A more descriptive title for this post would have been, 'when we choose to bury, that which we should burn', but there just wasn't enough room in the title box. I began formulating this article in my mind while reading a passage in the book of Genesis, and this morning I decided to commit it to words lest my memory betray me.
As it so happens, it was immediately after the destruction of the city of Shechem, a shameful thing done by the sons of Jacob, namely Simeon and Levi, made all the more grievous by the fact that it was cloaked in the religious garments of the circumcision.
Jacob was troubled b his sons' actions, and rightly so, unsure as to whether or not he would be able to coexist with the Canaanites, and he Perizzites, when God spoke to him, telling him to arise and return to Bethel, the place of blessing, an there, rededicate himself to the One who had guided and protected him all these years.
The patriarch stood, and with what strength he had addressed those that had gathered, those he called family, the disobedient wives, the murderous sons, the disgraced daughter, all wondering how this particular story would end.
God wanted Jacob's complete sanctification, a sanctification that could not tolerate either the idols Rahel had taken from her own father's home, and clung to these many years, or the ones that Levi and Simeon had spirited out of Shechem, before they burned it.
The excess both of jewelery and garments, made Jacob's house seem like a never ending fashion show, and after God's appointment with him, Jacob had had enough. 'Purify yourselves, put away the foreign gods among you, and change your garments', the man of God cried out, repulsed and ashamed at what his family had become. 'Discard everything, for we are going to meet God, to bring sacrifice, to reconcile.'
They obeyed, whether out of respect or fear, seeing the steadfastness in his eyes, they gave Jacob all their foreign gods, and all of the earrings which were in their ears, and Jacob went and buried them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.
Laudable, and praiseworthy as Jacob's actions might seem, his actions were incomplete. The idols, the gods, the worthless possessions, should not have been buried, but rather burned. It is later in the Word that we see what should be done with idols, and strange gods, as we witness the burning of the golden calf by Moses.
There is in all of us a time, a season, a moment of awakening, when the desire wells up in us to bury the things that keep us from experiencing the fullness of God in our lives. The only problem, is that once the initial resolution has passed, once the fire of decision, of fresh starts and new beginnings, has cooled down to mere embers, we have the tendency to go and dig up the things we buried.
Due to the fact that the flesh refuses to die easily, to go silently into that cold night, and that daily it must be crucified, it remembers very clearly where we buried the idols, and at the appropriate time reminds us, whispering in our ear, 'neath the terebinth tree, you buried your idols 'neat the terebinth tree.'
This is why the idols must be burned. If there is something in your life, keeping you from being in the perfect will of God, it is not enough to lay it aside, it must be gotten rid of permanently, forever, with no possibility of returning.
On a spiritual level, the burning is done by the fire of the Holy Spirit, using such essentials as fasting, prayer, the Word, and fellowship as fuel for the fire.
The reactivation of the conscience is necessary, as is that of the will, it is mandatory for everyone of us to die that we may live.
My prayer for you today is that you would not bury that which you should burn. Cut off any and all negotiations with sin, and have an established policy in place, that no negotiations will ensue. Just as the U.S. government does not negotiate with terrorists, the child of God should under no circumstances negotiate with sin.
The only things that we are allowed to bury, when the time comes, are these bodies of flesh that the dust may return to its rightful place. As for everything else, burn it, burn it all, and scatter the ashes that remain in the cool morning breeze of salvation.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.