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LET THE LORD BE LORD!
In one of John le Carré's books, a more recent one, "Our Game", you find a rather ghoulish older figure, whose training and desire seems to focus an outreach to control another person. Apparently proceeding from the concept of a (more) stationary basic resource person, overseeing and not overlooking perils, when dealing with spies abroad, it shows what appears a warped byproduct of his own overseeing. He has become hooked in the unhallowed task of control.
His victim, in some obscure way operational in part, is presented as a near genius of pseudo-cynical, jaded but arising passion, a sort of summer fruit in early Autumn, left on the ground, but rather redolent with fruitiness. The one 'controlled' admires his control, his overlord, director or professional mentor: but though deluded into such submission (at least in principle!), he senses an entire debasement of his own spirit in the things sold morally, ethically, personally and in the whole domain of truth, in order to 'protect his country'.
In selling his own soul, he has hardly made his country safe. Was it worth it ? Of course not: hence, he is seen both resenting and consorting with his control-type mentor of past years, both affected by his 'eloquence' and infected with his shady substitutes of convenience for truth, always, or at least often, in the supposed or alleged interests of national security, and witty ways of outwitting witty opponents by subterfuge and the dark arts of misinformation.
As he reflects on his 'victim' or if you prefer, agent, some remarkable thoughts appear. Let these words speak for themselves. This is the script:
"... I am still at the greedy stage with Larry: he is my creation and I must have him,
whichever strings I have to pull in order to keep him mine. It is only a few weeks
since the reigning head resident at the Soviet residency in London ...
after an endless fanfare, recruited him as his agent. Now every time Larry is with Brod I worry myself sick. I dare not think what seditious opinions are swaying his moody,
impressionable nature, filling the vacuum of his constant boredom.
When I send him out into the world,
I intend that he should come back to me more mine than when he left.
And if this sounds like some possessioner's fantasy,
it is also the way we young puppet-masters have been taught to run our joes as our wards..."
Now all this is deplorable intrusion of politics into personality, and it is obviously intended to have a critical appraisal of the same implicit.
It is for us, however, a good and dramatic presentation of the fact that in all kinds of all but incredible ways, man is making himself available to LORDS, those who would control his emotions, subvert his sense of truth, make convenience king within the kingdom of pretence and pretension for the purposes now of finance, now of political program, now national security, now expansion and so on.
The warped character of this twisted tormentor, in Le Carré's book, apparently so fastidious in his thoughts and ways, but brutal to the point of personality assassination in his control passion, fitted with a sort of cyclotronically pushed compulsion to have dominion, like a storm long brooding, but now becoming a hurricane, becomes an object of repulsion. If not seen as a devastating storm, then it is like a pit of snakes. It is poisonous to truth, deleterious to frank and open dynamic, pushes little things into great places and denudes the wracked wreck of its own life, as it does no less for its victim.
Such is the 'control'. Such appears the personality which dominates.
In some ways, love of a 'partner' without marriage, as if love were afraid to be trusting, of a sport, as if it were the elixir of life, of community praise, of power, as if direction were subordinate, of position, of enterprise for its own exciting sake and stake, of false religions for the uplift they give, like hot air currents carrying a glider suddenly up, before a twisting swirl of air dashes it for ever: these are similar. Truth is forsaken, here a little there a little, sometimes for the 'cause' and sometimes because of its ramifications, obfuscations and bifurcations.
Love is denuded, sometimes for the sake of getting results, sometimes for the desire which surpasses people and is the passion of the philosophy. Tenderness is suffered only when it is not against the cause, and all is obliterated in the fantasy of the passion, be it quiet in style or emotional, the passion of forsaking all to follow whatever is the gripping phenomenon. All but paradoxically, this could even be a quiet life lived in one's own way, such a passion being the wreck after the storm, the quiet contentment of living in a cocoon that is as unaware of reality, as careless about it. The reality desired is limited in such a case, to the self, and whatever pleases itself, including hand-made morals which also please the self.
No wonder you find in Isaiah 26:13, these words of anguish and seeking towards God:
"O LORD our God, other lords beside You have had dominion over us:
but by You only will we make mention of Your name.
They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise:
therefore have You visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish..."
The poignancy in this is almost unbearable. Here is the spokesman for the nation, in the name of the Lord, interpreting the thoughts of those who become repentant of former 'royal' owners of the spirit, directors of the heart, ambitions of a personal or national character, idolatries of principle or practice or both, delusions of dominion, making of MEN mere MASTER-PUPPETS, things controlled by what is neither of an understanding heart nor functionally fit to direct the hearts of men.
