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Posts Tagged ‘Francis Schaeffer’

1 Chronicles 13:6 –

And David and all Israel went up to Baalah, to Kirjath Jearim,

which belonged to Judah, to bring up from there the ark of God the LORD,

who dwells between the cherubim, where His name is proclaimed.”
 

The verse reentered my mind while I was praying tonight.  I read 1 Chronicles 13 without particular insight for my devotions this evening, but was applying the language of verse 14 to pray for someone: “The ark of God remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house three months. And the LORD blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that he had.” 
 
Why would God bless a house just because the ark was there?  That sounds like the theology of Raiders of the Lost Ark, not the “no graven image” God of the Bible.  Note that this final verse of chapter 13 tells us that the Lord blessed the house, not “the ark blessed the house.”  Like many things, God did it for His glory.  He showered grace on the house of Obed-Edom for His name’s sake.  Anyone who knew the God of Israel would understand that without His presence dwelling among the cherubim of the mercy seat, the gold-overlaid box would mean nothing. 
 
As I was reflecting that God must have graced Obed-Edom for the glory of His name, I remembered that there was something about God’s name earlier in the chapter, in the description of the ark: “…where His name is proclaimed.”  God’s name is proclaimed through the ark’s presence.  Or is that what it means?  Did I have the wording right?  First I grabbed a book-light to check my Bible again.  Frustrated at the lack of footnote (like any commentary, my study Bible never has notes on hard questions) explaining the phrase in verse 6, I turned on my lamp, pulled out my laptop, and at a weary 12:45 AM, logged on to Blue Letter Bible to check the Hebrew. 
 
It turns out the word for “Proclaimed” is qara.  Different translators have given this verse different, particular meanings through the English word they chose.  I wish I could just keep the Hebrew, because I am not sure the author meant us to choose definitions.  This is why I love studying the original language.  Has it ever occurred to the translators that the original author may have intended all the facets of meaning in one word? 
 
Let’s take them one at a time.  First, my New King James translated qara “proclaimed.”  In this sense the ark could be the banner of God’s presence.  Through God’s power and blessing surrounding the ark, God’s name is proclaimed among the nations.  The ark was central to Israel’s worship, and the Name was central to what was being worshiped. 
 
Another definition is “give name to.”  The ark is where God’s name is given, or imparted unto His people.  Remember Moses’ worry that the people would ask the name of the God who sent him?  When you have the ark, the answer is right there.  The ark also represents the people of Israel bearing God’s name as they bear His presence and the ark (2 Chronicles 7:14).  In the Lord of the Rings, Treebeard the Ent says his name would be long because it is descriptive of his character and experience.  Such is true of the God of the Bible, His name ever expanding as His people come to know Him through His revelation and their experience.  God’s works and nature could be recited, called out (think of the caller for a square dance or bingo game).  
 
 What did the people experience?  Let’s look at more definitions of qara.  The onomatopoetic (a word that describes its sound) word is a cry for help.  In this sense, the ark was a place where the name of the Lord was cried unto.  Atop the ark was the mercy seat, the recognizable portion with the cherubim.  To this the high priest was supposed to yearly bring blood, interceding that the mercy of God would cover their failure to keep the law (which was, as I must credit Francis Schaeffer for pointing out to me) housed in the ark perfectly fitted beneath the mercy seat, the seat of propitiation.  The fact that the rebellious Israelites remained in existence was proof that God had heard their call for mercy. 
 
And finally, perhaps in refutation of the “Raiders” theology, maybe we could read it to mean that where the people proclaim and call upon God’s name, there He dwells between the cherubim. 
 

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
 – Psalm 145:18
 
 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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“We must cry for our present world,

because the idealists who have screamed so loudly

against the falseness and hypocrisy of the plastic culture

have ended up in an even worse position –

the inhumanity and the destruction

of everything they hoped to accomplish.” 

~ Francis Schaeffer, “Walking through the Mud” No Little People

 

I find this to be a universal diagnosis of so many different types of destructive people.  Can you think of individuals in history of whom this is true? 

