Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dreaming vs. Scheming

One of the key characters in the Old Testament story of Esther, opposed to the existence of the Jewish people, was Haman. He was involved in an elaborate scheme, not a dream. God, intervened, so that Haman’s scheme was foiled, and the dream of a people for God’s own possession continued toward its fulfillment.
On the other hand, another well-known story from Genesis recounts a young man who had not a scheme, but a dream - a real dream - but also a vision, of a glorious, though difficult future. It wasn’t his dream; it was God’s. And he could not have understood how it would all play out, nor would he have wanted to. It was Joseph. The dream indicated that his father and brothers would one day bow down before him. Now, that may sound like a scheme for self-promotion. But rather than being ginned up to benefit self, this dream looked forward to the salvation of a family - of a people - through the suffering, and elevation, of one. In this case, Joseph.
These stories, and more, come to rest in Jesus, who according to the Father’s good pleasure, suffered and died, and was raised from the dead in vindication, so that God might create a people for Himself, drawn not only from the family of Jacob (Israel), but also from “every tribe, tongue, people, and nation.” It is the development of a dream; not the concoction of a scheme.
The verse referenced above indicates that the hearts and minds of these people are “zealous for good works.” The think about zeal is - it’s tough to be zealous for two things at once. We fancy ourselves as multi-taskers. But actually, we major in one area, and pretend in the others. If you are taken up with God’s dream, then you will have little energy for selfish schemes. And vice versa. 
And so, if you are a follower of Jesus, in what schemes are you involved? What flatteries and falsehoods? What hidden agendas and secret dealings? Because it is these to which we often resort when we are building the kingdom of self, at the expense of the kingdom of God. Schemes are not worthy of the kingdom of God. The Father builds His kingdom with the finest of materials - with people who are being purified, and with plans that are prayed-over; with motives that are un-mixed, and with methods that are honest and transparent. 
It is not only that God does not need your schemes to accomplish His purposes. They are, actually, prime indicators that you are not pursuing His dream at all.

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