I wasn’t really looking for the material for yesterday’s post about a gap of seven sevens (plus a three-day grace period?) between 9-11-01 and July 11th, 2009. It just kinda came to me while my mind was in neutral on a run along my favorite route where I can do that without tripping, getting lost or being hit by a car because the first time I ran it was 27 years ago.
I suppose some might call that praying. (It was a huge breakthrough for me, when a friend told me, before I decided to become a Christian, that I could pray in motion… that I didn’t have to be still, on my knees with my eyes closed, making sounds with my mouth to pray because just the being still part sometimes drives me crazy. I do some or all of those things, at various times, but the praying-while-running thing… God seems good with it. I’m convinced there are sweet, soft, single-track running trails all over heaven. But I digress.)
I suppose some might call what I figured out a revelation. I don’t know about that. Some might call it the Holy Spirit. I don’t know about that either. Either of those is possible. I’m not going to say they weren’t, but I’m hardly going beat the drum and claim that kind of status for it. No way.
Test the spirits. Read the scriptures. Pray on your own and discern for yourself. I’m just some dude with a blog. You don’t know me (well, most of you don’t). I’m just sharing something that seemed interesting to me one sunny Sunday afternoon in June. It may all be junk — or worse — and if it is, I’d prefer to find that out before I find myself falling into a dark abyss for all eternity for having misled you.
So, having read that long disclaimer, you might want to sit down for this one…
I was thinking and praying, this morning, wondering: Why a three-day grace period? Why a fudge factor? What if I’m just trying to put a round peg in a square hole, so to speak and it’s all bunk after all? Then I was reminded, oh-so-gently, oh-so-quietly… that still, small voice said…
…Remember, back in December, when I nudged you not to re-start the One Year Bible course again but suggested that you study the Bible in a different way for awhile? Remember how that led you to all kinds of new insights in Revelation and Daniel and Isaiah and, well, all over the place, really… making connections… light bulbs turning on… meaning opening up in new ways? Remember that? You trusted Me and it was good, wasn’t it?
And remember how I suggested you start the One Year Bible six months off-cycle this year? That you begin midway through the year? Listen to scripture in a different season on the iPod on those long walks with the dog… read Genesis and Matthew in July and Revelation next June? Remember that?
Yes, I replied, inwardly. And then it came to me. On July 1st I’ll be starting again. And on July 8th, the end of the seven sevens, I’ll be reading…
I dashed to my computer. I’ll be reading what I’d ordinarily read on January 8th. I’ll be reading… Genesis 18:16-19:38, Matthew 6:25-7:14, Psalm 8:1-9, and Proverbs 2:6-15. And I gasped…
Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do…
Most of you probably know the rest of the story.
And [Abraham] looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace. So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow when he overthrew the cities in which Lot had lived.
Gulp. Then I moved on to the Matthew passage for July 8th (on my half-year-skewed program)… Do Not Be Anxious… Judge Not Lest Ye be Judged… Ask and it Will be Given… The Golden Rule… Then Psalm 8:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Then Proverbs 2:6-15. Just go read it. Read it all. Read it twice.
If I were to envision a 1/365th bundle o’ scripture to contemplate on the day that America is shocked to its core by a huge, flaming divine-judgment terrorist-inspired disaster out of proportion to anything that has gone before, sending even the most hardcore atheist to his knees, weeping uncontrollably, this would be it: a very specific precedent, then comfort, then wisdom.
But wait, it gets better. If the OYB passages for July 8th are eerily in tune with what seems like a confirmation of the seven sevens post-9-11 thing, then what of the OYB for July 11th?
Hehehe… I thought you’d never ask.
Rebekah (the bride) decides to accept Isaac’s offer of marriage (brought to her by Abraham’s servant). She goes off with said servant to marry Isaac in his mother’s tent and meet Father Abraham.
Does that sound like anything we’re anticipating? Does that sound like the rapture? Think about it. I don’t want to overplay the hand here, but the other readings for that day are even more evocative and allegorical of rapture. Read ‘em.
You thought this was over, right? Hang on. Just one more thing. It might be best if you sat down.
July 8th, 2009 is written (at least in the U.S.) as 7-8-9. Remember what we were talking about first here — about God’s judgment on America and, very possibly, New York City — another 9-11, this time on steroids. I know this is deadly serious. I don’t mean to make light of it. Despite the smileys, it has been weighing very heavily on me. We need to be covering it in prayer like a blanket. For one thing, my wife is scheduled to be in New York on business late that week. Yes, we’re going to be talking about that, she and I. But here goes…
The seventh book in the Bible is Judges. Chapter eight talks about the very end of Gideon’s improbable but God-backed conquest with the 300 against much larger, better-armed forces. Gideon is “exhausted but pursuing” the kings of Midian, yet when he asks for bread and sustenance from the officials of Succoth, they refuse him. When the same thing happens with the officials of Penuel, Gideon replies, in verse nine (Judges 8:9):
“When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower”
That’s it for tonight. Thanks for listening.
UPDATE I (July 2): Yesterday I downloaded several Cornerstone podcasts I hadn’t gotten to yet. (I’m working my way back through their archives; great stuff.) So today (Thursday, July 2nd), I’m driving around listening to the oldest one of the set (May 8, 2005, on prayer, from around the time my brother relapsed the first time… another time when I was driving around, and praying) and this guest preacher from Uganda is doing his thing, giving a great sermon on prayer-as-lifestyle… prayer while walking around. I almost turned it off at first because I mostly just listen for Francis Chan, but it began to get good about ten minutes in. He’s talking about intimacy with God and to make his point he uses two passages that made me sit up and take notice: Genesis 18:20+ (see above) and Isaiah 40:27-31 — the passage my late grandfather sent me before my first 100-mile wilderness run and which I have stenciled on my race jersey. To say that the combination was profoundly direct would be an understatement. It felt like confirmation.
UPDATE II (July 2nd): This ‘apocalyptic sky’ over New York on June 26th also seems interesting.