Underserved Atonement

Numbers 16:41-50

On Israel’s march to the land
Promised to them by Grace
Some men rose on pride’s wings
And flapped at the Moses’ face

It was a rebellion of equality
For as they said Moses was not
The only man called to lead
None in Israel is a robot
To follow commands without question
And rely on fabled inspiration

God in anger slew the rebels
They descended into dark hades
No tombstones or relics
No graves or digging spades
The earth swallowed them
Like you furtively swallow phlegm

Israel was aghast; Moses and Aaron
Had conspired to kill great men
They failed to see it was retribution
For defying the Anointed men
They mourned instead of learning
The sombre lessons of usurping

God’s judgment descended
A whip of a plague for the sinful
Moses with the Mind of Christ
Began to intercede for the scornful
And Aaron with censer of sacrifice
Raced through the camp of vice

The plague was stopped in its path
Pardon for the sinners obtained
They sought not but they found
Mercy over judgement had prevailed

So it was two millennia ago
While men walked in sin and scorn
Flourishing in reprobation
Defying the Royal Firstborn
Christ came to intercede
Giving mercy-our unknown need

Israel chose Korah over Moses
Again Barabbas over the Messiah
Still He pardons our ignorance
Saving us despite our desire
Let us be glad and rejoice
For He has made us His choice

End Of All Things

The world grows old and ready
For it’s fiery cleansing baptism
But love for God grows cold
Like the ashes of a cataclysm

The earth sits on a timer
Ticking merrily while iniquity
Abounds and rises to the detonation
That causes the annihilation

Some are cold because of gold
Such will attract the refiner
To purge out the dross
Cleaning like the fabled Fuller

Others are ashen and cold
For the many sundry cares
For fame, title and passion
Are fanned to slumber for years

At Year-end the credits roll
And new targets are set
An endless cycle of chasing
And getting keeps us inert

Hurry and scurry,
Flurry and flourish
Round and about
Until the volcanic kettle
Finally belches its spout

And all accomplishments of man
Melt into dark oblivion
Feats crushed by fervent heat
Greatness faces worry’s extinction

Knowing The Time

For of times and seasons
You are not woefully blind
Unlike those in the dark
Staggering in the midst of mist

There are those that flounder
Away from the coming light
And go further from the star
These are children of the night

Not you – the sun of righteousness
Is rising before your eyes
No more dozing in unbelief
Or tossing to rhythm of lies

You see the signs of His coming
It is time to be sharp and sober
We are heading out at the shout
Onward – not like the rest
Snoring in a thousand year slumber

New Heart & Spirits

Ezekiel 36:26-27

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

 

New heart

He promised a new heart
Not at all like the old
Coarse with sins untold
The joys of the world desiring
Hiding away while God is seeking

But the new heart comes without
The force of forceps
Or the scar of the scalpel
The old one is renewed
Purged with fire by Messiah

New spirit

A new spirit He promised us
If the old departs like that
Then we are twice dead
The old man can not survive
Death or judgement of afterlife

Old becomes new by transformation
New senses pick new stimuli
Old notes become hated melody
No more harmony with imagination
That the Word terms highly contrary

His Spirit

In the midst of heart and spirit
Like the mainspring of the clock
He promised to send His Spirit
A balm to heal the soul
A wheel to steer and control

We can call it a seed now
Planted in a fleshy heart
Teachable now-unlike its stony
Past-when it played Cain’s part
Now God is conducting the Symphony

Enduring

He that endures to the end
He that fights his flailing
Faith and unbelief’s inertia
Shall smile on the day of winning

But to endure one must cure
The syndrome of uncertainty
For who can fight for a cause
That he knows not-with alacrity

The knowing is not for showing
For times come to dig and resolve
When what seems like defeat
Stalks wounded pride like salve

It matters not in the plot
For the whims and tides of battle
Do not determine the outcome
So be not like cowardly cattle

