Now that we have surfaced the pain, let’s dig into the hard work of finding out how to resolve this situation.
As we look at Scripture there are a few clear pictures of someone being put in an office. Let’s start with the office of priest. It was clean, simple and boring. You were born into the priestly line and were destined to the office. You turned 30 and had the same old, same old ordination service that God instituted on Mount Sinai.
Nothing shouts to me of takeaway value there.
Prophets next. Only a few record the details of their being placed in the office of prophet. In the classic model, God called someone to the office of prophet and that was that. Ezekiel probably had the most exotic ordination service of all time. There was no doubt that man was installed in the office with intensity!!!
On the other hand, Elisha probably had the most chintzy ordination service. It was somewhat along the lines of “Tag, you’re it!” Gotta admire the prophet’s capacity to occasionally cut to the chase.
On the other hand, did Elisha actually enter the office of prophet then, in the field, or not until after Elijah’s promotion? Not sure about that one.
I am also not sure about the guys in the schools of prophets. There is no record of their ordination into the office. Did God put them in the office and then they went to school, or did they go to school and then some human plugged them into the office when they finished the course, whether the course “took” or not.
And if that happened, were they really in the office of prophet? Judging from the current crop of American prophets, I would say . . .
DON’T GO THERE, ARTHUR!
Kings are an interesting pickle. As far as I can remember without rereading all of the history, God only picked four kings: Saul, David, Jeroboam and Jehu. The rest took the office by succession in a dynasty or by coup.
So . . . if God decrees that a dynasty is terminated by His judicial decree, and I kill the king and enthrone myself, am I “in” that office or am I an impostor?
I am not sure.
Try this one. Suppose I take the throne by coup, and I am NOT in the office of king, but you are my son and you inherit the throne upon my death from old age. Are YOU legitimately in the office?
Not sure about that one either.
My point is simply that there is a wide range of scenarios from the cookie cutter priests’ office to the unequivocal, occasional kings and prophets who were placed in their offices in a dramatic way, to the enigmas who had the task, but may or may not have been in the office.
With that wide open playing field, let’s revisit Hagar. I think there are some principles there.
Fourteen years after Hagar got sent back by God, He decided her time was up. He initiated and told Abraham to send her away. Abraham did.
Here is my take on that. First, I find it very significant that God initiated. Second, it is interesting that for this step, He used a man to do the deed. When Abraham sent her away, he was emancipating her. I believe at that moment she entered into the office of personhood which was denied her from the time she was born into slavery.
Then I believe God put her in the office of mother when He gave her the water that she was able to give to her son to save his life. In my mind, the proof that she was in the office of mother is that she could put him in the office of son and man after that, when she went back to Egypt and got him a wife.
It seems that you have to be in a legitimate office to put someone else in a legitimate office and because she was in the office of mother, she could promote him along the way, whereas she could not as a slave.
My tentative hypothesis is that in the first round, people who are in an office are supposed to put us in each office at the appropriate times. When that fails, then God puts us in the office at the right time, sometimes through human involvement and sometimes directly by His own hand.
The million dollar question is, “Who has the ball?” Is this totally an issue of the sovereignty of God? Or do we have to do something so that God will then respond and put us in the office? And if so, what do we do?
My belief is that we have to do a lot. I think God puts us in the situations where we CAN progress to the point where we are fit for the office, and then He does it or has someone do it.
The problem arises when we take our calling and confuse it with being in the office.
Take David. We know he was called to be king when he was anointed. But I think he was not in the office for a long time. Everything that took place in Saul’s administration was a classic case of a man not in the office.
He WAS in the office of warrior, and he was placed there by the king, but he was not yet in the office of king, even though he was called to the office of king.
I think David was illegitimate. All of the evidence says he was not in the office of son in his own home. He was definitely a second rate kid. In the palace, he was superb in military leadership, but his fruitfulness was used to cover the king’s barrenness in that department and eventually jealousy ensued in a big way.
So going back to my hypothesis, God sent Hagar back to Sarai and sent David back to Judea to position them to learn and achieve the necessary things so they could then, eventually be put in the office. He created an opportunity. They had to walk it out.
I think Hagar had some things to learn at the University of Sarai and that David learned some things on the backside of the desert. Then, when each was ready, they were put in the office by God, with man’s help.
With that hypothesis, I will be looking at some of the things that I see God requiring before a girl child enters the office of woman. It is my feeling as I look at this topic in a new way that a lot of grown up girls out there are one class away from “graduating.”
To use a high school illustration, it is as though you need one more credit hour of science to finish the requirements, but you or the devil keep signing you up for more math or history. You end up with way more credit hours than you need to graduate (hence the massive frustration) but you don’t have the specific classes you need.
So keep praying for my processing, since this is a very new subject for me, not one I have walked 50 people through successfully.
Next blog to follow in a few days.
Copyright September 2011 by Arthur Burk
From home, on a balmy evening.