What profusion of delusion has swamped the boat of unbelief, giving it more than it thought when it set forth on the waters of wilfulness! Other lords! These directed in effect, their desires, needs or programs, putting them in place for the drowning of reality. In some cases, indeed many, they may not have been in place without some deference or at least recognition of the existence of the LORD, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Shepherd who having made man, knows him and has the care of him at heart.
Thus "other lords besides You" is to be read with understanding here.
This may occur when people linger foolishly in 'churches' which have long forsaken the word of the Lord, and of necessity therefore have followed a lord or actual director, which gives liberty so to assault the word of God. It may even smile on and incite it in some cases, nor are these few.
Recently one heard of an intellectual and gifted man who only now decided to stop serving in the Uniting Church, now when for so long its attitude to the Bible in general (at its creation, this being said to be a witness to the word of God, not that word itself), and to morals in particular, has been prominently divergent from its final authority and most public in expression. Was his love of the Bible secondary, in remission, a matter of ambiguity in his heart, in recess ? One does not know; but now at last, the time came, as if the preliminaries had been in some way obscure. He resigned from his work there after how many years while the Bible was in abeyance as director of faith.
Often people in moving denominations, no longer even near what they once were relative to the Biblical authority, and inventive to the uttermost for man with all the pomp and pretence of a protestant pope, except not very protestant (cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H), simply move with them. Facing ruin on a reef, they do not evacuate. The ship ? it is their life ? their control ? Yet CHRIST declared this, that one should have NO MAN MASTER on earth. HE is Master, His is the testimony, the power and the performance (Matthew 23:8-10). Religion in truth is not a matter of the fickle desire, but the factual truth.
But what of such people ? They will tell you ad nauseam how they dislike these changes in their churches, often so radical that it would resemble a Communist Capitalist, or an al Qaeda hospital for those whom it wounds. They will expand, perhaps, even in declaring how stirred they are, or how embarrassed or concerned or disquieted by such changes: but they stay as if an insect transfixed with the naturalist's pin. Such unbiblical 'churches' in such cases have become in effect, lords, other lords "besides You".
Others may find an employment where the immorality in the misuse of truth for profit, or other ethical default, becomes natural because habitual: why ? It is perhaps because at the first it appeared probable the job would be lost if the truth were kept. Some, again, harbour a guilt in passion for a paramour, and think little of it, because the LORD of their lives is the lady of their (temporary) passion, or preference, or who gives a sense of peace and so on. You see a man who is 'made' by his wife in politics, and taking the best house, he dissociates from her, marries another and writes a book about his happiness.
Now in all these things, it is apparent that man NATURALLY tends to have a lord. There is something, whether it be passion, philosophy or pretension, which directs the thought, interferes with its premisses, assigns to life its promises, and RULES. It may be subtle, composite; but it rules. It may be a moral code invented for one's self-esteem, in dark dealings from the lower levels of mind; but it rules. It rules by misrule. It is not what esteems the truth above self, or even seeks it above all delusion, at any price. It cashes in the cheque of convenience and abandons the insistence on reality, often securing a place in a community of those similarly drugged, and finding in them a fellowship that supports the pretence, stays there, now reinforced in rebellion against life and truth and reality, by the customary outlines of the face of the chosen norm. They grow ... accustomed to its face.
Man's obvious propensity for LORD in his life is in full verification of his origin from the mind and hand of the LORD, who being the CREATOR, is not a chosen president for the universe, the cosmos or the soul: but the actual one. Actuality is more to be desired than infatuation. Reality aborted, still lives; it is only in the life concerned that the abortion occurs, with all the bleeding of life which is associated with this.
The depths of folly to which false, foolish and fraudulent 'lords' may subject the soul of man, mar his life and render him for the purposes of analogy, something like sponge-cake purée instead of sponge, a disrelished residue instead of a maintained creation: these attest the utter vulnerability of man to lordship. If he is unwilling to follow the ACTUAL LORD, then lordliness is to be found with the utmost facility from the most absurd of locations. These may promote anything from complacency to angst in their paths, depending whether the drugging of truth phase is dominant, or the realisation of its absence phase has arrived, as it sometimes does!
In such grips, people are murdering millions of souls, falsely indoctrinating children whether in South Australia by political command, or in Afghanistan, whether with al Qaida, or in Sudan (cf. Divine Agenda Ch. 6), whether in the USA, England (cf. Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3), or in Pakistan. They MUST do this or that, and do it, whatever the results. Some even descend to such bizarre atrocities as 'female circumcision' in the apparent interests of MALE AS LORD, and protect their presence with such sacrifices, carefully made not of themselves but of others, while others look forward, as a reward from their 'lord', to many paradisiac virgins, whose own part in the matter seems particularly denuded, mere after-life recipients of male lust, ostensibly strangely unsubdued, even there. It would seem, this pretension, a destiny much to be avoided!
