Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The General Slumber

All were asleep in the Temple. The prophet who had come to chastise Eli, who had troubled his slumber and reminded him of the chaos his family had become, had departed. He had mildly chastened his offspring, eaten well, and now the great priest was asleep.
The Word was rare in those days, as was the truth, and men had not heard a substantive sermon in many years. The visions, the prophecies, the revelations were sporadic at best, and the lamp of God flickered weakly. Eli's eyes grew dim, there was no king in Israel, and everyone did as they pleased; there was no order, there was no law. The ark of the covenant was close to being taken captive, the people close to being conquered, but this would all happen tomorrow; today they slumbered.
If the great priest allowed himself such a deep and restful sleep, why then would young Samuel be awake and watchful? Yes, Samuel slept also, dreaming of the childhood he'd never had, because he had spent his entire life in the Temple. He had never kicked a ball with the enthusiasm of youth, didn't know what the movies were, never touched a computer keypad, or ridden shotgun in his father's car. The only path he knew was the one that led from the sacrifice to the altar. His younger years had not been regaled with stories of talking bears and princesses, but of a people who were enslaved, a Red Sea, a desert and a victory.
Still, all these were merely stories, were they not? Could we once more hope to feel His presence, to hear His voice, to know His will? Perhaps, but for now there was only sleep. All slumbered, the spirit, the soul, the flesh and reason itself. The whole of the Temple was nothing more than a hotel, filled to capacity with tired and vision less men.
Then he heard the voice! Young Samuel did not recognize the voice, because when one slumbers, the spiritual snoring is louder than the Voice. Confusion is birthed when reason slumbers, becoming a monster that troubles not only earth but the heavens. Young Samuel rushes to Eli's bed, and wiping the sleep from his eyes, Eli realizes a surprise inspection had just taken place, and the guards, the watchmen, and the sentinels had been found asleep.
We are reliving the drama of spiritual slumber, wherein there is no vision, but a waking nightmare, a season where no one goes forth with the Gospel, but rather with their own ideology, the services are stale, the methods stereotypical, the eyes dim, the music confusing, the sick returning to their homes just as they arrived, and those searching for truth unable to find it anywhere.
The few voices crying out 'repent' until their vocal chords give out are dismissed a fools, lunatics, products of a bygone era unwilling to conform to the new gospel, because the slumber is too comfortable, all consuming, and the reality that is quickly eroding the dreams of riches and prosperity, can be put off, if only for one more day.
If the guards, sentinels, and watchmen slumber, how can we expect the sheep to be vigilant? If those that have been entrusted with the upkeep, and care of the Temple only use it to fill their stomachs, and bank accounts, and see such a heavy responsibility only as a means of achieving financial independence, what can we ask of those who merely grace the steps of said Temple intermittently?
If salvation were collective, truly, all would be lost, but just as there was one who heard the voice of God, just as there was one, who was willing to stand in the gap, we are called as individuals to know the voice of our Father, to do His will, and obey His voice. Those who slumber will continue to do so, but this does not give us the right, or excuse us of the individual accountability we have toward God to be watchful, and ready.
Perhaps some of us need to be shocked into wakefulness, while others, energized to continue being vigilant, but the one commonality we all share, is that we need to listen for the Voice, that we not miss it in the tumult and chaos that is this present life, and that we recognize the true dangers of spiritual slumber.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.


Anonymous said...

Michael, thank you for this example of Samuel and Eli.
I have been ridiculed for speaking of repentance and right living. My friend focuses totally on the word "grace" while never speaking of right living. The Lord's wonderful grace empowers us to live as He desires. Another friend was convinced that repentance had nothing to do with being saved. They told me that you need to believe the right stuff, but repentance might eventually happen later in a growth process. Repentance is a core necessity of salvation. Jesus said that He is willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

In Christ,
A fellow "fool" for Christ

Anonymous said...

Fellow "fool" - reading your comment in the light of Samuel made me think how Samuel's mother was Hannah, which means GRACE! It's true, grace does give birth to a spirit of repentance and the fruit of repentance is righteousness. And another zinger for your friends - even Jonah knew God's GRACE would produce repentance in Ninevah!

Brother Michael, thank you for making the time to write for this blog. We are in such a drought and famine of hearing the Word of God in this country. Even though I do hear His voice and He does feed me, as a member of the Body and in the gap I am called to stand in - it's more like I'm just laying across it saying, over my dead body - I am so parched my voice is hoarse and so hungry I am faint. But on behalf of us all, I will not resort to the American Church's twinkies and coke to temporarily keep me "awake"! So thank you for pure water and whole grain bread. :)

I am believing for brothers and sisters like you to be clothed with power so that your voice, as you preach, is like a spiritual trumpet blast to actually awaken the sleeping and dying. Because you're right, it is so bad that nothing seems to penetrate. I am convinced the slumber in the Church is a response not only to the diet, but the constant flood of voices and music assaulting our spirit, soul and body.

It's hard enough trying to stay in step with the Spirit while being bombarded with voices out in the world, but if on top of that I got in my car and turned on the radio or even music, or came home and turned on TV, Christian programs or not, I would be walking around in a stupor or asleep too. I know it. So I simply don't have it. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but God's voice is worth anything.

I was recently in New York City, and what I observed in the media capital of the world (Babylon?) is that there are so many voices yakking through TV, radio and Internet and music blasting everywhere you go that it is almost impossible to hear that still small voice. I mean, I'm a native New Yorker so I know noise and tuning it out, but this has become insane! The only time I ever experienced quietness and heard Him say anything (and I was listening and waiting) was while I was on the subway. Because it was all drowned out. Everyone else was sleeping and/or listening to ipods, not to break the "silence", I guess. This is why especially for those in the Body who are not even paying attention, and certainly for the lost, it is going to take a supernatural anointing beyond anything out there now - like the loudest air horn you've ever heard - to break through all that chatter and wake people up.

A Seed Sower said...

It is a great encouragement to me to read the comments of others in response to you Bro Michael. God bless all you fellow children in Christ, keep the Faith.
Helen B

Anonymous said...

I will simply say AMEN to Amy's comments!!! It is the same in Australia, Amy. Apathy rules here. The churches are full of false conversions with no repentance and sin-filled lives. My heart also breaks. Thank you again brother Michael.