Thursday, April 28, 2005

internal dis-ease

“And Abraham said to God,
'Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!'”
(Genesis 17:18)

Thirteen years ago Ishmael was born, Hagar was treated harshly by Sari, and the two of them, the mother and baby fled into the wilderness (Genesis 16). At the instruction of God, Hagar returned to “her mistress” Sari, and “submitted to her authority.” Were not told anything about what happened once Hagar and the assumed child of promise arrived back at the ranch. Did Hagar continue to despise Sari? Was Sari still enraged with envy, jealousy and loneliness? Did Hagar still have wandering eyes for Abraham? Did she lay awake at night dreaming of nights gone by in his embrace? Did she long to return to those times? Did she? What was it like when her eyes would catch the glisten of Abraham’s eyes? All of these questions remain unanswered by the penned text.

Similarly, what about Abraham, stuck between two women and with a child from the second? Once Hagar came back, how uncomfortable was it for him? Was he secretly glad she was back? And what about the boy? After all, it was his son. Did he play with Ishmael, at least as much as any ninety year old man could? This too, we don’t know. It seems pretty clear that Abraham maintained some kind of affection and affinity towards the boy. Moreover, it seems that Abraham still had a belief that, though it had been a mess, Ishmael would still be the one through whom God would bless and create a nation of people. Even after God told Abraham that he would bear a child with Sari, he fell on the ground laughing hysterically with mock. And why wouldn’t that be his first response? He’s ninety-nine years old and as the writer of Hebrews puts it, “as good as dead.” This statement doesn’t seem to refer so much to his physicality and age, but to his sexual potency. He was as good as dead and things weren’t working like they used to. And, even if things were in youthful working order, Sari was “barren” (Genesis 11:30), physically unable to conceive and bear child. Two strikes: one, the old man and two, the barren women. Interestingly, God doesn’t seem to be the least bit concerned or waved by these two longstanding realities of the human degeneration. For God is full aware of man’s dilemma and He is fully capable of intervening.

Once again, Scripture doesn’t give all the psychological factors of Abraham’s response to God. We don’t have a “faith meter” in the margin of our Bible showing where Abraham’s faith in God to do the miraculous was in all this. All we know, he laughed hysterically at the impossibility of matter and the image that it brought to his mind.

The second thing we have is Abraham’s response, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!"” Emphatically, declaratively and with great emphasis Abraham pleaded, asked that Ishmael could be that one. “Oh that!, might it be!, I pray thee!, if only!, would that!”
What was Abraham thinking? Was there so little faith to believe that God could revive his youthful mortality and heal his barren wife? Or was there something else? Had the young boy Ishmael captured a special place in his hear? Did he foresee future complications and conflicts if there was to be another son, by another women, this time Sari his wife?

There seems to be some doubt in his reproductive abilities. There also seems to be some endearment that the boy held in Abraham’s heart. After what happened with Sari and Hagar the last time and him in the middle, there could definitely be some complications on the horizon. Abraham, like most men, would much rather live in “false peace” than in between two emotional women, each pulling for his affection and attention. Above all else, Ishmael made more sense, he was already there, and it would definitely be easier and more convenient.

But, isn’t the way of the flesh (soul) always more easy, at least to the human mind, eye, heart and desires? Once we have acted in the flesh and external consequences are at hand, one’s natural tendency is to desire to live with the flesh. To incorporate obedience at this point, will result in a tension for sure between flesh and spirit. Therefore, it is often much more easier to ask God to allow our desires to live and to bless them, then to incorporate the desires of the spirit. Be sure the flesh child will always be there to remind us.

