I know it will surprise many of the people who know the players, but I grew up with a father who rarely demanded I do anything. If I did not agree, I could say so. Responses that were off limits for others, “you’re wrong” for example, was fair game. Of course the honesty in conversation went both ways! In the midst of a free flowing give and take, there was a tone that we knew meant it was time to act. No questions permitted, just do.
As I reflect, I remember the “tone” and command being used when danger was on the verge. We worked with machines at a young age. We learned to operate lathes, welders, and drive when other children were still learning to ride their bicycles. Life in our household was full of risks. At the very edge, Dad would instruct. For our safety, we obeyed.
As I listen to God’s word I find myself musing about Dad’s voice and God. Surprisingly for all involved, they are far more alike than different. One of the common themes shared between the two is simply this. God asks us to live in honesty with each other and Divinity. We are invited to argue, express our frustrations and anger, and even disagree with Divinity! We are members of a family that is growing together. The best of life comes in the steps together.
The similarities do not end with dialogue. Occasionally God uses a “tone” with us. It is not the norm, as much as many would like to pretend that it is. It is an unusual command that comes when God knows someone around us or even our self is at risk. It can be quite sharp! “Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout! Tell my people what's wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins!” (Isaiah 58.1)
Today we can walk and listen. It is time to live! It is time to be aware. We live in a dangerous place. Good thing God is watching out for us.
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