Genesis 12:8, Abram, Seth, and Calling Upon the Name of the L-RD

And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai [Ai] on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD

Genesis 12:8

As I read this passage this morning, and came ot the commentary beneath the text, in my readthrough, it occurred to me that “calling upon the name of the LORD” was what happened in the days of Seth, and was what frequently set apart those who were delivered from those who were not.

Reading this through a New Testament lens, “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). Saved from what? Destruction, death, and a life of futility? Yes, and more besides. Saved to what? Eternity, transformation, birthright. Not merely changed in mindset.

Taking μετάνοια and extending it to mean “changing the way you think”, well, doing word studies with a Biblical language robs a word of the richness of its context. If anyone is in Christ, their mind isn’t the only thing that is changed. Everything about them is changed (2 Cor. 5:17-21). This isn’t merely about recovering what we have forgotten about ourselves. This is us being completely changed into something different. Not just a recovery of some conscsiousness, but the recovery, or better yet, the stepping of our whole being into a new reality. All the old ways get unzipped and demolished, and we begin the process of, not becoming and newer version of the old self, but a completely new thing. The old does in fact begin the process of passing away.

We step out of the slavery and the destruction of the darkness of both sin and bondage to the enemy, and into freedom and the transformation of every thing into what He originally designed for us.

When we say we are recovering what we forgot, we are minimizing the level of transformation that G-d puts into us. He is not merely interested in making us to think differently, but to respond differently.

All as a result of calling upon His name.

Abram, here, called upon the name of the only one that could deliver him and set him aright.

And though we get the idea of changing the way we think from the Koine word μετάνοια, it is so much more deep and comprehensive than thought.

If the Lord delivers you from the old, He is not merely going to deliver you from old thought patterns. He intends you to walk in something with dramatically greater depth than mere thought. He is going to set His name upon you (referencing Numbers 6:27, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Deuteronomy 12:11, 1 Kings 5:5, Ezra 6:12, and 1 Corinthians 6:19), and where His name will be, His presence will be. And as you run into the presence of His name, you will be safe in accordance with how He defines safety.

Gang, I bless you to find safety in His name, and to dwell in His name, and to be called by His named, and transformed through His name.

Be at peace as you are called by His name. For as you are called by his name and turn from whatever is destroying you, he will hear, forgive, and heal not just you, but also the land where you are, spiritually, emotionally, and physcially.

And in the presence of that Name, you will be able to learn and weave together the principles that will not just transform those around you, but you completely.

Lest We Cause Them To Stumble: How to Really Process Injustice Well…

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”. He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Matt. 17:24-27

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”

Proverbs 17:9 ESV

Unnecessary offense…it can entangle just about anyone. Christian, believing Jew, unbeliever, you name it. And no one is immune to the opportunity to become offended.

Recently, an opportutnity came for me to be offended. And here is the kicker; I might have been justified in my anger.

The problem, though, with justified anger, is that, if not correctly handled…

In your anger do not sin.

And “ don’t sin by letting anger control you.”

From Ephesians 4:26, 2011 NIV and NLT, respectively

…can result in us becoming entrapped and capable of being used by the clowns (2 Timothy 2 :23-26). Speaking truth to a person and confronting them directly in private is one thing; speaking to the matter in public without being direct is another.

DISCLAIMER: I am preaching to myself more than I am preaching to anyone else, given I have majored on screwing up in this matter more than anyone I know.

In publishing ablaze our offenses without first checking with the Spirit of G-d, and without framing the offense in the context of the whole problem, we can unwittingly poison others, or get them into agreement with others, or cause destruction to fan out from our circle into other circles, destruction that we did not intend.

And it can empower a spirit that will coil and twist our words in order to make it impossible for others to hear their heart.

This word-twisting spirit is one of the markers for the twisting of sound, and it can negatively affect all forms of our communication between us and those with whom we are communicating.

In processing injustices, we must do a few things well.

