That Which Decays

Basic physics tells us that closed systems tend to greater and greater disorder; they deteriorate and decay over time. So at its beginning our universe must have been highly ordered, which can only be by design.

A similar principle applies in spiritual things: God creates perfectly, then often allows Man to corrupt His work, causing ethical and moral decay.

For example, the earthly temple of Israel, a replica of the heavenly in its architecture, sacrifices and ceremonies (He 8:5), has decayed and vanished twice: the first time in 597 BCE and again in 70 CE. God’s people didn’t use the temple as He intended, to reveal Himself and His salvation to the world. (Mk 11:17) They corrupted His way so deeply and were such poor witnesses that God destroyed His temple and scattered His people to the four winds.

As in its first destruction, this last devastation of the Temple doesn’t mean it’s obsolete; it has merely vanished for a season. (He 8:13) The whole system will be restored one day, fully operational again. (Re 11:1) Its precepts and symbolism are still relevant.

God’s purposes are often mysterious; in being omnipotent, He generally reveals Himself through weakness; being beauty itself, He veils Himself in dullness (Is 53:2); He calls us to fullness of joy through suffering (2Co 4:17), even allowing Man to kill the eternal Prince of Life (Ac 3:15) to reveal through Man the power of His resurrection. (Php 3:10)

Just because God lets something die and decay doesn’t necessarily mean He’s through with it.

Open My Eyes

Sight: it’s amazing! Perceiving colors and shapes as our eyes translate light into our brains, presenting vision to our souls … it borders on miraculous. When sight’s lost we long for healing, but those born blind can’t know what they’re missing.

Spiral fern with dew

In a way, we’re all born spiritually blind (Ep 4:18), deceived (Tit 3:3), at enmity with God and His law. (Ro 8:7) We start out with a veil over hearts, obscuring the beauty of the spirit of the Law. Yet when we come into Messiah this vail is removed (2Co 3:14-16) and we cry out, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Ps 119:18

As God gives us sight we begin to see detail and precision and beauty in His commands (Ps 119:96) that we could not have seen before; things that looked dull and dry on the surface become glorious as we see them with new eyes; they testify of Him. As we hide His laws in our hearts, delighting in them and meditating on them (Ps 1:2), a whole new world opens up to us which we glossed over and missed in our blindness and shallowness.

To the blind, God’s commands are boring, inconvenient, confusing and repulsive. God must open our eyes (Lk 24:45) and enable us to see Him and His way in His laws. (Lk 24:27) He must equip us to translate the light of His Law (Ps 119:105) into a vision of His glory and majesty (Ro 11:33), to find the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Eph 3:8)

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Worship in Truth

We’re designed to worship God, to delight in Him, to enjoy Him, to praise Him. Unspeakable joy in God is our calling, our destiny, to be continually adoring and reveling in the divine nature. (1Pe 1:8)

Jesus says our worship must be in spirit and in truth(Jn 4:24) What we believe about God matters; it defines Who we worship. To the degree our thinking about God is off our worship will be in vain.

Not all worship is good; in fact, a lot of it’s worthless. (Mt 15:9) Feeling close to God when we’re singing and praying doesn’t help if we’re deceived about who He is. How dreadful to find that in all our feel good we were being seduced by a counterfeit spirit, worshiping a false Jesus! (2Co 11:4) Many who think they’re serving Him will end up here. (Mt 7:21-3)

But the godward heart says, “I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.” (Ps 119:7) We can rightly worship God only to the extent that our hearts are aligned with His Law. As God’s Law, Torah, reveals Who He is and what He’s like, so our attitude towards Torah reveals who we are and what we’re like. (Ro 8:7)

We can’t separate love for God from loving (Ro 7:22) and obeying His law. (Jn 14:15, 24) We must pursue a right knowledge of God and His ways so that our worship will be in truth, rooted in obedience. Making it up as we go, thinking we know good and evil on our own, or letting others define it for us, is pointless.

God’s children worship Him in the spirit, from the heart, and rejoice in Christ Jesus (Php 3:3), … longing to know Him as He really is. (Php 3:10)

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Knowing Good and Evil

Through the Fall we’ve become like God: we “know good and evil.” (Ge 3:22a) Since God doesn’t do evil, this can’t simply mean we know what it’s like to do good and evil, and since God sees this as a bad thing (Ge 3:24) it can’t mean we’ve experienced good and evil in others. It must mean that we, as if we’re God, presume the right to define good and evil for ourselves, that we claim to know what good and evil are apart from Him, that we know better than He does.

We’re constantly making moral judgments based on how we feel, without consulting God, just making it up as we go. And we instinctively respond to the moral evaluations of other mortals as if they’re divine. This is so natural we seldom even notice we’re doing it; it’s born into our nature, as natural as breathing, and it’s why we’re so wicked. Most all the evil and suffering in our world is from us doing what’s right in our own eyes.

Moral definitions are God’s business and He’s revealed them in His Law. Breaking His Law is His definition of evil (1Jn 3:4); any other definition is profound arrogance and presumption — it’s essentially climbing up into God’s throne and pushing Him off. There really isn’t a more offensive thing we can possibly do to Him; it’s Satan’s way.

We should make it our top priority to study God’s Laws and ask Him to conform our hearts and minds to His standards and ways, hiding them in our heart so that we don’t sin against Him. (Ps 119:11)  Let’s worship in truth and walk in the light, unintimidated when others make up their own moral laws. When we find ourselves making instinctive moral judgments, or reacting to those of others, let’s get in the habit of checking with God and dismissing the rest.

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