This week's interview is with Pastor Mark Willey about a book he's been reading called The Patient Ferment of the Early Church. It's a look at beginning centuries of the church and one characteristic that perhaps most set them apart from the rest of the empire shaped culture.
We also discuss tricky college professors and what historical framework pastor Mark views all history through.
You can find this book on Amazon.
Malachi 2:5-6 - “My covenant with him (LEVI) was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him. It was a covenant of fear, and he feared me. He stood in awe of my name”
Signing bonuses, number of years guaranteed, owners' options - these are all terms that are bandied about in the sports world during contract season. God made a contract with Levi and his descendants, the priests. Both God and the priests had their role in this. The priests were to give to the LORD “fear & awe”. He would give to them “life & peace”. This is the continual journey offered to all God’s people today as New Covenant “priests” (I Peter 1).
Whatever is biggest, most dominating, most compelling in our lives is what we fear and are in awe of. It is what is central to us. When God is central, we walk in wholistic life, real life, a life of peace. It is how the contract works in daily experience.
In a world of many fears….. “what is going to happen to my country!!!????”…… “what is going on with my daughter??!!!”, “who would ever want me??!!”…. “what will this merger mean to my job??”…… we are offered life and peace as we allow God to be BIG in our lives. Maybe this is a great time to be reintroduced to the big God of the Book of Deuteronomy or Isaiah. Meditating on such a God will enhance fear and awe, and result in life and peace.
In His first Commandment, God addresses the issue of idolatry in our lives. Finding gods to serve is natural to our humanness. We are, as John Calvin said, "idol factories". An idol is any "god" that I place at the center of my life. We can make idols out of our careers, our children, our significant other, our bodies, people's acceptance of us, our morality, our intelligence, etc, etc.
The Bible clearly shows us that we give certain things to our idol, and understanding this helps us identify our idols.
"Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god" (Habakuk 1:11).
We depend on ourselves, our personal abilities, resources and talents to get us by. When they do not serve us well, our discouragement, anger, despair, etc., let's us know they failed us. God reminds us that those very inadequacies are tip-offs that we are trusting in the wrong thing. In our "weakness" He shows Himself to be our strength (II Corinthians 12:9-10). God continually calls us to clear the stage of our lives by repenting of our idols and giving our love, service and trust to the living God.