  • Step through the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise of who he is and what he has done.
  • Become acquainted with the principles that govern His nature as the Just and Supreme Judge of the Universe, and, more importantly, as our Loving And Affectionate Father.
  • Deal with sins and offenses in our own hearts before the King, if they are present.
  • Speak and acknowledge the injustice, AND the reality that we might not have the whole picture or UNDERSTANDING of the hearts of those with whome we are vexed.
  • Be willing to take ownership of whatever process or series of responsibilities the Judge of the Earth (from Genesis 18:25) imposes on us.
  • Be willing to apologize to whatever people we have wronged before we seek judgment with respect to our own issue or offense.
  • Be willing to be made conformable to His death if that is where he is leading us (Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:10; and, most importantly, Revelation 12:11c WHICH WE OVERLOOK CHRONICALLY, which says, they overcame [the dragon] by not loving their lives so much that they shrank back from accepting a death sentence). You might have to die to yourself and your right to be heard. I don’t know what the process looks like for you and your particular situation. But in order to seek a win/win, you might have to lose something that you really hold dear. You might not. But you might. We don’t merely overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony. And that is no a stylish message. We overcome fully only if we accept all three parts of Revelation 12:11, and that means our lives are subject to his purposes.
  • Recognize that God may engage in a play that looks like a sacrifice or a gambit because he plays a very long game on a 27 dimension chess board, and he often makes moves that look like idiocies to our sensibilities.
  • Accept whatever judgment the Judge gives you, and whatever verdit.

Gang, our usual process in dealing with injustice is so flimsy and disengaged from the full principles of the Scripture and reality that we just yell about it and so Facebook becomes Facebitch. And that is not the design of the platform. Rather, we need a more robust and well-built, honed, skillful approach to correction and rebuke and truly receiving each other. That only comes with us developing a robust theology of a culture of honor that is rooted in a culture of dignity, which is why honor is no repair for shame.

We must recognize, as we come to each other, the God-given and inherent dignity of the one speaking, even if they may speaking in an undignified manner.

Given wounds and parts and SRA/CRA, we really have to extend some grace to one another (αλλαλους) while the offended party speaks their diatribe and we must, if appropriate and pormpted by Father, attempt to reconnect with that person.

The principle here is rooted in love, and an attempt to not cause unnecessary offense in others. That was Messiah Yeshua’s motive in dealing with the temple tax situation: do not unnecessarily catalyze an offense in someone. Because, contentions are like iron bars. And those who are walled up in their city because of needless offense cannot and often will not be reasoned with.

This is just my take, gang. Feel free to eat the meat and spit out the bones on this one. And for further understanding, below is a link to a YouTube video featuring John Bevere discussing this topic generally.

Unpacking the Whole Person, Even If It Shocks You And Your Friends….

It is is a treasure when you find a friend who is sensitive enough to parts of your design that they will pick up on those sensitivities and check in to make sure they haven’t hurt you.

I am learning that…

While I revel in fixing things aand using tools to build and getting my hands dirty doing what is considered traditionally manly work, as that was something my father never helped me unpack growing up…

I also have a very soft segment of my inner person that really gets easily run over.

I had a situation today where I didn’t realize that I needed someone to make sure I was doing okay because they felt like they might have run over me verbally, and I immediately offered a knee-jerk response that I was fine.

A portion of my spirit spoke up today and said that this friend picked up on this very sensitive aspect of my design and checked in with me accordingly.

I said all this to say the following.

Men, if you have a softer side to you, it is not you being gay. Rather, it is you just being more sensitive. That emotional side that feels like a “girl” responding may be your spirit responding because you were made to be tender and emotional in many cases and able to pick up some of the subtler dynamics out of you.

Attempting to reprogram the “unmanly” or “feminine” parts of you can do great damage.

Likewise, if you have some more more masculine, son-like, filial parts that need to pick up a tool and do grunt-trench work, likewise unpack those.

The aim is to be the whole person God made you, and to embrace the builder/fighter dynamics AND the sensitive and emotional, mothering, bridal aspects.

Just some thoughts, gang.

Genesis 2:8-14: Thoughts From This Morning

“And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.”

(Gen. 3:8–14 ESVi)

So, while engaging with reading the Scripture this morning, I had the following thoughts. And in other places, I have said these things before, but it may bear repeating.

There are preachers, teachers, and others who like to take Adam’s quote, “the woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me…, and I ate”, as a joke in sermons or teachings, saying, “and men have been blaming women ever since.”

But, if you will notice in the passage, does the Lord ever stop to sort out the interpersonal relational issues of mistrust or trauma at this moment. Not at all. Rather, what He does is respond not by saying “shame on you for blaming your wife, or passing the buck”.

He also does not ask the serpent for his side of the story, which tells you that He knows something about this serpent that we may not know.