For now all we know is that there’s a child on the way, to be born within a year at the “appointed time.” (Genesis 17:21; 18:14)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

doubt under backfire

“5-Then Sarai said to Abram, "My wrong be upon you!
I gave my maid into your embrace;
and when she saw that she had conceived,
I became despised in her eyes.
The LORD judge between you and me.
6-So Abram said to Sarai,
"Indeed your maid is in your hand;
do to her as you please."
And when Sarai dealt harshly with her,
she fled from her presence.” (emphasis mine)

One would assume that Abram would have communicated to Sari by this time that they were going to have a child. Based on her response in Genesis 18 it’s not completely clear. Abram may have told her, but due to the lapse of time, she may have begun to doubt that Abram’s child would indeed be through her. It could have been this doubt that inspired her to offer Hagar, or perhaps she was asking the same question Abram was in 15:2, regarding who would be their heir. Nevertheless, Sari offered Hagar to Abram. What seemed to be a logical idea turns into quite an entangling of emotions and even physical consequences.

First of all, God had promised a son, even a multitude of descendants. Immediately following that initial promise, God establishes a covenant with Abram in Chapter 15. The covenant that was formed differed from the typical covenant. Typically, both parties would bring an animal or such to the sight where the covenant would be consecrated. Both parties would walk through the cut open heifer, ensuring that the blood of the animal was on both of their feet. This act symbolized both parties individual commitment to the covenant at hand. Both took upon themselves responsibility to uphold their part of the negotiations and agreements. If one party violated the established agreement, the blood on the feet represented they death that person would face. In other words they bound themselves to the other party to fulfill the covenant, guaranteed by death. This covenant differed in that only one of the two parties walked through the spilled blood of the heifer, God. The Lord put Abram in a deep sleep and proceeded to walk through the blood alone. God was communicating in this act that He was taking full responsibility of the covenant between Abram and Himself. He would complete the agreements, all by Himself. In other words, there was no great energy to be exerted by Abram to fulfill the promise God gave, only believe.

This act of God was also a prophetic foreshadowing of the Eternal Covenant God would make with mankind. While mankind was in a deep sleep, even dead in sins, God cut a covenant with him. A covenant initiated by God, provided by God, completed by God, and carried out by God – Himself. There was nothing that man could do to expedite or make this covenant more complete, only believe. Nonetheless, Abram began to somehow and to some degree waver in his understanding of God’s covenantal follow through. Thus, he conceded to “go into Hagar.”

This seems to have been more than a one time occurrence and perhaps a little more than strictly “business as usual.” Meaning, their relationship may have not been void of emotion, passion, and extended embrace. Could it be that in the initial attempt to conceive a child, something deeper was being conceived deep within Hagar, even Abram. Suddenly this insignificant lonely Egyptian maid begins to feel a subterranean sense of worth deep within. Could it be, that as Abram wrapped his embracing arms around her that something awakened deep within – beauty, worth, passion, even love? Perhaps, she even began to imagine what life would be like with Abram if she were to conceive. “After all, his wife had produced no such child. Maybe after years of unfulfilled intimacy, frustration, even disappointment that follows Abram would begin to love me as his wife- his true wife, the one who produced an heir.” She conceives…

Now the stage is set. I wonder how long she waited before she told Abram? Did she announce it to all? Or did she wait until just the right moment? Possibly, she waited for them to be together again – alone and intimate. Laying there next to him, still warm from his embrace she gently, yet passionately kisses him and then looks deep into his eyes and says, “Abram, inside my womb, lies the fruit of our love.” The moment had arrived, the news had been shared, surely now, he will love me as his wife.

But, there was still the nagging image of Sari. “If only Sari wasn’t around, he could be all mine,” she thought. Deeply, she longed for Abram, yet everyday she saw the one who would always stand in the way – the inept wife. Secretly, more and more each day Hagar began to despise Sari. Sari wasn’t immune to these undercurrents of emotion. She could feel it everyday as she passed Hagar in the morning, something had changed between them. At times, Sari would, out of the corner of her eye catch Hagar staring at her with deep envy, rage, even jealousy. Shamefully, secretly, Sari felt that same envy, rage and jealously towards Hagar. After all, “I should have been the one to conceive a child.” Sari thought. She could distinctively remember the day her and Abram’s intimacy cracked, giving way to waning passion and what seemed like waning love as well. It had been so long. They had tried so hard, but conception was never the news of the day. Before long, it was a lost hope, an empty dream – loneliness began to settle deep within Sari.

