg of the journey.  My plan included my husband driving the moving van out to Iowa, riding the bus back, and then both of us driving out our personal vehicles.  No room for God’s ideas, or the foul weather we faced in October.

The next morning I was confident the rest of the move would be smooth.  So as the alarm chirped at 6 a.m., the bravest of brave husbands took off in an enormous moving van, taking all of our roots up with it.

That evening while eating the last of the food in the house, I received our planned phone call from my husband.  Our tight budget meant I kept the cell phone while he went without one, so he was calling from a pay phone.  “Hi hubby!”  I answered cheerily. “How was your day?”  I waited to hear chattering on the other end…?  Why the cold pause…?

What I didn’t realize was that while it had been raining on the West Coast, light, fluffy flakes had been piling up on the van, and my husband, as he huddled outside a K-Mart parking lot in the middle of South Dakota.  At dusk, his tone proved his tired bones needed a hot shower and some rest.  He reminded me that our 9 a.m. appointment with our new apartment had to be kept.  He did not plan on going to a hotel, but would finish out the drive that night.

He continued to fill me in on his brave adventure.  South Dakota lacked convenience stores, stores in general, towns and basic civilization along the highway to help travelers in any manner.  While driving, the van’s engine heated up and whizzing down a hill at 70 miles per hour it quit.  My husband coasted it to a stop in the middle of nowhere without a breathing soul in sight. Climbing down from the seat, he pushed the lever to release the hood.  No antifreeze.  No stores.  No people to help.

That didn’t stop my resourceful husband…  Being the man with a thinker, and a full bladder, he did what only a man could do.  He used the radiator as a latrine. Hey, you do what you gotta do!  Fortunately, this was the last of the hic-ups for our moving journey, and the van made it to Iowa.

The lessons I learned from Moving, Day 2 were:

1) Check over the engine before leaving,

2) Bring extra snacks and water in the vehicle, for all kinds of emergencies,

3) Cell phones are a must,

4) Don’t move in October

5) Pray more for guidance in plans.

Editor’s note: Geography alert: don’t drink anything until you get through South Dakota.

Contented Coral

Contented Coral

I saw it in Denny’s. A woman who truly had it together, graced with flawless makeup. Her husband leaned over to cut chicken tenders and the child graciously responded with, “Thank you Daddy!”  The other five children waited their turn to have their food cut since their ages couldn’t have been more than a year from one another. Her “Red-ilicious” red lips lifted in a smile as the husband kissed her peaches and cream complexion.  Certainly I stepped onto the set of a rerun of Bewitched, because in everyday life, this is an illusion that couldn’t happen without some nose twitching.

Jealously washed away all appreciation for the dinner at Denny’s.  How come I can’t get it together? I’ve scoured the earth for the best formulas, plans, and motivation to keep my life in check. And yet, I still see a woman whose makeup must come with a plastic surgeon’s price tag. (By the way did you know they make tattooed permanent eyeliner now? It’s true!)

I don’t lack the “Purple Passion” eye shadow she has. I lack a sense of contentment in my attitude. I lack a heavenly view of my identity. I lack an understanding of God’s Word. And I lack acting on what I know is true.

Contentment in attitude washes away dirt and grime from the day.  The Bible says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6). This verse isn’t intended to guilt ridden anyone. It evens up the score. I’m not perfect, but neither are the ones I’m green with envy over their blemish-free blush.

A heavenly view of my identity washes away the grease from envy.  God has each one of us in his hands, and he’s working out the imperfections. “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). Notice the collective grouping. “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (emphasis added). So that gal with the shade of “Purple Passion” on her peaches and cream complexion has issues to contend with that I do not see.

Besides, if I don’t recognize my jealously for what it is and confess it properly, I have a larger problem.  Contentment comes from knowing God’s words. “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9). We are all clay. Why question the Creator? I am demeaning what He does in my life or in someone else’s life by not recognizing His grand plan.So how do I get over my “Green with Envy” shaded attitude?

Overcome jealously by:

1) Praise (helping my contentment in my attitude);  I praise my God for what I have. He gave it to me, so he can take it away.

2) See a heavenly view of my identity. I realize my identity is in God. Instead of looking at my situations and what I don’t possess, I ground myself in what He says I am. I am clay, but mold-able clay. I’ll humble myself to His working.

3) Read.  I can’t realize my identity without doing some basic research. For me, if I notice that I am overly aware of what others are wearing or doing, it’s probably because I didn’t have a quality quiet time. Being in the Word is so desperately important because you don’t know what you’re going to face! (Even if it is a face with great makeup!)

4) Step out, knowing the actions are based on what is true. I have to acknowledge why I feel the twinge of jealously or dissatisfaction, and then act on what the Holy Spirit says. Pray for the one you feel that spasm of jealously over. Don’t dwell on it, but move on to what God is doing in you too!

Perfect people don’t exist. I’m a piece of clay, and I’m glad for my “imperfections!” It gives God a chance to show His glory when He helps me overcome jealously. It’s why I can “face” those with perfect makeup. And this time I’ll throw out my “Green with Envy” and try a little “Contented Coral” myself!