In 1989 the movie “Field of Dreams” was released, based on a novel by W.P. Kinsella entitled Shoeless Joe. Joe Jackson was one of the greatest baseball players of his era who was banned for allegedly taking a bribe to throw the 1919 World Series.
Kevin Costner plays Ray Kinsella, who lives with his wife and daughter on a large corn farm in Iowa.
One day Ray is admiring his corn crop when he hears a voice that says “build it and he will come.” He shakes it off, thinking he is hearing things. Of course he does not tell his wife which would only verify what she has thought all along – he is crazy!
But again and again, he hears the voice “build it and he will come.” But who?
By now he must convince his wife and after some heated “discussions” he convinces her that he must bulldoze several acres of prime land and build a baseball diamond – complete with bleachers and lights.
When the neighbors catch wind of this scheme, they talk behind his back and roll their eyes when they see him. The man has gone mad!
But Ray perseveres, convinced that if he can complete the field, Shoeless Joe, his hero, will indeed come. His neighbors, his friends, his family are all convinced that a season in the loony bin would do him some good.
This reminds me of Noah. We know from Genesis 5&6 that it was 100 years between the day Noah heard God command him to build the ark and the day it began to rain for 40 days. 100 years between the promise and the fulfillment! Countless numbers of scoffers, finger-pointers and doubters. But Noah remained faithful to what he knew.
So Ray completes his stadium and sits and waits. And sits and waits. By now the bank creditors are pooling around him. His marriage is unsteady. He grows discouraged. Maybe I am crazy, he thinks!
Then – one day – out of the cornfield appear a group of ballplayers, headed by Joe Jackson. But only Ray can see and hear them, and he counts only 8. The catcher is missing. Ray asks, “Where is the catcher?” Joe points to the cornfield. Ray is confused.
The players leave. And then Ray remembers his father. Ray’s dad had died when Ray was 14. They had not been close. In fact, there had often been angry words. But a deep, almost forgotten memory emerges that his dad had been, for a short time, a minor league baseball player. Ray realizes that it was NOT Shoeless Joe who must come, it was his father!
A frantic cross-country journey ensues to verify this memory. Finally Ray returns home, and one day, sure enough, the players return. This there is a catcher with them – Ray’s dad.
Sounds corny – right!
I was raised in a little Methodist Church in Moravian Falls, NC and I don’t know how I got this stupid idea, but there was this little altar area where the pastor preached from. Around this area was a wooden railing and a little raised area where you would kneel for communion. There was a big painting of Jesus in Gethsemane hanging on the wall behind this area.
Somehow in my little brain I got the notion that God lived behind this railing. I was NOT ABOUT TO go behind that railing. I did not know what might happen to me, but it was best if I never found out!
Well, when I was 7 or 8 they had a Christmas play and I was to be a shepherd. All this was to take place – you guessed it – behind the railing. I still remember being scared stiff the first time I stepped up there. Obviously, I lived through it!
When the police pull in behind you and follow you for a while, or you see the blue light behind you, do you get a bit queasy? Do you think God is like a big fly swatter just waiting to smash you the instant you make a mistake? Is he a strong-armed drill sergeant?
The kindergarten teacher told her class that it was time for art. “Today you can draw anything you want,” she told them. She walked around and came to one little girl who was working feverishly. “Rachel, what are you drawing?”
“I am drawing a picture of God!” Rachel replied.
“But no one knows what God looks like,” said the teacher.
“They will in a minute,” said Rachel.
What image of God would you draw if you held the crayon?
All of us – all of us – are on a lifetime search for our Father. Some describe it as a piece of your heart that is missing. I believe that there is a built-in hunger – a longing in every human heart for the companionship – the security – the love – the presence of Father.
And I further believe that a right relationship with God the Father is worth ALL THE CORN IN IOWA. It is worth all the insults, all the snide remarks. It is worth being called “FOOL” because – if you build it, He will come. Build Jesus a throne, and He will come.
In 1 Samuel 16 we see King Saul haunted by an evil spirit. Verse 14 tells us that it terrorized him. The solution comes in verse 16: “Now command your servants to seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp and it shall come about that when the evil spirit is on you, then he shall play the harp and you will be well.”
So they located David and as David played, Saul was refreshed and the evil spirit departed.
What caused the evil spirit to depart? Praise and worship. What made the devil put his fingers in his ears and disappear? Praise and worship.
Build a throne and He will come. And when He comes, evil must disappear, because Light dispels darkness.
Psalm 45.6 and Hebrews 1.8 tells us that God inhabits a throne that will last forever.
Psalm 89.14 tells us that it is a throne whose foundations are righteousness and justice – from which issue truth and lovingkindness.
Hebrews 4.16 says “we should therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and grace in time of need.”
Because of Jesus Christ, not only do we have access to this mighty throne, we know that He has placed us in Christ at His very own right hand, where we sit with Him! (Colossians, Revelation 21.1-5 and Revelation 22.1-5)
When we build a throne of worship, whether alone or in the company of other believers, Jesus delights to inhabit it. Remember Matthew 18.20: “For wherever 2 or 3 of you are gathered in My Name, I am in the midst of you.”
And where Jesus is, evil must depart. HE INHABITS THE PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE!
When I worship, I am building my King a throne. And as I worship Him, the “great exchange” occurs. He gives me beauty for ashes. The oil of joy for mourning. The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. I am a tree of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified. (Isaiah 61.3)
Where He is – is holy.
If we could only lay hold of this truth and never let it go. Build a throne of worship, and Jesus will come. And when He comes, restoration and reconciliation occur. When Ray finally saw his father on the “field of dreams”, the all but forgotten desire of his heart was healed – to be one with his father.
And so with us. No matter what image you may have had of God, when you praise Him and He is enthroned on your praises, you will know Him as He is – a loving, open-handed Father who more than anything wants to fellowship with you – eternally.
Lord Jesus, we enthrone You
We proclaim You our King
Standing here in the midst of us
We lift you up with our praise
And as we worship build Your throne
And as we worship build Your throne
And as we worship build Your throne
Come Lord Jesus, and take Your place!
And that is enough – for now.