Wednesday, June 5, 2013

{yada, yada, yada} {part II}

Welcome back {or just plain "welcome" if you just got here}.  In case you missed part I, go ahead and take a quick peep at it and then come on back.

In my last post, we were talking a little about what faith really is {and, I guess, what it isn't} and the difference between knowing of someone and actually knowing them.  So let's get back to it.

Think about your most intimate relationships--the ones where you can tell the other person absolutely anything and know that they won't judge you or hold it against you.  The ones where you can trust that the actions they take are in your best interest or trust that you can give them something to do and they will do it.

Now, tell me this--what is it about that person that lets you know you can trust them?  Because you are familiar with them?  Because you have spent time with them?  Because you have felt their love for you?  Because you have seen how they have treated you in your relationship in the past?

And tell me this--would you tell a person your deepest, darkest secret if you had only heard from a friend that they are trustworthy but had never actually spent any time with them?  Would you trust this person to decide how you should invest your life savings if you didn't have a personal relationship with them?

Probably not.  {And if you would, I have an ice cream cone worth a million dollars that I'd like to sell you.}   :)

So here's the thing--to be able to trust someone (that is, to put your faith in them wholeheartedly), you have to know them.  You have to have an intimate relationship with them in which you know their character - what would make them happy and what would hurt them, how they have handled difficult moments with you in the past, and more importantly, what they would give up in order to put your best interest first.  It's not enough to just know about them {head knowledge}.  You have to know them {heart knowledge}.  In my case, it's not enough to just know that God exists or that my friends say He's a good guy.  It's about being able to say I know God's character.  It is the understanding from time spent with Him {studying His Word, seeking His leadership daily and watching his responses} that He is constant and trustworthy and that his nature wouldn't allow Him to act any differently.  It's about knowing not just what He can do, but what makes Him tick--what makes Him happy and sad, what types of things are important to Him and that He actually cares about what happens with my life.  I know who He is.  And because I know who He is, I can trust him.

In Hebrew, that's called {yada}.  In the Bible, this word is used to describe the intimate relationship between a man and his wife--a kind of intimacy that you can't fabricate, that's deeper than any sort of head knowledge, and guess what else it's used to describe?  The intimacy God wants to have with us--the sort of knowledge He wants us to have of him.  The kind that knows that His character would not allow him to do anything other than seek our best interest and provide for us in the exact way that He knows is best.

To get a better understanding of what exactly that looks like, we're going to take a look at 3 friends from the Bible {we'll talk about one of them here and the other two in part III}: (1) a neighbors-think-he's-crazy shipwright, (2) a take-life-into-your-own-hands hopeless romantic (of sorts) and (3) a prostitute {huh? yeah, just hang in there with me}.

The Shipwright:  Noah

There once was this ordinary man named Noah.  (awesome story, huh?)  As far as we can tell, there was nothing spectacular about him except this--in a world full of self-indulgence and idol worship, he was a lone believer and follower of the one, true God.  Yes, he may have seemed rather ordinary, but this man was different.  

One day, God got super fed up with all of the people on earth acting like all that was important in life was their own comfort and pleasure.  They didn't respect God, they didn't care to serve him and they didn't even treat each other kindly.  He decided that things had just gotten so bad that he needed to wipe the slate clean and start over.  But because He knew his people, He was able to single out Noah as one who had been faithful to Him.  God told Noah exactly what to do--build an ark and prepare for a flood.  He gave Noah dimensions and told him what and whom he was to bring into the ark.  And the Bible tells us that "Noah did exactly as God had commanded him."

Alright, so remember, this is WAY back in the day.  There was no Home Depot for Noah to go to for all his supplies.  In fact, there weren't even any chainsaws with which to cut down the trees, nor were there any giant cranes to lift stuff up into place.  History tells us that it took Noah 100-120 years...120 YEARS, build this ark.  Oh, did I forget to mention that until the time of the flood, no one had ever even heard of this thing called "rain"?

So here we have this man...he's 500 years old.  He's in his backyard for 100 years building this giant boat in preparation for this thing that no one has ever even heard of.  Yeah.  Either you have to be totally insane {which would clearly be the case if he were just doing this on his own with no direction from God} or totally, 100% secure in your knowledge {that is, your yada} of God that you are willing to look like a complete weirdo for over 100 years because you know in your heart that even though you can't see it all right now, God has a huge plan in mind and your obedience is needed.  That's some kind of trust.

Noah didn't complain.  He didn't ask God if he was sure if that's what He really wanted.  He didn't stop building just because people didn't understand him or because he couldn't really even understand it all himself.  He just did what God asked him to do.  Why?  Because he (as the Bible tells us) "walked faithfully with God."  He was with God every day.  He knew what God expected.  He had seen God's actions, but more importantly, he knew God's character of faithfulness.  Because he knew his character, he knew he could trust God's plan, even if it seemed crazy and impossible and even if he didn't understand it.  

You can understand that, right?  If you're married or even if you have a very best friend, you understand that there is just something about your relationship that allows you to trust them, something that, when they call in the middle of the night and ask you to be there, you just go and figure you'll ask questions later, if at all.  You trust them not only because you've heard about some isolated awesome things they have done, but because you have experienced life with them.  You don't have to take time to think about whether you should respond when they call.  Because you know them, you trust them and you go.  That is what God wants.  That is the relationship Noah had with God.

Tune in next time, where I'll wrap this whole thing up.  (And I promise it won't take quite so long for part III to come out.)   

P.S.  Just for fun, if anyone can guess who the last two people are/where their stories are found, I'll send you something.  Leave me a little comment here with your name.

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