Lessons Learned

to my dad on his 60th birthday

A little boy in blue striped coveralls
Draws near his dad’s oak desk, stacked papers high,
And watches patient hands pay bills, too small
To know some dad’s don’t work to thus supply.

A teenage boy still groggy after so
Much sleep grabs breakfast, Dad just coming in
From yard work, soaked in sweat from head to toe,
Green specks hard plastered over sun-worn skin.

A young man looks across three decades, awed
At one man’s faithfulness to what he vowed
Now twenty-seven years before, though flawed
Has been the road, his constancy unbowed.

Great God, may I, like him, so raise my son.
May lessons learned not die but grow and run.

© Eric Evans 2012

Greater than the Temple

In Matthew 12:6, Jesus makes an incredible statement. Looking into the eyes of the Pharisees (the Jewish religious establishment of Jesus’ day), Jesus states, “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.”

To understand the shock value such a statement must have had, think for a moment about what the temple represented for a Jew in Jesus’ day. The temple was God’s dwelling place. It was where God was. It was “God’s house” on earth. It was where God came down and met with his people. His glory resided there. He spoke to his people there. Atonement for sin was made there. The entire Jewish religious system was centered around and represented by the temple. I don’t think I could overestimate the importance of the temple in Jewish life, Jewish culture, and in the hearts of the Jewish people. Even today, the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem (the remains of a wall that surrounded the temple that existed in Jesus’ day, the temple itself having been destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.) is considered a holy site and continues to be greatly revered. And then here comes Jesus and says, “You know, something greater than the temple is here.” Whatever Jesus is talking about, it’s got to be absolutely astounding.

I think Jesus’ point by saying that something greater than the temple was upon them was that the Pharisees had completely missed the point altogether. Here the Pharisees are worrying about fulfilling their religious codes to the letter while extorting widows and defrauding their parents. They keep the temple building immaculate while the poor lie naked and dirty in the streets. They fulfill every external rule they had while breaking the very core of God’s law in their hearts. The reason the temple and the Jewish law existed was to move people toward loving God more and loving other people more. That doesn’t mean the law or the temple wasn’t important. It simply means they were secondary. The very truth upon which God’s law to man was based now stood before the Pharisees’ faces, and they completely missed it.

Jesus is greater than any temple, any priest, any system, or any religious code. He is the reason for which God gives men a temple, or priests, or a religious system or code. Jesus is the sign to which all those things point. That doesn’t mean signs aren’t good or even that they’re unimportant. It simply means that they, in and of themselves, are not the point at all. In fact, their entire purpose is to point people away from themselves to a greater truth: Jesus! And he was standing right in front of them! And they didn’t see him.

It thrills my soul that Jesus is greater than the temple. He’s greater than my Bethlehem Baptist Church membership. He’s greater than any church building. He’s greater than any organizational structure my church or any church has set up. He’s greater than any ministry. He’s greater than any doctrinal statement. He’s greater than the standard of ethics I’ve set for myself. He’s greater than my marriage and food and every other good thing that God designed in this earth. And the reason that he’s greater is because everything else serves but one purpose: to point people to Jesus. For “all things were created through him [Jesus] and for him. And he is before all things…. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Colossians 1:16-18). Everything else is a sign. Jesus is the destination. And I’ve got him. How about you?

Psalm 16:11 (Take Two)

You make known to me the path of life.

The LORD makes known to me the path of life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
makes known to me the path of life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me the path of life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me and uncovers for me
the path of life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the path of life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the one and only
path of life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the one and only
way, road, and course of life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the one and only
way, road, and course that gives me life
and that results in life.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the one and only
way, road, and course that gives me life
and that results in life:
my fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore at the right hand of God.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the one and only
way, road, and course that ends in my infinite and eternal joy.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the one and only
road that ends in my infinite and eternal joy.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me, uncovers for me,
and allows me to presently see the road
that ends in my infinite and eternal joy.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
continuously reveals to me the road
that ends in my infinite and eternal joy.

The LORD, the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth,
reveals to me the road
that ends in my infinite and eternal joy.

The LORD reveals to me the road that ends in my infinite and eternal joy.

You reveal to me the road that ends in my infinite and eternal joy.

Psalm 16:11

“You make known to me the path of life.”

