Friday, December 13, 2013

A DELIVERER II | Super Inc. Cinema


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Previously on Super Inc. Cinema:

Like Darcy must have felt in the scene above, the Israelites just got dumped on. They were left drenched, out in the rain, no longer the apple of their Creator's eye.

In the same way, we tend to find ourselves lacking. We turn away from God, never as committed or whole-heartedly following Him as we should be. Sin has its way with us far too often. Can He ever forgive us? This isn't the end.

TO BE CONTINUED....... NOW:

As the scene continues, the rain lets up. It is no longer Darcy who is center screen, but the true female lead, the romantic interest, the heart of the god. We may realize that is actually who Israel has been this entire time: The heart of God.

Of course, He forgives her. He has longed for her, waited for her, and cared for her more than she could ever know. But, before we get there, let's look at her reaction.

"Sorry, I just... needed to make sure you were real."

The first interaction isn't a cliche rush into each others arms or an "awww"-inspiring kiss... It's a slap in the face. Something similar soon happens with the judges of Israel:

While Israel was in "terrible distress," the Lord "raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them." He loved them and had pity on them. "Yet they did not listen to their judges." That's a slap in the face. "They [continuously] whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord..."

The same story continues through-out the book of Judges. "Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge... But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways..."

The point that the clip makes, "I just... needed to make sure you were real" becomes two-fold.

Whether or not it crossed the Israelites' minds, it is easy to wonder in modern culture of the authenticity of God. It is evident that he acts sustaining, preserving, and caring for us in our every-day lives. But, it is easy to neglect, to over-look, to ignore... the past cultural belief (of the Middle Ages) that every action was either inspired by God or demon-directed... Now, it just happens. Foundationally, we cannot see the spiritual world. And, so, we tend to hide it away from our daily thoughts. How can we even know He's real?

I'm sure past theologians such as Augustine or philosophers like Descartes would retort, "How can't we?" Foundationally, to be able to trust our own thoughts and senses must come from a trust (or faith) in something bigger than ourselves... something good that would not try to trick us or force us into living a life of lies. This good being may also reveal himself to us, perhaps to share with us something as simply complex as who He is. This being would be God (necessarily limitless, eternal, and all-powerful). This revelation then, is Christ, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

The second fold of this test of God... to make sure He is real... would be, for the Israelites as well as us, to see if he really meant what he had said. We obey Him when it is convenient. But, it is just too easy to go back into sin, to fall away, to see if He would really deliver a punishment to those He deeply loves...

In my train of thinking, I can't imagine how He could afford not to deliver a punishment out of love (at least in Israel's case). You see, the Israelite's slap the face of God again and again. He delivers them and they run away. He delivers them, they run away. He delivers them... you get the idea. But, the reason why he chose to deliver them had always been, "The people of Israel cried out to the Lord." And, the reason the people of Israel had cried out to the Lord was because of their oppression... His punishment.

That was the way He had brought them back to Him.

I'm not saying that you should go around punishing people because you love them. That doesn't work for us. We don't need another human for constant sustenance, provision, and care... The surplus of divorces prove the fact that in our culture, we'd rather put off abusive or neglected relationships than try to work through them... But, God punished Israel because there is no way around acknowledging the fact that we do need Him. He knew that they would constantly call back to Him.

 "Where were you?!?"

After their cry, He delivers them. He is with the judge who defeats the oppressor. The same thing had happened in Egypt with Moses. And, the same thing happened generations later with the birth of Christ. And, in this season of Advent, not only do we remember and wait for the celebration of His birth, but we also remember and wait for his return. We cry out, Where are you?!? And, I hope that we know Him well enough and trust in Him deep enough... building a relationship with him and basking in His presence at the Sacraments so much... feeding and clothing and caring for each other so much... that he does not answer with:


"Where were you?"

It is not our own works, will, or even spirit that saves us. Christ alone is victor. But, he teaches us to continue to learn and grow with Him.

CONTINUED IN DELIVERER III

For this Advent season, the Super Inc. Devotions will be set up a little bit differently... If you really want to, you can follow along, the passages used today are from Judges 2-3.

More of the same clip will be played next week as the story continues. But, for now, our Advent prayer is the same as the intro song by Daniel Vang:




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