3:45 p.m. Sunday November 21, 2021. 60F/16C.
The winter birds have come to the hollow! They were first spotted yesterday pecking in the leaves just west of the cabin. There were a whole flock of small brown-black birds with lovely yellow beaks. They seem to love a succulent small plant commonly called hens and chicks. The plants never grow large in the hollow. Out in the forest, the woodpecker lets out his odd clucking noise, a small flock of migrating birds honk excitedly, and all kinds of small brown birds chirp and flutter about. It is good to hear such abundance of life again in the hollow. The sky is a gray blanket over all the sky. Hail fell amid lightning and claps of thunder at noon, but now all the hail has melted into clear puddles. The aroma of the forest lacks the bitter scent of green leaves, and instead has a sweet, but very earthy aroma. Few leaves cling to a few branches. The sandy soil is somewhere beneath waves of brown leaves. Sweet warm nettle tea is ready in the cabin. It is sipped while gazing out the window at the network of branches that create lacy patterns in front of the clouds.
The book of Ezekiel, chapter nineteen
Abba Father, thank you. You have led me on a journey through discovery, repentance, creativity and joy. Please reveal who you are to all who seek you. In the name of your beloved son Jesus, I pray. Amen.
After listing all the sins of Judah in chapter eighteen, it ended with a marvelous word. God told Ezekiel that it was not his desire to see anyone die. He desired that everyone repent.
In chapter nineteen, God told a story from nature where the characters mimicked the royalty of Jerusalem. It was to be a lamentation.
Moreover take thou up a lamentation for the princes of Israel,
A lamentation was a poem or song that expressed grief. It is likely that in the original language, the words rhymed or had a rhythm so that it could be sung or spoken to a drumbeat or even to the rhythm of the singer beating on his own chest.
And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.
“What is this?” Ezekiel was to ask. “A lioness crouches among young strong male lions. She brings up her cubs.”
Have you ever heard drums and singing of the native American Cree people? Several men gather around one large kettle-shaped drum and they all hit the drum in a rhythm and then sing along with the rhythm. Did God have something like that in mind when he wrote the lamentation? The people would listen and see in their imaginations a family of large muscular mountain lions, protecting the female who still nurses her young.
And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men.
With the drumbeat still pounding like a heartbeat, Ezekiel would continue. The first of her cubs became a strong lion, working alone, easily plucking off small animals for food, and destroying men as it lived.
The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt.
But as the nations of men heard of the fearless young lion, they set a trap for him. They seized the young lion and put a ring for chains through his snout and led him with chains. They pulled him with that chain all the way to Egypt.
Jehoahaz was the son of good king Josiah and Hamutal. He was raised in a family among strong sons and a very strong father. When good king Josiah died, Jehoahaz became king. But Jehoahaz reinstated some of the evil that his own father had removed from Jerusalem. God decided against Jehoahaz in 609 BC. Jehoahaz reigned only three months when Egyptian Pharaoh Necho put a chain through his nose and led him off to prison in Egypt.
Jehoahaz ruled just before the first wave of exiles went to Babylonia. So, at this point in history the Jewish people would have recognized who the lioness was and who the young cub became.
God portrayed the royalty of Judah as young strong lions who killed and ruled at will. He also made it clear that he made the decision of who would rule and who would not, regardless of how strong the lion was.
Life in the hollow, Sunday
The fierceness of a storm that hit about noon today matched the emotional state that I have been in.
I told the Lord last week that I was depleted that there was not a creative bone in my body. His Spirit instructed me to take three days to rest and I did.
Apparently, losing our creativity is equivalent to illness in his sight. I find that very interesting. In fact, I spent the three days watching youtube videos of speakers who carried on about how Christians need to use their God-given gifts to serve him!
I find that fascinating about God. Really! Our God-given gifts should be cultivated and grown. If we lose our love for our God-given gifts, it is of grave concern to him.
God is creative and creator. He gives gifts of song-writing and singing and painting and poetry and writing. All those creative arts are gifts that God can give. All those descriptions of lions crouched on a stony mountain, and while drums beat, pouncing and overcoming prey – those are from God.
He is creative, creator, beautiful. He is rhythm and tone. He is rhyme and meter.