June 21, 2018
Recently we had our summer solstice! What does that mean exactly?!? Yes, the first day of summer, the longest day of the year, yada, yada, yada! But seriously, what does it really mean? Humor me here; those that know me, know I am a teacher, I love to learn, I love to share, I love all things geeky/nerdy like math, science, reading, writing, history, well, OK, all things schoolish! Evidence of this is in the creation of this diagram! Go ahead, laugh out loud and shake your head at me now! 🙂
With that said, let’s just start at the beginning…
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth Gen. 1:1
In the beginning, Lord, You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. Heb 1:10
By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place. Prov. 3:19
God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, Gen 1:17
Ok, I think you get the idea…a solstice, like everything else in this glorious world, is the creative and purposeful handiwork of the Lord, God Almighty!
The summer solstice is the only day each year…starting at 6:07AM EST on June 21st this year to be exact…where the sun shines most directly and is the closest to the Northern Hemisphere. The only day of our year that gets the most heavenly light and warmth shined down for the longest period of time! Reminds me of the Lord and how He shines down upon us!
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. Num. 6:24-26
Think about how you approach God, His Throne, preparing to encounter His Presence. Do you stand tall and proud with eyes straight forward? NO! You come with head and neck bowed, sometimes even knelt or laid out on the floor. You are positioned and so is the sun; it’s tilted, angled, postured if you will.
During the summer months, the earth leans towards the sun at an angle, allowing for a more direct hit of sunlight on the North Pole and Northern Hemisphere. As we posture our heads and necks to bow before Him and He shines His face down upon our heads, He shines directly in our face from His face; we stand face to face with God! During the summer solstice, the sun shines on the entirety of the earth’s head and directly in the face of North America from the face of the sun.
But the sun is hot, no not just hot but blazing, boiling, scorching! To say it is burning is an understatement. It can instantly kill any living thing that even gets close without touching. But it’s intense heat is for a purpose; the vast and complex nature of our galaxy needs it. That’s why the earth is in an orbit, not only revolving around the sun but rotating as a planet. Perfectly positioned by God’s creative design! All to protect us! Coming face to face with Him has the same dimensions as the earth’s positioning to the sun!
Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story! Genesis 32:30
On earth, we experience the sun in different ways or seasons. Each area of the earth gets their time to share in God’s love and creativity and be shined upon in this same light. In fact, our days are earmarked in humanly measured time or chronos in terms of times of the year, but in Godly time or kairos (eternal time), this all happens simultaneously, being omni-present, and in waves of His Glory!
The Bible beautifully illustrates this with the four living creatures as they worship the Lord! I believe that each time God’s Face is directly upon them, they see a new facet and experience God at a deeper level for a longer duration then the times before. They outwardly express this by crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy! His glory fills all the earth!” His Light, His Presence is present simultaneously throughout the entire heavenly universe! So much so, that it rocks their inner core to shout to the point their door posts and thresholds shake and their temple fills with smoke! (Isaiah 6:2-4)
Hmmm…let’s stop here…if smoke is present, so must be fire…smoke follows fire! If there is fire, something is burning! What does fire burn? Whatever is combustible or temporal! Something in the temple is burning, on fire, producing smoke. Stay with me here.
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. Acts 17:24
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? I Cor. 3:16
If we are the temple, then what in us is burning when face to face with God? Anything temporal! God is NOT temporal but eternal! Anything not of Him or His Word must GO!
Why burning? Burning is used as a purification process! Think about mining of pure metals like gold or silver. It doesn’t come out of the earth all shiny and pure; it’s heated in the smelting process. As heat is applied, the impurities start to separate. It’s not just the presence of the heat, however, and the separating of the pure from the impure. Both are still present during this physical change of the process. There also must be an infusing of another component or agent to create a chemical change in the impurities, so they can be permanently removed and discarded.
A physical change is just a separation or recognition of all the parts within and represents the recognition of something not of God, but it’s the chemical change where a new and better substance is created that permanently removes and purifies it from the heart, from the soul. The Holy Spirit comes in to burn, but it’s the Love of God that chemically dissipates the impurities or turns it to slag to be forever separated from your midst. If we are not at the point of recognizing the parts that make up our being, seeing the imperfections God wants us to deal with, applying the heat or too much of it can be harmful.
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13
Back to the solstice. Above we mentioned it being a time of the year. In this earthly calendar time, I think that the summer solstice for North America falling at the fourteen day mark leading up to the celebration of the USA’s independence is NOT a coincidence! I love numbers and their meanings, so let’s do a quick number study on fourteen!
In the sense of numbers and meanings, God loves to multiply! Fourteen, being a multiple of seven, alludes to a double portion of seven. Seven is the foundation of God’s Word and symbolizes a completing and perfecting in both the physical and spiritual. It is used 735 times (54 in Revelations alone). If we include sevenfold and seventh, the total jumps up to 860 references. Two is also the factor that double portions seven into fourteen and represents union, as in marriage between husband & wife and between Christ & His church. Adam brought about sin and destruction, separating man from God, but Christ, being the second Adam, brought hope, resurrection, and eternal life. God’s ultimate perfection and completion of His Word is the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, so we can live eternally with Him!