The word 'blindness' so often found in the Bible concerning man's proclivities for pollution and waywardness in seeking CONTROL, a matter by no means limited to the CIA or the British MI 6, or the sway of the days of the KGB, is far from exaggerated. The awful hand of direction, domineering right within the heart and spirit of man makes him look so small, so deplorable, that it is all but heart-breaking even to think of it, let alone consider the plight of those concerned. Here both the CONTROLLER and the CONTROLLED, when both are people as often applies, are to be pitied. Each is warped, each sold out, each a slave with whatever decorum there may or may not be, to the merely created, to the merely limited, to what lacks both truth and understanding, polluted hand over the head of polluted heart.
The verse in Isaiah 26 to which we referred above, then, has plenty of modern parallels for the plight of the one repenting. It is ALWAYS necessary to repent of sin; it is ALWAYS necessary to realise the wrong in seeking the right. You do not have an operation without being sure that there is something wrong, even physically, unless a species like pride is making you simply vain!
Thus we see this of such lords:
"They are dead, they shall not live;
they are deceased, they shall not rise.
They are dead, they shall not live."
Their limits, their dishonour, their pure triviality compounded of delusion and foolishness, their apparent wisdom and spiritually debauched guilt make them doubly dead: deserving to die because dead in heart, and polluted in principle, actively polluting what is not their own, as now also in fact no longer having this former CONTROL! The ways in which this can happen are numerous, and the reader may care to consult The Way of Pilgrimage Ch. 9, where some of the wiles of the adversary are exposed.
When the gilt is worn off from the guile, then the guilt becomes apparent. "Their memory shall perish."
What then is the resolve of the penitent ? It is this: "By You only will we make mention of Your name." This is parallel to the relevant section of Isaiah 56:3-4:
"What time I
am afraid, I will trust in thee.
In God I will praise his word,
in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me."
Here is the divinely stirred resolve to make sure that in VITALITY one is abiding in, drawing life and strength and understanding from the LORD, the Creator, the one who being INFINITE has all it takes to be a fine shepherd of His finite creation. "In GOD, I will praise His word," "... by You only we will make mention of Your name." It is not an intellectual abstraction, though reason can do nothing but point to the Lord; it is a vital reality. In the knowledge of God by propositional revelation in the Bible and the entirely parallel and lively reality of personal communion with Him, who acts for the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:4), there is that divinely beautiful duet. It is IN GOD, that one praises Him, in GOD that one makes mention of who He is, and speaks of Him. It is not as one on the exterior, but received and abiding in His very presence, that one talks of Him.
This is one of the infinite places where carnal, earthly, convenient lords that are merely chosen for desire, not worshipped because LORD whether people happen to like Him or not, are in default. They are not available for this sort of knowledge; they do not even know themselves, having no opportunity for that overview and oversight of the One who IS the truth, without whom truth is not available as it is, but only in dispersed, denuded or disrupted fashion. There can be no objective perspective (cf. TMR Ch. 5, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7) except in Him. Those who are lacking this, yet are subjective masters, whether in the repugnant pathology of Le Carré's depiction of one of his characters as noted, or in other devious ways, are like programmed puppeteers, ludicrous as lords, while their victims, themselves personal whether or not the CONTROL be personal, these are puppets of puppets, doubly destroyed.
As so often found, it is the vital power of truth, the actual reality of the Creator, and the awful pretension of ignoring His mercy as Redeemer (and this world has only one, just as God sent only One, Ephesians 4:4) that leads a being so marvellously made as man, to become so ugly in spiritual death, kicking while he lives a life which is a type of moribund preface to eternal death... except he repent. If you ignore the necessities, slight the ultimates, then ultimately, and often soon, you will be distorted almost beyond recognition. That man is so found so readily, in such incredibly seeming inanity, even when his own mind may be quite powerful, is testimony to the fruits of sedition, overthrowing the rule of God, who IS LORD, in fact, for the fancies and febrilities of what stands neither to reason, nor in life. Even an aeroplane, used as a plough, looks ridiculous, and its antics are scarcely worthy of note; but with man, there is the pathos of preferred pollution.
Though this be sad, much more joyous
than that in sorrow, is the fact that the giving Creator has His own life to
confer, that is its quality and eternity from the day of its donation; and it is
not restriction of love, but indifference to or even contempt of recipience
which ultimately destroys: Matthew 23:37ff., John 5:39ff.. So simple is the way
on from all of this (John 10:9), that one can only rejoice to the uttermost at
the beauty of God in His holiness, at godliness so free.