Sunday, August 05, 2007

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

I had a chance this weekend to go watch the Simpsons movie. It was entertaining and there were a few pretty good parts. I guess after watching the Family Guy, I find that Peter Griffin is so much funnier than Homer Jay Simpson. Granted, the jokes used on the Family Guy are usually more politically incorrect and obscene. I'd probably only give the movie a 6.5/10.

I remember the one scene where Homer tries to use a wrecking ball to rescue his family. He miscalculates the distance and the ball comes back at him. This is followed by a scene with him being smashed back and forth between a rock and a hard place on the wrecking ball.

Last week, the local church I've been attending was continuing it's series through the book of Exodus. We had reached the part where Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh for the first time, asking for the release of the Israelites. They are rejected by Pharaoh multiple times and God keeps on sending Moses and Aaron back. It was a very serious risk they were taking. In brief, they were challenging Pharaoh's authority and could very well have been killed on the spot. I was just reading through Acts as part of this course I'm taking for fun on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I'm at the part where Paul and Barnabas are in Lystra preaching the gospel. Some Jews from Antioch and Iconium were very hostile towards them and wanted them dead. They succeeded in turning the crowds against Paul. They stoned him within the city and then dragged his body outside of the city walls thinking he was dead. Normally they execute people by stoning outside the city walls but in this case, they didn't even bother to drag him outside first. Miraculously, he got up and went back to the city with the help of the disciples!

Moses, Aaron, Paul, and many others that we read about in the bible have been seemingly between a rock and a hard place (sometimes quite literally as in the case of Paul). On one hand, they are being commanded by God to carry out a task. So if they don't obey, they have to deal with God's judgment. Probably not a good idea to make God mad. On the other hand, if they do what God says, they face almost certain persecution and likely death at the hands of those like Pharaoh, Herod, or angry Jewish mobs. Tough decision right? Well, without God backing us up, this would definitely count as being stuck between a rock and a hard place. However, if you consider God's promises for us, the decision becomes much less difficult.

"50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
55"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?" 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
- 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (NIV)

Quoting the prophet Hosea, Paul knew that through Jesus Christ, there is no fear in our physical death - our Lord Jesus Christ gives us the victory over death. I need to learn to stand firm and let nothing move me - not even the threat of death - concerning God's work. That's the kind of attitude that men of great faith had in the bible. Sometimes I find that I worry about doing what's cool or acceptable in society. Was Noah worried about being popular in society? No! He was probably the laughing stock of the entire town for building this 450 foot long boat in the middle of the desert. They probably thought he was all crazy until it started to rain for 40 days and 40 nights.

Sometimes, I also worry about what my peers will think of me. It's probably good to refrain from acting like a fool but sometimes it's not so easy to speak-up for what I know is right. Were Joshua and Caleb worried about being the odd men out when they reported back to Moses on Canaan? All 10 other explorers came back saying there were giants living there that made them look like grasshoppers. In fact, the entire nation of Israel had a pessimistic attitude and were pretty upset with Moses and Aaron and wanted to stone them. But of course, in the end the walls of Jericho fell and Israel took the promised land.

One of the songs of the moment for me is called The Stand by Joel Houston. It encourages me to make the answers for all of my choices to be a simple YES to God. The chorus says:

"So I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
I'll stand my soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours."

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Blogger 44darts said...

just be you.

9:21 PM  

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