You’ve Got My Attention

Her little eyes peeked over the edge of the table. The blueberries she loves were just within reach between the two oblivious, conversing adults. A smile lit her eyes as she quickly grabbed a handful and stuffed them in her mouth.

Then . . . she waited.

I had seen her and she knew I was watching but she wanted to make sure. I sharply (playfully) called her name. She scampered away laughing and I laughed too.

Now I always cringe when I compare my actions to God’s. After all, He is divine perfection and I’m, well, not.

Lately, I feel like God has forgotten me. I work, sleep, eat. Nothing I do seems to matter, to make an impact on the world around me. I try so hard and no one cares.

I cry out, “what do You want from me?” And no answer comes back.

Until I watched my granddaughter. I had watched when she walked over, watched when she got lower and crawled up to the table. I waited till she peeked over the table. I saw her every move. She has my attention as soon as she enters my house.

I don’t have to cry out for God’s attention.

He’s never taken His eyes off me.

Unauthorized

One of the strangest and most disturbing stories (to me, at least) in the bible is in Leviticus 10.

Yeah, Leviticus.  Old Testament.  Laws out the wazoo.  Skipped by many.

No, it is not all boring.

At least it wasn’t boring for Nadab and Abihu.  They were the sons of Aaron, the first high priest of Israel.  In line to become high priests themselves after their father dies.  And nothing tells us they were bad guys.  However, they offered “strange” fire at the altar.

This story has been told for, literally, thousands of years to show how we better not mess up or God will “get” you.  Screw up and you are fried.  And I’ve always wondered, what the heck did they do that was so bad?

Understand, Aaron, good old dad, made an idol for the children of Israel to worship.  Didn’t die.  Later on, some other sons of the high priest Eli were drinking on the job and having sex with women that came to the temple.  And they, well ok, they died too but way after the sinning started.  And Caiaphas, don’t even get me started on Caiaphas.

The explanation given needs to be looked at in a couple translations:

NIV – Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: “‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’”

ESV – Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.’” 

So what it sounds like is, if you are approaching or already near God, don’t screw up, cuz then he’ll GET YA!

Wait, that’s not right.  I thought those who were close to God or trying to be close to God got a little grace.  You know, kind of a mulligan, because we’re friends.

And shoot, if we don’t get that mulligan, why get close to God?  I know for a fact I’m going to fail badly.  Probably better if I just keep some distance between me and the big Guy.  That’s what the children of Israel did when Moses got the Law in the first place.

“You go talk to Him.  We’ll do what you say, but you have the relationship.”

After walking with God for a while, I’m starting to see how I’ve looked at God that way.  I’m starting to see what is meant when we say, “God IS love (emphasis mine)!”

So how do you justify frying to guys for unauthorized fire.

The fire in question was intended to light the censers that held the holy incense.  Incense, burning incense, has always been a symbol of prayer, even in other cultures.  And the fire was only supposed to come from the altar of sacrifice.

The fire of my prayers is supposed to come from a heart and life laid down on the altar.

I want to be a better husband, a better father.  I have dreams and hopes that are yet unfulfilled.  I want to see my family, my church, my friends and brothers, my city, state, country following Jesus, living for Him completely.  I pray for healings to take place, miracles to be seen, truth to be revealed, love to triumph over hate in all its forms.

So what fires my prayers?

The warning isn’t that God will kill me.  The warning is that I will lose my place near Him.

I’d rather die.

Who’s Your Daddy?

I have the best dad in the universe.  No seriously!

He constantly watches out for me and gives me personal advice for everything that happens in my life.  It gets kind of irritating sometimes because I argue with him even though I know he’s always right.  Funny though, I feel better knowing that I can trust him, though I do wish he would let me win from time to time.  I do get bothered by his constant supervision too.  I mean, I’m a grown man that can think for himself.  Do I really need his constant correction when I do something wrong.  He seems to let some of my brothers slide so much on some areas but not me.  Of course, I don’t know everything going on for them, but really he seems to favor them over me almost all the time.  They get new toys while I have to keep playing with the same old, worn out junk.  They live in nice houses while mine is just, well, not as nice.  It’s not fair.  He lets them do so many stupid things.  But, if I stray an inch from his goal for me, he is all over me with scripture I read and music I hear.  When I think about it, though, I can see that we’re closer to each other than some of my brothers are to him.  Somehow, even though I want things, more of him is worth more than more stuff.  And, I have to say, it is nice to know that he sees me.  I don’t think I could take it if I thought he didn’t care about my life.  So I guess I can accept his vigilance.

My daddy is really strong, too.  He beats up on the other dads in my neighborhood everyday.  And, he even lets me kick ’em in the shins from time to time just to help me be more like him.  I really want to be more like my dad.  The other day we beat the snot out of lust and impurity in Battle Creek, MI (yeah PK).  It was awesome!

I could go on and on.  The greatest thing about my dad, though, is that with Him I feel safe.  I don’t mean safe like boring, routine, never try anything safe.  I mean like, I can do anything!  There’s no such thing as impossible.  I can take the greatest risks and know that He will catch me, complete me, remove me if need be, keep me.  It gets pretty exciting though, I have to say, I still get scared sometimes.  I know I’m safe but don’t always believe what I know.  He always catches me, even when I’m scared.  And I think I’m getting better at trusting Him.

Does your dad sound like my dad?  If not, I’d love to introduce you to Him.  See, I didn’t even tell you the best part.  I’m adopted.  My old dad was mean and hated me.  He hurt me over and over.  Then, my new dad found me and asked me to be a part of his family.  All I did was say, “OK,” and He took me in.  He loves kids.

Maybe He can be your dad too.