If You Judge, Then Confront

16 Jun

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 4 After Pentecost 16 June 2013
If You Judge, Then Confront
A week ago on Friday, 07 June 2013, God asked me to make a special trip to a beach where we have communed deeply together on many different occasions. So I drove out there. God asked me to open to the Book of Ezekiel. So I did. The Holy Spirit led me to Ezekiel Chapter 8 and my jaw dropped to the floorboards of my station wagon. The heading said, “Idolatry in the Temple.” God was addressing a core issue. This explained why my heart truly has been just sick with all of the idolatry I have “seen” in God’s holy Temple, His Church. I “saw” and clearly understood what Ezekiel wrote about in Ezekiel Chapters 8-15. On that Friday, God specifically highlighted this verse:
Ezekiel 8:1 In the sixth year, in the sixth month on the fifth day, while I was sitting in my house and the elders of Judah [the Church] were sitting before me [in prayer], the hand of the Sovereign LORD came on me there.
The Wednesday prior was 05 June 2013. I didn’t plan this and didn’t notice it until after the fact when God had said, “Lookie here!” and led me to this verse, but this actually had been the fifth day of the sixth month in this sixth year of serving my calling, and it was on this exact day when I had reached out again to the holy Remnant, a specific group whom God had identified to me as His team hub to move us forward right out of Ezekiel’s vision in Chapter 10! I understood this so clearly! It was so exciting! They held the seat of honor.
Jeremiah 5:1 “…If you can find but one person
who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
I will forgive this city. …”
Now hold that thought.
In juxtaposition, we have today’s lectionary lessons offered by the mainline Churches. The readings are on judgment. The first reading from the Old Testament is where Elijah confronted King Ahab for his conniving greed to possess someone else’s vineyard. (1 Kings 21:20) The second reading from the Old Testament is where the prophet Nathan confronted King David (2 Sam 12:1) for his conniving machinations to satisfy his lust. And the Gospel lesson is where Jesus confronted Simon the Pharisee for his lack of hospitality. (Luke 7:40) From what I can see there is no formula for confrontation. The core requirement is honesty in the process. How that process is expressed and conveyed is unique to the various situations in which we find ourselves.
The Church herself has been absolutely terrified of “Judgment Day.” [Gee, y’a think they have a reason to be squirmish?] The Lectionary Barons of the Church-as-Institution omitted the full proclamation of what God had said would happen when Elijah confronted King Ahab for having killed Naboth and taken possession of his vineyard out of greed, spite, jealousy, and everything vile in a person’s soul. The Lectionary Barons stopped today’s readings [telling in itself!] at “I will bring disaster on you.” (1 Kings 21:21a) But the full verse in my Bible says that God will “consume” [!] Ahab’s descendents [!] and cut off from [!] Ahab [!] every last male in Israel, slave and free. God’s love is a consuming fire. (Heb 12:29) Ahab was just a man. Now, granted, Ahab was a king of Israel. We are Ahab’s descendents whether we like to admit it or not, and the Holy Spirit has “cut off” the Remnant from the spirit of Ahab’s vile and detestable practices. “Cutting off” from a person is not the same as cutting off from God. “Cutting off” from God is the practice of idolatry, which is putting anything in place of God as one’s True Love. The Holy Spirit has “cut off” (in the sense of ‘removed from in order to protect’) His holy Remnant for such a time as this. And this ties into the Book of Revelation, because everyone (slave and free) is affected by the sin of idolatry in the temple.
Rev 6: 15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
Well, it’s here! And there’s no way around it. There’s no way to sugar coat it, or manipulate the wording, or share a softer perspective. This is the Day that the Lord has made. The Church has done the Great Oops! Come out, come out of her, my people!
Revelation 18:4-7
4Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
5for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.
6Give back to her as she has given;
pay her back double for what she has done.
Mix her a double portion from her own cup.
7Give her as much torture and grief
as the glory and luxury she gave herself.
In her heart she boasts,
‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow,
and I will never mourn.’
This Day of Judgment is what the Church has done to her own self. So, what does it mean “to judge”? Over and over God says to Ezekiel,
“Will you judge?…Then confront.”
“Will you judge?…Then confront.”
“Will you judge?…Then confront.”
Ezekiel 20: 4 “Will you judge them? Will you judge them, son of man [= mortal]? Then confront them with the detestable practices of their ancestors.
Ezekiel 22:1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, will you judge her? Will you judge this city of bloodshed? Then confront her with all her detestable practices
Ezekiel 23:36 The LORD said to me: “Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices
Grrrr…, God…! [Hands on hips.] I did confront just like You told me to! Was I too polite? Was I just a weed to be spritzed with religious Round Up®? No! It is You, God Yourself who does the actual JUDGING because You are in the Spirit of what is being judged. We humans do have to use judgment in our decisions and choices. But the conglomerate Church seems to assume that Criticism is the same as Judgment, and then they quote in their piety by chirping,
Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
However Judgment and Criticism are two different organisms. Judgment requires the use of body, mind, spirit, emotions, soul, prayer, discernment, and the full use of the spiritual gifts…
(…preferably in community!—grrrr…which seems to be denied me for some reason! Whoever heard of an Anchoress without a safe place to anchor?! [Sigh] That’s not the picture God gave me when He was courting me at the beginning of our relationship. Hello? But I digress…)
