After moving into our home in Anderson, a 9-inch X 12.5 inch by 2” solid metal block was found outside…weighing 62.8 pounds. How can something a little larger than a ream of paper be heavier than a 50-pound bag of fertilizer? Simply put, it is composed of iron.
Iron endures and withstands the test of time and endurance. Warships are made of iron, and yet they float! That’s irony or ironic, meaning that it is almost absurd to think that anything made of such heavy iron can float if molded into certain designs and shapes. Equally absurd is the idea that airplanes built with iron frameworks with a load of military tanks that are also made of iron…can fly. Ironic! Doesn’t seem possible!
When Jesus taught and preached, the law was like iron…” grievous and a heavy burden to live by.” The law could literally leave a family in destitute and dire circumstances.
The Bible tells the story of a woman whose husband had died, and she had ten sheep for her and her daughters. But the law on tithing and taxes soon demanded all her sheep, leaving her with nothing for an income. Heavy indeed was the ironclad law that was indeed a heavy, heavy burden.
On several occasions Jesus used the formula, “You have heard it said (cites a law), but I say to you (names another interpretation).” In Matthew, chapter 5, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus used this formula several times. How ironic! How dare Jesus to even hint that the law was less than iron-clad, In verse 21, Jesus said, “You have heard that you should not murder for murderers are liable to judgment (under the law’s provisions), but I say that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you are also liable to judgment (in God’s eyes)!” Talk about irony! The law did not deal with the forces and emotions that led to murder. In other words, if a person cannot let go of their anger, treating family and friends as if they were dead, they are also murderers! Ironically, Jesus was not speaking of murder per se, but of the nature of agape love (Godly or Christian love).
Agape love imparts value and worth to all people, thus anger nursed for years also “kills.” Agape love is recognized by the abundance of the Fruits of the Spirit
In verse 38 Jesus said, “you have heard it said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, BUT I say do not resist the one who harms you, but if someone strikes you on the right cheek, then turn the other cheek to him.” The law permitted exact retribution which meant that anyone who was harmed physically by another shall likewise inflict the same injury on the offending person…even to the point that if someone caused the loss of eyesight, then the loss of eyesight would be allowable punishment of the offender. But Jesus taught that, instead of inflicting the same injury, one should not retaliate, but endure the abuse. Talk about irony! A solid, heavy law now has “no teeth!” Here again Jesus was alluding to the very nature of agape love, that is, other persons should be treated with worth and value and dignity even if one is treated harshly.. Jesus expected that people would love one another (agape) as God loves the world (all people). God sees us, sinful as we may be, as persons of value and worth…so God sent Jesus…to teach and to practice agape love.
Down through the long years people have recognized that God created the heavens and the earth, and thus “God is in charge.” Therefore, goes the faulty reasoning, climate is in God’s control and thus, any fluctuations in climate patterns is under God’s oversight and changes are normal and climate is simply cycling back and forth. That assumption is embedded like iron into most of humanity and its leadership. But God put man over dominion of all the earth. When did God do that? ironically, God said just before he created Adam, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image…” (Gen. 1:26-27) The Psalmist (Ps. 8) is talking directly to God. “What is man that thou art mindful of him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels and given him dominion over the fishes of the sea and the birds of the air…” So, is climate change really happening? If so, is it changing due to the cycles set in motion by the Creator God or is it changing because humankind has abused the dominion of the earth? Ocean waters near Florida have, for the first time in recorded history, warmed into triple digits (over 100 degrees). The Gulf Stream cycle of Atlantic Ocean currents is slowing. Methane gas (which lingers in the atmosphere far longer than carbon dioxide which has been responsible for global warming) released from thawing permafrost is far more dangerous to human life than other sources that heat the atmosphere. Ironically, it is thought that global warming at the polar caps may actually produce a “little ice age” each winter because fresh water that enters the ocean from ice melt is lighter and does not sink in the heavier briny ocean waters. Fresh water will freeze at 32 degrees while sea water must be several degrees colder to freeze…and should this happen, the ironclad argument for normal weather cycles rather than human-caused warming may triumph. If God gave humankind this immense authority over the earth, is it getting too late to claim it?
The world is like a train…running along its tracks as always…and over the years the population of the world has now exceeded 8 BILLION people. So, the little train runs as always…and the population grows bigger. But wait a minute! Ironically, the train has slowed down and may run backwards!!! What is meant by that statement? Of course, populations over history have dropped due to war, drought, plagues, and other deadly forces, but as a general ironclad axiom, population will grow until the planet can no longer feed and house its inhabitants. Ironically, that is not the case today. Childbearing women who average 2.3 children will only have enough offspring to REPLACE themselves and their mates. In 1950-1960 the average household in the United States had about 5 children and globally it was almost 6 children per childbearing woman. Today, Japan averages only 1.09 child per childbearing woman and since 2015, Japan’s population has fallen an incredible 6 million people and there is a glut of 10 MILLION housing units. China, the largest country by population, has dropped from almost 6 or 7 children per mother to only 1.6 today. India, which will surpass China as the most populous country this year, has fallen to 2.0 children per family. Since 1950 the United States has fallen from about 4 children per mother to only 1.7 today. The population will age but grow until after 2060…about 35 years from now and…if these trends continue, world population will drop by 2070, slowly at first, because until then, rising numbers of people in the older generations will grow for about three decades. What does a dropping population mean? Already, in China and Japan, the number of people in the workforce has dropped significantly as well as overall production of goods because there will not be as many consumers. . One doesn’t need a crystal ball to see the impact of declining population…for a few decades yet the care…and medical availability…for the elderly will become quite a thorny issue. The output of goods and services that drive the economies of every country adjust to the reality of fewer people buying clothes, cars,houses, etc. Should these trends continue (and notice I said SHOULD), the issues facing us are not issues of budget cuts per se, but issues of reframing how we must understand economics in the future. We can no longer say, “X, Y, and Z is no longer affordable” but instead we must say, “X, Y, and Z were the old values, but this is the reality today, and the new priorities are. . .!” This new reality, should these trends continue, also explain 1) the unfortunate, but growing appeal of authority rule as an effort to “control” personal and societal life which avoids the real issues that may affect the survival of humanity on earth (enough said), and 2) the vital need to pay attention to what is really going on in this world right now and what it may mean for just one or two generations from now. One would think that a drop in population would be welcome in a world that is overusing its resources, but ironically, such a drop, if continued, will bring its own set of huge headaches. AND dare I say it, should these trends continue, then the only way most countries will avoid a population loss is by welcoming immigrants from other countries. Talk about irony…when the old, tried, and proven ways (iron) no longer hold up.
God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That’s the iron that we can truly rely upon. In a world of irony, we would be wise to know where we can find IRON.