A Bit Of Background For the Unaware

For those of you not familiar with the serpent described here, that term “serpent” is a reference to Satan.

In very simplified terms, Satan was a messenger who stood in the presence of the Divine Council.

He started a rebellion, and deceived many other created heavenly beings into following him, and they sought to overthrow God. He was beautiful at that time, before the rebellion began, and the pride and iniquity that was found in him twisted him into the serpent that we meet in Genesis 3.

Granted, there is more I can say, but that is a brief read on this critter. Below are a couple of good links that will discuss things like the Divine Council that will further you understanding on the serpent.

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

What God does is begin the process of responding to the situation in the garden by continuing from the story that was started before the garden.

He starts by addressing the serpent.

He does not start by addressing Eve’s behavior, or Adam’s behavior.

He starts with the serpent.

Let that sink in. When you screw up and do what the enemy gives you to do, the Lord is not going to burn you or beat you to begin with. He is going to handle the clowns first. He is then going to gather you up and because He is your Father, He is willing to coach you to a place of victory, and show you the process for undoing the mess in your life, piece by piece, and step by step. He is Father, not Slavedriver. A father instructs, counsels, and does not provoke their children to wrath ( Ephesians 6:4), and given God is the ultimate father, He is going to work according to that reality, and is not going to exasperate or provoke us to wrath.

Now, He might lead us in ways we do not understand, and some things we might question. But it is not God’s way to needlessly do things in order to frustrated or exasperate us as an end in themselves.

God responds to the situation, not by asking the serpent what he has done (God knows what the serpent has done, both in heaven, and on earth), but by telling the serpent what is going to happen in response to the serpent’s attempt at continuing the rebellion begun in heaven here on earth.

The Lord, for the moment in Genesis 3, is not interested in the squabbles and the jokes that we can make about how men are or how women are; rather, He starts by mentioning:

  • That the serpent will ultimately be defeated,
  • How the serpent will be defeated (using the fruit that came from the woman), and
  • That the Lord will accomplish this using these fallen creatures.

Translation: we humans are still part of God’s purpose to transition all of creation from glory through fall into further glory.

To be sure, in our preaching and teaching of this passage, for us to take the points that are deemphasized, and to emphasize them at the expense of the areas that God emphasizes, is problematic.

For us to make a joke about how a woman is (gullible, easily deceived, led astray, unintelligent) or how a man is (liars, blame-shifters) is anything but redemptive.

And our instruction and dealing with the text must be wholly and finally redemptive.

And for us to further miss the punchline from God’s perspective, namely that He was still going to use Adam and Eve, and that they were still his A-Team, that He made for Himself no other choice than they, and that they were still part of His plan for redemption, is for us to miss the point of the story.

For Us, A Picture of The Redemptive Power of Our King and How He Deals With Us As Sons

Redemption takes place in the midst of our mess, in the midst of our blame-shifting and our shirking of responsibility. And in that truth we can celebrate and move into enjoying God and watching Him triumph over the foe and the avenger (Psalm 8:2), and watching Him choose to maintain a connection with Adam who was still the son of God.

Remember, you are God’s son. This day he has begotten you, dear one (Psalm 2:7).

Furthermore, I would exhort you to allow the Lord to decide how He wants to handle your adversaries.

And finally, realize that, even in the midst of your deep sin, Father stands with you and really adores you. There is a tenderness in Father that is runs toward you, and does not beat or abuse you maliciously.

Do not miss the forest of expounding on the extravagant fullness of God’s love and affection for the trees of a couple of callous and glib remarks on “how men are” or “how women are”.

And don’t make your life’s work a disproportionate mess of telling people how sinful they are, at the expense of exclaiming how unfathomably amazing our King is, gang.

He puts the focus on the many places where he wants to place the focus. He handles the serpent, and the man and woman’s failings, and then he reframed their perception of reality in accordance with the truth. Pertaining to the truth, I will continue this discussion in the next post.

Other Resources For Consideration

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The above is a link to a really good video on the Divine Council

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Above is the Bible Project video on Spiritual Beings: Mind you, two areas where I disagree with the BP authors of this video are the ideas that we are told to “rise above our dirty origins” and that we are “lowly humans”. Making fun of the fact that we were created from the red clay (Hebrew Adam) and calling the origins of our bodies as “ewww gross dirty” curses the dirt, and we need to learn as believers and followers and stewards of this planet not to curse the dirt. Otherwise, this is a very solid video.
This is a book by Michael Heiser discussing many of these topics and more in-depth.

