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OBSERVATION POSTS FOR THE GALLOP
It is well to realise that an observation post has been set up, for the gallop of the horses.
It is well appointed. Its position is wonderful for viewing. It is all but impossible not to see them rush past, in the frenzy of heart, the thrust of foot, the ripple of muscle and the turbulence of energy. It is a magnificent sight.
That is not to say that the details are pleasant.
This may be one reason why so many have misused the grandstand. They have made tunnels into the hill behind it, and put in air-conditioning, and appointed offices in it, and the more wealthy have bored quite out to the back of the hill, and even have plate glass windows, through which they look with more equanimity, onto the lawns they have developed, in the opposite direction to the action.
However, as to the action, it continues.
Some say, Why worry about God ? Who is the LORD that we should serve Him ? Are we not kind, considerate, tolerant, hard-working, noble and fine, and do we not adorn the earth, and should it not, and any Maker who is interested, be impressed, and congratulate us, as have our fellows, and instal us in whatever it may be that He has for those who do the right thing (oh not perfectly! oh not perfectly! my dear fellow, we are not fanatics!), or try very hard, or at least fairly hard!
But alas the horses, and the stable owner, He thinks differently. Is not the world His, and what is it like ? Let us turn from horses for the moment, to the automobile. Now it is to be admitted freely that to put in water for the radiator, oil for the engine, the automatic, air into the tyres, distilled water for the battery and oil in the differential, these things help the car to go, and the performance of these duties suggests a certain elementary concern for the well-being of the car, so that if the manufacturers were interested, as they sometimes may be, then that would please them.
However, if this relatively careful owner (and note that HE is in this case the real owner, unlike the case with man, who did not BUY that equipment known as the human being, but merely uses it without rent) were to drive into a lamp post, the case would be different. The congratulations would vary from the established norm.
What is a lamp post ? It is an elevated light-holding fixture which one might not notice if intoxicated. What is intoxication ? It is any variation from the normal powers of perception which arises from the imbibing of spirituous (not spiritual) liquors, normally involving an alcohol content, in adequate quantities for the purpose in view, or the result in hand, perhaps more usually!
What else can cause it ? Pre-occupation with one's own affairs, could cause such an accident, incident: so that one forgets that one is BORN not bought by oneself, manufactured, not MADE by oneself (cf. Psalm 100), a member of a body of persons which in each case, did not make itself, nor were they made in any realistic manufacturing sense, by their fellows, but all in an operating totality, from which marvel more can be formed. Ignoring what one is, one can become indulgent in fancies which are not operational reality. One can become bemused with one's own significance, or its elements, forgetting its dower and functionality creator (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, That Magnificent Rock 1, 8).
What else ? It can come through frustration, when one's mind leads one's thought from the road on which the car is actually travelling, to the occurrence of events which absorb thought beyond the mandates of the moment.
What else can lead to this oblivion and contretemps with a lamp-post ? It can come from the entertainment of dreams with such vivid realism that the actualities of what is happening merge into a bowl of imaginative creation, not coincident with what is happening. In other words, one could become, in principle, intoxicated with pride, oblivion of reality, pre-occupation with other realities of one's own contriving and so forth.
Lamp posts on the literal road, are comparatively easy to discern. In the road of life, however, they do not bear tags, nor do they have a constant emplacement or altitude, that one might be assured that this was their nature. Thus if one is in oblivion of the realities of life, then they may not appear as lamp-posts, fixtures inconvenient, and in all the best traditions of the intoxicated, impact of one's life on such fixtures may readily occur. It is then that the realisation can come that after all, one's own mind and body and spirit is not of one's own making, and parents themselves were pro-creators, not creators of the ensemble, needing no course of instruction for the reticulation of nerve fibres and the like, before production. It is then one could realise that the rest of life, likewise, and of its material environments, is not of one's own creation, nor is it that of one's Old School, or University, Profession or... capacities.
Thus it can dawn on the neglected mind, and shine into the obscured spirit, covered with contracted cataracts, that it is time, has long been time, to acknowledge the God who DID make it all, DOES have proprietary rights, and whose wishes should at least be consulted, so that if any person wants to be a rebel, it would at least have the essential dignity of being the result of finding something in principle making such a reaction or response, justified, even if not in fact, at least in appearance.