“And now, this bread-crumb servant is glowing with passion and beaming with pride, as she carries my husband’s child.” Sari, began to release the emotions that had been held deep within for so long. She increased Hagar’s duties, prolonged her days, intended to wear away at the pride, bringing her back to reality – “you are a slave, nothing more – the child you bear is mine, not yours!” Try as she may, extra labor didn’t seem to quench the fire in Hagar’s eyes. Rage increased like a violent forest fire within Sari. She began to deal more and more harshly with Hagar, even to the point of punishing remarks, perhaps even backhands. Anything that would instill affliction, oppress the pregnant glow, silence the passion and weaken her hopes. “Sari dealt harshly with her, she fled from her presence.”

Friday, April 22, 2005

so he did it all.

“Noah did;
according to all that God commanded him,
so he did.” (Genesis 6:22)

There are several things amazing about the story of Noah. His righteousness and blamelessness in the midst of the dark culture he lived, was certainly noteworthy. But, true righteousness and blamelessness are inseparable from perhaps what might be the most amazing thing about Noah’s account. Scripture says, “so he did.” The word used for “did” here is the Hebrew word ‘asah. It means, “to make, accomplish, administer, to bring forth, to establish, to execute, and to carry on to completion.” This word is the equivalent of what Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished!” Noah, didn’t just have a faith in God, a righteousness before God, but he had a persistent character to carry out to the finish all that God instructed.

When I was growing up, there was a man down the street from me, who was endeavoring to build a boat. At least that’s what I was told. The first time I saw it, it was a huge structure in the back of his yard with a canvas covering over it to protect it from the rain. Week by week as I would ride my bike by, the canvas lay weathered, but unmoved and the ship….we’ll less than finished.

Near my grandparents was a similar situation, a man who was building his own dream house. In my mind, I can still see the massive white columns reaching from the concrete foundation to nearly 30 feet upward to the top of the house. I remember the first time seeing this house and thinking, “that’s the biggest house around here!” I inquired of my dad who’s it was. He told me the man’s name and how he was building it himself….(he paused). “When is it going to be finished?” I asked. My dad paused a little longer and said, “He was all excited about building this house. It’s everything he’s ever wanted. He started with a bang, everything you see here he did in just a couple of months. But he hasn’t done anything in the last several years….” It is now some twenty years later, and the house? Still not finished.

We’ve all began a “project” that didn’t quite make it to completion. This is what’s so amazing to me about Noah, “He finished it.” Imagine this boat… It was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, with a capacity exceeding that of 500 railroad stock cars. It was the length of one and half football fields. And, Noah finished! Did Noah build this ark all by himself. We’re not told of any contractors coming in and placing bids. And I doubt none would’ve even taken him serious if he had tried… a boat! It had never even rained. How long would it take one man to build a ship the size of this one?

This was perhaps the longest sermon every preached. And, it was preached without words. Noah may have called for repentance, we don’t know for sure. But, with every blow of the hammer resounded the message of God’s impending judgment. And, with each blow of the hammer, I imagine, echoed another cynics verbal outcry against the ridiculousness of such an act, yet in the midst of such circumstances “Noah did all that God had commanded." I think of all the things God has spoken to me over the years, that upon inception evoked such excitement within me. Yet, many of those “seeds” still remain in the cup, for they were never planted, cultivated, tended to, nor saw to completion.

God…remind me of things you’ve instructed me to do, the things that You wanted to do in me, that I’ve yet to finish. May it be said of me, that I did according to all that God commanded him, so he did.”

Thursday, April 21, 2005

God shut the door

"In the beginning God."
(Genesis 1:1)
"And God shut the door behind them."
(Genesis 7:18)

This is the foundation of all that we do for God. For if God is not at the beginning of all that we do, then what we do is not really for Him and will not produce any eternal fruit. Jesus said that apart from Him we could do nothing (see Jn. 15).

At the same time this offers us substance for hope and evidence for the unseen. All one has to know is that in the beginning God. When fears, worries, anxieties, doubts, discouraging moments come my way and crowd out faith, bringing confusion to my mind, all I really have to remember is in the beginning God. If God was in the beginning, then God is still there in the now and will carry it on until completion (see Phil. 1:6). No doubt, we can make wrong choices and detour from His perfect plan and purpose for our lives, ministry, etc., but when our sights are set, and doubt and the like come in I need not waver. He is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, my Substance and my Strength. Jesus lead on I will follow.

