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Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

well

So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria. ~John 4:3-4

The context of this “leaving” is notable.  Jesus left Judea for a reason.  He left because the religious leaders of his day caught wind that he was gaining a following.  His disciples were baptizing lots of people – even more than John the Baptist.

Why would that make Jesus leave?  If Jesus was bringing people to God, why would religious men be upset?  Why would what some religious pretenders thought make him stop and leave?  Why was that a problem?

It was a problem because those religious leaders were extremely jealous.  Jesus knew they wanted the power and control of God’s house and God’s people that belonged solely to him.  Because they so coveted and idolized power and control so severely, they wrongfully assumed that that was what Jesus and his followers must want, too.  They thought that he came to take their beloved places of authority.  Because their identity was in their works and their positions rather than in a right relationship with God, they hated Jesus and his right-doing followers.

Ironically, Jesus had every right to direct the religious dealings of the Jews.  He was their Savior!  He had every right to be the authority among all of them and all the Gentiles as well.  He is the King of Kings!!!  Wonder what would happen if Jesus showed up today to put his church in order?  Wonder what religious men would do?  Wonder what would happen if he tried to do it through the testimony of an adulteress woman?

Somehow, people, especially particularly religious ones, do not like when Jesus is really in charge of the church.  When Jesus is calling the shots, men are not and their almighty positions of leadership are threatened.

Jesus does not fight with them over their pride and pretense.  Instead, he reveals it.  He reveals it by leaving.  He chooses to go through Samaria – a place and a people that the Jews overtly hated.  Jesus proves their hypocrisy without even saying a word to them.  He does it merely by purposefully preaching to a person they despised – a Samaritan woman.

Sometimes religious leaders cannot hear plain and simple truth no matter how clear and obvious it really is.  They cannot hear because they refuse to.  The wisdom of Christ recognizes that and stops talking.  The wisdom of Christ simply shows them up by doing exactly the things they should be doing but refuse out of their pride and hypocrisy.

Jesus went directly through Samaria on a route the Jews went far out of their way to avoid.  The text says he “had to.”  He had to because he had to show the religious men their fault.  He had to because he had to show the Samaritans salvation.  He cared equally about both the religious men in their error and the irreligious woman in hers.  He proved both in one act.

To prove the level of hatred for the woman with whom Jesus chose to speak, the text says this:

 27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” ~John 4:27

No one asked these questions.  Despite their surprise, no one wanted to know?  There is a reason for that.  They likely did not want to be asked to do the same.  Even Jesus’ own disciples were tainted by the social norms of their day.  They knew it was social homicide to speak with Samaritans or honor them as brothers and, gasp, sisters.  They were not willing to risk their own reputation to honor people God had chosen.  They were afraid, prideful, and unyielding to those whom God had deemed clean.

Jesus is not like erring, religious men.  He does not avoid difficult and uncomfortable situations.  In fact, he makes it a point to meet the very people who instigate them.  He does it in order to show prideful men the hatred they have in their hearts for others and to show humble outcasts the love he has in his heart for even them.  He does both at the very same time.

Even Jesus’ disciples feared following his lead and example in talking to this outcast woman.  Not only  was she part of a social group they avoided, she was a she and not a he.  The contempt they had for her was doubly great.  Jesus shone a light on the contempt they had for her in order to show them the wickedness in their own hearts.

That is why Jesus “had to” go through Samaria when everyone knew you were supposed to take the long way around and avoid them – avoid her- at all costs!  He had to expose the attitudes that had a continual internal dialogue that repeated words like this: “What if someone sees?  What will people think?  She is a dog!  We cannot be friends.  We are enemies.  I’m so good and she’s so bad and what if someone thinks I like her?   What if someone thinks I like her more than I should?  What if I do like her more than I should?  How will I cover up my sin?  How will I regain my good reputation?  She will ruin me!  She is out to get me!  She is bad!  I am good!  Stay away, wicked wench!  You are not worthy of my words or my water!  God does not call people like you to serve him!  Let me just keep pretending you don’t exist so I can feel good about my own righteousness, good reputation, and religious position!”

