January 22nd.

Genesis 37 / Psalms 39-40 / Matthew 24

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Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced;
burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.

Then I said, "Here I am, I have come—it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.

Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.

 

And Jacob said, "It is my son's tunic. A vicious beast has devoured him, Joseph is torn to shreds!"

But the Midianites had sold him into Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh's courtier, the high chamberlain.

We are a lot like Joseph and not accidentally, for the sons of God are always the tiny fraction compared to the vastness of the rest of the population we may look like on the outside, but not where the Father sees. We have a special favoritism by God which makes the others who do not have that hate us. That is a reason for the Joseph story, to show the sons how things are in the permanent order, according to the living God. It may seem that the events were just randomly following one another; from Rachel being favored over Leah which led to Joseph and Benjamin also being favored by Jacob over all the brothers, to the dreams he had, to their despising him, and their plan to abuse him in the field, to the ideas of Reuben and Judah not kill him, to the slave traders coming along just at the right time.

In actuality, everything was being worked out to fulfill God's desire for His sons in the world, and to provide us with an understanding of the way things are in the permanent creation. God favors His sons, those He has chosen to wear His name and pull out of the world of the humans, and the things that happen around us are under His control—they happen according to His purpose and plan for us. They may not seem good or right when they're happening, like many of God's hidden purposes are secret that way. Their purpose is in one way or another to shake us free a little bit from our physical, mental and emotional ties to the world and everything about the way it works that we learned to count on and love because we learned how to make certain things work for our good, to make us feel what we desire most—safe and secure in our little world of the animal agreement we make for ourselves that give us a false hope and surety not based on anything real, but that which will one day just disintegrate back into the earth like everything else.

We have to assume that because God has made a choice regarding us, that He desired to make us true sons, as surely as He made Jesus into a Son instead of allowing him to become an unclean animal like the rest. The choice of God is made based on something that we cannot even begin to understand with our feeble ability to comprehend. How much higher God's ways and abilities are over ours I suppose we can't even guess, because that also requires a certain amount of ability to weigh and figure.

Since the choice for the Father over the animal is central to God's primary purpose going all the way back to the first humans, wanting sons who chose Him and who were not merely compelled by force to choose the right; and since it is why the Father loved and loves the Son—he chose to lay down his life for the Father—the choice is powerful and central to the message because the way of the animal is genuinely appealing, so much so that it's impossible to even notice without the key to seeing it.

What we do know is that the situation of Joseph in this chapter is a lot like ours, that one day the word just appeared in our lives and we found ourselves in a situation with certain events unfolding all around that intention of the Father to bring it. It looked like something other than what it was to everyone else—something bad but we knew it was something good, not by any normal way of being able to judge. It was deeper and more mysterious than anything we had known, but we could recognize the truth when we encountered it because we were looking all our lives and couldn't find it anywhere, even though we wanted to find it and were dissatisfied with what others told us was the truth but we knew was false. When we saw the truth we recognized it without question, just as we did the first time we had met 13 years earlier, which was only a preview because it quickly went away that time.

I understood that a few things the Christadelphians said were true, opposed to everything else I had heard for 20 years about God, Jesus and the devil. Immediately after that we were presented with another truth that we perceived in a different place than our heart; and we knew that what was happening was genuine, the ultimate truth from God that we recognized as something desirable for us to have more of, something we had been wanting for many years. Under many kinds of genuine social pressure and threats to not pursue it we did anyway, which led to more threats, getting kicked out of the Christadelphian institution, etc.

Now our doubts about this thing lasting—we learned that way from the world where everything is temporary and subject to change—have been subject to another reality, the reality of being chosen to have the Father revealed to us, which is slowly grinding away at the doubts about it lasting. Anything we knew from God from the past, those things which happened rather infrequently were just designed to keep our eyes open, to keep looking even though we could not yet see anything like we were looking for.