This was the case with Noah. It had never rained on the earth, yet God tells Noah to go make a giant floating umbrella. Noah was preparing for something that had never been. Imagine the conversation he had with his wife that night after God first spoke… But the in the beginning it was the Word of God that had spoken.

Scripture tells us that,
“Noah did all that God had commanded him to do”
(Genesis 6:22).
God spoke, Noah responded, and then God acted. Genesis tells us that after all the animals, Noah and his family entered the ark that “the LORD shut the door” (Genesis 7:18). In between the Word of God and the Act of God, is the obedience of a person, a GodWalker.

Often we get excited about a word God has spoken to us regarding something He wills to do. Unfortunately, the excitement is all we ever get, for all too often we never build the “ark” that will keep us when the Word is put in motion. It is our very obedience to the Word spoken that builds a house of character, that enables us to see the Act of God come.

Are there Words God has spoken to you? How far did you get into the building of your “ark”? It may be time to pick up the hammer…

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Great Divorce

“He was grieved in His heart.”
(Genesis 6:6)

God created humans to walk intimately with Him in eternal and unbroken union. Paul, in Ephesians states that marriage on earth, man and women becoming one is a great mystery, but a mystery that is symbolic of our union with the Divine Bridegroom (see Ephesians 5:30-32). Think of the growing emotions between two people as they court one another, the passion, the love, the desire and excitement that is resident in a young lover’s heart on the day of their engagement. Imagine the honeymoon, with long walks on the beach and intimate talks in the moonlight….laughter, play, joy, and intimacy. This is the expectation and perhaps the reality of almost every new couple. As soon as the rush of the wedding ceremony and procedures is over, they whisk away to a secluded place, alone, just the two of them. And thus begins the life-long exploration of love, intimacy and one another. The world seems to stand still…the proceeding seasons of preparation and business now interlude with “rest” before life-together begins. This intermission from life is intended for these two to experience life together.

Now, envision the couple returning after their week of intermission. They return to their new home. The next day they awake to the embrace of the other, prepare for the day and each are off to their respected places of employment. All day the husband is thinking of his new bride. “I can’t wait to get home! Perhaps we can go for a walk after dinner…” He rushes home after work. He arrives before his wife. He prepares dinner and waits… he calls her cell phone to see if she was detained at work, but no answer. An hour goes by, then two and three, before long it’s close to nine o’clock and he’s beginning to worry. In almost a panic, “where’s my wife?!? Has something happened?” he jumps in his car and races downtown to her place of employment. Finally, he approaches the entrance to the parking garage. Eyes wide open and piercing in every direction, he pulls in beginning to circle upward checking frantically for his wife. As he comes to the third floor, he spots his wife’s car on the other side, just around the corner, parked between two huge cement columns. “That’s strange he thinks to himself,” for his wife always parks in the open near the elevator. She always talked about how the corners of the parking garage made her uncomfortable, because they were secluded, dark and hidden due to all the columns. “The deck must have been full this morning.” The husband thought to himself.

As he pulled around the corner, approaching the parked car, he noticed movement inside. It looked as if she were sitting in the driver seat. By this time, he had made his way down the deck and around the corner, he was right behind her car. As he came to a stop, he saw not one figure, but two as they pressed in close, together, intimately. As they pressed in, the wife noticed her husband’s car out of the corner of her eye. Slowly she pulled away and begin to sink down, deep into the seat, both of them were now out of sight….

God describes what He felt and the reality of humankind’s actions as a husband returning home from the long walks in the cool of the day honeymoon period, entering into life together, only to catch the wife (the human race) late for dinner, lingering in a lustful affair back at the workplace.

Imagine…… Can you?

