Monday, November 27, 2017

"Ark Building for Dummies"

Ezekiel 33.24-26 NET

“Son of man, the ones living in these ruins in the land of Israel are saying, 

‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land, but we are many; surely the land has been given to us for a possession.’ 

Therefore say to them, ‘…Do you really think you will possess the land? You rely on your swords and commit abominable deeds; each of you defiles his neighbor's wife. Will you possess the land?’”

In the wonderful and funny movie “Evan Almighty,” junior congressman Evan Baxter (Steve Carell) primps admiringly in the mirror and flippantly reminds himself, “I am successful. I am powerful. I am handsome. I am happy. Successful, powerful, handsome, happy.” Baxter must have attended a motivational seminars where he learned...
  • You are what you think you are and
  • You possess what you think you do.
If you can dream it, you can have it. Name it and claim it. Fake it till you make it. After all, so we’re told, it’s in the Bible. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”, (Proverbs 23.7 KJV).[1]

The new politician plans to change the world and he knows just how he will do it. God (Morgan Freeman) however, has different plans. He offers Evan a copy of Ark Building for Dummies and patiently leads Evan down a most unusual path.

The Jews living in Jerusalem during the time of Ezekiel faced opposition from an enemy intent on destroying Jewish culture and possessing the land of Israel. Those who survived deportation were barely able to withstand the assault of Babylon and tried to encourage themselves with Evan Baxter-type motivational pep talks...

“Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land, but we
are many; surely the land has been given to us for a possession.”

The rationale went like this: “There are no secrets of success here. If Abraham could do it, so can we.” However, Israel’s inhabitants failed to correctly discern what they saw in the mirror. No matter what they said to the contrary, the nation was anything but “successful, powerful, handsome, happy.” It takes more than saying the right kind of things. It takes being the right kind of person. Circumstances, even negative ones, may be God-ordained to help us become that person.  

God had different plans for His chosen people. “Do you really think you will possess the land?,” inquired God. Apparently, the Lord actually cares about the behavior of His children. It mattered to Him then, as it does now, that His people chose to “rely” on their own power and mentally ravish their “neighbor’s wife.” Until they turned their attention God-ward and repented of personal sin, there would be no inheritance of the land God wanted to give the nation of Israel.  

God’s blessings take many forms.  It cares little for our comfort or personal goals. Given a life free of hardship, we all act in self-serving ways… no matter what we think and say about ourselves. God loves us too much to leave us alone. The ups and downs of life are designed to shape us to fit our destiny. 

[1] Consider the context for this verse by reading Proverbs 23.6-8 in any version. The passage appears to have more to do with cultivating an awareness of what others think of you than what you think of yourself.


CharlieTD said...

Ark Building for Dummies?
I would love to see a copy of that.
Did you catch the ISBN?

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Call Powell's. Maybe they have a copy. It has been raining quite a bit lately!