Genesis 3:7 and Loins and Truth

Continuing from the previous post, I wanted to emphasize a couple of things.

God not only corrected the junk of the man and the woman, but he also reframed the larger picture of the situation before Adam and Eve in accordance with the truth, with the fullness of reality.

Why is this important?

Well, Genesis 3:7 gives us a clue.

It reads:

Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Genesis 3:7

So, why is this important? Well that word there for “loincloths”, חֲגֹרֹת, which is really well-translated, can be understood not as “aprons” or “garments” but most nearly as “belts”. “Loincloths” that cover the loins would be the best fit here, because “belt” does not fully or accurately portray what is being talked about here. We are talking about something that covers the waist here.

And in Ephesians 6, Paul tells us to cover our loins with truth.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt (“the protective piece that covers your loins” is a more accurate way of rendering this. “Lionpiece”) of truth…

From Ephesians 6:13-14

Do you see the connection here?

This is why the reframing in accordance with the truth is so critical. They were believing that they could fix their problem with a patch of fig leaves. And God wanted them, and us by extension, to walk in truth, the light, which is what really protects our body and our spiritually vital organs. Namely, those organs that cause us to unite spiritually with others.

Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

1 Cor 6:16 ESV

Gang, we need him to provide us with the protection we need, because we can’t do this thing called flourishing in the spirit realm out of our own strength. We must seek him and lean on him in order to make this thing work.

When we are caught up or overtaken in a mess, we need the truth as a plum line so that we can own what is our an no more than that, and then ask Father to show us how to fix the mess. He really does want to help us, and He is really against His enemy, who is also our enemy, that clownish serpent.

My encouragement to you is to run to Him.

Finding Fulfillment Or Obeying Your Interpretation Of Scripture…Reevaluating and Reframing Ephesians 5:11

Words from the Exhorter, Winston Churchill, that bear us Reframing Ephesians 5:11, where Paul is quoted as saying:

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Now, there is nothing wrong with exposing what needs to be exposed, but you MUST do so in the context of making sure that that exhortation of the Scripture does not devour your life and time.

Go after your purpose, and quit griping and exposing heretics.

You can busy yourself by exposing heretics and heresies, so much so, that the practice of exposing devours your time and resources, and you never actually get around to doing what you were ultimately made or designed to do.

Do you want to do what Father has for you, or do you want to accomplish what others have for you?

Camups Crusade used to have a tract that read, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life”.

Arthur Burk’s wife used to reframe that by saying to her husband “Arthur, everyone loves you and everyone has a wonderful plan for your life”.

So, my question is, “is your life so far out of equilibrium that you are doing this one thing AT THE EXPENSE OF your limited resources of time?”.

Think carefully about where you are going and what you see going to do.

Slow down, take a breath, and get your ratios of exposing heresies to underatanding/developing your purpose, design, giftings, and destiny right.

Get that ratio right.

My counsel:

For every 5 minutes per month you spend exposing, spend 3 hours daily in the same month investing, understanding, and nurturing your design, gifts, talents, what you were made to do, your purpose, your treasures, and your birthright

Put differently: Expose once if you need to, only as Father leads, and then move on with what you are in favor of and what you are doing with your life.

Explicate what you are for way more than what you are against.

If we spent more time working on us and our relationship with Him, then we would not have the time to write freaking reams of paper on what is wrong with Todd Bentley.

Granted, he needed to be exposed and brought to repentance, but 98 percent of y’all that complained about him did so without the earned authority necessary to say where he needed to be put after repenting. You did not embrace the process of reconciliation for him, but only kvetched about the wrong he did.

Granted, I am not justifying what he or any other heretic did it person you don’t care for. But dang if we spend too much time focusing on and being mesmerized by the wrong rather than moving into the FULL process of how to restore someone, and not use more of that time and paper and ink developing the fullness of what is necessary in us.

So get that ratio.

Heretics and heresies get no more than 5 minutes per month of your attention. No, it is not your calling to solely expose. That will wear you out and turn you into a cynic fast. It will sap your strength and time, and you won’t be able to develop as you should, which WILL strengthen you.

Just my take, gang.