Incarnate Shock and Awe

As I was thinking about Christ’s incarnation the past couple of days I couldn’t help pleading with God that He would shock me and awe me again with this stupendous truth. It’s grim how routine and normal it can all become. How I want to get to and stay at “Great is the mystery of godliness – God was manifest in the flesh!” Here are a few verses that I penned about this yesterday (audio link).

 

Shock and awe is a military doctrine,
To overwhelm a nation with aerial bombardment.
Rapid, massive, relentless attack,
Render futile and vain any thought of fightback.

No slow gradual increase of growing intensity.
Attack every building, and road, and facility.
Engulf and submerge in death and destruction.
Impact the senses with jolting sensation.

No more reasoning, logic, diplomacy, persuasion,
It’s now about feeling, vibes, and emotion.
Terrorizing, paralyzing, terrifying, petrifying,
Hundreds and thousands gladly surrendering.

………..

God shocks and awes with a special strategy,
Drops grace and truth in a human body.
Targets overwhelmed with life and salvation,
God invading via incarnation.

He had reasoned and argued with little return,
Laws, poems, and stories, but very few turn.
Thousands of words in Old Testament verse,
Now grabs our attention with Word made flesh.

……….

No more dreams or visions,
But God in skin and bones,
Shocking us and awing us,
To turn us from our sins.

No more mere human go-betweens.
But God, direct and real,
Shocking us and awing us,
To melt our hearts of steel.

It’s the end of all priests,
God suffers and bleeds,
Shocking and awing,
Changing hate to loving.

No more God in cloud and fire,
But God in body and soul,
Shocking us and awing us,
Drawing to Him as our goal.

Not angels in human form,
But God in human flesh,
Shocking us and awing us,
To save us from our mess.

Fully man and fully God,
Both in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Born for slaughter by the sword,
To pay a price none could afford.

……..

The truth gets so cold and routine,
Lots of facts but little feeling.
Shock and awe distant sounds.
We’re just doing the rounds.

First baby, first kiss, first flight,
Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon might,
We see, we hear, we sense, and we feel,
But God as a baby? It’s no big deal.

……..

O God, come and help us,
Start a fire in our hearts,
We know all the doctrine,
But want feelings not just facts,

Jolt, jar, jog, and jerk us,
Pop our eyes, drop our jaw,
Stop our tracks, light our love,
With renewed shock and awe.

God and man.
Decisive. Incisive.
Dramatic. Climactic.
Emotional. Sensational.
An eyeful. An earful.
A mindful. A heartful.
Powerful. Wonderful
Shock and awe.

God and man.
Thrilling. Startling.
Electrifying. Hair-raising.
Breath-taking. Heart-taking.
Marvelous. Scandalous.
Inscrutable. Incredible.
No precedent. No parallel.
Riddle. Mystery.
Shock and awe.

……

God shocks and then awes,
Our heart to impress,
That sin is so serious,
Word must be made flesh.

Real flesh, Not a phantom,
Not a counterfeit or con.
Weak flesh, not a superman
Tired, hungry, sad, alone.

Whole flesh, not a sample,
Fully human out and in,
From embryo to adult,
And all steps in between.

Holy flesh, though sorely tempted,
More than any ever born.
Spotless, pure, immaculate,
Though suffered every storm.

Dead flesh, still God.
Eternal flesh, still man,
And will forever be.
How great the mystery.


What Were Jesus’s First Words?

The first words most babies speak is “Dada.” Seems a bit unjust after all the hard work their mothers put into them, but there you go.

I don’t think fathers should get too proud though. Instead of honoring their dads with their first word, it’s more likely that one of the first babies said “dada” and one of the first men jumped in and claimed the word as a self-identifier.

“Dada!”

“Did you hear that honey? He said my name!”

“Your name’s not Dada!”

“It is now”

Something like that.

Jesus’s First Words
But what about Jesus? What were his first words as a baby?

Perhaps you’re saying, “What a ridiculous question! We aren’t told and it doesn’t matter.”

Well, we are told. And it does matter.

“When He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I come – In the volume of the book it is written of me – To do Your will, O God’” (Heb. 10:5-7)

A bit more than “Dada” isn’t it? He quoted Psalm 40.

And a bit earlier than most babies. “When he came into the world.”

When was that?

Was it when He was delivered in the stable and breathed His first breath?

Or was it nine months earlier, when  he was conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb?

