Stages of Life

Pahath-moab’s descendants: Adna, Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezalel, Binnui, and Manasseh.
-Ezra 10:30

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I like what each of these sons of Pahath-moab's names mean.  These eight names might say something about stages in the Christian life.  These stages build upon each other, but are non-linear.

  1. Adana: great pleasure, luxuriating.  The new birth starts with great joy and pleasure in our becoming children of God.  Being loved is the foundation that the whole Christian life is built upon.                                                                                                                                                 
  2. Chelal: bride.  We are the bride of Christ.  We are married to Him in a covenant relationship, living under his headship and care.  We have given up all for him and he takes care of us as our husband.  We have deep intimacy with the Lord, letting him in on everything in our lives.                    
  3. Benaiah: Yah has built up.  As Father's children and the bride of Christ, our lives are houses that he builds.  The Holy Spirit builds every Christian into being like Christ.  The grace is for building and we are built on God's love in Christ.                                                                                                             
  4. Maaseiah: work of Yah:  The love, the betrothal, and God's building of us, results in God's works in our lives.  We are saved unto good works.  We join in the work that the Father is doing on the earth, just as Jesus did.  His work is not a religion, but a story of reconciliation through love.                                                                                                                                    
  5. Mattaniah: gift of Yah:  We are all supposed to have 'great commission lives'.  We live in the joy of our salvation and luxuriate in the Love of Father.  We are the bride of Christ and are betrothed to him in and leave all to be his beloved.  The Lord builds us as his workmanship, poems of his own design.  Then, we join in on the work in the world, that the Father is doing.  This is articulated by Jesus' words: "As the Father sent me, so I send you".  He is God's gift of love to this world and we are Christ's gift as well.  He sends us on his mission.  We see our lives as gifts, designed by God, for his glory in the world.  Every Christian has a destiny to fulfill that is a gift from the Lord.                                                                                            
  6. Bezalel: in the shadow (protection) of God:  The life is lived out under God.  God is a powerful presence in the life of every believer, empowering, comforting, and protecting each one.  Every believer has as their birth right an inheritance of being filled with the Spirit of God.  Every believer has access to God's presence.  He is with us during joy and sorrow.  Every believer needs to practice on how to abide in the presence of God because we have been born into a time of war.  Every believer needs the protection of God and as warriors, needs to get trained in all the defensive positioning and weaponry for the fight that we are in.  We need to learn about how to abide in the shadow of the almighty.                                                                                                       
  7. Binnui: built up or builder:  The goal of life is to be built by God.  The Lord builds the house of our life and Jesus builds his church.  When we have maturity, we are builders ourselves, because we have got the blueprint assimilated into us.  The one whom the Lord has built is built and now can multiply, passing on the foundational life from God.                                                     
  8. Manasseh: causing to forget:  There is no retirement in the Christian life.  Some people have opined that when you cease working or cease having meaningful service in your life, you will soon die.  Some people become disabled and can not work or serve, but they can still fully enjoy and engage in meaningful relationships.  The forgetfulness that is from God is an afterglow, that comes after the previous seven stages have flowed in your life.  All kinds of hardships are part and parcel to our lives, but God gives us grace, greater grace than all the sinfulness and suffering in the world.  If Jesus had Judas and all the opposition, we might suffer betrayal and persecution as well.  But God can bring us more grace and overwhelm the sorrows as to cause us to forget them.  This is not triumphalism, but redemption.

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