Critique is a tool that comes from the logical mind and expands in the soul linking arms with other parts of one’s being and is based in truth. This truth feels like warm syrup oozing into hot waffles when Enlightenment dawns in one’s body-mind-spirit. But in our day today, critique has been basted, sautéed and roasted in its own unforgiving juices of the spirit by that same name: the spirit of Criticism. Criticism is hypocritical (of the nature of hypocrisy, ie ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’) as well as hypercritical (overcritical) judgment. So to deal with this, God says,
Ezekiel 7: 27 The king will mourn,
the prince will be clothed with despair,
and the hands of the people of the land will tremble.
I will deal with them according to their conduct,
and by their own standards I will judge them.
“‘Then they will know that I am the LORD.’”
When the “pious” quote, “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Mt 7:1) they leave off the second half of the package in Matthew 7:2 which begins with FOR…:
Mt 7:1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
So if the “Measure” one uses in one’s worldview is gentleness, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and an expanded heart, then this is how one is “measured.” If one’s life orientation [ie, internal compass] or frame of reference is constrictive, hypercritical, narrow-minded, and self-seeking, then that is the “Measure.” The anchor point inside the many sides and facets of the “measurement scales” is the core or Key Issue. In my case I am an Anchoress without a safe place to anchor in prayer and no community with whom to share the journey. No one will engage directly with me, and yet the prophets are the ones with the voice. Go figure.
I was thinking about this and my memories drifted back to when I was a kid and we used to play “Capture the Flag” in our little cul-du-sac, a game of which I was truly bad at, as I managed to get taken prisoner all the time, because I was slow and timid. I don’t recall ever having “captured the flag” in all the times we played the game. That seems rather prophetically symbolic to me now, in the light of this verse which God had led me to again last night:
Ezekiel 12:10 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This prophecy concerns the prince in Jerusalem and all the Israelites who are there.’ [Kim Clement is there now, today.] 11 Say to them, ‘I am a sign to you.’
“As I have done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile as “captives.” [Isn’t being a spiritual “captive” like getting a bear hug from God?]
When I was a kid and we played “Capture the Flag,” the neighborhood rule was that we kids could play until the streetlights came on. During that time of twilight just before the streetlights came on, was the most challenging time to play, because it was hard to see the flag. Is this not also the same situation in which we find our world today? Who’s got “The Flag”? On Friday, 14 June 2013, I participated with the American Legion in a flag burning ceremony. One of the many honored flags we ceremoniously and reverently burned was a P.O.W. flag. At the bottom of the flag are the words, “You Are Not Forgotten.” I certainly have not forgotten all the Prisoners of War in my prayers. I pray for both spiritual and actual prisoners of war. POW’s don’t choose to get captured. It’s those who are free who advocate for their release. This is also true on the spiritual front. Those who have learned from life and repented (turned their hearts around) are the ones who have been kissed by grace, and through their experiences they “see” the value in a fresh start and they actively pursue it. (Gal 2:16) When the dust storm settles then we can plant the flag and take a stand. Taking a stand means confronting the issues. On the religious front, I have confronted the Seven Churches. (v 17) I have confronted the School [like fish] of Prophets. (v 18) In the expansive picture, I “see” the Holy Remnant (and I did reach out to White Dove Ministries both in October 2012 and in June 2013, but was not able to engage with them), and the voice for the Prophets has been the Elijah List for a very long time, but we only connect through “Arc Speak.” For months the collective School of Prophets has been preaching on the unity of the five-fold ministry. But until we have direct communication, there will be more “dust storms” choking our spiritual breathing, blinding our vision, and keeping “hostages,” because the lines of communication are blurred. (And do you see how terribly ironic this situation is considering the daily media broadcasts revealing the extent to which our communications are now being monitored by our own government?
“The revelation that the NSA has the capacity to monitor and store all phone calls, emails, text messages, social network posts, virtually all communications in America, and very soon the world, is so shocking that it is hard for many to believe.” )
We all know that Jesus is our Team Captain. We know that our sins have been forgiven. (Luke 7:48) We really CAN go forth in peace. (v 50) We just have to rally now and decide how -together – we will confront the “idol that provokes to jealousy.” (Ezekiel 8:3) The “flag” has already been captured in a spiritual sense (Gal 2:21), so let’s plant it and take a united stand!
Prayer: Holy Spirit, cut through the bull. On this Father’s Day, I realize that this is a prophetic statement of You, God our Father, to the Church Fathers. It is a loving chastisement that says, “I love you so much that I want you to stop what you are doing!” Lord, I pray for the women, that they would intervene. I lift up all of us spiritual “prisoners of war” and ask You, Messiah, to deliver us and set us “captives” free. (Isaiah 61) Put us in right alignment with You. Connect Your people to the right people, whom You have raised up for this time. Put Truth in our hearts. Put honesty on our lips. Help us to confront only the issues and not each other’s character. Anchor us in Your righteousness and deliver us, just as You prayed (Mt 6:13) and You promised You would do.
Amen.

