Taming God

Throughout history men and women have tried to tame God. I liken it to damming a river to control the normal flow of the water. What’s possible with rivers is also possible in religion. A group of people can claim that a portion of the river is theirs. They construct dams to control the living water, pave a parking lot, pop up a building, and hoist a sign with a catchy company name. Let’s call ours Choppy River Church. The river is real, but already altered by the dam. Domesticated. Cultivated. Tamed.

ocoee2-4[1]Choppy River Church advertises, “Come whitewater rafting on God’s true river of life!” When you arrive, you’re handed a life jacket with the company logo, then shuffled to the formal boarding area where you step into a raft emblazoned with the brand name. Reps from the company man the rafts and guard the shorelines. If your raft catches an unexpected rapid and sends you off the man-made course, workers on the shore use long poles to push you back where they want you. The river is so controlled it no longer represents who God is.

When your ride on that short section of the river is over, you are expected to gratefully disembark and say complimentary things about the company. And its management. And the exciting river. Any honest reactions to the adulteration of the river are quickly met with disapproval from peers or company leadership. If you still don’t comply with the unspoken codes of behavior, you are summoned to a meeting for a stern rebuke. Those inclined to question or resist further find themselves evicted from Choppy River Church.

If that sounds familiar, you might think you were rejected from the river of God BY God. But that’s not the case. Not at all.

White_Water_Rafting[1]There is a river that extends far beyond the trifling range of Choppy River Church. There his river is unaltered by man. The water is unrestrained. Exhilarating. Powerful. Potent. Anyone is welcome at any time. People who gravitate to it are inclined to respect, love, and treasure the river. They bring rafts and ride the waters at will. Rafters come and go much like nature lovers come and go from the earth’s forests, deserts, and mountains—they leave it like they found it. Spotless. Pristine. Natural. Wild.

The river is available for all, but owned by none. Even those who work there full-time as whitewater rafting instructors don’t assert it’s theirs. Those who choose to frequent riverside buildings do so to exalt God together. And to support each other. Nobody aspires to subdue the river. They wouldn’t dream of exploiting it for profit or power.

They value it for what it is: Bigger than man. Mightier than man. Unpredictable and fearsome. But, paradoxically, also soothing. Calming. Restful. Healing.

Choppy River Church does not equate to God. They are not one and the same. A place that claims his name might be contrived, but he is not. He is infinitely more than a controlled, tamed, ineffectual river, and yours for the asking.

 


References: 1. http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Rev/Vision-River-Life

2. http://www.gotquestions.org/living-water.html

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The Time For Power

There is a God-appointed time when a person is ready to reign in his life’s call, and God chooses to supply His power, leadership and support. At that time, old or new enemies part and even flee in fear.

Prior to the appointed time, David lacked the full authority, leadership, wisdom and skills to gain and maintain power. While evading Saul, he was developing all that. Once his abilities were adequate for the job, he was positioned by God to remove the remaining opposition. Finally, the fullness of David’s ability to reign had its appointed time. When it was the time for David to take the throne that Saul had occupied, God was with him to successfully manage the kingdom. He became King in place of Saul. He put his skills to use and God was with him. Nations that were accustomed to superior might became powerless to overthrow David.

What happened to the enemy kingdoms’ capacity to overpower David? What was with David that caused his enemies to scatter? What caused the collapse of previous strongholds?

It was the time for the manifestation of God’s prophecies and promises, the time that God supplied His power to the unfolding events on earth.

What can stand against a plan that God unfolds? What insufficiencies that resist correction in a person, for example, can continue in unrighteousness when caught up in the path of God’s power?

Nothing can stand in opposition to God. Like an avalanche, He pushes aside opposition, scattering the unrighteous and picking up those destined to cooperate with Him, even if they aren’t yet yielded to God. He transports them.

We try to move on God’s path to the best of our abilities, but we can do only so much. We are often too slow, or too delayed in development for the timing of His plan. Rather than miss out then, He scoops us up into something beyond us, something much more powerful than ourselves, and moves within us to the completion He’s after, while simultaneously moving our changing selves along His mission. Much like an aircraft could be built while it’s being transported via ship, so that when it lands across the ocean, its construction is completed at the moment it’s unloaded and ready for use.

Psalm 147:5 – Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.