Except ye become as little children.
(Apocatastasis: starting over; restoration of an initial state.)
(Jesus as the alpha and the omega. The omega and the alpha.)
Jesus bends the straight line of time and experienced reality from a straight line into a circle or a horseshoe. And the end and the beginning look at each other, They are the closest to each other. Jesus crosses that divide. It is the rebirth. Jesus tells Nicodemus, “I know how to get where you want to go, but you can’t start from here. Anywhere you are on this circle is further from the place I am; and the place you should be. The closest place to the end is the beginning.”
...Every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
Man’s every creation in which he trusts—401k’s, houses, companies, money—shames him. They are rubbish on judgement day (the day of reckoning for a life of spiritual poverty)
Is your life half gone?
“When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools.”
That is the fate of the man who gained riches by unjust means.
It is speaking of false character and false spiritual wealth—NOT material wealth. That is exactly Jeremiah’s point. We think we understand the difference between material and spiritual worth. But we fail to understand that ANY worth we give to our “material world” (in essence, “what ‘matters’ to me”) comes from somewhere. We fail to understand that we siphon DIRECTLY from what really matters. We are stealing treasure from somewhere we can’t even see. And then, when we finally look back—because we sense the hollowness underneath—we see that our true treasure chest has been emptied out. We are like the baron stealing oil from underneath the preacher’s neighboring land in “There Will be Blood.” We are actually both those characters. The false preacher winds up empty; equally as impoverished as the oil baron.
Jeremiah is saying that when you polish your character (or soul) as a thing outside of you, and believe it can be improved and maintained by a false morality—you are LYING to yourself; stealing from yourself. The worth you stored up within material wealth built up over half a lifetime turns out sadly to be your worth—even worse, it turns out to be you! And when you reach out, it sublimates away because there was nothing there. You had foolishly poured your worth into thin air.
…to understand the Old Testament idea of the Judaic God and sacrifice as different from all others. Sacrifice crosses all cultures, barriers and continents. The idea is so fundamental to man that it simply pops into existence in the earliest chapters of Genesis without preamble or explanation. It is treated as an a priori concept. Somehow humanity—mankind—human consciousness—Adam’s spawn—had awakened worldwide to the idea that sacrificial behavior (“give up something now for something better later”) is linked to survival. But to whom, to what, how, and why? Out of all gods to whom sacrifice is made, the Hebrews miraculously discovered only one way works for life and eternity: God is invisible. He MUST be. Otherwise He is simply an image made by man, even if the image is in his head. Man shouldn’t even name God, which is to say, even concepts, thoughts and ideas of God are already wrong. He is the God that we CAN’T see. When the Lord says “They ascend for acceptance in Mine alter” (Isaiah 60:7), He speaks of the only alter in the world with NOTHING where an image should sit to watch—an empty seat—a holy place for one only with the truest heart to fill with the Glory of the Living God.
There is Living God and living man. A relationship marvelously and purposefully beautified in the enfleshed Jesus at the culmination of redemption. God and man. No image in between the Cherubim. A mirror for each other. The most perfect reflection of God requires wiping our conscious mind as cleanly as possible. To see. To see what can’t be seen.
The Lord teaches Isaiah to be a lightening rod: Isaiah has received instruction well from his experience of suffering. Daily he has learned to accept it willingly like a sink does water, like a lightening rod does the bolt. Because he did not turn away from these powerful strikes, but stood upright in their midst; he received them without damage. There seems to be no end to the hits the lightening rod can absorb with no effect. Instead of receiving shame and disgrace, which was the destructive intent of his suffering, he receives understanding. A daily lesson on how to be sustained without disgrace or shame.
“Let the one who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on their God.” (V10)
But the ones who don’t trust anymore and rely on their own knowledge to escape their darkness; they will lie down in torment."
The suffering servant—the one who serves a thing outside his understanding in spite of his suffering—is the one who speaks straight to the soul. He always is NOT desired, NOT seen. Christianity shouts from the rooftops with inaudible yelps: “Not majesty! Not splendor! Look lower! Don’t look to the believable! Look to the unbelievable! It is the lowest thing that is lifted higher than all others!”
