Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The First and True Duke

 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! - Matthew 7:11

Father's Day had me thinking of some of my favorite childhood memories with my father.   One thing stands out for some reason.  We had this over sized (and I mean big!) pillow that lay in the middle of our living room where my brothers and I would curl up with my Dad and watch our favorite movie, John Wayne's The Cowboys or, and especially, The Dukes of Hazzard television series whenever it was on.

Now let's forget about the 2006 remake movie, the television show had some merit if not always the greatest acting or imaginative story lines.   There was a winsome innocence to TDOH wherein a viewer could escape to a simpler time and though the lines between good and evil were slightly blurred (Ex. The Dukes weren't always angels and Boss Hog was somehow lovable), yet in the end the message was clear: good wins.

Bo and Luke Duke seemed to play with the law; they were after all, a 70's version of Robin Hood, "straightening the curves".    They were right to view the law of Hazzard County as corrupt.   Thus, they lived by their gut and a folksy, country wisdom that came from the likes of their Uncle Jesse and their mechanic, Crazy Cooter (Did I just type Crazy Cooter?).     

Boss Hog, on the other hand, wielded (and suffered under) his own absolute power and was the stereo-typical CEO of and consequently, the chief beneficiary of Hazzard's corrupt power system; He always dressed in the white of his presumed spotless self-righteousness.  Together with hard-headed sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, Boss Hog was always out to "get them Duke boys".   But out of every sticky situation Bo and Luke always seemed to pull one over on the law.

Someday the mountain might get him but the law never will.
- Waylon Jennings, Good Ol' Boys

Mid-way through nearly every episode Bo and Luke would land in jail and as evidenced by narrator Waylon Jennings' smooth whiskey voice ("now how these Duke boys gonna get out of this mess?") the situation seemed hopeless.  Falsely accused of misbehavior (or rightly locked up for just being "good old boys") they always found themselves up against the wall of The Law.

There was a fierce freedom in The Dukes of Hazzard that resonated deeply with many viewers - a triumph of good will over injustice.  When carried too far every analogy breaks down but as a Christian I know a freedom that always trumps the sting of death and melts the doubt that leads to destruction.   Faith in Christ alone brings about the redemption and restoration of man - and ultimately, leads the believer into an ever deeper, ever firmer faith in power of The Gospel (read: not what I do but what God's done in Christ on my behalf).   The Gospel turns the worst situations upside down and always frees man from the condemnation the law has brought.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. - Ephesians 2:4-5

The Christian life lived to the glory of God is smelling salt to a world so seduced by the likes of materialism and humanism that it is dead to the Spirit of the one true God, blind to His natural revelation of Himself (in nature) and deaf to His special revelation of Himself (in the Bible).

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. - 1st Cor. 1:18

I heard recently that Christians are to etch in pencil what one day God will paint with indelible ink.   That is make known the glory of The Gospel through our words and deeds.  But so often we forget just how full of His love, grace, peace, compassion and power we are.

It sometimes seems like the well is empty; like there is no more left to give.  Yet this is precisely the time when the obstacle of self-reliance is removed allowing the grace of God to finally flow freely.   His inexhaustible love for us can be likened to an eternal flame (a common symbol for The Holy Spirit) from which one day (like the phoenix) His church and new kingdom will rise.

When Christ, though He was totally innocent, went up against the wall of God's perfect Law on our behalf. He didn't rely on family, worldly wisdom, cunning trickery or eloquent words to save Himself from God's wrath.   Instead He gave us what we don't deserve (peace with God) by taking on what we did deserve (shame, scorn, pain and separation from God).

This is where the Dukes analogy breaks down.   A duke is defined as a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank holding the highest hereditary title.   Christ was the spotless, perfect son of God and thus, the only true Duke...ever.  By totally fulfilling the Law in life He became the perfect sacrificial atonement in His death.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. - John 3:18

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. - Rom 8:16

For a little while, as a boy, I enjoyed great intimacy with my Father on that big pillow watching The Dukes overcome Hazzard's worldly, corrupt law.   This Father's Day I can, by God's grace, behold those memories as the "foretaste of Glory divine" that they were.   Because of Jesus' work I can call God Daddy (Abba Father) eternally and He can call me His son.  And, along with all the Saints in glory, He'll wrap me in His arms of comfort as we recall the story of Jesus' miraculous rescue of us (in the midst of our inability to keep God's perfect law) again and again and again.....


This Week... 

* Tyler Men's Gathering - 7am, Wednesday AM - Kings Cross Chapter 9
   @ 2 American Center, 5th Floor (Ritcheson Law Firm)

Next Week...   

* Men's Lunch @ Dakota's in Tyler, TX - Mondays @ 12pm - Keller's Kings Cross - Chapter 10
* The Magills @ The Moores Store - 8pm-11pm, Friday Night July 1st - Ben Wheeler, TX


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