Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Friday, January 19, 2007

2 Corintians 4:7

'We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence (surpassingness) of the power may be of God and not from us' This treasure spoken of here is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It speaks of a personal experience of meeting Jesus or having been in His presence. As a point of reference a very limited number of people would have this knowledge (ie apostles). Its application extends beyond the apostles, to all who proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, the essence or force of the passage lies in 'light of the knowledge'. This is knowledge which is experienced at the heart level in a revelatory manner brought about by the infusion or abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. This knowledge is undefinable, inexplicable in its wonder and deportment. It is in this knowledge that we act and have our way in the world. We are a light to the world.
The intent of the terminology 'earthen vessels' also represents a significant thought. an earthen vessel refers to a vessel still in the potter's hands, not yet hardened in the kiln. In that aspect the potter still has the opportunity to mold and shape the clay. If parts are marred or scarred or too comely, the potter is able through the turning on the wheel to reshape to his purpose. The skill of the workman is able to build anew , it is recoverable, redeemable.
"have this treasure in earthen vessels", the love of God in our hearts may not be perfect, but His salvation is complete, it is my natural affinities , that 'earthenness' that tends to disable my ability to fully express what is felt as holy and tender and full of grace. How the emotions are stirred when with the words of my mouth I attempt to express what God has done, what He is to me. This thought that in an earthen vessel this light would be kept,a weak, frail, subject to fault, crumbling, decaying instrument used for the glory of God. Incredible!!
But there in lies the ------ God's purposes are best served when dependence on Him is necessary. It is a vessel still moldable that God uses.
The story is told of a teacher who was chided by the Princess as to his appearance, and the absurdity that so much wisdom was stored in a less than handsome man. The teacher asked the Princess how her was wine stored, she replied in earthen vessels, to which he admonished her that even the poorest in the land have there wine in earthen vessels. She went home and promptly had all her wine placed in silver vessels. Shortly after it was discovered that all the wine had become acidic. The comeliness or homeliness of the vessel is not the indicator of the value of the contents, nor the ability of the vessel to hold the contents secure and fit for use.
"We poison the wine as He decants it into us;murder a melody he would play with us as the instrument" C.S.Lewis
It is in these earthen vessels that the excellency of the power of God is made manifest, how can it not be? Paul uses the Greek word huperbole which means a throwing beyond, excess or superiority. You may recognize this word in its English usage as hyperbole meaning an exaggeration or overstatement. What Paul is trying to express is the exceeding greatness, the surpassing excellency of the manifestation of His power, evidenced by the ability of His people to live lives separate and distinct in the world, salt and light. It is further evidenced in His servants using gifts and talents that they only dream possible, but in God's power and timing are made probable and real.
And yet, are we really living in the context of the excellency of that power? Is it real in the lives of Christians? Are we just going through the motions? Where is the throwing beyond of all Godly efforts? Where is the throwing beyond of being culturally significant or not? Where is the disproportion of the instrument to the nature of the produced effect?

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