Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Aug | 01 | The Cost of Cutting & Counting The Cost

Dream Word – COST

Isaiah 56:3-5 Nor let the eunuch say, "Here I am, a dry tree." For thus says the Lord: "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name Better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. NKJV

The Cost of Cutting & Counting The Cost

In my second of three thoughts on sexuality, tonight I want to look at this passage in Isaiah 56. In this text, a eunuch is not a transsexual, neither did bearing the title of ‘Eunuch’ necessarily mean that you had been mutilated in that way. In other words, being a eunuch did not necessarily mean that your testicles had physically been taken away. The term and title of “Eunuch” you see, could also be used figuratively. Here in Isaiah however, I believe it us used quite literally!

This act of mutilation (this radical cutting of permanent destruction) was sometimes done voluntarily. Yes, it was a voluntary practice even in the early history of the church, but more often than not, it was done purposefully and as an act of domination and forced servitude. Today, we would call this an act of abusive domination and servitude . This text refers to those people upon which this violation has been inflicted. Never the less, such violent actions and the resultant large group of people who had been put under the knife at a very early age, who had on the whole been robbed of their ‘dangly bits,’ now had become so ‘common,’ that God particularly addressed them here in this text.

In that cultural context where children were seen as a sign of blessing from the Lord (when mine were teenagers I would have contested that viewpoint most energetically) and where children were seen as being a cultural comfort and a sign of personal continuance, for the eunuchs then , NOT to be able to father children, was an opposite sign of God's blessing, even a sign of cursing, seemingly saying that they were not to be able share in the covenant blessing, as it expressed itself in cultural comfort and personal continuance.

These words to Eunuchs in Isaiah 56 are from the mouth of the God of all comfort, who says to them in effect, “You please me! And you do this by keeping my covenant and my Sabbaths and by consistently choosing to live to please me. Thank you! I am sorry about ‘your bits’ your lack of ‘home,’ your lack of personal comfort and personal continuance but don’t worry, you wont lose out! No, even better than that, ‘Mi cassa essu cassa,’ and also, I shall give you an unforgettable and everlasting name. Yup, you might have had yer bit’s cut off, by I shall make sure, your name, the full embodiment of who you are and who you shall become in me, that is, all you ever hoped to be, well that, will never be cut off! So in light of this, don’t lose hope, don’t give up honouring, obeying and pleasing Me, for in that, there is great reward, even if it not yet stood before you on two legs.”

Yes, our text for tonight is for those who have seemingly been robbed of the blessing of the covenant by the loss of the cultural comfort and personal continuance, which a pair of testicles might have brought them. What a word of encouragement for folk so abused. Hallelujah!

The general application of this promise here is very clear then for us all I believe.Whatever your condition, whether you have been robbed by others, whether you have robbed yourself, whether sin, situation or circumstance has robbed you, if you now begin live to please Me,” says God, “To honour Me in the keeping of my laws, then I shall bless you, and bless you WAY BEYOND your capacity. You will by no means lose out in following Me.”

Listen: - Then Peter said, "See, we have left all and followed You." So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life." (Luke 18:28-30 NKJV.)

Pray:- Lord, restore to me all that I have trashed, all that I have been robbed of, all that I have lost. Father, let Your redemption rule in my life, yes in all its fully redeemed and fantastic fullness. In Jesus name I ask it, amen.


Zoe Brain said...

Hi Rev!

In societies that are agrarian, it would be impossible not to notice the incidence of intersexed animals.

Everyone would know that the phenomenon existed - such as Freemartin cattle.

It is one of the problems of civilisation, that is, people living in cities and away from daily contact with livestock, that relatively common biological anomalies like this have been rendered invisible.

That the same sorts of things happened to unfortunate people would also have been accepted, as they have been historically in agrarian societies even today. It is supremely ironic that the less civilised, or rather, citified, a society is, the more humanely intersexed people are treated.

I would find a over-literal reading of the phrase "eunuch from their mothers womb" to only include males with ambigous or hypogonadic genitalia to be too limited. It would include girls with moderate to severe CAH, who appear to have a phalus but no testes, as well as several other obviously visible intersex conditions survivable with no medical intervention.

It could not have included more subtle conditions such as CAIS, where a genetic male appears normally female, nor conditions where the infant would soon die, such as cloacal extophy. The first would be considered merely a barren woman.

Nonetheless, while such conditions were unrecognised at the time, we know about them now. I would argue that the same principles apply, the same way that "leper" does not necessarily always mean a sufferer of Hanson's Disease, but other conditions of a similar nature.

Between the lack of scientific knowledge 2000 years ago, and the difficulties in translating concepts from ancient Aramaic into modern English, we should be very wary of being over-literal.

Robert said...

Zoe! great to see you on here again.

Your comments are fair and thoughtful. No doubt those problems you list did exist in those times, though were undiagnosed. I would have to look as sources external to the Bible to see how they were treated. There is no doubt in my mind that the text is limited to males.

OK! Preaching tomorrow and I am 'cream crackered' righ now, so I am gonna sign off. I do hope you and your family are well Zoe

Blessings upon ye the noo..

ttfn and take care....