Archive for July, 2014

Great Writing

scarecrow

There are a few authors I really enjoy. I don’t really care for Lee Child, however, he is a great writer. Others in my Hall of Prose would include C.S. Lewis, Michael Creighton, Winston Groom, Louis Lamour, Tom Clancy, Nathaniel Philbrick, Laura Hillenbrand to name a few.  I like writers who know how to describe a place or event, vividly, with few words as possible. This is why Lee Child gets a place on my top 10 hit list; His pen is really a paintbrush and his paper the canvas on which he paints.

So when we think of the books that make up the Bible, hopefully, we  appreciate their sacred inspiration, but how often do we marvel at its ingenious prose and  resplendent poetry? Marvelous is the way God revealed His mysteries towards us by allowing men to unfurl their talents through word and song. David, a shepherd and warrior-poet writes beautiful and passionate hymns and psalms. Paul, a lawyer and analytical master, pens concise but bountiful letters, prompting us to mine the lode of scriptures daily for its precious gems.  Isaiah, the royal prophet, writes to the very heart and soul of his people, describing the coming Messiah in unavoidable definition. Then, there are Ezekiel and John. Who better to write apocalyptic literature, than these two exiles of brutal and harsh environments? Each scribe of the Bible is used by God for the purpose of communicating His will, but allowed also inspired by God to convey that message by the craft of the pen and penman.

Consider the stark yet truthful exclamation of Jeremiah, the “weeping prophet”. One excerpt from the first few verses of chapter 10 is eye-opening; Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.  Thus says the LORD: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them,    for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.   They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move.  (5)  Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” 

I know firsthand that the hardest part of writing, is painting a picture for the audience to see what it is that I am thinking.  Describing inanimate objects is probably the hardest aspect, and yet Jeremiah (inspired by God), masterfully defines the true essence of idols.

Within the metaphor of the scarecrow, is an array of images that help us understand the futility of putting material things before God:

1. The scarecrow requires man to make it, dress it, move it, place it, set it up, repair it.

2. The scarecrow cannot think, act, write, talk or even argue or disagree with why he’s made or where he should go.

3. The scarecrow has no free-will. It cannot choose between good or evil.  It is unconscious, unfeeling, and incommunicable.

The name we give to it is even useless. The subject in question doesn’t scare crows away, but the wind that God made that blows against it may at times deter the rook or crow from lighting.

                The scarecrow analogy is just one of a thousand ways that God paints for us the folly of this world.   On every page and within each verse or line are invaluable treasures.  The words God sent to us and the way He allowed men to express them should move us to live more faithfully.  Let us read the Bible daily and comprehend His beautiful words.

Darryl Fuller

May God Bless America

flagWhy do you force me to witness injustice?
Why do you put up with wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence confront   me;
conflict is present and one must endure strife.
For this reason the law lacks power, and justice is never carried out. Indeed,  the wicked intimidate  the innocent. 
For this reason justice is perverted.

Sounds like the prayer of many in our land today, doesn’t it? I believe many of us who strive to serve God and His righteousness, are often perplexed by the apparent unraveling of our society and the world in general.  You may have expressed these very sentiments; Why do You let the wicked people of the world run over the innocent? Why do You tarry with evil doers?  Why do You allow such lawlessness?  Why, God, would You allow ruthless men to rage with hatred and animosity towards those who seek to serve You?  Although the prayer above resonates with our world and our times, the words were penned some 2600 years ago by the prophet Habakkuk (Hab.1:3-4) during the reign of Jehoiakim (608-598 B.C.) of Judah.

The nature of Habakkuk’s complaint to God, in verses 3-4, can be better appreciated when one examines the four words he employs to describe his perception of Judean society. “Violence”, “iniquity”, “oppression”, and “destruction” are strong words that contain moral and spiritual overtones. In order, they depict a society that is characterized by malicious wickedness (Gen.6:11, 13; Ps.72:14), deceitful iniquity—both moral (Job 34:36; Isa.29:20) and spiritual (Isa.66:3), oppressive behavior toward others (Isa.10:1), and the general spiritual and ethical havoc that exists where such sin abounds (Isa.59:7)

I, like most Americans, am very proud of my country and its great and wonderful history.  As we celebrate its birthday this weekend, I am ever mindful of the sacrifice and bloodshed made on our behalf. I am grateful to God and those who came before us, paving the way for our comfort and freedom, creating a nation built on the Godly principles of liberty, justice, hope, freedom, and brotherly love.

                Now, take God out of the picture and within a generation liberty becomes tyranny, justice fades, brutality prevails. Hope and freedom are replaced with despair and subjugation. Brotherly love turns to mistrust and contempt, murder and strife.  That was exactly the recipe for disaster that the children of Israel faced during the prophecy of Habakkuk.  I don’t believe we are as far along as the children of Israel, yet!  Maybe we can look back to the days of Isaiah, some  hundred years before Habakkuk and learn valuable lessons about the reaction of the Israelites to the prophecies concerning their nations:

For these are rebellious people –
they are lying children,
children unwilling to obey the Lord’s law. 
 They  say to the visionaries,
“See no more visions!” and to the seers,
“Don’t relate messages to us about what is right!
Tell us nice things, relate deceptive messages. 
 Turn aside from the way, stray off the path. 
Remove from our presence the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 30:9-11

The greatest thing we can do patriotically this 4th of July weekend is to remind our fellow citizens what great things we have in being blessed with such great freedom.  We should remind them how great it was when as a nation we first sought God instead of wanting Him out of the way.  We should demonstrate to them that being a citizen of His kingdom first, translates to a blessed kingdom here.  Let us welcome the message of God, love His words and teachings, and accept His divine will and judgments.  To deny His presence in our society will someday mean no more celebratory 4th of Julys.

 

Darryl Fuller