We talk a lot about the results of the Fall on the human race, but have you ever stopped to think and meditate on the heart of the Bridegroom (God) who’s waiting at home for his wife to return…. Fortunately, He didn’t remain at “home,” He came looking for us, pursuing us… the question is what will each of us do when He pulls in behind us….?

“You are an adulterous wife,
who takes strangers
instead of her husband.”
(Ezekiel 16:32)

A great book that paints a vivid picture of this reality of God and Israel is Israel My Beloved, by Kay Arthur. She does an awesome job of combing Scripture, emotion, and factual history into a novel form of writing. This book will give you an appreciation and understanding of the history of the Jewish people, context of Old Testament accounts, and the passion of God to pursue His bride.

Monday, April 18, 2005

“in the eye’s of the LORD”

Noah is another one of these characters that we really don’t know much about, at least according to our Western standards of “knowing” somebody. To gain understanding about someone or to know who they are we typically start with, “what they do for a living.” For it seems, that in discovering what someone’s occupation is, which will usually tell us what kind of education they have received, which will tell us how intelligent they are, and how much money they make, which comes together to form the sum total of what we think about this person. Success, significance and status are often determined by these factors. Many of us are conditioned to come to these and very similar conclusions. These conclusive-paradigms permeate almost every aspect of our society. Unfortunately, the culture of the Church all to often looks through the same lens to see individuals.

In the opening accounts of Scripture were are given several prototypes for defining success and significance. One is found in Genesis chapter four. We are given the lineage of Cain. The author begins listing the descendent of Cain. When we get to Lamech (Genesis 4:19) the genealogical rhythm is interrupted. We are told that “Lamech took for himself two wives.” Was he the first to take two wives? We are not told for certain. Nonetheless, in this break of the rhythm we are given the names of Lamech’s sons: Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-Cain. We are then given impressive attributes about them and their accomplishments. Jabal developed skills in working with livestock and dwelling in tents, Jubal became a master inventor and instructor of those who would play wind instruments, and Tubal-Cain became and instructor of “every” craft relating to bronze and iron. As awesome as these advances may have been to civilization; ethics and integrity within Lamech’s household was at an all time low. Lamech himself was an arrogant, boasting, vengeful murder. Yet, for Lamech and his family it was “what a person accomplished” that determined their prestige and value as an individual.

On the other hand, starting in Genesis chapter five, we are given the genealogy of Adam and one of his other sons, Seth. The author once again begins the cadence of the genealogical rhythm. The cadence continues until we get to Enoch and then there’s an interruption. What will it say about this man Enoch? What did he do? What did he invent? What did he accomplish so that all the world renown’s his praise? What did this Enoch do comparable to the development of livestock, inventions of musical instruments, skills of bronze and iron? This is what a careful reader would be thinking as they came upon this once again interruption of the rhythm.

So, what does the author insert in the pause? Simply, “and Enoch walked with God.” Seems most disappointing at face value, does it not? Think about it. On one side of the family there is the emergence of the first Industrial Revolution taking place with unsurpassed developments and inventions, and on the other side of the family there is a merely a person “walking with God.”

As all of that is going on in the reader’s mind, the author lulls them back into the sing-song cadence of father begot son rhythm. Just as the reader becomes comfortable once again, another interruption is inserted. It is during this parenthetical interlude that we are given an updated description of the earth and the people that dwell therein. In short, mankind is wicked on every end. Every thought and intent of the heart is putrefied with lust-filled passion, violence and envy. The last time the author painted a description of God’s feelings towards creation and mankind was one that stated, “It is good. It is very good.” This picture has now been blurred with all the colors running together. God is now shown to be grieved, deeply hurt and greatly displeased.

This is the backdrop of this genealogical interruption. And the interruption takes place once again with a particular person, in the case Noah. The reader, at the interruption would once again be lured to ask himself, “but, what did this Noah create, invent or teach? Was he like Jabal, Jubal, or Tubal-Cain? Or, was he like Enoch, the last guy at the genealogical interruption?”

