Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Torch Would Go Out 13,000 ft. Under the Ocean Anyway...

Psalm 119:105- “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

The Lord provides a lamp to our feet, not to 20 feet in front of us. By this I mean, we cannot see our future. Without His word, we have a Galveston Bay type view of our feet, but even with it, he probably wont provide a glass-bottom boat in Cozumel, Mexico type view.

SO we can either pretend that we can depend on ourselves and fail, or Proverbs 4:25-27.
25Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26Ponder[a] the path of your FEET; then all your ways will be sure. 27Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil

This takes Faith. Hebrews 11:1 translated directly from the Latin Bible defines faith as, “Est autem fides sperandarum substantia rerum, argumentum non apperentium.” Or as,
“the substance of things needing to be hoped for and the proof of things not able to be seen.”

SO when he gives you bits and pieces of your life at a time and sends you down a path of which you cannot see the end, walk the path by faith.

I’m going to tell you a Bible story. Joshua 3:7-17. The Israelites are about to cross the Jordan River and go into the Promised Land and God has them prove their faith to him before he gives them the blessings by commanding them to put their feet in the water before he parts it for them to cross. (This is the second of three times in the Bible that God parts water for someone to cross on dry ground.) Mind you, this was during the harvest and the waters were in flood stage, overflowing their banks, and were probably pretty tumultuous. And he says, “Put your feet in the water. I’m going to do something great.” He offers no proof that the waters are going to part for them, he says “do this.” Then when they do, he blesses them. It says that all the water around their feet was sucked away and all the impending water that was flowing toward them was piled up in a heap and kept there. 8And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, 'When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.'" 9And Joshua said to the people of Israel, "Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God." 10And Joshua said, "Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. 11Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth[
a] is passing over before you into the Jordan. 12Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap."
14So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), 16the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. 17Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.
God does this in our lives. He says, “hey, I know this looks crazy, but GO! I'll take care of you.” “Volunteer to go on a mission trip when you haven’t evangelized before." Or "Help build or repair this house when you don’t know how to build." "Take a job as the Wesley foundation intern when there is nothing on the summer schedule yet." Or even "Get on the bus," "Approach that person," "Call this number.” In Acts 8:26-39, Philip, who had been one of Christ's disciples. "26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, 'Rise and go toward the south[a] to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.' This is a DESERT place. 27And he rose and went." Next, "The Spirit said to Philip, 'Go over and join this chariot.' So Philip ran to him." Inside the chariot was a Eunuch who worked for the Queen of Ethiopia and he was reading a prophecy about the crucifixtion from Isaiah 52:7. He didn't understand what it was talking about. So then, this something I love, it says, "Then Philip opened his mouth and..." he told him about the good news of Christ. The Eunuch was converted and Philip baptized him in a nearby pond. Philip didn't sit and ponder his response on his own. He simply "opened his mouth and just as Jesus promised to his disciples in Matthew 10:19-20, "Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." Philip obeyed God when he told him to walk out into a desert, he "ran" when God told him the next step without telling him what would be in the chariot, and he "opened his mouth" and God did something amazing. Philip is an excellent example of faith.
"And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, "Go over and join this chariot." 30So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:
(Isaiah 53:7)"Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opens not his mouth.
33In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth."

34And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?" 35Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. 36And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?"[b] 38And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea."

We have NO CLUE why he is telling us to do it and he does not reveal to us just how miraculous its going to be or how beautiful the outcome will be until after we take the initiative to step out in faith, out of our comfort zone, to walk into a desert place, climb into a shady chariot, open our mouths, or stick our feet in tumultuous water. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” John 11:40 says, “Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’”

Okay here’s for a smooth transition from white rapids to the dark abyssal zone, 13,000-19,000 feet below sea level. It’s pitch black there. Most of the creatures down there are just blind because there is no point in them having eyes.

Fish like the Black Swallower and the Big Gulper Eel have mouths and stomachs so big that they can eat something 2-3x its size! They just open their mouths and swim aimlessly hoping to catch something to feed them without seeking. To make my spiritual comparison, these are men who mosey blindly through life taking what they can get and don’t seek after God’s “lamp” to guide their way to well, spiritual nourishment and life-purpose. That and their mouths are so pie holes are so big that they will accept any theory, philosophy, or religious view without picky discernment. (eating like that can make you sick.)
On the other hand, fish like the Anglerfish (the ones from the pictures with the scary teeth) have a bioluminescent fleshchunk on a string dangling in front of their face; or the Flashlight Fish who has bioluminescent eyeballs; or the Spotted Lantern Fish who has lighted punches along its body (same as lightning bugs). These guys really do have that “lamp unto their feet (aside from not having feet)” kind of life! They can’t even pretend or trick themselves into believing that they could figure it out on their own! They without option, rely completely on that light provided to guide their way to nourishment. Lucky! No, actually I like freewill. How else would we prove to God that we love him if we couldn’t choose whether or not we trusted him enough to rely solely (haha pun) on that light and put or feet in floodstage rivers?

Unlike the optionless fish, we can see “to the right and to the left (Prov. 4)” of the path and if we wanted to be like Bilbo Baggins in Mirkwood and step off of it, we can. When you are in such “dark places where there is no light Isaiah 50:10-11,” the temptation is there to try to light our own torch therefore guide our own way. Countless times in the Bible God says, James 5:14 Don’t boast about your future because you do not know what tomorrow will bring. Romans 9:16 and Proverb 19:21 say It doesn’t matter what plans you make or how hard you try, only God knows the future. Isaiah 50:10b-11 says this,
“Let him who walks in darkness and has no lighttrust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. 11Behold, all you who kindle a fire, who equip yourselves with burning torches!Walk by the light of your fire, and by the torches that you have kindled!This you have from my hand: you shall lie down in torment.”

Do not try to light your own torch or equip yourself! Rely on the Lord, discern his will through prayer and Bible searching. This is faith. Faith proves love.

Another thought: Fish that live there can withstand extreme pressures of 11,000 lbs/ sq in. This is the environment that God placed them in and He equipped them to survive there. Likewise, he equipped us to live in the high pressures of this world! I don’t mean the weight of the atmosphere.
Amplified Bible 1 Corinthians 10:13
“For no temptation has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not [
a]adjusted and [b]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful and He will not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will always also provide the way out, that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.”

But this high pressure environment is also a place of continuous cold and lack of nutrients. This world is not our home. We will never be comfortable here, we do not belong here. Psalm 84:1-2. “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD!” And that my friend, takes faith.

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