But what IS its justification ? Has God forgotten His people ? Has He failed to provide the Redeemer on time, in place, for the race, in His full paraphernalia of REALLY doing all those things which even the most complacent realises he/she has at best, done only in part, and this without reference to the quality and calibre of one's spirit. As to the Creator, He REALLY has been kind and considerate, and tolerant of mere lapses and failures, loving in heart, constant in spirit, faithful in disposition, reliable in nature, realistic in analysis, deft in diagnosis, undeterred by the cost of restoring His production to its proper functionality and nature, dying for the cost which is death (the result of abuse of life - II Timothy 1:9-10, Romans 6:23, 4:24ff., 3:23ff.), and rising for the demonstration of the authenticity of the action.
Is it some failure in this sphere that rebellion is touted ? Is it because He who died to forgive, is not sufficiently forgiving ? It is because He who rose to relate, is not sufficiently near; but how could He be near when He is ignored, and His provisions are dispersed, and people burrow through the observation HILL, and put in plate glass windows through which to view the gardens they create, and do not even watch the world, to see what He is doing, or read His word to find out why He is doing it! (cf. Ephesians 4:17-19).
In the days of Malachi, you
had this sort of thing. There was - as in
Thus it was not so much that they were saying this, Let us lie and steal and kill and make merry! (though there were those) as this, Let us not be weighted down with all this paraphernalia (could one be excused the old phrase, 'tommy rot' because it sounds more British - we did, you recall, come from there originally AS A NATION, there being not nation before that, but a scattering of tribes).
WANT TO HEAR IT ?
Let us hear Malachi ().
"You have wearied the LORD with your words;
Yet you say,
'In what way have we wearied Him ?'
In that you say
'Everyone who does evil
Is good in the sight of the Lord,
And He delights in them,'
Or, 'Where is the God of justice ?' "
Indeed, they care for themselves more than for God, saying, " 'What profit is it that we have kept His ordinance... So now we call the proud blessed... They even tempt God and go free' " (from Malachi -15
God is unimpressed with all
this. Since ONLY GOD can POSSIBLY BE the ground for good and evil AT ALL, the
rest being mere preference, on whatever ad hoc premises it might be
based, then to make it that HIS PRESENCE is the same as HIS ABSENCE is merely a
futile flurry of gratuitous insult. The direction of the assumption, moreover,
is to assume that the criteria of justice, which is due relationship between
created things in terms of work and nature - and truth, which is words in
accord with reality, are not with God, is to assume that either HE is not the
Creator, or that He is not God. With God, there is no divorce from reality,
lest it be a case of intestinal war within, which betokens a GIVEN capacity for
some of His nature, not in accord with the DESIRED workings of other aspects,
which makes Him a mere creature.
To treat God as not God is unimpressive, and not at all short of rebellion (cf. Deuteronomy 32:21).
Hence the modern man/woman/child (let us be fair, if we are going to disperse the internal meaning of the term into bits) who finds it a BURDEN to BOTHER with the LORD, and assumes that really it does not make any MEANINGFUL difference, is simply a rebel. Rebellion is something in itself requiring pardon. It is well that it is available; but it is not available by means of further rebellion, as the peace treaty! It comes through the sacrifice of Christ as the peace offering (Ephesians ). That requires its acceptance; and mindlessly or in dispirited indifference or arrogant hauteur to reject THIS, is not better than, but almost infinitely worse than arrogantly telling cancer that it can do its worst, one WILL not have the necessary operation (when such is relevant and available, as sometimes in the case for which this is an image for illustration). It is not better than, but infinitely worse than doing the same in indifference, saying, Oh well! what should I care. I take life as it comes, and cannot really bother myself to be concerned about this or that, cancer or what have you. LEAVE ME ALONE!
The world is doing precisely such things as this, except that it is adding errors of thought and adventures of spirit (see Errors in Religion) into the bargain, precisely as Israel did*1, before its dismissal from its land, so that only the land of Judah in the South, was left, to which some of the former Northern kingdom could return, if they so desired, and into which they MUST return in order to part of the unification into ONE stick of the TWO which had been (Ezekiel 37). THEY were dispossessed! They were dismissed. When the Gentiles are dismissed, the world is in tatters, except of course, that many who have burrowed through the observation HILL to the other side, and put in plate glass windows, and who view the gardens which they have created there, and do not look too much on the galloping events, or if they do, put their trust in their own kindness, capacity and whatever else appeals to their self-justifying mythology, and return to base when ready: they do not realise this.
Even if it occurs to them,
they hope for better, by being nice, or tolerant, especially in NOT believing
in the Redeemer, and NOT being pardoned by Him because they do not feel
inclined to regard the God of justice, who in justice has INSISTED on doing
judgment on sin, and PROVIDED the ONLY means which PLEASED HIM, for the
purpose, in Christ crucified where and when He chose (II Cor. 5:17-21).
NOT NICE ... ?