We started with two factors of fourteen, so now let’s look at the number in its wholeness. Fourteen represents deliverance and salvation. The fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover, when God delivered the firstborn of Israel from death. Over 400 years before that, on the night of the fourteenth day of the first month, God made two covenant promises to Abraham, a physical son, Isaac, and his descendants, and a spiritual offspring, Jesus, and the sons of God who would come through Him and shine like the stars in heaven (Matthew 13:43). Through this lineage came three sets of fourteen generations between and including Abraham to Joseph. Three also means completeness.
I believe God earmarked this time of our year, the summer solstice, from the beginning of time for the promise of freedom, the fulfillment of that freedom, and the remembering and honoring of God’s mighty work in freedom from the past, in the present and for the future! On the Fourth of July, we enjoy family, friends, good food, the outdoors, etc, but do we really celebrate and honor what the day truly means? I know I take the holiday for granted in so many ways and last night was pleasantly brought back to a spirit of prayer for our nation- everything within it, from the country itself to the people within our borders to our local, state, national, political, spiritual, etc. leaders to our freedoms & opportunities to our generations, history, & diversity that it contains.
Now let’s now look at the meaning of the word solstice. Solstice comes from the Latin word solistitium which means the point at which the sun seems to stand still, especially in the summer! Sol- is the sun; sistere (past tense) means to stand still or take a stand, as well as to set, place, or cause to stand; and the root si, st, sta also means to stand plus to make or be firm.
It is time, as believers, that we take a stand, stand still, posture ourselves, bend towards the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving for our nation and what He has purposed for us, has already done in our country, and is yet to fulfill here in the land of the free and home of the brave!
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is LOVE. 1 Corinthians 13:11-13
Remember this scripture from above? Look at the latter part of it…we have three (means completeness) things to do…1) Trust God; 2) Hope Unwaveringly; and 3) Love extravagantly! He even pointed out that the BEST or ABOVE ALL is the LOVING!!!
We cannot tackle the issues and problems of this country, nor the world, within the confines of our human nature or our humanly designed structures! Our government and the leaders within it have a monumental calling to fulfill, not just for the people, but ultimately for God’s divine plan. We cannot look to them as the answer! BUT! We can PRAY!
Yet, it’s so very hard to know what to pray. So many levels, so many facets. Nothing seems black and white anymore, right seems wrong and wrong seems right. That’s where we don’t have to figure it all out but trust, hope, and love in God! We must pray and intercede and allow the Holy Spirit to SUPER-intercede on our behalf!
And in a similar way, the Holy Spirit takes hold of us in our human frailty to empower us in our weakness. For example, at times we don’t even know how to pray, or know the best things to ask for. But the Holy Spirit rises up within us to super-intercede on our behalf, pleading to God with emotional sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26
This all starts and ends with knowing Him intimately! At the top of this read, we saw that it’s God’s wisdom that planned and set forth the foundations of this earth! Wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement and the soundness of an action or decision based on experience, knowledge, and good judgement. The word wisdom comes from the Greek word sophran, which means self-controlled and from the German word Weissmuller, meaning precedent.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chron. 7:14
We are living in a time where earthly vessels that consider themselves wise are leaders making decisions, setting precedents, without being self-controlled. These are leaders in what’s regarded as the greatest independent nation in the world. Independence is being free from outside control; if another isn’t in control of us, we must be…hence using self-control becoming a necessity.
Be careful how you live, not like those without understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purposes! Eph 5:15-16
But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are His. Job 12:13 (Another translation ends this verse wth ‘from Him, we learn how to live and what to live for’.)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Psalm 1:7
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. Prov. 2:6
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and gains understanding. Prov. 3:13
I could go on and on with scripture after scripture on wisdom. He holds true wisdom and power to gain counsel and understanding in order to know how to live and what to live for. If wisdom begins with fear of the Lord, what does that mean?
Think of a great earthly father…the fear you have in him is not in being scared per say, but in loving him so much, you respect him, listen to him, head to his advice and directives, learn from, and accept correction. You don’t want to disappoint him, but if you do, you try your darnedest to not do it again.
If the Lord then gives wisdom from His mouth, where does that come from? The Word, Prayer, Worship. Through this relationship of communing with God, listening to his instruction, and heading to it, then we will see the blessings we desire. Remember, we are to TRUST, HOPE, and LOVE in God!!!
If you remain silent at this time…deliverance and relief/rescue will rise from another place…you have come to this time/place for such a time as this. Esther 4:14
Be still and know that I am God! I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in all the earth. Psalm 46:10
In conclusion, I’m reminded of Uncle Ben’s advice to Peter Parker in Spider Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Freedom is a power, an empowerment, requiring much responsibility. We have not just a responsibility, but we have the POWER to pray and uphold our nation, the leaders and people within and around our borders (physically and spiritually- it’s a global thing). Let’s set a precedent to not react to the things of this world but to pray and give thanks unceasingly. Even if the natural eyes see the opposite, thank God for a change back to Him. Pray His will be done on earth and it is in Heaven! Let’s TRUST, HOPE, and LOVE together in Him!