The redefinition of all reality.
Did you know that the word, “Baal”, as found in the Old Testament isn’t actually the name of some other god? It’s just a word that means, “Master”.
That was something I’d heard a long time ago but in Autumn while riding in a car, minding my own business, for some reason, Holy Spirit took this information and tweaked the foundation of my model of the universe. The ramifications are fundamental and therefore too many to try listing but here we go!
Through my eyes, the central conflict through the Old Testament is that God is pursuing the hearts of the people of Israel who keep cheating on Him with the Baals. He delivers them from Egypt and then spends years and years in the desert trying to get the slavery out of them. The entire generation is lost to the slave mentality and He begins working on the next generation. The Old Testament narrative continues through the Conquest era, then Judges, then the Kingdom era, then the exile, etc. The common thread is this central conflict: God’s relentless pursuit to bring human beings into the relationship that He desires: A son to a Father.
I feel like for my entire life, within my model of the universe, my model of who God is can be represented by two trees growing side by side. There’s the good God whose heart has never stopped pursuing mine, who manifested Himself in Jesus. Then there’s the God of the Old Testament who commands the Israelites to wipe out entire nations and sends floods and seems angry and vengeful and full of wrath.
Through the course of His pursuit of my heart, I feel that there’s been a wedge driven in between the two trees where I’ve held in tension the notion that He is good and the biblical fact that He is fierce and severe.
In Autumn, when Holy Spirit brought up that, “Baal”, isn’t a person but just a word that means, “Master”, I had a revelation. His ferocity and severity has always been aimed at a religious expression of a slave to a master.
His desire is not and has never been for relationship where we are slaves serving a master. The baals receive worship that way. His desire is for us to be sons. His desire is for us to step into our royal identity. Anything else, any religious expression different to sonship is a perversion, a counterfeit, an offensive shadow of what He created.
When I saw that He does not accept the worship from a slave to a master, I understood why sometimes I’ve felt my worship fell flat. When I saw that He does not accept the service of a slave to a master, I understood why sometimes serving others has felt dead.
I realized that every religious expression through my entire life where my expression was coming out of the relationship of a slave to a master, I’d been worshipping the baals. That age old religious expression of a slave to a master.
Every single thing that exists outside of sonship is idolatry.
His kindness to show this to me, gently, lovingly brought me through repentance and into freedom. The fierce, dead, grey tree fell away. To know that He is good and there is nothing in Him that is not good, set me free from ever feeling the need to approach him again as a slave child begging.
Every time somebody hurt me in His name, they weren’t even serving Him. That was idolatry to the other guy who doesn’t even exist. That was the same plight, the same central conflict that has been prevalent in every generation of mankind. I’m guilty of exactly the same thing. Offering Him an offering of slavery which He does not accept. He never accepted their ‘service’ that hurt me so deeply.
We project our finite selves and our finite parents and our finite siblings onto the way we understand the Infinite Most High. It’s for familiarity and predictability. People like familiarity and predictability. The thing is, His goodness is actually infinite and as such, is currently at work in us to a degree that is infinitely beyond our most daring hope. (Ephesians 3:20 AMP). Because His goodness is infinite, whatever revelation of His goodness I currently walk in, I’m operating with an understanding of His goodness that is painfully, hilariously incomplete. That’s how infinite things work. Goodness that good always manifest as unfamiliar and unpredictable.
Every offering outside of the expression of a son to a Father is idolatry to the Baals. An offensive misunderstanding of who He is. A language He refuses to speak.
His pursuit of your heart has always been to bring you out of slavery and into sonship.
The best part is, His wisdom is infinite too, so He knows exactly how to show you you’re a son and not a slave.
His power is infinite too, so He is absolutely ABLE to show you you’re a son and not a slave.
And His goodness is infinite so you know He is completely, ferociously willing to show you you’re a son and not a slave.
Then you get to actually, genuinely experience the most real, most powerful force in all existence: The love of God.