2 Samuel 2 / Jeremiah 8 / Matthew 19
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
When we're little children all we can do is trust our parents. We don't know anything about money or houses, jobs or cars, or anything about what the adults regard as valuable, what should be guarded and protected—what can be trusted. All the little children can do is trust their parents, which is the relationship God wants to have with His children. When they are independent because of the nature that makes them trust in their identity, position, job, wealth, family or anything else they are no good to Him, as good as dead. He doesn't want them nor can He love them because they're unlovable and can't love Him because they can't trust Him, so their ideas that they love God can't be anything more than conceptual theory and wishful thinking because you can only begin to love what you truly trust.
When the animal nature becomes full blown in humans (when they become adults) they pass over from little children to adults who must become independent and savvy about how things work so they can survive, which is the short version of the plight of the humans and their inability to find God. Since nobody is there to take care of them like they did when they were children, they must take all of the animal instincts and ways into their selves for that purpose, and learn to trust other things than their parents to save them—like their ability to fit in to the humans' systems and learn how to hold a job and make money, which is perhaps the easiest thing to trust in for survival.
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
The humans like to quote this, and the Peter verses about obeying the authorities in order to sanction the animal aspirations in all humans as a good thing. This becomes the banner about fitting into the world of humans like good little animals who only need to be concerned with being responsible animals who give their lives to the system for the money they need to raise their brood and pay their bills. The situations that Paul & Peter had to deal with were unique, because the truth of the life of the Father and Son were actually living in the humans, and the movement was growing. The animal nature that lived in the newly born believers was causing all kind of havoc within their communities, and they were trying to stave off complete chaos, all the time. These are words to a specific group of people who lived in the first century, not intended to be made into rules of conduct for entire societies of animals.
Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons,
The wild animals instinctually know just what to do all the time by instincts and urges e.g., to eat, have sex, migrate, be afraid. They are automatically controlled by fear that's triggered by certain situations to react to danger or perceived threat. They're programmed to survive by all kinds of instincts that are automatically built in to their nature. Because of the way they are, this creation is extremely orderly. If it wasn't for the instincts that control them to do what God wants them to do all the time, there would be total chaos (if they just did whatever they wanted). But they do what they're sposed to do pretty much all the time, and they just know right away—as soon as they're born and the rest of their existence—what they need to do.
The humans also act according to the same things—impulse, instinct and urge, reacting to threats, etc. With the humans it's a little different, because they started out fundamentally differently—made in the image of God. They are at an advantage to the animals in that they are able to dominate and manipulate them for their advantage. So where a bear would live in a forest, the humans would come in and decide they own it, then cut all the trees down and pave it with concrete, then build stores and houses and roads that can make their lives more convenient and profitable. The humans also act differently than other animals because all animals act a little differently from each other, according to their natural ability. For instance birds migrate because they can fly, while rabbits grow more fur, but the instincts are always about survival one way or another and they're not about thinking, but being controlled by that impulse that's naturally in them to do what they do.
I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
The other animals don't do what the humans do only because they can't. They would if they could because it makes sense according to the animal nature, it's just an inordinate amount of control because of the power that the humans have as compared to the other animals. The greed they have just comes naturally from the desire to survive, and an inordinate opportunity to do that better than others. It's out of control but it's still not contrary to animal need to have and build up, to feel safe and insulated from their death. In other words, the rich man's greed comes from the same source as the poor man's need—it's all about surviving. Opportunities and abilities to manipulate are asides. It's not a rational thing that someone who is rich has enough and he doesn't need more riches; there is just an irrational need to keep getting more, because of that fundamental instinct to take and possess and build things up around one's self so that one can feel better. Even the feeling of better, safer and more secure is on that deep level where these things take place.
The activists who want to fight corruption would no doubt do the same thing the corrupt people do if they had the chance, because the animal nature is indiscriminate—it's on all of the humans just like it's on all of the animals. They just don't have the chance so they need to go after a different kind of kudos—their own kind of ego gratification with their own self-bloatedness, honor and respect. They may say they would never do what the corrupt animals do, only because they're pretty certain they'll never have that kind of chance. If they did, though, most likely they would find a way to justify doing the same thing (hiding). The humans aren't naturally against corruption but for it because it helps them get what they want.
How can you say, "We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,"
The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped.
