(Writer’s Note: The study we did on “What I LIKE about Jesus has generated more comment from you than anything yet posted. It seems people really enjoy thinking about that subject. Several have written to me on my email, or spoken with me personally. They didn’t want to comment publicly and I’ll always respect that. It’s very obvious that some of you are thinking “outside the box,” though, and that’s good. Stale, rotten thinking probably leads to spiritual halitosis, or ‘sanctified’ B.O., or some other equally repulsive, offensive odor! Some of the “commentators” observations are really, really thought-provoking. I hope you’ll read them as well. If you click on the icon, you can visit Neil’s and Marie’s sites. Also, I think it might be worth your while to visit the site by Mark Ryman at GrahamFriends.org, All are varied, interesting, and scriptural. Most of all, I hope you’ll do your own thinking and research. You surely don’t want to be “spoon-fed” or simply parrot someone’s thoughts! Now, DO YOU? Not when you can do your own thinking and know the discoveries are YOURS. Fresh. New. And personal. You are free, and encouraged, to post your comments at any time on any subject we have been considering. The broader context for this study is the Book of Exodus, especially the first twelve chapters. As always, the Scripture is the basis for what we’re attempting. ~dk)
Here we are continuing our examination of the lives of “God’s Comeback Kids.”
At some point, before the “Comeback” could begin, God had to get the “CBK’s” attention. In Joseph’s case, it must have occurred during some of the long, lonely hours spent in the dungeon in the dark. In the seemingly endless hours before dawn, many of them perhaps spent in solitary confinement, he must have gained an understanding of God. That was probably what kept him from going insane or becoming terminally embittered. Often it was quiet. With little to distract him, except the scampering of rodents across the floors or the snoring and groaning and moaning, or ‘cussing’ and complaining of other prisoners in the cells adjacent to his, he probably did a lot of introspection. In that way he may have acquired a better understanding of how he’d grated on his brother’s nerves. He certainly, slowly but steadily, began to mature. He began to conduct himself in a way that caused him to be admired and respected, not considered an aggravating, obnoxious nuisance.
For Moses, it was that “burning bush” (See chapter two of Exodus). Whatever you make of it, you need to understand that it is told as truth. The person who reported the incident evidently believed it happened the way he said it did. The people of faith who’ve read it all the years afterward obviously considered it to be an actual, factual event. Their whole belief system was founded upon truth telling, and dealing honestly with harsh reality. While some of those people, admittedly, were naïve and simple, there have been hosts of brilliantly intelligent and honest people of integrity who have read believed the account. They were not “into” self-delusion or fabricating to mislead or deceive themselves or anyone else. They did not consider this to be a nighty-nite bedtime story for toddlers. It was not recited, as my children said when they were young, a ‘Once upunce a time. . .” kind of fairy tale or fable.
God has gotten others’ attention in other ways. For the ‘Prodigal Son,’ God got his attention when he had sunk to the lowest level to which a Jew could possibly descend: working for a Gentile pig owner, “slopping” hawgs. Can you see and hear him now, and calling his hawgs home for supper! Sooooo—eeeeee! Here, piggie, piggie, piggie! (Both Gentiles and “pigs” were held in complete contempt by the upstanding, law-observing Jewish citizen.). He was broke, eating what he could swipe from the hog trough, without the owner finding out, when Scripture says: “He came to himself.” The obvious inference here is that, when he left his Father and Home, he was ‘away from himself.’ He was not in possession of his best senses. The Bible takes sin very seriously and suggests that it clouds and dulls the senses.
At a time when the prodigal was so poor he couldn’t even pay attention, God seemed to come and say:‘MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE?
Sometimes He’s achieved that objective of gaining someone’s attention through the death of someone important to the person being “paged.” For example, the prophet Isaiah said: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord. . . etc.” I don’t know what his relationship to King Uzziah was, but through the King’s death God got Isaiah’s undivided attention.
You probably have picked up on my line of thinking and have anticipated my asking this question: “What will it take for God to get YOUR attention? Your undivided attention?
Your friend and fellow student, God’s servant ~donkimrey