Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Wall

I was talking with my dad after my last blog entry about pulling stumps…He said to me, “You make me sound like a slave driver.” In which my mother replied…“You were!”   
However, people change. It was just a month and a half ago, that I asked my dad if he wanted to head out ice fishing, with me and my son.  The snow was too deep to be able to drive out onto the ice…and dragging a sled would probably leave my son way too exhausted to fish…especially after the multiple trips he would have to take to pull the sled out, ice augers, bait bucket, tip ups, heater, rods, and the rest of the gear.  All the while, I may have frozen to death waiting for him to get all of the equipment out and set up.  Needless to say…we needed grandpa to join us…he had the snowmobile.  My dad replied...“It’s too cold!” 
“What!?” I replied… “What happened to the man who used to make us head out to cut those three cords of wood in -30 below weather?”
“He got older…and wiser.”
Hindsight is always 20/20…but as I have grown older, I have come to know the wisdom of my slave driving patriarch.  If he hadn’t pushed me and my brothers to help with the wood cutting, we would have likely frozen to death in that country farmhouse…only to wake up to the news reports…“Family of 6 parishes in bitter Minnesota winter due to lazy children.”  But on the flip side…if dad hadn’t taught me this work ethic, I might still be living in his basement eating Cheetos and allowing my mother the privilege of washing my dirty socks…although...I would probably just walk around barefoot…unless, of course, dad didn’t have enough wood to keep the house warm…then I might wear his slippers.
This “wiser man” has now switched to propane…and now makes the three of us boys install 15 year shingles on his roof, instead of 30 year shingles...he doesn’t plan on living long enough to make us re-shingle again.
This man is so inspiring, that I cannot help but live up to his example.  “Hey Isaac…go grab a spade and start digging a hole in the back yard!”
“Because we don’t have any stumps and I don’t want you living here till you are 43!...Now Dig!”
Daniel Chapter 5 contains a semi-well known, but obscure, story about a spoiled brat.  At the time of this story…a man by the name of Nabonidus is the King of Babylon, but he has left the city of Babylon to build himself a palace in Tayma…(south and east of Babylon).  He has been gone for 10 years and has left his son Belshazzar in charge.  The problem is that Belshazzar is nothing but a partier…reveler…and a drunkard.  While Belshazzar is busy partying…the King of Persia has surrounded his city and is ready to attack.  However, Belshazzar has plenty of food, wine, water, pizza, Xbox and a city that is so well fortified he could about live out his life in the city without worrying about anyone…let alone Persia.  In his arrogance, he takes the sacred vessels that had been taken from God’s Temple in Jerusalem and uses them in his mockingly arrogant fiesta.
There is only so much that God will take…and at this moment, he has had enough.  God’s very hand writes on the wall and says…“Numbers, Numbers, Counted, Divided.”  Translated: Belshazzar…God has numbered your transgressions…they are counted against you…and you will be cut down!”...the writing is on the wall.
Then it happened…that very night, his city was conquered and he lost his life!
What’s the point?  We serve a very loving and gracious God…but there will come a point where as if we are not coming to know Him…and or leading others to know Him…he will cut us off.  I can’t help but to contrast the response between Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar.  Both are given an opportunity to know God…however, only one finally chooses to follow Him, while the other chooses to mock Him.  It is difficult to reconcile God’s response…but He desires to transform us.

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