“Noah walked with God.” He was righteous, blameless and unfailingly obedience to the One he consciously walked with. As a result, he and his immediate family were all saved. Interestingly, of the direct descendant linking back to Adam, all had passed away before the flood came. Lamech (not to be confused with the Lamech of Genesis chapter four), died five years before the flood. Five is the biblical number symbolizing “grace,” and it was by grace that none of Adam’s (Seth’s side) direct descendants faced the judgment of the flood. And so it will be with all of those who are direct spiritual-descendants of the Second Adam.

In the economy of God it is not merely what a person does that establishes worth, but how a person “walks.” Do they walk with God? It is this walk with God, that permeates a person’s whole being, creating righteousness, blamelessness and obedience. It is this breed of people that find themselves doing great and mighty exploits with the One Who they walk with.

“Noah found favor (grace) in the eyes of the LORD.”
(Genesis 6:8)

Are you tempted to look first at a person’s occupation, education, financial status, etc to establish their worth, or do you instinctively look at a person’s “walk”?

Paul lamented in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “We no longer know anyone according to the flesh.” We must develop “eyes” to see like God those who in the midst of a multitude of wickedness and perversion, simply, yet significantly “walk with God.”

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Enoch walked with God

“Enoch walked with God.”
(Genesis 5:22, 24)

God’s core intent was that humans would “walk with” Him intimately. This is established early in Scripture with Adam. However, we can see that,

When Adam ceased walking with God, Death entered;
When Enoch began to walk with God, Death ceased.
Adam failed to walk with God and experienced Death;
Enoch on the other hand did walk with God and escaped Death.

Who was Enoch? How did he learn to walk with God? What was it like for him to walk with God? What do we know about Him? Enoch lived to be 365 years old. For 308 of those 365 years, Adam was alive. The casual reader reads the genealogies and carelessly assumes that Adams been dead a thousand years or something by the time Enoch comes along. However, Adam was 622 years old when Enoch was born. So for 308 years of Enoch's 365 they’re existing on the earth together. Here's what I think could have very well happened. You've got all the men on the face of the earth, having heard the stories of Adam walking with God. And their just going on trying to make the best of what they’ve got. All the while, could it be, that Enoch was a man, absolutely caught up with the idea and could not get past the concept that Adam had once walked with God. Could it be that every chance Enoch got, he was with Adam, his great, great, great, great, grandfather saying, "Tell me again, what was it like???--You walked with Him. How did you walk with Him?"?

Could it be that Enoch was so caught up with the concept that someone had walked with God, that he dedicated his life-to walking with God? After all, that’s what his very name means, “dedicated, initiated, and to train up.” What was the “fruit” of this man who “walked (halak) with God?” First of all, Enoch was a profoundly prophetic man. Jude points out the fact that Enoch was a prophet. “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying,

‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15-to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude :14-15)

Jude is quoting from the Apocrypha book known as 1 Enoch (also referred to as the Ethiopian Enoch). It’s a direct quote from 1 Enoch 1:9. The Book of Enoch was a popular text commonly read and respected by early Judaism and First Century Christians. It appears that Jude is references this prophecy to the Second Coming of Christ (it actually resonates much of what the New Testament has to say about it. See Matthew 16:27; 25:31 and Deuteronomy 33:2). Yet, it seems that the prophecy recorded by Enoch was also a prophecy regarding the ungodliness of his own day. And, the “executing of judgment” could have very well applied to the impeding judgment of the flood that would be coming.

It seems very clear that Enoch knew the flood was coming. He named his son, Methuselah which means, “death and sent” or “at his death it comes” or “at death it will be sent”. Interesting name for a son! If you study the genealogies, the year that Methuselah died, the flood came. As Enoch prophesied, at Methuselah’s death, the judgment was sent. Also that shows you something about the mercy of God. The guy whose name meant, at his death, (judgment comes or ) it comes lived longer than anybody else on the face of the earth. This story is a type, a picture, and a message of God's mercy.

Moreover, Methuselah’s name could have also been translated “Man-Stretched-out.” Methuselah was the oldest person to ever live, and his life “stretched” from the time Adam lived to Noah’s preaching of the impeding judgment, all the way up to the year (perhaps day) of the Flood. He was 243 years old when Adam died and 300 years old when Enoch was taken away. And all of this is tucked away in this notorious “sleeper passage” of Scripture. Yet, the treasures of Scripture are only given to those who “diligently seek Him.” As George Washington Carver said,

“Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough.”

