|Abraham, or Dallas Willard?|
One of the best defenses for a near-heretical position is to cite an authoritative source, so this week’s Meditation calls to the witness stand Dr. Dallas Willard, ordained Baptist minister, PhD in philosophy, and all-around nice guy. The following segment (used with permission) is from his devotional, “Hearing God:”
The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward." . . . When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces [of the sacrifices]. Genesis 15:1, 17
One way in which people are addressed by God within the biblical record is with a phenomenon plus a voice. A phenomenon is an occurrence that can be perceived by any of our senses. For example, it might be an appearance of something unusual. God often accompanies such phenomena with a voice. Such divine-human encounters are richly represented in the events of Scripture, and we need to use our imagination to identify with them.God's covenant with Abram, a major foundation of the Judeo-Christian tradition, was solemnized when fire from God passed through the air to consume Abram's sacrifice while God intoned the promise to Abram and his seed (Genesis 15:17-18).MEDITATE: Read Genesis 15:1-17. Notice Abram's questions within the conversation between God and him (vv. 1-9). Now imagine Abram preparing sacrifices and desperately driving away the predatory birds from them. See the setting sun and the dreadful darkness as Abram falls into a deep sleep. Once again God speaks to Abram and the torch-laden firepot lights the sacrifices. Reread the passage and sit quietly basking in Abram's experiences.
Thanks, Dr. Willard. The defense rests--but not before recommending his iPhone app, Hearing God, available for $2.99, which comes to just under a penny a day to have morning devotions with formidable spiritual director.