Devotional: September 10th
The story is told of a backwoods preacher who was preparing to preach a series of sermons on the Holy Spirit. He was a flamboyant sort and known in the area for some rather ostentatious displays in the pulpit. That's a fancy way of saying he had a lot of stomp and snort. If you don't know what stomp and snort is then I guess you'll just have to stay with flamboyant and ostentatious.
The first sermon he wanted to preach involved the story of the baptism of Jesus at the hands of John the Immerser. It was at Jesus' baptism that God, pleased with His Son's actions, sent the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The backwoods preacher sought to recreate the descending dove as well as he could for the dramatic impact that he hoped it would bring. He gave one of the boys in the church fifty cents to catch a dove and take it into the rafters of the old church house and hide there with it Sunday morning. "When I say, 'The Spirit of God descended like a dove,' " coached the preacher, "you send that dove on down."
The boy got to the church early before all the other people got there, and took his place in the rafters holding the dove with a little wrap around its ankle so it could stand on the rafters. The people started filing in and before long the old church house was full. They sang "Amazing Grace" and "Shall We Gather at the River" and a few other fine old hymns. Then the preacher began preaching. He had all the stomp and snort going that a preacher had a right to and then some. He had finally gotten to his big moment. He was finally on the baptism of Jesus.
When he came to the proper place in the story he lifted his eyes and said, "The Spirit of God descended like a dove." Nothing happened. He said it a second and a third time and again nothing happened. Finally he boomed in his most preacherly fashion, "I said the Spirit of God descended like a dove!" The little boy peeked out over the edge of the rafters and said, "The cat ate the dove, ya want me ta send down the cat." So much for the dramatic moment.
Do we hope that there will be some dramatic moment in our lives that will show God just how good we are? One of the most dramatic numbers in the Bible is 969. That's the number of years that Methuselah lived. Most people know Methuselah. Do they know his dad? His dad was Enoch. Nothing dramatic with Enoch. Genesis 5:24 pretty much tells all there is to know about Enoch. "Enoch walked with God and was not, for God took him." Other than Elijah, Enoch was the only man to not die in the Bible. The drama in his life? He simply walked with God. No record of great accomplishments. No incredible feats on mountaintops. No doves in rafters. He simply did what God wanted; he walked with Him.
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