SOAP from this last week…
S – SCRIPTURE –
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices & eat the flesh. For in the day that I brought your ancestors of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings & sacrifices. But this command I gave them, Obey my voice, & I will be Your God, & You shall be my people; & walk only in thee way that I command You, so that it may be well with You.”
O – OBSERVATION –
Israel is attempting to cover their bases in their devotion time to God – to ‘do’ what God has ‘required’ of them – as though it involved a mere list of chores &/or a to-do list. That the heart attitude & mindset had nothing to do with what God was really, truly asking of them – to Obey His voice, & to walk in the way that He commanded them – & the results of that would be: Israel will be His people, & God will be their God, &, the results of obedience will be that life, it, consequences will be well with Israel.
A – APPLICATION –
I am like Israel – I have ‘forgotten’ & can forget what it is that the LORD has asked & required of me – & treat Him like I’m serving another God, one of my ‘choosing’ – that must be satisfied with offerings & displays of devotion… displays that don’t involve the heart or the mind, merely the outward declaration, the going through the motions… that is a small god that could be pacified. A god that doesn’t need (or even want) relationship, or to call me by His Name. At its most basic, a relationship of love, trust, faith, & honor – where to hear is to follow, to come running. To know & be known at the most core level. Its what God asks for, contends for, hopes for – not out of neediness or codependency, but out of desire for a bride… hard to fathom. Don’t quite know what to do with that.
We’re the ones that are trying to keep God at arms length, continually pushing Him back to a ‘safe’ distance, while He’s drawing us into an embrace, a place of safety, of strength – of confidence. Identity.
I fear You. Hide my face. Cling to my expertise, my knowledge, that which I’m familiar with. I know of Your goodness, but I forget; even with Your arms extended wide, fear lies to me. Rises up inside me, subtly shifting me, guiding me from the place where I can most be ME, offering up facades & other versions of me, mere shadows of the real, what is intended.
And rather than write me off, You wait for me. Pursue me with a love beyond words.
P – PRAYER –
Turn my heart to You. I want to live Your love, to hear Your voice & come running. To not faithlessly doubt Your goodness, Your hand, Your face. To not come to You dragging my feet, sullenly demanding, “Ok, what do You want NOW?” when what You want is to Be Mine. And me to Be Yours. To just spend some time together. I’m so sorry LORD. With my own children I’m beginning to sense the longing to just hang out together, the longing that is met with rolled eyes, suspicion, & a checking of the cell-phone to see just HOW long will this little time be before they can go?
And I could be angry at them & demand their attention, their loyalty, their time… cause rejection hurts… stings like a sting to the heart… but I usually just tell them that I love them, & let them go… which is followed by a heavy sigh & a ‘finally!’
I chafe. Stiffen my neck. Live reactively. Analyze. Wrestle.
I look in the mirror & instead of seeing the reflection I see in my head, I see me. Flashing back & forth between being 4 & 41. The eyes are the same eye’s I remember seeing, looking for in the mirror. Cause my eyes are brown, & I like my brown eyes. They’re not as colorful or catching as the blues & greens & hazels & gold-flecked sparklies of those of the rest of my family, but they are my eyes. And in the reflection of my eyes is me. A glimpse of a soul I think. The “me,” that is me; while the shell of my body has grown, adapted, changed, & aged, the “me” is still there, looking out of this body, this tent, wanting so much to be accepted & loved, fearing that that just wont happen.
Thank you LORD – I lift my eyes up to where my help comes from; my help comes from YOU, Almighty maker of heaven & maker of earth. So I will wait for You to come & rescue me, to come & bring me life.