Man should not suffer.
No! Man suffers.
It is the man who strives to avoid suffering that holds the truth of life!
No! It is the man who accepts it...that holds the keys to to life. The man who is MOST humble is stepped upon. The man who loves most of all is the tenderest shoot in a desert. The man who bears the ripest fruits of character is bruised and bloody beyond recognition. Nations, kingdoms, society, families, education, systems, politics, philosophies, stoics, gnostics, science, doctrines, the crowd and the individualist alike cannot stand near him without smashing him.
But it is exactly that…precisely this…by definition and design: that which is unexpected harbors hope.
Take all that is desirable—he is not there.
Take all that is splendid and majestic—he will not be found clothed in those garments.
Look elsewhere to finally see. Listen far from what is obvious to the ears to finally hear.
(To the those who seek the Lord while He may be found and call on the Lord when he is near. To those who realize their thoughts are so low compared to the Lord’s. To those who understand the word that falls from God’s mouth is like rain that falls and flawlessly accomplishes its purpose)
“You will go out in joy and be lead in peace; the mountains and hills will burst forth into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
It is hard to hold fast to something without ruining it—without suffocating the life out of it—without smothering it’s fire.
It is difficult to keep something and at the same time maintain its separateness—it’s holiness—it’s divinity.
It is hard to love righteousness without becoming self-righteous.
“Blessed is the one who keeps the Sabbath without desecrating it.”
People are always going from A to B.
Always from where they do not want to be to where they want to be. Where someone is right now is always less good than their next choice—by definition. And if, by some miracle, one is actually happy right now, he finds it exceedingly hard to both be happy and know he’s happy. He has the sense his good fortune is only fleeting--always feeling that where he is today is never enough; therefore, tomorrow must have it! That's it! Over there will be enough. Over there will be the golden ring. Over there, the promised land! But obviously he will never get there. Obviously anyone who sees the good life as always over there will never set one foot (not one toe!) in the the promised land. He will forever be one step, one River Jordan, one obstruction, one choice away. It is true what they say for the one who doesn't know how to live today: Tomorrow never comes. In this pitiful way one can spend almost his entire life never in the one place he actually exists—today. He can invest almost all his time—his golden treasure—in the two markets which yield the least returns—yesterday and tomorrow.
"This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it."
In the hush of night; in the wilderness of Zin I ask:
What is life age-to-age? What is life age-during?
Is it knowing what to do? Is it having a valid plan for the future? Is it a clear grasp of good or bad, right or wrong, power, will, choice, transaction, and relationship? Is it understanding the Plan of Redemption? Understanding how to make it through? Understanding change and rigidity? Understanding that life flows just beneath the surface? Is it knowing the map says the promised land is just over there.
It is obedience. Obedience to an infallible guide precisely outside my fallible understanding. It is the simple obedience to speak. To speak life. Is it really that hard to speak with tongues of flame? To yield my will to another’s, to His, is a life-giving force that opens not only the door barring my way; but every door beyond it; in the same moment winning the battle within and creating peace without. To speak from obedience to what my Father says in my heart is far greater than speaking from myself: rashly wielding my shepherd’s staff; my powerful, but limited understanding—my trusty gift from God.
The water flowed in Zin. I was right. But it wasn’t the joyous replenishment I wanted. The spring somehow throbbed bitterly from its crag. My friends, my strangers, and my children drank quietly from their cups. “Your welcome!” shouted I, leaving them to their empty skins and jars.
That night I watched the unnamed waters as I pulled up stakes to leave. The waters ebbed with my contempt as they drained into the desert, carrying with them the promised land.
What is life age-during?
I travelled far that night through Zin. Yet no matter how far, the thinning line of those distant waters shown red in the fire of my God.
“...because I spake not from myself, but the Father who sent me, He did give me a command, what I may say, and what I may speak, and I have known that His command is life age-during; what therefore, I speak, according to the Father hath said to me, so I speak.”