HOEING COTTON WHEN HE COMES

“Little children keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21
Why should Israel have no God but Yahweh?
Because He commanded it. It was a non-negotiable demand from the Sovereign of the Universe.
Because He had earned the right to that position. Who else was worthy?
But despite His awesome power and majesty and despite the fact that He had earned their trust, Yahweh still put it to them in such a way that they were given the choice to say yes to His covenant offer and they did (20:19 and Deuteronomy 5:27).
Israel should have had no other God than Yahweh because they said they would! They gave their word!
In response to the majesty and awesome power of God, in response to His faithfulness and His gracious past rescue and future promises, they gave their word! And because they gave their word they should stick with it. To do that was to do what was right. They owed Him and they said they would pay. They didn’t bribe Him or He them; He hadn’t freed them from Pharaonic slavery to make them whimpering crawlers to Him. He called them openly and was willing to receive their heartfelt commitment (cf. Deuteronomy 5:27-28) even when He knew their limitations. And they gave it!
“Duty” has become a dirty word in some circles. In the religious realm it has had such a connection with legalism than one hardly dare mention the word without expecting a raking over the coals of criticism. “Never mind duty, let’s talk of grace.”
Because of the heresy of legalism a fine word, and a noble conception has been made an outlaw. Anyone who would make “duty” the ultimate motivation for the life of a disciple of God misses the mark and misses it by a long way, but anyone who has so “matured” as to dismiss duty has missed by a long way too.  It’s all right to recognize that we owe and because we owe we feel the debt and wish to respond in kind. We wish to earn nothing, for grace and our own evil have put that out of the question; but we don’t want teachers to rob us of the “hero in our soul;” we don’t want them to rob us of the deep sense of obligation we feel when we give our word; we don’t want them to steal from us that motivation which at some level of our lives and in some areas of living never vanishes—“I gave my word and therefore it is my duty.” No one will say that “duty” is the only or finest motivation for our behavior but we get weary when we hear people becoming too precise and too sophisticated when describing real humans. “If we were God we would do thus and so for thus and so reasons;” but we’re not God, we’re we and sometimes we act out of motivations which, while they aren’t the highest, they certainly aren’t evil. We need to stand in our place and do what we said we would do whether we have the consent of our emotions or not. A well-balanced black poet many years ago hit the target dead-center when he wrote this, disregarding harsh circumstances that some might use as an excuse for their not keeping their word to God:
There’s a king and a captain high And He’s coming by and by
And He’ll find me hoeing cotton when He comes.
You can hear His legions charging in the regions of  the sky
And He’ll find me hoeing cotton when He comes.
There’s a man they thrust aside Who was tortured till He died,
And He’ll find me hoeing cotton when He comes.
He was hated and rejected He was scorned and crucified
And He’ll find me hoeing cotton when He comes.
He’ll be crowned by saints and angels when He comes.
They’ll be shouting out Hosanna to the man that men denied
And I’ll kneel among my cotton when He comes.

 No one will gain our respect who while he rightly proclaims God’s full and free grace without apology he undermines what we feel in our bones is right: Love doesn’t despise the letter of the law—it fulfills it. So said the apostle of grace (Paul) in Romans 13:8-10 & 1 Corinthians 7:19.

 (I borrowed this from a book I wrote that hangs around the book of Exodus. HEADING HOME WITH GOD. If you’re interested in it you could purchase it via   rkretz@sunset.cc)

6 thoughts on “HOEING COTTON WHEN HE COMES

  1. Jim McGuiggan Post author

    :o)
    That’s rich Pauline theology. There is a profound difference as you well know between a “genius” and a prophet. A “command” always retains a command tone until it is the hearts’s desire of a beloved one.”Do you know what will happen if you love Me? ” He would ask. “You’ll find yourself keeping my ‘commandments’.” John 14:23, for example. and that’s why we hear His command are not burdensome [1 John 5:2-3] and why His burden is light [Matt 11.30].

    Like

    Reply
  2. guy

    does lifes obedience show he has entered our life, for duty has meant, to keep something from someone, also to what degree, equal to col 1:24?

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s