You
[my refuge, the LORD, the one apart from whom I have no good, my chosen portion and my cup, the one who holds my lot, the one who gives me an inheritance, the one who gives me counsel and instructs me, the one who is at my right hand, the one who makes my heart glad and who makes my whole being rejoice, the one in whom my flesh dwells secure, the one who will not abandon my soul, the one in whom there is fullness of joy and at whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore]

make known
[presently, continuously, daily, regularly, habitually, reveal, uncover, show, shed light on, instruct, counsel, direct, guide, lead, allow me to see]

to me
[personally, individually, uniquely, specifically, directly, to your chosen son, to the one who will inherit your great inheritance, to the one in whom you delight]

the path
[the singular, the one and only, way, road, trail, track, route, course, direction]

of life
[that’s best, that leads to life, that leads to fullness of joy, that leads to pleasures forevermore, that has a good and hopeful end, that has a secure destination, that is good to travel down, that gives life to those who walk on it and results in life for those who arrive at its end].

“You make known to me the path of life.”

Please reveal that path to me, Father. How? You say your sheep hear your voice and you know them and they follow you (John 10:27). I don’t always know how, but do that, I pray.

Undone

As master masons lay foundations strong,
The Lord, too, laid the bricks beneath the earth,
Full knowing it’s dimensions, height and girth,
While angels overflowed in joyful song.
He charges seas that they not pass beyond
The limit set for them by sovereign will.
Proud, raging waves are stayed by his hand still;
As slaves to master’s call do they respond.
His fingers rule the skies where dwells the sun.
His feet traverse the valleys of the deep.
He knows where every creature roams and creeps.
Below him I’m dumbfounded and undone.
What joy when God is big and I am small!
What rapture mine to come and prostrate fall!

© 2011 Eric Evans

God Come

God.

God is.

God is good.

God is good and holy.

God is good, holy, and loving.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so come.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so come to him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him when it hurts.

When it hurts, God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

even when you aren’t able perceive it, so run to him and not away from him.

When it hurts, run to the God who is infinitely good, holy, loving and wise,

and not away from him,

even when you aren’t able to perceive

his goodness, his holiness, his love, and his wisdom.

Even when you aren’t able to perceive God, God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

so run to him and not away from him when it hurts.

Even when you aren’t able to perceive God when it hurts,

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

so run to him and not away from him.

Run to God and not away from him when it hurts because God is infinitely good, holy,

loving, and wise, even when you can’t perceive it.

Flea to God with all your mind and don’t you dare run away from him when it hurts

because God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

even when you can’t perceive him.

Run to the infinitely good, infinitely holy, infinitely wise, and infinitely loving God

when it hurts instead of running away from him, even if you can’t perceive him.

Run to the infinitely good, infinitely holy, infinitely wise, and infinitely loving God

instead of running away from him, even if you can’t perceive him when it hurts.

God is infinitely good when it hurts,

infinitely holy when it hurts,

infinitely loving when it hurts,

and infinitely wise when it hurts,

even when you aren’t able perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

infinitely holy when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

infinitely loving when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

and infinitely wise when it hurts, even if you aren’t able to perceive it;

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him when it hurts.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t able to perceive it,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is infinitely good, holy, loving, and wise,

even when you aren’t,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t,

so run to him and not away from him.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t, so run to him.

God is good, holy, loving, and wise, even when you aren’t, so come to him.

God is good, even when you aren’t, so come to him.

God is good, so come to him.

God is good, so come.

God is, so come.

God, come.

Come.

 

© 2011 Eric Evans

Fall

Spirit of God, sweet holy rushing fire,
Fall fast upon this soul and draw it higher.
Up where your glories storm and ever flow.
Where I may stand consumed in your fierce glow,
Where love dwells not opposed to awestruck fear,
Where you, though Lord on high, walk sweetly near.
Forever by your sight may I be led,
Your ever-present hand upon my head.
Hemming my steps behind, before, beside,
You, raging Torch of God, my steadfast Guide.
Unbridled, thund’ring tide, pour out your pow’r.
Resist no longer; come this very hour.
Fill up this cup and overflow its rim.
Allow me deeper in your depths to swim
And only ever more of you to know
Though knowing you be hard and its path slow.

© 2011 Eric Evans