Bible Note #38: God’s Redemptive Havoc

“All the trees of the field will know that I am the Lord.
I make the high tree low; I raise up the low tree.
I make the green tree wither, and I make the dry tree sprout.
I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it!’”   Ezekiel 17:24 [NET]

photo by GAC

What an odd verse this is!  Here we seem to meet God – the Great Disruptor.  What else can we see here but the God who upsets the status quo.  That fact alone is worth pondering for a moment.  What is God saying here? “As things are now in this world, they shall not remain.”  Or: “As this world orders things, they shall not remain so ordered.  My way of ordering things will stand this world on its head.”  Is this a preview of the accusation thrown at the New Testament church?  “They turn the world upside down.”  (Acts 17:6)

Do we really appreciate just how radically the world, as it is, has departed from God’s vision of how the world ought to be?  We want and expect God to come in and tidy things up a bit.  He intends to tear the whole house down and rebuild it.  We want and expect him to come in with a broom and mop.  He is coming with a sledgehammer and wrecking bar.  He is coming to turn everything inside out and upside down.

We are far too comfortable with the way things are.  For us North American Christians, just how much does our idea of the kingdom of God really differ from our current, comfortable middle-class consumer culture?  Sure, we’d like a few tweaks to the system to improve it.  But do we really expect a radical transformation of our circumstances

Carrie Furnace complex
At the Carrie Furnace near Pittsburgh, PA; photo by GAC

when redemption comes to its consummation?  The American church certainly doesn’t expect that or want it.  We’re no longer seen as those who seek to “turn the world upside down.”  We are now struggling and striving to make things the way the “used to be” back in the “good old days.”  The kingdom of God and Western Civilization are essentially identical in our minds.  But it is not so!

Communists and capitalist will be standing shoulder to shoulder at the barricades to oppose the kingdom of God, when it comes in glory.  God intends to ruin our comfort; he intends to wreak redemptive havoc on our world.

©2019 Gary A. Chorpenning; all rights reserved.


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