Archive for May, 2015
“Then Hilkiah the high priest said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord’” (2 Kings 22:8).
For 75 years the people of God have been without their bible; the Torah; the book of law. It is a reminder to every generation of believers of the responsibility that is ours in keeping the sacred text before the generations coming after us. No less miraculous than the Divine inspiration of the scripture itself is its Providential transmission to the succeeding generations. That the book of the law could be lost in the house of the Lord is a frightening indictment. The “Lost and Found” box of church offices everywhere is no place for God’s word.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him” (Psalm 28:7).
Nine personal pronouns in one verse depicts well the intention that faith is to be rooted in a relationship that is deeply personal. The confidence of the psalmist emerges not from his doctrinal knowledge or theological expertise but, rather, his intimacy with God. Out of such closeness comes forth a song of thanksgiving. Whether one is singing or complaining is a matter of the heart.
“And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6).
Fear is such a debilitating emotion. It seems the older we get; the more we experience; the more we know; the more our responsibilities grow the more fearful we become. In the face of his enemies, David’s response was to offer forth such effusive praise and adoration that fear never has a chance to raise its ugly head. Shouting down fear with praise is the way to rise above any sense of impending threat.
“She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations…” (Luke 10:39-40).
By her actions, Mary depicts well the kind of attentive and contemplative listening necessary to the internal life of faith. Martha embodies the active servant spirit required in the external life of faith. One is not to be interpreted as superior to the other but, rather, together they capture the balance needed in the eternal life of faith. Jesus doesn’t tell Martha she needs to be like Mary. Both of these spiritual/personality types need one another and are necessary in the rich diversity of the body of Christ.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
Our greatest need isn’t the knowledge of God’s will, but that his will might be accomplished in our lives. Too many believers have embraced the misguided notion that the will of God is some sort of mystical conundrum; veiled secret; made known only after much agonizing prayer, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. While this seems to offer the appearance of being more “spiritual” it simply does not fit the nature and character of our Father in Heaven. As a father, with all my imperfections, my children have never been left to speculate regarding my desires for them. While my will for them was always clearly understood during their formative years, the greater challenge was whether they would obediently accomplish these aspirations.
The will of God has been made clearly known in scripture. At the heart of the matter is whether or not we will each day make the choices and decisions necessary to see His purposes accomplished in our lives. He has not left us ignorant. He has given us His Word, both in the flesh and in inspired textual form.
“I will listen to what God the Lord will say, he promises peace to his people, his saints” (Psalm 85:8).
The bombardment of competing voices that daily vie for our attention can bring great angst, anxiety, and stress. This is why today’s verse holds such significant meaning. In the midst of all the “noise” that surrounds us, when my ears are attuned to the voice of God, I find peace and rest. I know your room, your office, your classroom is filled with noise, but we are challenged to listen. Listen! Listen! Shhhhhhhhh…..Did you hear that?
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Our asking and thinking is bound by the limitations of our experience, knowledge; the things that happen to us; our selfish and even our seemingly unselfish desires. God, however, is not encumbered by such narrow restrictions. What he is accomplishing, in both our lives and his created order, is abundantly exceeding our finite interpretation and comprehension of circumstances. It is a matter of trust.
“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ…be the glory forever. Amen” (Romans 16:25, 27).
We can only imagine the hardship of those to whom Paul wrote these words; seeking to live out their confession, “Jesus is Lord,” in the very epicenter of an empire where the citizens were required to declare publicly, “Kaisar Kurios” (Caesar is Lord). And, yet, as always happens the most powerful of earthly kingdoms, Roma Aeterna (The Eternal City), would eventually fall. In contrast, the Kingdom that God has and is establishing through his followers shall reign forever and ever. While partisans foolishly glory in the kingdoms of men, the particular people of God glory only in his Kingdom. It alone is ably established.
“And the priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan while all Israel crossed on dry ground, until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan” (Joshua 3:17).
It’s only as we lean forward into God’s future of making all things new that we have the opportunity to personally experience God’s faithfulness being proved out. The refusal to proceed forward in the journey of faith is but an expression of distrust in God and of greater trust in the things, traditions, systems, and structures we find preferable, comfortable, and familiar. It is a sad ending to be left standing on the familiar side of the river and to miss out on the blessing of God’s faithfulness in an unfamiliar Promise Land.
“Then Joshua said to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you’” (Joshua 3:5).
To consecrate oneself is to intentionally embrace a posture of deep humiliation, penitence, prayer, and divestiture from earthy distractions. It is the continual pursuit of all who live with the anticipation of God doing something wondrous; the means by which we keep our eyes, ears, and hearts attuned to his working. The failure to consecrate ourselves leaves only a desecrated existence of old habits, bitter attitudes, and vengeful spirits that leave us blind to the wonders of God.