28 September 2010

Eaton Ford - A crooked line

Sean and I had coffees and a catch up chat, then decided to look at 3 John which we've been wanting to do for a few weeks now.

Sean had the feeling this letter was written in haste, and I think he's right. It seems to be written to encourage Gaius, The road aheadclearly a Roman, who seems to have been struggling under an overbearing (and misguided) Greek leader called Diotrophes. It's a letter of reassurance, perhaps to someone who is inexperienced or lacks confidence.

We were interested in the use of the phrase 'The Name' in verse 7. This is a traditional Jewish way of referring to Yahweh and is still used in Israel today, 'Ha Shem'. The oldest texts we have of 3 John are in Greek and it's likely that Gaius would have understood both Latin and Greek. We looked up all 17 occurrences in the New Testament of the phrase 'τοῦ ὀνόματος' (Greek for 'The Name') and found this is the only time it's used in this way. The other examples are phrases like 'in the name of Jesus'.

As we turned to prayer and worship I was given a picture of a straight line and on its left-hand side a crooked line that touched the straight line in one or two places. And the Lord said, 'When you are close to me, I am also close to you; but when you are far from me - I am close to you!'

He also gave me a word about Moses and Isaiah. Moses had felt inadequate as a speaker and therefore wanted Yahweh to choose someone else (Exodus 4:12-13). Isaiah knew he was unworthy because his lips were not holy but was made clean and was willing to go for the Lord (Isaiah 6:5-9). We may be prevented by lack of confidence or ability on the one hand, or lack of worthiness on
the other, but if Moses and Isaiah were good enough for the Lord to use, who are we to say he can't use us?

Sean elaborated on this in prayer, mentioning that there is so much fear to be dealt with, fear of speaking and fear of not speaking.

And then the Lord gave me more words, 'It's easy for me to live in you, but hard for you to live in me. But they're the same thing! So just trust that I am living in you.

We felt greatly encouraged by this evening, it seems to be another step forward, another little bit of progress on the journey.

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