Probably the latter, as that was “when he came into the world” and into the body prepared for him.

So how did he speak in the womb?

He didn’t of course. An embryo can’t speak and didn’t speak.

The End and the Beginning
Hebrews 10:5 is not speaking of Christ as man, but of Christ as God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle is given a secret look behind the curtain of heaven to hear what the Son of God said as He departed heaven and, a blink later, arrived on earth. These were the words on his heart, mind, and lips as He entered Mary’s womb and this world.

He looked back on the history of Israel, saw hundreds of thousands of animal sacrifices, slaughtered bodies piled up to heaven, and said, “THE END.”

He looked ahead and saw His own body start to develop as He joined with Mary’s egg in her virgin womb, and cried with delight, “The BEGINNING.”

He saw a human body, a divinely prepared body, a bleeding body, a dead body, a resurrected body. And said, “Behold, my body. Behold, I’m coming. This is what the Old Testament was all about. I delight to do your will O my God!”

What excitement, what energy, what enthusiasm for the task!

What unforgettable first words.


Check out

14 Books to Kick Off 2014
Great way to begin the new year.

Bible Land Blogs
Thanks to Charles Savelle at Bible X for this great tip off. Lots to explore here for anyone interested in the geography of the Bible.

When Nothing Created Everything
Want to start an argument a conversation with your evolutionary friends?

Biblical Manhood and Pursuing Platform
Seeking it for self or using it for the Lord.

Duck Dynasty: Where Will It End?
Key paragraph in Marvin Olasky’s article: “Where does it end? Can’t we make distinctions anymore between someone who wants to beat up homosexuals and someone who (1) affirms what the Bible says, (2) recognizes that gays are also made after God’s image, and (3) notes that all of us, without exception, are sinners? Must we all applaud propaganda? Can’t we oppose bullying attempts from both sides?”

This Year’s Biggest Discoveries in Science
Read through biblical lens, especially #5 which reads more like fiction than fact.


Weird? Bizarre? Coincidence? Or God?

Imagine you found an old biography and started reading it only to discover incredible parallels, similarities, and overlaps with your own life. The person you’re reading about about seems to have gone through almost identical experiences to yourself and even thought the same thoughts, felt the same feelings, spoke the same words, and sang the same songs! You’d almost conclude that the book was written for you, even about you.

Uncanny! Weird! Bizarre! Coincidence!

Or God.

In the case of Jesus, it was God.

Not coincidence, but Providence.

The book is the Old Testament, especially 1 and 2 Samuel; the songs are found in the book of Psalms; and the subject of the biography is King David.

God deliberately designed David’s life, words, and songs in such a way that they helped the Lord Jesus to come, live, suffer, and die for sinners. When Jesus read these stories and sang these songs, He found incredible parallels, similarities, and overlaps with his own life. They were written for Him. They were written about Him. Which is why we find Him quoting the Psalms so often.

From the beginning of his life: 

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God’” (Ps. 40:6-8 quoted in Hebrews 10:5-7).

To the end of his life:

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Ps. 31:5 quoted in Luke 23:46).

What a book. What a Savior. What a God!


Check out

Learning to be a Grateful Critic
Nick Batzig: “Caring about what happens in the wider church is something that we see played out on the pages of the New Testament; but, the way that people tend to line up on either side of these questions to either uncritically defend or hyper-critically condemn well-known pastors/theologians has become a matter of grave concern to me.”

9 Reasons to Pray
Jason Helopoulos asks “Why pray when God already knows our desires?” Then provides 9 answers.

Seven of the Greatest Stressors on Pastors
Each job has its own unique stressors. Here are seven that afflict most afflict pastors.

Dear Kids: What You Need to Know About Duck Dynasty, Justine Sacco, and Christmas
Ann Voskamp leads us via current controversies about imperfect words to the feet of the perfect Word made flesh.

Top 10 Tricks for Building the Perfect Budget
You might need this after the past few weeks.

Mary’s Model for Mothers
Luma Simms: “For a mom living in an age where definitions of motherhood have become plastic, my radar is up for solid models of godly motherhood. We must not overlook one such model — Mary.”


Children’s Bible Reading Plan

Sorry for late posting . we’ve been without power for the last day or so and we’re still in the dark. Good day to have shares in Denny’s.

Here’s this week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

The second year of morning and evening readings in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

The daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books.

Old Testament

New Testament