Might of the Spirit is right
Not fleshy warring with tech
And Grace lifts drooping hands
Far higher than sinews can fetch

When the race’s medals are given
After the veil of flesh is riven
The reward for forever running
Will be the crown of forever living

Christ The Redoubt

The Conies are a feeble folk
Yet they make their dwelling
A high and vaunted fortress
Far away from Satanic shelling

The conies are a simple folk
But they are wiser than most
For knowing their weakness seek
A great shield as their host

The Conies are on to something
When they see the Rock as home
For David looked to hills
When he needed help to come

He wished to be hid in a cleft
Till the storm passed
A parting in the side
Pierced by sin-spears massed

This redoubt created for us
Can hide a mass of sinners
A Shelter to turn those running
Helter-Skelter into winners

Those within have defeated sin
Not altogether by feeble exertions
But ordinary folk have found
A rampart against Satan’s accusations

A Rijkaard Reckoning

At the 1990 World Cup there was a crunch second round match between the (then) West Germany and Netherlands. This game was played against the backdrop of an intense footballing rivalry. The Netherlands had lost two world cup finals. On both occasions they were defeated by perennial foes, West Germany.

The Dutch team at Italia ’90 were star-studded. They had the outstanding trio of Marco Van Basten, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard. Van Basten provided the goals and Gullit was the maestro and playmaker. However the single most important player to the team was probably Rijkaard.

He was the truly irreplaceable one. He led the team from deep lying positions and was the fulcrum of the midfield. With his tackling ability and passing range, he could initiate quick attacks after defensive recoveries and interceptions.

With these glittering talents a lot of Dutch fans and football purists expected the team to do well.

The West German team was good too. Jurgen Klinsmann was their star player. They also had a dependable striker in Rudi Voller and a dominating midfielder in Lother Matheus.

In the course of the game, there was a running battle between Rijkaard and Voller. This was to be expected in a no-holds barred match from players who via their positions in the respective formations, were competing for the same zones on the pitch.

In the heat of the contest, Rijkaard allowed himself to get worked up by a pesky Voller and got sent off. In fact, due to the altercation Voller was sent off too.

Both teams were down to ten men. Honours even? Far from it. Rijkaard’s dismissal hurt the Dutch more than Voller did to the Germans. The Germans went ahead to win the game 2-1. They progressed all the way to the final and won the World Cup that year.

After the game, the Dutch coach was scathing in his criticism of his player. He acknowledged that there was some provocation from Voller but expected Rijkaard to know that he was more important to the Dutch than Voller was to the Germans.

Do losses cancel out?

In conflict or in competition, it is often assumed that once both rivals are losing the same amount of resources, then the game/war is even. That is not the case. It is a Rijkaardesque fallacy. Even when losses are equal, effects are not. For instance a man who engages in fisticuffs with his boss, which leads to the termination of both may be the real loser. If he is the sole breadwinner of his family while his boss is not, then in terms of effect and consequence, he is the loser. Thus a parity of losses does not lead to a parity of consequences.

A Pause or a Greater Cause?

Voller’s loss to the German team was merely a misstep on Germany’s stately march to the title. On the other hand, Rijkaard’s unavailability completely derailed his team’s quest for glory. The Dutch could not keep the Germans at bay without their elegant stopper.

An equality of losses on an individual level does not measure the impact on the greater cause/wider team. If you serve a cause that is greater than yourself, risking your time and resources in a ‘side’ fight with another, risks damaging that cause beyond the actual losses you incur.

In the face of many, varied ‘contests’ we face in life, career or business, we must determine if our victories/defeats would not damage our ideals and nobler impulses. If it is only a misstep/pause at worst, then risk it, if it would damage the cause, it is not worth it. We must pick our battles wisely.

We all have ‘Vollers’ that we wish to outwit, tame or fight. Do not win at the expense of your ‘Rijkaards’. Winning your World Cup is better than defeating your ‘Rudi Voller’.