Now we know that the message about the kingdom of God is like a seed, and as it grows it gets stronger and healthier. Our eyes start opening to a whole new reality which was completely hidden to us before, but is now being revealed. That is the reality of our new Father—His things, His ways, His world, His desires and ultimately the greatest thing a human could ever hope to get—His love and acceptance. We know in the earthly sense that love can only grow out of a sense of a knowledge of attachment gained by the understanding of a stability of presence—we believe that another will not leave, that we can count on them to always be there in the same place and with the same intentions toward us. We actually come to believe, because of many repetitious observations that they aren't leaving us, that they are still going to be there tomorrow, and it's something we can count on. That is the only reality for the humans because they always have to leave. Even if they don't want to, even if they never intend to leave, they nevertheless have to. They will one day die and become no more, and then they will be gone. So in reality, there can never be any truly lasting love among the humans, because one way or another they will leave the other.

Our relationship with our new Father has not gone the way we would have intended, but that is a good thing because we are unable to know what is good. All we can do is just say yes, here I am, ready to do your will. Our evil minds would choose the wrong way in spite of our own good intentions toward our selves, because of the intense proliferation of the ideas and values of the world that have been thoroughly pounded into our consciousness since we were old enough to understand the way it works, and what we have to do to survive in it. It is who we are, and we don't come away from that very substantially, especially without lots and lots of suffering which happens over a period of many years.

The good way, that which we wouldn't have chosen, but nevertheless God has chosen for us, is what has been happening for a few years. God's way is showing us that He stays with us; it is the way of true, lasting love between a Father and His child. It is the message first that we have been chosen and are special according to Him—different than all the rest, and for some reason desirable to be made His children. Next it is that He appeared in our lives and since then has not left us. On the contrary, His presence in our lives has only gotten stronger and more visible, indeed the stability of His presence is only weakened by the bad decisions we make, because of the very detectable element of evil, that old animal consciousness, still living in us.

The stability of His presence—the backbone of love, which we first responded to long ago—should be a central point of contemplation for us, the understanding of which can only lead to a genuine trust that the Lord is here and he is not going away from us. That must be the foundation for true and lasting love, that we actually can begin to believe that even if we die, the case for the humans does not apply to us. Actually, we look forward to dying as we begin to understand that this life isn't life at all, and we can only know the love of our Father dimly while in these bodies, as the animal nature continually pulls on us and keeps us from what we want more than anything. Death is something that frees us from the bonds of the old man, but the choice must be made now, while in the human body.

So in time, the thing we loved so much and aimed to protect at all cost (this earthly life), becomes something completely different to us, even an obstacle—the life which isn't life at all. The clock of death started ticking when we reached a certain point in our puberty. When we stopped being children and became mature humans we became death, and started in on that slow process of dying. That which the humans ironically celebrate is actually the birth of their demise.

Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.

Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you.

Each man's life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

There is still the possibility that we will love the many things and ways we want to hold on to as part of this earthly life more than we love His presence in us, in which case we have decided that His love is not worth giving it up for. Then we die without His love growing in us; it aborts prematurely then is gone, as was Judas' experience. The cares and worries of this existence, or the deceitfulness of wealth can be the demise of a son. In this way it is not an automatic, a given which can be taken lightly or for granted. The choice remains for us, which quashes the puppet theory. If we love our life more than His life—the real life that we have experienced and know comes from God to teach us who we are—then we can lose the life that is life. In which case we become as the humans, and live only to die.

However, we know what life is, and we know the value of that life in us, that it is something totally different than we were taught; and we can tell by the writings preserved for us to read that the consciousness of Jesus lines up with this new consciousness, which has only begun to make us aware. The fellowship of the spirit brings us this understanding—that is its intention, to make us one with our true brother and all who believed him. He is the counselor, the comforter, and the bearer of truth about the life and way of God.

That which is beginning to grow inside us and become part of us is that which assures us that God is our Father, and that we have been chosen and He is not going away. That is the only basis for genuine love, because it is the very definition of what love must be built on—that which lasts and doesn't go away, the foundation of the stability of His presence in us, just as Jesus promised to his disciples.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the holy spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

 

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