 

Is there anyone you know now who could identify with any stages of this quote: idealists, screamers, inhuman, despairing? 

 

How can you use your answers to the above two questions to share the hope of Jesus who saves and redeems, the Bible which answers, and the God who is there with the acquaintance?  Can you show them where their path is leading? 

 

To God be all glory. 

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In my review of Family Driven Faith, I think I mentioned wanting everyone in my church to read the book.  They would be exposed to new ideas, and I wouldn’t have to do all the explaining and defending.  My idealistic vision was of friends and leaders with changed understanding of church. 

Today I’m reading No Little People, a collection of essays by Francis Schaeffer.  The same thoughts are coming to mind.  Earlier this week I read the essay “God’s Work God’s Way.”  To me the points exactly contained evangelical Christianity.  We want to do God’s work, but instead of looking for biblical directions, we take our corporation-based programs and modify them for church.  Or we adopt the evolutionary view of education that is used in the public schools and implement it in our discipleship.  We see what is effective for the entertainment industry and we make our “services” more attractive. 

Last night I was listening to a sermon entitled, “My People Perish,” by R.C. Sproul, Jr.  He argues against adopting the world’s goals.  We don’t raise up children to be missionaries so the kingdom will increase.  We raise up children to increase the kingdom.  I think he’s saying first things first.  Our goal is not to take back Harvard or Hollywood, but to serve Jesus Christ and bring Him glory. 

A friend was telling me about how God is teaching her about money.  She’s being sanctified a little bit at a time.  At this point she’s trying to take God’s perspective that money is not the object.  He embraced sacrifice, and calls us to, as well.  The question is not, “Can I afford that?” or “Is it in my budget?” or even, “Have I set aside money for God first?”  The question is does God’s Spirit call your members to hand over money for more clothes, for Pizza Hut pizza, for a coffee or a soda, for a cd, for that concert? 

If our lives are going to be radically faith-led, shining brightly in a world of darkness, we have to be different.  We can’t put a Christian icing to a worldly practice. 

All this to say that this week conditioned me to pull the above applications from their respective situations.  I felt the force of No Little People to be sanctification and faith (not sight) because of where I am and how I read.  I’m willing to heed every word when I can.  It may surprise you, but as a writer I know that most of the time the words we use are not just fillers in between bold-faced headings.  We have something to say. 

As evidence, I turned to the contents page of No Little People to find a note scribbled there over twenty years ago, I’d think, when my parents were in college.  I think it was Mom who wrote “good – about waiting for God’s timing” next to the “God’s Work God’s Way” chapter.  She had a very different perspective on the author’s intended application. 

Even when interpretation is not subjective, for the force of a book to fall on someone, they have to be thoughtfully reading the words.  In a way they must be interacting with the text. 

This reminds me of a revelation I had this month.  I watched a film production of Cyrano De Bergerac.  I could imagine the actors delighting to speak the lines and play the parts.  There were twice as many characters as listed in the play, because I was allowed by the staged medium to consider the fictional players in the story as well as the motivations and feelings of the actors portraying them, and how they all interacted.  Later I was delighting in Wives and Daughters, Pride and Prejudice, and other films so well done that you are sure the actors are the literary heroes and heroines.  But really they are not.  In fact they are only able to give in their performance one interpretation of what the author was originally saying.  But I can pause these movies and talk for five minutes a frame about what is being said in an expression or a gesture or a muttered comment.  Do books have such depth?  Imagine approaching a book so engaged that on every page you subconsciously ask the text and yourself: If I were Mr. Darcy (for example), what would I be thinking and feeling?  Why did I come?  Why do I speak?  Why don’t I speak?  What do I see? 

Perhaps long ago when books were read aloud for entertainment and individuals prided themselves at their skill in doing so, the reader was forced to ask those questions, and so instantly come to a more vivid comprehension of the story. 

Thus I have every intention to read a classic piece of literature in that way.  I will keep you informed on how it is going. 

To God be all glory.   

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