God spoke against corruption in Israel. The Law was partially meant at preventing too much corruption because of the animal tendencies to get, have and control for one's self and family at the expense of his brother. He wanted the Israelites to love their brothers and look out for them. He wanted them to treat each other fairly and with respect, and so none would become too rich and hegemonic the Jubilee laws were given. God knew what the animal was like and the Law had many things built in to it that counteracted those instincts and urges. He also stressed His desire that the Israelites took care of those who were disadvantaged and under privileged, who would naturally have a harder time, like the widows, the orphans, the foreigners and the poor.
If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
Selling one's possessions and giving the money to the poor wasn't a specific command in the Law of Moses. However the desire of God was clear that the poor were important to Him, because they were easily exploited by the rich. When God wanted the Israelites to be a culture of brothers, the poor Israelites were more of a nuisance to the rich, who didn't want to take care of them, but instead would use them to keep enhancing their already enhanced lives. So it was a part of the old covenant, and the command to take care of the widows, the orphans, the foreigners and the poor was specifically delineated by God to His people. Taking care of them was not defined because it was one of those more unpleasant things, and therefore open to rationalization and relativity e.g., one could rationalize and say that because he hasn't killed the poor man he has taken care of him, and therefore declare his own righteousness with God based on that. The animals are good at that, which is just another instance of survival behavior—I need more so I do whatever I can to get it, even compromising the commandments but saying that I'm somehow doing it for my gods' sake, according to the rules we made up.
Jesus here makes a specific deal with this man (actually God living in Jesus' body). God made a personal covenant with the guy, and a promise to do something for him, but only if he did a certain thing. Because he couldn't do it, he was sure he wouldn't get what he came asking for, the "Life that is truly life." His life was based on using his money and power to get things for himself, being able to buy, own and control for his sake. That's what he was asking the Son to do for him too, acknowledge that he was rich and therefore privileged and good, and grant him a place in the kingdom (heaven).
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
The humans are all about the corruption by which the animal nature pervades their culture. This man thought he could just do what he's always done, as though the Son was just another animal ruled by that nature of greed and respect for the humans and their official and unofficial systems. He figured to perhaps give Jesus some money for the cause, or promised him some political influence, which is what he meant by the "good thing" he was inquiring about doing for him. The Son turned the tables in him, and told him to go and give away all his influence, power, respect, identity, security, position and everything else that his money secured for him. And not to give it to him or the disciples but to the ones whom he despised, the blight of his own society of privilege, the ones he truly hated in his heart because he was so far removed from their reality. What the Son told him he must do is actually become one of them in order to become right with God.
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
This specific thing wasn't as much about the poor as it was about faith, not as much about money specifically as it was about establishing what must happen to the sons to become right with the Father. They have to become what they inherently loathe and despise, because of the nature that rules them that developed those ways of seeing and judging good and bad, worthwhile and despicable. The human view of everything is skewed toward what their nature has persuaded them to believe, the propaganda they've been brainwashed with since they were little. Mostly it's about them being inherently good and privileged just as they are. In fact none of them think they're anything but that, which is a fundamental assumption of how the nature works. It is also why God considers them sinful, evil and bad—because of their individualistic and bloated self-preserving and self-important attitude about themselves, built right in to their nature. This is the system that God set up in the humans so He doesn't want to change it in them, He just wants the sons to recognize it about themselves so they can come away from it and everything that promotes it in them (the other humans), so they can develop a new nature and become what they inherently loathed when they were animals.
It would take a great deal of trusting the Son to do the work that this personal covenant required, which God made with the man. Letting go of what we think is valuable in the earthly sense because we believe God is able and willing to give us whatever we need, what He thinks we need and wants us to have, is faith and belief, and work to do because it's so against the animal nature which doesn't want to believe in what it doesn't know. It isn't necessarily in each of the particular details, but in the overall willingness to conform to another reality. The willingness is the choice, which is what's required. The details get worked out on their own, however the process is done.
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?"
It's what God loves to see a man do, to risk what he naturally wants to hang on to because the man believes in the specific thing that has been done in him, which everything else in his reality speaks against. It's wanting God's truth enough that he is willing to accept the unlikely thing, even though He can't be seen, heard, felt, touched, controlled or held onto like he can with earthly things. It's the choice to believe and accept even though it seems impossible and against what he naturally wants, why Abraham was commanded to kill Isaac. God is jealous and doesn't want His sons to love another more than Him, and because it's a way to see if the man's faith is real or just words. It is so against the animal nature to do what Jesus told the man he had to do if he wanted to enter into the kingdom of the spirit, because all that he had are very tangible things to trust in. If one possesses great wealth it simply means that he will never be able to trust God, which is a requirement for His sons. The rich man can never do that, so it's impossible for him to become a son of God.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose
confidence is in him.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.