A GodWalker is one who will walk with, pursue, seek out and love on God and His Word until the secrets are released. Enoch dedicated himself to that. He gave his attention to the Lord. He walked with God.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


“So Cain went out from the LORD's presence
and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”
(Genesis 4:16)

Scripture says that Cain departed from the LORD’S presence. Literally, Cain, was standing face-to-face with God. He “went out” from that place and settled and lived in the land of Nod. The verse, at face value is pretty straight forward. However, if you look at the place where Cain left and then the place where he would dwell the verse begins to communicate some pretty applicable truths for our present lives.

The word “Nod” means, “place of wandering” or “of aimless fugitive.” Cain began to dwell in a place that its very name meant aimless, purposeless, and wandering.Any time we “depart” from the Lord’s presence, we depart from the place of direction, understanding and perspective. Furthermore, in those times there will be a sense of aimlessness, purpose will be less clear, and our perspective will be skewed. During these times and seasons our mind and emotions will be prone to entertain thoughts and feelings that will not reflect Reality... discouragement, dissillusion, discontentment to name a few. If what we're believing is'nt founded on truth, then what we're feeling will not be reality. If we are not careful during these times, we will be prone to come to conclusions and make decisions that will not be directed by Wisdom, nor inspired by Truth.

The best thing we can do is recognize that we are living in "Nod." We have departed from the place that keeps our reality insync with His Reality.Something happens as we commit ourselves to meeting with Him daily – face-to-face. When we do this, we begin to see things differently. We begin to see life as He sees it. Journaling can be a powerful tool to help us recognize the lie, gain perspective and hear His Truth. But to hear, we must be "in His Presence."

Until I went into the sanctuary of God;then I understood…”
(Psalm 73:17)

Monday, April 11, 2005


Yesterday we began a new sermon series GodWalker. This idea comes from the Hebrew word halak. It’s the word used in Scripture to describe those who intimately “walked” with God on a daily basis. It’s much deeper than a set of beliefs or even a theological disposition. It encompasses one’s life in its entirety: work, play, family, church, school, etc.

One’s “walk” is the sum total of who they are. Often, in our business we are fractured and split as people. We are one person at work, another at church, another in public, and all too often yet another at home. As we grow deeper as a GodWalker, these separate “personalities” begin to become one, the true one, the one we were designed by the Creator to bear and re-present to the world around us.

“God…I pray that the Holy Spirit will no longer allow me to be split in my “personality” and my world to be split into compartments. Arrest my attention (spirit, mind & emotions) when I do this and help me to begin walking more wholly with You.

As Bilbo Baggin’s put it in The Fellowship of the Ring,

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet,
there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

Each and everyone of us is on a spiritual journey as a GodWalker. Each and everyone of us must continue to learn how to increasingly “keep in step with the Holy Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).

We will never arrive at this type of walk arbitrarily, it will require us to be intentional, determined and creatures of change.

“So Cain went out from the LORD's presence
and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.”
(Genesis 4:16)

Scripture says that Cain departed from the LORD’S presence. Literally, Cain, was standing face-to-face with God. He “went out” from that place and settled and lived in the land of Nod. The verse, at face value is pretty straight forward. However, if you look at the place where Cain left and then the place where he would dwell the verse begins to communicate some pretty applicable truths for our present lives.

The word “Nod” means, “place of wandering” or “of aimless fugitive.” Cain began to dwell in a place that its very name meant aimless, purposeless, and wandering.

Any time we “depart” from the Lord’s presence, we depart from the place of direction, understanding and perspective. Furthermore, in those times there will be a sense of aimlessness, purpose will be less clear, and our perspective will be skewed.

Something happens as we commit ourselves to meeting with Him daily – face-to-face. When we do this, we begin to see things differently. We begin to see life as He sees it. We often are inclined to see life from our own vantage point, which is always from the perspective of Nod.

“Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I understood…”(Psalm 73:17)