Sunday, October 18, 2015

Ornan the Jebusite

“And God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it; but as he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw and was sorry over the calamity, and said to the destroying angel, ‘It is enough; now relax your hand.’ And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of ORNAN THE JEBUSITE” (1 Chronicles 21:15).

Ornan, which means “strong, tree tough, stridulous,” and Jebusite, which means “trodden, threshing place, to trample down under foot, to pollute,” suggests man in his full but fallen powers walking about in the filthiness of sin.  The fact that he is the last Canaanite of his tribe represents the last vestige of indigenous strength; the fact that the Jebusites once taunted David (who represents Christ) that even “the blind and the lame” could defend their supposedly impregnable city from invasion and capture, David (Christ) nonetheless captured the stronghold of Zion, the city of David, by coming into it through the water tunnel (see 2 Samuel 5:6-9).  Christ, via the tear ducts (of repentance) captures the seemingly impregnable heart of man, that stout and foolish heart that fights to the end of its strength, all the way out to its full extent, even to the blind and lame extent of that strength.

Indeed, “it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved” (1 Peter 4:18); likewise, it is with difficulty that God “establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Isaiah 62:7).  The length to which God goes, however, to establish righteousness in man is in direct correlation to how deeply He explores the abyss of the human heart.  In Ornan the Jebusite, we see that abyss fully explored and completely redeemed.  The ultimate significance of “Jebus, which is Jerusalem” (Judges 19:10), or its inhabitant, the Jebusite, is that God chose Jerusalem to be His habitation forever.  “Then the angel of the Lord commanded...that David should go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (1 Chronicles 21:18).  “Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (2 Chronicles 3:1).

Continuing to refine the meaning derived from the idea of Ornan the Jebusite, we see the purification process removing chaff from wheat, and by analogous inference, flesh from spirit.  Upon Mount Moriah, where Abraham was first instructed to sacrifice Isaac (but was eventually allowed to sacrifice a ram instead), “it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it [the final offering for sin] will be provided’” (Genesis 22:14).  And indeed, the Lord provided Himself there many years later when Mount Moriah was renamed Golgotha.  Mount Moriah/Golgatha is therefore a spiritual peak or destination achieved only by the true circumcision that kills flesh and livens spirit; it is historically known to be Mount Zion which represents the new covenant and those that worship only in spirit and in truth.  “But you have come to Mount Zion…and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant” (Hebrews 12:22 & 24). Proceeding this place is Mount Sinai and thundered law that produces only doom and gloom; the fear of God, however, must always be transcended—never eliminated or flippantly laid aside—and only through a perfecting or maturing love can this be accomplished.  David, a type of Christ, stops Ornan the Jebusite’s incessant threshing by purchasing his threshing floor; he subsequently builds an altar for holy purposes on the same ground that Ornan used to beat his common meal.  In other words, as Isaac was replaced by a ram, we are replaced by Christ upon our most common ground; our only duty henceforth is to follow Him—to arrive back to the very ground upon which we were previously and unmercifully threshed—and there allow Him to remove our shame by replacing us with Himself.

After Jesus spoke of losing life to gain it, the disciples asked Him not about how or why, but WHERE?  The Lord's reply, “Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together” (Luke 17:37). The temple is come down out of heaven onto the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.  This is WHERE the eagles gather together, a place where the common meal is separated from the Holy Communion; the holy ground of God established on the common ground of man.  Finally, we are dead, and Jacob (whom God loves) has supplanted Esau (whom He hates); as a consequence, the true Israel of God emerges from this wrestling match limping but spiritual.