Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tug of War


I read that Iran has given us a stern talking to. If we insist on putting sanctions on them, they will not eat their vegetables or go to bed early.... and if we don't make Israel stop playing with their nuclear weapons, Iran refuses to stop playing with theirs. Then they crossed their arms and stomped their foot.

Meanwhile, the North Korean sinking of a South Korean ship has been deemed just an act of national territorial issues, not terrorism. North Korea will not go back on the top ten terrorist country list and can still expect a present from Santa.

And while we appreciate the show of optimism from our friends in Al Queida, for now we are not keen on them sharing power with the leaders of Afghanistan unless they stop insisting that at the first possible moment, all Western Capitalist Pigs must die.

I wish we could just spank all those naughty leaders and put them to bed without supper. Or I wish they could work things out the way our dogs did. Honeybun came to us as a starving, pitiful, homeless waif, but quickly decided that Lucky needed some readjustments in his character. She used the time honored method of trying to murder him. This did temper some of Lucky's annoying habits, like breathing in her presence, but in my eyes, it was not the key to harmonious resolution of conflict.

We learned through the skilled intervention of Hollow Creek Farm that dogs must learn to submit to authority and every human in the house must be perceived as authority. In the absence of benevolent leadership, the dogs will try to fill the vacuum and as we had seen first hand, their methods of establishing pecking order usually involves blood and ruptured spleens.

It is not easy being the authority. Being in charge has its perks, of course, like not having to make lima beans for dinner, but it has responsibilities too. Ay, there's the rub. But the dogs learned and yesterday, the completion of their rehabilitation was made evident by a midday romp. They both wanted the rope toy and they both grabbed it. But instead of ripping out Lucky's jugular to secure her rights to it, Honeybun took one end, and Lucky took the other. They both began tugging for all they were worth. I stood nearby to monitor what surely could become an explosive situation as they both shook their heads and made noise and put the full weight of their powerful muscles and teeth to pulling the rope from the other dog. I know the experts frown on tug of war games with aggressive dogs, but I am not an expert.

The game lasted a good couple of minutes. Since neither dog is good about their dental hygiene, I was afraid it might end in someone losing a full set of choppers. But instead, with a final tug, Honeybun wrenched the rope free from Lucky and the two dogs wagged their tails. Game over, conflict resolved, winner takes the rope. If only all strife could be thus waged and reconciled.

When the townspeople in Jesus' day wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery, Jesus intervened and did a most remarkable thing. He stooped down and started writing in the dirt. The Bible doesn't tell us what He wrote but it does tell us He said, "He who is without sin cast the first stone." Of course, no one could live up to that, and all walked away one by one. I know one of the things I want to chat with God about when I get to heaven is what did Jesus write? I have my ideas. I want to begin with a disclaimer- these are my ideas only, not scripture.

As far as I know, there are only three recorded instances of God writing. One incidence occurs way back in the Old Testament book of Daniel (5) when Belshazzar was king and was happily worshipping idols, profaning God, and desecrating His temple. So mysteriously one raucous evening, a disembodied hand suddenly writes on Belshazzar's palace wall, "Mene, mene, tekel, parsin." No one knows what it means so they call on Daniel to interpret it. The words, written in Aramaic, are literal weights of measure, meaning "numbered, weighed, divided" and Daniel translated the message:

25 "This is the inscription that was written:
Mene , Mene , Tekel , Parsin

26 "This is what these words mean:
Mene : God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel : You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres : Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."

Flash forward to the New Testament scene and Jesus stooping to write in the dirt. My suspicion is that Jesus again in his own language, Aramaic, wrote Tekel (you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting) on the ground. I know that if I saw Tekel suddenly appear letter by letter in my presence, I would be forced to admit it applies. I too would drop my head and slink away, hopefully to a closet where I would humbly fall to my knees and recognize how far short of the glory of God I really do fall.

Praise be to God, I don't have to remain in the closet because of the last writing that the Bible records God doing. When I reached up and accepted His gift of salvation to me, my name was written in the book of life. The name of everyone who accepts Jesus as Lord and savior is written in the Book of Life. The writing that condemns (tekel) in a tug of war with the writing that breathes life....

I know which one I'm rooting for.....

Philippians 4: 2-3

...who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life

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