Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joseph, Joshua, Solomon - A Common Thread?

I had a few realizations tonight, and they concern God's plan in Adam, Noah, and Abraham; and a pattern that I seen in common between Joseph, Joshua, and Solomon. The revelation regarding Adam, Noah, and Abraham I will have to write on later, for I have obligations and my time is limited. The one concerning Joseph, Joshua, and Solomon follows.

I believe that the art of meditation, practiced sufficiently, is the way to open ourselves up to listen to God and to hear his still, small voice; to invite the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.

I believe that Abraham communicated with God through the likes of meditation, and that the Bible shows numerous examples of this. I believe that Abraham taught Isaac of God's goodness but was not successful, for whatever reason, in teaching Isaac to use meditation to communicate with God. I believe that because Isaac did not learn, he was unable to teach Jacob; but that Jacob, when he was fleeing for fear of his life from Esau after deceiving Isaac into giving him Esau's blessing, 'let go' and surrendered himself, if briefly, at the Bethel stone, allowing God to give him the dream of Jacob's Ladder. I believe that Jacob ultimately developed this ability to communicate with God to some degree, and then taught at least part of it to one of his favorite sons, Joseph.

I believe that Moses communicated with God, again through the likes of meditation, though perhaps not until after his 'burning bush' encounter. If you read Exodus-Deuteronomy, it is not difficult to see that Moses kept Joshua around him a good deal. I believe that Moses was actively preparing his successor. At one point, it is clear that Joshua's understand of God is lacking (Numbers 11:24-29) as he tells Moses to forbid two men to continue their prophesying, to which Moses reveals to him his error, that prophecy should not be considered constrained to any one person. I believe that Moses taught Joshua in the ways he knew how; the first verse of the book of Joshua shows a communication from God to Joshua.

The Bible gives numerous occasions of God in communication with David, and David makes no secret of his 'meditation' concerning God and his ways. I believe that David taught this to his favorite son, Solomon; after Solomon was raised up king, there are a few examples of communication between God and Solomon.

Why are these three important? What are the connections?

Jacob's influence on the world in his life does not seem particularly notable. Joseph, however, states very briefly and succinctly the impact on the world that his life had, in helping Egypt stockpile before the famine, "But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life." (Genesis 45:5, NKJV) However, it appears Joseph did not have a comparable successor, leading to the degeneration: "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph." (Exodus 1:8, NKJV)

Moses had no small influence on the world - yet it was Joshua that led Israel to take the bulk of their promised land of Canaan, a sort of crossroads of the ancient world. Unfortunately, Joshua had no similar successor, leading to the period of the Judges, where the leadership of the people was not nearly so well organized or lasting.

Similarly, David had no small influence on the world in resecuring, or perhaps completing the securing of the promised land. However, it was Solomon who built the First Temple, and who showed great wisdom, peace, and prosperity for a good part of his reign. Did Solomon have a comparable successor? The bungling of Rehoboam, Solomon's son who became king after his death, led to the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah!

In all three cases, you have a person who communicated with God, walking in his ability with God; and I believe that the Holy Spirit was on all of these, in some degree (I suspect Moses most of all; in his case, more similar to degree of the successors). You have that person teaching their successor, who does not have a lesser or weaker impact on the world, but a greater; and I believe in all of these cases, it is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit with power. Finally, you have no similar successor afterwards, and the momentum leads to a stop and a reversal if not an outright crash.

What does this show us?

I believe it shows us, first, that it is possible for someone to learn how to communicate with God (the frequency of the command 'hear', 'hearken', or 'listen' in Deuteronomy 28 shows that merely 'listening' to God is critically important, something that I fear has been lost throughout a greater part of history than not).

Second, if I am not mistaken, it is possible, perhaps easier, for someone who already communicates with God to teach someone else how to do this.

Third, that God has, in great actions through these three 'successors', shown that it is important for us to take note of it; that it would be empowering if only we would practice it.

Fourth, that failure to carry it on to the next successor, even and perhaps especially after a case of such increased 'success', leads to failure it not catastrophe.

If one can devise sin, and teach it to their children, then why can't one learn how to communicate with God, and pass that along?

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