The Golden Calf – possessing 2

Let us explore further the reason why issues of ‘having’ caused the nation of Israel to

English: My Desk

English: My Desk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

backtrack so dramatically on all the vows they had taken before God.

When Moses went and told the people all the Lord’s words and laws, they responded with one voice, “Everything the Lord has said we will do.” Exodus 24: 3

They had  promised to obey him and be His people just a month before and now they are reveling before a golden calf in idolatrous worship. (chapter 32)

We have considered the idea  that emptiness and lack of direction was felt by the nation due to the fact their leader (Moses) was away for 40 days and nights. This meant that the people tried to fill a leader sized hole with ‘doing’ and with ‘having’. The children of God were not used to making their own choices, having been slaves for so long, and the freedom they now experienced in wide open places caused an unease and insecurity. They tried to fill the new culture with the old ways. It is said that some wild animals are kept in cages for so long when they are released in the wild they will stay put in the cage because freedom is too daunting for them. We hear stories of prisoners so overwhelmed with freedom  and choice  they  re-offend in order to stay within the security of bars.

What if the ‘having’ things includes  people over you for feeling of security. They may be bars on your windows and locks on your personal doors of freedom – but they bring positions of security. This having secure positions means wanting labels for people so that we know who is who and what is what. We call people elders, pastors, evangelists, administrators, leaders, stewards, musicians and may give them badges such as lead musician, trustee etc. We are comfortable then with their label, we know we have all areas covered, we have people in the boxes we have put them in, the role they are now allowed to move around in, we  can understand how everything fits together. We have understanding, we have positions, we have control. Our labels link in with ‘doing’ – doing things for identity. I know that I ‘do’ the PA and that is who I am  – it gives us purpose, meaning, usefulness and sense of achievement.

What if church is to be organic, a family of people. If everyone has freedom to do what is on their heart  there are no boxes to contain people in or pedestals to put people on. There are no clear boundaries in which you have to adhere, a flow of heart connections and Spirit leading. What if everyone is free and powerful to do what is on their hearts?

In a culture of honour and serving there is no hierarchy, no patriarchy, no matriarchy and no uniformity. There is place for  clear leadership but this is done without labels at times – eg someone could lead worship from within the congregation without a stage, microphone or label. The shepherding and leading  is done from a foundation of serving and not from a place of control.  There are no power struggles as each family member honours gifting, call and freedom of others. There is no jealousy as each feels fully loved and accepted.

The onus is on people with anointing to lead well. This means that leaders cannot  rest on a label until they retire or lean on their position to feel that they have a right to make decisions or think they understand. In this organic family all have a voice, all are comfortable to express their gifts and those who are anointed for the moment are given room to clearly lead with deference in their serving. Jesus the King of Kings lead by example and serving – he gave people choices without persuasion.

For all of us it is a challenge to stay fresh in the Holy Spirit. To not just do the things we are on a rota for, or asked to do – but to be what we are. There is a difference between doing to gain acceptance and purpose, and knowing what your purpose is and just being who you were made to be. However eccentric, crazy or bazaar our anointing may seem to others we need to let the real us out. Let’s be who we truly are.

Today: Ask the Holy spirit to show you if there is anything you do to gain acceptance through what you do. Start by recognising your anointing and who you were made to be and start to deliberately to rest in who you are.

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The Father’s Gift

Floral Themed Gift Wrap

Floral Themed Gift Wrap (Photo credit: Premier Packaging)

We all love gifts – a box of chocolates, a bunch of flowers, a night at the theatre, a pair of earrings  – but what about a time of rest? I love Mothers Day when the lunch is cooked and I can sit and read. It is an expression of my children’s love for me that they want to give me time out. I must say how much I appreciate all their efforts to show their love for me.

Exodus 16;29 They must realise the Sabbath is God’s gift to you

God was telling the Israelites that there was a heartfelt gift he had given them. A day where they can rest from work, be with their family and enjoy life. This was just like mother’s day every week for everyone. God thought that this rest was so important that even He rested after creation – had his own Father’s day. I wonder if God the Son brought him breakfast in bed! It was the first thing he did  after all his good work so it must have been important.

But that was Old Testament wasn’t it? We believe in a new rest of heart, a peace within us. There is no need to take 24 hours out to rest. MMmmm I am not so sure. I think that as a principle it is invaluable. Is to ignore the principle of the Sabbath to reject God’s gift to me?

Our lives are so busy we can put God in the empty slots. We give him ‘left over time’. We fit him into what we are already doing. Arrange him around our lives. What if we had to arrange our lives around him? Gave him 24 hours to rest, walk and chat with us. Gave him priority and fitted everything else around him.

How do we deliberately re-arrange our lives so that God, his kingdom and his church come first before our business? It would break the pattern of being busy, re-learning our feeling of having to do to feel accomplished, feeling we have to achieve something in order to be valued.

What would a Sabbath look like? 24hours where you don’t achieve anything. It could be Saturday from 1pm till Sunday till 1pm.  You don’t work and don’t rush. What you do in that time is spend time with Father God, people, be creative, go for walks, spend time with your family, ponder and think.

Today: Sit down and soberly consider before God if this is something you feel God is asking of you. Decide a 24hours slot that will weekly be your Sabbath before God. Thank Him for the gift of Sabbath and be excited by the changes it will bring in your life.