So the gallop proceeds, but for many, it is not essentially NICE to look at it, and it is not really possessed of the proper brand of bravado, to be concerned at the direction of the gallop, far less the predicted, programmatic character of it, like a house owner, who observing the flames in the attic, and in the first floor ceiling, reflects, After all, it is not for me to show concern and worry at flurry of flames. More houses could be built!
THIS house however is this world, and it is the only one, for even the stars are His creation.
But let us to the point in Christian apologetics. Is this categorical turning AWAY from the Observation Post, and from the regard for the gallop and its significance, is this also, even this PREDICTED in the BOOK ?
So far we have seen that it
was a precise parallel to this which afflicted
Now we see the prediction
more directly than through mere parallel of
Naturally since the Lord's timing for His OWN return involves many elements for definition, nearly all of which have happened and all of which are in the wings of observation, THIS surprise has not yet happened. How could it, until He DOES return, if it is timed to occur WHEN HE DOES. But where does it advise on this surprise ? Why in Matthew 24:36-44. Here we learn that there will be a precise parallel to the case with Noah and the flood. Men went on building till the world-wide devastation came. So, the Lord indicates, will they be in oblivion of the end, until it happens, NOW.
In Luke, we find, relative to the return of the Lord, that "it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth." One is thus incited to WATCH. Why ? "that you may be found worthy to escape" (Luke ).
Actually, it is rendered 'counted worthy'. The count comes from Christ who died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God (II Peter ), through the washing of regeneration and nothing at all to do with our works (Titus 3:5ff.). We are, says Paul in II Cor. 5:19-21, made to become the righteousness of God in Him, who became sin (a sin offering) for us. There is transfer. There is accreditation. It is not earned (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-12, Titus 3:5-7), but it MUST be received (John -14, ).
When you recognise God, of course, it has what for some may be a negative aspect. You HAVE to cease to be your own god, whether this is a formal, a merely narcissistic or a philosophical position. You CAN no longer be your own, make your own decisions as to the direction of your precious gifts; and your heart, let us be frank, it then LOVES the Lord, who not merely gave biological, physiological, intellectual life, but now donates the spiritual dimension BACK AGAIN, which was lost in its integrity, operability and reality (Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24).
But oblivion ? Yes and more than oblivion. Thus in II Peter 3, we learn that one of the SPECIFIC CAUSES, the assembled syndrome of causes of spiritual death and ensuing judgment, is the occupation of the role of spiritual scoffers. This involves the rebellious dismissal of the testimony of what happened last time in the flood, and of divine action by announcement and declaration, and the endeavour to make of life on earth, a sort of enduring divorce from any responsibility, any moral criterion - except of course, one's own. As to that aspect, even Hitler had a 'moral' criterion to destroy naughty Jews (deemed thus by NATURE). So then do they make themselves the criterion directly or indirectly, not God, being as Paul has it, "lovers of themselves" (II Timothy 3:1). This must assuredly be one of the most enduring of all intoxications, Look at me, my morals, my ways, my life, my precious orientation and existence, how could anything be preferable to this! On this I stand, by this I proceed!
So goes the mimicry of Adonis and Narcissus in some sort of scrolled up unity.
IF NOTHING is preferable to one's OWN philosophy (albeit irrational), psychology (albeit unfounded), approach (albeit self-made, by whatever selective criteria applied to whatever empirical data), then one is indeed acting as if ... GOD. This is blasphemy. It effectually reachecs into the domain of scoffing. It belittles, it asserts, it dismisses or minimises, it acts in self-willed credulity and unbelief. Small wonder Paul adds to the terminal syndrome in II Timothy, "blasphemers" (cf. SMR pp. 100-101).
The horses however, on the
beach, their hooves continue to thunder, louder than the turbulence, the
increasing turbulence, of the waves. Incredulity is merely one of the
programmatic sounds as they pass, blind, oblivious incredulity.
To be sure, the flesh may not (directly at least) be hurt (though it may be dispensed with altogether in the race-place wars which so readily result from the myth, and have resulted in the elevation of some one race, or its power, or its significance in having power, or in the import of its use and so on). However the spirit is burnt, or if delivered, can be so only by the most intense use of spiritual asbestos.
To be deliberately TAUGHT wild folly by PARENTAL CONSENT, when under-age, is almost past believing. God is a SPIRIT and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. To combine this with intellectual folly and spiritual pride is like having a harlot in operation while proposing to someone, for marriage. It is indescribably horrendous and common, alike. Is it only OTHERS who are then answerable ? and is one's own case AUTOMATICALLY exempt from all scrutiny.
That now ? It is the PRECISE nature of intoxication to exhibit.