As I was sitting down this morning, going through morning prayer, I came across a verse that piqued a thought for me. The verse is Psalm 50:9 and says, “I will accept no bull from your house, nor he-goat from your folds.” Now, the thought I had certainly wasn’t how the verse was intended to be taken but never the less I had it – and it has stuck with me this week. That thought was, “God doesn’t take bull.” As slightly irreverent as that is, I like to think that God has a sense of humour and that he teaches me through means by which I might not expect. Quite often, that is where the best learning has come from in my life.
Over the past few blogs I have talked about a type of community in which people are so real with each other, that by default, this realness calls us out to grow. But key to that is that we are also honest with ourselves, or as much as we can be. So, why the Bull? I’m not sure if you can identify with this but I know that I can tend to lie to myself about certain parts of my life. Maybe it is, “Have I spent enough time with the kids this week?”, “Am I looking after myself? My spiritual life? My health? That third bowl of ice cream isn’t going to eat itself.” Or, “I think that person is really going to benefit from the feedback I’m about to offload onto them with every bit of emotion I have. It’s for their own good, nothing to do with me.” I’m not sure what white lies, distortions and rationalisation you tell yourself but the moment we start doing this with ourselves we start to close those things off from God.
Contrast that to some of the interesting interactions people have with God in the Old Testament, especially Moses. God tells Moses, in no uncertain terms that he will speak on behalf of him. I’m not sure how you are at public speaking but Moses was clearly terrified by it – but I think that if the voice of God spoke to you, that you might be somewhat convinced that you could do it. Especially such a clear manifestation that Moses sees. However, Moses argues with God saying “Why would you ask me to do that? Do you not know I have faltering lips?!”
I’m sure God knew.
This links into something that is at the heart of this, and that is, “How honest do you think you are able to be with God?” What do you think you can tell him? How uncensored can you be? I recall a time when I was walking home from a very long day and I had been having financial difficultly. I felt I was really doing what God had asked of me. And God has said that he looks after the sparrows of the field, so why wasn’t I being looked after! I started to descend into ranting and raving at God about how I was doing what he asked and that he better stick to what the Bible says. This lasted about 2 days, in which I was pretty frustrated with my life circumstances and God. Then, at a particularly frustrating point, I said, “Don’t you even want me to work for (the organization I was working for)?” Then, to my surprise, a still small voice said, “Nope,” Then I thought to myself, with some confusion, “Then who in the world do you want me to work for?” God simply replied, “Me”. There is more to this story but for me, this part illustrates that openness with God, even anger, opens up a real dialogue where we can be more honest than we realise and even learn something about ourselves. I didn’t realise that, somewhere in the back of my mind, I wasn’t working for God as much as I thought I was. – that I needed to make a reorientation.
So, I wonder how you are feeling about life this week, month, year? When did you last bring the truth to God; when did you last let it all out? Give it a go.