People Who Say Such Things: Know Their Ontology

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March 16, 2020

Exodus 3:13-15 (NIV)

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.

CONSIDER THIS

I am sometimes chided by my word choices in the Daily Text; especially by my Dad. I am going to introduce a word today that may put me in hot water with him (and some of you). The word is ontology. Know what it means? To show that it is not an overly complicated word, I can change the t to a c and you will know exactly what that word means: oncology. It’s a matter of practicality. Oncology, of course, is the study of cancer; something far too many of you know far too much about. It has gotten painfully practical in your life. 

Ontology is a term from the field of metaphysics. That cleared it up didn’t it?! More precisely, ontology is “the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality.” (Oxford Dictionary) It’s all the stuff we assume but never think about because our life is moving too fast to even consider it. Metaphysics is for a rainy day, but then it rains and we have a leak in the roof that must be fixed. If we had to name a subject for which the Bible is a textbook, it wouldn’t be “World Religions.” It would be ontology. 

So why does this word matter today in the middle of what is now a week-long encounter at a bush on fire but not burning up? Moses asks God the ontological question today. 

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

Don’t you love how Moses warms up to the idea of obeying God with, “Suppose I go. . .”?Moses wants to know with whom he deals here. Is this the Desert God or the Sun God or the Moon God or the Slave Delivering God; which divine being is Moses engaging at this unburning bush? And God drops the ontological boom-sauce. 

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

This is the ontological trump card: “I am who I am.” It means something like, “I am God and there is no other. I am the ground of all being. There is no-one like me. There is no equal to the being who precedes all beings.”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

For whatever reason, this God of all gods, a.k.a. “I am who I am,” has chosen to make covenant with this obscure family become nation and favor them above all other peoples so that they might live as a sign of God’s majestic and merciful glory for the sake of all other peoples. Now “I am” is about to rescue them with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. 

So why does ontology matter or not? Here’s how I see it. There are two modes of life: our existence and our being. There is how we exist in the world and who we are at the core. To the extent the core of our being is grounded in the ontological being of Almighty God, who is “I am,” we will flourish in peace and prosperity irrespective of our circumstances. To the extent our core being is not grounded in the ontological being of Almighty God, we will slavishly strive to maintain our existence, whether we be rich or poor, by any and all means available to us, turning to any and every god (including “I am”) we can conjure up who might help us. 

God desires and delights to be with us in a comprehensive fashion, not as a peripheral help. He is looking for people who will say, “have me,” rather than just pray, “help me.” He wants us to build our house on the rock rather than the sand, because the storms are coming. Is our core being flourishing in a grounded relationship with the one true and living God or are we just scraping out an existence the best we can? 

So let me practically serve you as an ontologist today by asking you these questions:

Is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the core and central reality of your being and reality? Or do you turn to God only when you need help? Are you increasingly abiding all the time in relationship with Jesus Christ or is he someone you once trusted for eternal salvation? Do you depend on the fullness of the Holy Spirit to flourish in your daily life or are you hardly conscious of the Holy Spirit’s presence and activity? 

Why do I ask you such probing questions? “I am” sent me. 

People who say such things. . . 

THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. I have so often and for so long turned to you as a transactional God for functional help. I need you when I need you and I don’t when I don’t. I am coming to the place where the center of gravity in my life must shift from me to you. You will be the ground of my being. Your life will become my life. Your love will become my love. Your power will become my power. Thank you Jesus, for making me a disciple of yours rather than me constantly calling on you to run my errands. Come Holy Spirit, and train me to be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

No further questions today, your honor. 

P.S. 

Almost one thousand souls so far aged 60 or over have responded to my sidebar invitation to further conversation about the concept of the Kingdom Prime of life. I am blown away. If you didn’t get a chance, identify yourself here. We are seeking Jesus for the next steps. Expect to hear something later this week. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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