4 After Pentecost 16 June 2013 Gospel: Luke 7:36-8:3
1 Kings 21:1-10, (11-14), 15-21a
21:1 Later the following events took place: Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard in Jezreel, beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria.

21:2 And Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, so that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house; I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money.”

21:3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid that I should give you my ancestral inheritance.”

21:4 Ahab went home resentful and sullen because of what Naboth the Jezreelite had said to him; for he had said, “I will not give you my ancestral inheritance.” He lay down on his bed, turned away his face, and would not eat.

21:5 His wife Jezebel came to him and said, “Why are you so depressed that you will not eat?”

21:6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if you prefer, I will give you another vineyard for it’; but he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.'”

21:7 His wife Jezebel said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Get up, eat some food, and be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

21:8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal; she sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who lived with Naboth in his city.

21:9 She wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth at the head of the assembly;

21:10 seat two scoundrels opposite him, and have them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out, and stone him to death.”

21:11 The men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent word to them. Just as it was written in the letters that she had sent to them,

21:12 they proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the assembly.

21:13 The two scoundrels came in and sat opposite him; and the scoundrels brought a charge against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city, and stoned him to death.

21:14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned; he is dead.”

21:15 As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, Jezebel said to Ahab, “Go, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.”

21:16 As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, Ahab set out to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.

21:17 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying:

21:18 Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria; he is now in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take possession.

21:19 You shall say to him, “Thus says the LORD: Have you killed, and also taken possession?” You shall say to him, “Thus says the LORD: In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth, dogs will also lick up your blood.”

21:20 Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have found you. Because you have sold yourself to do what is evil in the sight of the LORD,

21:21 I will bring disaster on you.

Psalm 5:1-8
5:1 Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing.

5:2 Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray.

5:3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

5:4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you.

5:5 The boastful will not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

5:6 You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.

5:7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house, I will bow down toward your holy temple in awe of you.

5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.

2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
11:26 When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him.

11:27 When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD,

12:1 and the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor.

12:2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds;

12:3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him.

12:4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.”

12:5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die;

12:6 he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

12:7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul;

12:8 I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more.

12:9 Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

12:10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.

12:13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan said to David,”Now the LORD has put away your sin; you shall not die.

12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the LORD, the child that is born to you shall die.”

12:15 Then Nathan went to his house. The LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became very ill.

Psalm 32
32:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

32:2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

32:3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

32:6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

32:7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

32:8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

32:9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

32:10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

32:11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Galatians 2:15-21
2:15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;

2:16 yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.

2:17 But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!

2:18 But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor.

2:19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ;

2:20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Luke 7:36-8:3
7:36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table.

7:37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment.

7:38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.

7:39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him–that she is a sinner.”

7:40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.”

7:41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.

7:42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?”

7:43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

7:44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.

7:45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet.

7:46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.

7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

7:48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

7:49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

7:50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

8:1 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,

8:2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,

8:3 and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.

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