Thursday, 9 July 2009

God's Trademark

A year or so ago, I received as a gift a beautiful wallet - one that I would never have bought for myself. It was designed by one Louis Vuitton, and is probably worth more than any money I'll ever have in it at one time. People are often interested by this wallet, and the first question I am often asked is "Is it real?" Well, it came in a pretty fancy-looking box, with a tag inside that said "Made in France for Louis Vuitton, #801" (actually, I'm not sure if the number is really 801 and I'm too lazy to go and dig it out right now, but you get the picture...) One girl told me that there is a way to tell for sure if an item has truly been made by Louis Vuitton, and that is to check the pattern stamped onto the leather. Since each genuine article is stamped witht he LV symbol after being cut, the symbol should never extend past the edge of the wallet. That's how you know you have the real deal.

My recent reading in Daniel has reminded me that God, too, places a mark on those who belong to him. His trademark is humility, and it has been indelibly stamped onto the lives of those who have come to know him.

Take Daniel, for instance. This is a young man who has been dragged out of his own country and carted off, a captive, to Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar in the beginning of the book of Daniel is about ready to do in the whole lot of his advisors and magicians, because none of them could tell him what his strange dream means. (Apparently, what these crafty gentlemen had been doing was getting together and agreeing on what they would tell the king, so that it would appear that their stories matched - but Nebuchadnezzar was no slouch, and had found a way to test the validity of their 'interpretations'.) When he hears why he is to be killed, Daniel offers quietly to tell the King is dream. To make a long story short, he is able to tell the dream and its meaning and is made very rich and powerful in short order. Human nature says that it's time to make the most of such a promotion, but here's what Daniel says:
"No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries...But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart."
Can you believe this guy? Everyone thinks he's a superstar, but he wants them to know he has no special powers. He doesn't hold a big Judaism rally with long robes and mood music. There are no big promises, no fantastic claims. There's no capitalising on King Nebuchadnezzar's change of heart. This is clearly a man with God's mark.

Anyone who has ever come face-to-face with the God of Eternity has first had to have a good look at the destruction in their own heart. And it's not easy to be the "big man on campus" when it's not just your accountability partner you are accountable to, but a Holy God.

In this age of mass-mediated everything, including Christianity, there are so many confusing messages. Everyone claims to speak for God. The Bible gives a good picture of the genuine article, so we don't get fooled by all the big claims.

There are some good fakes out there. Keep an eye out for God's mark.


joeyanne said...

We were just discussing this trademark in Moses' life, last night at ESL. We were imagining what things would have been like if God had chosen someone with the personality of Barak Obama instead of Moses. I think it's interesting that, after chapter 5 or 6, there isn't much reference to the Isrealites complaining to Moses (about the plagues, etc.) I don't think this necessarily means they didn't complain, just that Moses' focus was on God and His plan - not on the apparent mess that was happening in Egypt. God revealed to Moses in ch.7 His divine plan to show His glory/power to the Egyptians. This seems to have been enough for Moses - he is able to serve God through this very trying time, in humility!

jennypo said...

Yes joey, though it's interesting that when Moses starts out, he's all full of bluster. No one's going to pick on his people, and the next thing we know he's burying a dead Egyptian in the sand. But a few years alone with God in the desert, and Moses is clearly a different man. He's afraid to go back to Egypt, reluctant to speak for the Israelites, and fully aware of his own weakness. And that's when God can use him.