Saturday, June 13, 2009

On Rainbows

From the Targums of Palestine on the Book of Genesis (see Genesis 9:11-17)

And I will establish my covenant with you, and will not again cause all flesh to perish by the waters of a flood; and there shall not again be a flood to destroy the earth.

And the Lord said, this is the sign of the covenant which I establish between My Word and between you and every living soul that is with you to the generations of the world. I have set My Bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of the covenant between My Word and the earth.

And it shall be that when I spread out My glorious cloud over the earth the bow shall be seen in the day (time) while the sun is not sunk (or hidden) in a cloud. And I will remember My covenant.

…And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between the Word of the Lord and every living soul of all flesh that is on the earth.

Let’s think a little about rainbows for a minute. Now they definitely bring out the “wow” factor. Any time you see one, you automatically say “wow”…Now think back a moment to Noah, and the generations after Noah. I am sure for a while, whenever Noah or his family saw a dark cloud, they wondered, “Is this it?” or “Will it (the flood) happen again?” And yes, it would rain, and like here in Colorado, I’m sure some rains were “gully washers”. The terrifying flashes of lightning and the rolling booms of the thunder that you can feel. Yet, as the storm passes, and the rain is just beginning to subside, sunlight breaks through the clouds and suddenly in the distance with dark clouds behind it; a spectacular, glowing bow of luminous color. A “token” the Targums say, the NAS says a “sign”; God remembering an everlasting covenant.

Now, we live under a “New Covenant” and just as everlasting.

“And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, the sun being obscured;” (Luke 23:45)

Yet we now have a new “token” an empty cross, the more perfect “sign” that the dark clouds of the storm frame, showing the beauty of the victory, and highlighted by the pure bright light of God shining for us.

Yes, the storms we have to live through are dark, and sometimes we think that they will never end; we ask “God will you deliver me?” Yet on one lonely hill, with dark clouds behind it, the victory was won. So we know and we have this confidence, not only an empty cross, but an empty tomb…the ultimate storm was conquered…Death!

The Apostle Paul wrote, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death: in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14)

So, we can press on with the “token” of the empty cross before us always; and not just after the storm. Now that is the ultimate “wow” factor.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Defining Refining

Zechariah 13:9” This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ’The Lord is our God.’”(Today’s New International Version)

According to Webster’s New World College Dictionary; the definition of refine is “to make fine or pure; free from impurities, dross, alloy, sediment: purify; clarify” (2009)

Do you know how gold and silver are refined? The ore is first heated to extreme temperatures (2000 degrees) to leave you with an ore charge. This lump; which is a mix of lead, silver and gold, is then placed into a special crucible called a cupel. This is then put back into an oven and heated again to over 1700 degrees and the impurities (mostly lead) are burned off. You are then left with a bead of gold mixed with silver. (The Gold Vault, 2001)

So when the heat is turned up in our lives; remember what God is trying to do for us. Romans 8:17-18 says,” Now if we are children [of God], then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His suffering in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

So what is God trying to reveal in you?

Jesus, help me to see how you are purifying me my taking me through the furnace. I know if I trust You, You will bring me out the other side of this fiery trial. And like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, I will not even have the smell of smoke on me! Amen