Thursday, October 26, 2006

I have a new job ...

Here's the promo for first event I had to organise ...

I am the Teachers Assistant ("TA") for Regent College's Anglican Studies Program. I got involved, not for the $10 an hour, but to work alongside people like Dr J.I. Packer and Professor Don Lewis, to learn more about the wider church heritage that I grew up in, but feel like I know little about, outside of Sydney Anglicanism.

So if you happen to be in Vancouver this week, please come along ...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lest We Forget

My Old Testament Foundations course has me caught-up in the nation of Israel’s story as I am in the midst of reading the entire Old Testament in a 3-month window. I have been witnessing the Lord’s incredible and seemingly unforgettable acts of grace and deliverance as the Lord brings His people out of slavery in Egypt, splits the Red Sea to allow His people to escape, leads His people by a pillar of fire by night, provides for His people daily with manna from the heavens, and brings the walls of Jericho crashing down with a simple shout from His people - it’s an action-packed thriller!

But it doesn’t end there … David is chosen and brings Goliath down with a single stone. David is rescued and blessed with incredible military wins for Israel and is known as a man “who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes” (1 Kings 14:8). Solomon starts out so well too, building on his father David’s faithfulness, assumingly taking on board David’s instructions (2 Kings 2) and asking the Lord for wisdom so that he could lead Israel well. Solomon spends seven years building the Temple for the Lord to dwell in – a mighty international achievement that was not only very expensive to do, but required a huge amount of planning and resources to achieve. The result is amazing, and the Lord comes and dwells there. We then read of Solomon’s incredible achievements, his wealth and splendor and see that the Queen of Sheba comes and is astounded by Solomon’s achievements and longs to gain some of his wisdom. Through Solomon, Israel is abundantly blessed by God!

Reading the very next chapter (1 Kings 11), the unexpected twist in the story leapt out of the pages and slapped me in the face …
“As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites.”

Solomon, this great man who God abundantly blessed, with all the wisdom in the world commits Israel’s sin, forgetting God and among others worshipped Molech – a ‘god’ who was associated with the detestable practice of child sacrifice. How can this be?

Solomon forgets, and a great man and nation fall a long way. The Lord instructed Israel’s Kings to not take many wives (Deut 17:17) and that marrying foreign women may lead the Israelites to worshipping foreign God’s. “Wise” Solomon forgot his father’s parting words, he forgot the law he was meant to meditate on and keep, and "discerning" Solomon forgot Israel’s history of forgetting their God.

For me, this is a humble reminder to not forget and to not be lead astray. Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount (as one of many examples) about building wise foundations, not serving both God and money, loosing body parts that cause us to stumble and the wide easy road – help us remember.

May God bless you and keep as you go about remembering the Lord’s faithfulness, and get caught up in Israel’s story – your story – of a loving God pursuing His chosen people. That’s a story you can’t turn your back on!