Mullein

Feelings

The tall yellow flower spike of the Common Mullein, or verbascum thapsis, is a centerpiece right now in the front garden. This was a neglected bed since the heartbreak of eight roses being cut down in it after being stricken with an incurable disease. Because I wasn’t watching it carefully, this native plant grew to maturity before being weeded out. That’s alright with me. It’s a very cool plant!

Stachys and Rose Campion share similar qualities. These are a few plants that simply must be touched and felt. Their fuzzy leaves not only look pretty, but offer tactile enjoyment as well.

Other names for this statuesque six-foot wildflower are “flannel leaf” and “bunny ears” due to the softness of the silvery leaves. It is used as an herbal medicine for skin and respiratory problems. Unfortunately, it also contains the toxin Rotenone.

We often hear the words “It feels right” with respect to religion, or a church. Is this a good way to find a church home or belief system? The Bible is clear; it is not!

“There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12, NASB).

An example of this scripture is given in 1 Chronicles 13. The ark of the covenant was being brought back to Jerusalem, but the method of transportation seems to have been borrowed from the Philistines, who had no knowledge of the law of God.

Uzzah no doubt felt like it was the right thing to do to reach out and steady the ark of the covenant as it was transported on an oxcart, but he was struck dead (1 Chronicles 13). God did not punish him for doing what he felt was right, or for his good intentions, but he died because the clear command of God was disobeyed.

Maybe it was not Uzzah who was responsible for the disobedience. Maybe even the priests who were in charge were not aware at the time of the proper transportation procedures, and only had good intentions.

But someone should have been studying the scriptures and consulted them on something so important as the vessel which was considered the earthly dwelling place of the Holy One of Israel. As a matter of history, when the ark was captured in the first place, the news was so devastating to Eli that he fell backwards where he sat and died. Even the news of his own sons’ deaths did not cause this reaction.

This is what happens when the words of Jehovah are not treated as important enough to be studied, learned, and followed.

Our good feelings and intentions are not a suitable substitute for following God’s instructions. We are increasingly told by society how we should feel or believe about certain things. Values now are often based on changing social mores and new notions of “tolerance” toward situations that God clearly has condemned as sin.

God has a pattern for our lives, and for worshipping him (Hebrews 8:5). Do we ignore that pattern, as Uzzah ignored the directions for transporting the ark? If we like something in worship that is not authorized, does it make it right to use it because it feels right? Whether we know about those instructions or rely on our spiritual leaders to direct us, it is still our ultimate responsibility to obey them.

This was the message of the tragedy of Uzzah. We dare not make the same mistake. Do you want something that feels good? Let me give you a mullein plant. Leave your feelings in the garden!

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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