The Jews were wrong about Jesus.  Their power-hungry hearts were desperately jealous.  They were wrong about the Samaritans.  They were wrong about women. The Jews were no different than any other human group on earth.  They just thought they were because they were used to getting special treatment; preference; respect; seats of honor.  They were, after all, the children of a long line of self-righteous, spoiled brats.  They were just as desperately needy and sinful as any Samaritan in Samaria.  Therefore,  Jesus pulls the curtain back on their dark thoughts and actions not by telling them, but by doing the very things they were not willing to do.  He shows them their sin by doing the right they refused to do.

 And the woman preached the gospel by her testimony.  The Samaritans were saved despite all the religious efforts to avoid the likes of these unworthy people whom they esteemed themselves so much better than.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. ~John 4:39-41

To that end I ask, are things really any different today?  If you think things have changed, try being a former adulteress with something to offer in a patriarchal church in 2017. Nevertheless, despite the odds, Jesus used an adulteress to save a town full of outcast rejects.  If anything gives me hope at all, it is that.

Be careful who you purposefully avoid.  Be careful who you hold contempt for in your heart.  Jesus might call you out on your hypocrisy and pride by using that very person to start a revival among those you consider most unworthy; those you personally despise.  What will you do when God’s church is full of people you have spent your whole life avoiding and despising?  You have two choices:

1.Crucify him

2.Love them

Kyrie elesion

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mercy

Consider a man with great religious knowledge.  Consider a man who is influential, intelligent, and intimidating.  Imagine he has twenty close friends exactly like him.  Now imagine that man coming to your house and threatening you and your three close friends.  Imagine him watching as his buddies kill your buddies and put them in prison…because he can and because he sincerely thinks he is doing the right thing.

Meet Saul of Tarsus, the Bible’s favorite miracle.

“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him…Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” Acts 9:1-3, 8-9

When the Lord came to Saul, he went blind.  I think I know why.

Saul was a guy who saw everything.  This is a very detail-oriented guy.  Think boss, leader, foreman.  Paul saw everything everyone did and did not do.  All. The. Time. He knew everyone.  He thought he knew everything, and, truth be told, he did know a lot about that which he was talking.  He had credentials, experience, and position to prove it.  So, needless to say, people turned into cockroaches when the lights come on when Saul stomped into their town.  No one wanted to be the target he chose.  Saul was feared because he had a keen eye to see anything and everything everyone did, as he saw it, wrong.

Furthermore, he had friends – a group of people who did the same, encouraged, and approved of him doing so.  The Pharisees saw everything, knew everyone, and, in their extreme self-righteousness, felt genuinely justified in every critical assessment they made about others.  They made their own laws.  They obeyed their own laws.  You better obey their laws, too…or else.

Interestingly, God chose to make Saul blind when he saved him.  Such a man would have more trouble than most with blindness. When you see everything all your life and feel it is your responsibility to say exactly what you see, blindness is death.  Daily death, perhaps?

…Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing…

Saul saw nothing.  Oh, but in that nothing was something very important.  For the first time in Saul’s self-governed life, he saw himself.  When Saul could see nothing, he began to see everything.  When he could not see anyone else or their issues, his own issue became crystal clear to him.  A wise man once said we ought to pray that, “our sin becomes the only thing we see.”  When Saul saw the heavenly light, he went blind, but when Saul went blind, he saw the heavenly light.  The light of Christ showed him his sin and he had but one need: mercy.

Once upon a time, another light shone from heaven.

 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. ~Luke 2:8-11

In our first instance, God brought man’s sin to light.  In the second, God brought his unmitigated mercy to all men.  Thank God!

The Lord was extraordinarily merciful to Saul.  He changed him into, quite possibly, the most influential man in the Bible, save Jesus.  The means by which that happened was quite interesting, too.  He called upon a specific Christian named Ananias and told him to go to blind Saul and lay hands and pray over him.  Do you know what Ananias said?

No way, God.  Don’t you know who he is?? He is a monster.  He will kill me.  He even has the authority to kill me.  Really?

I chose him, Ananias.  Go.

Ananias went and prayed for Saul.  The Lord restored his sight.  Next, the disciples hung out with him.  He began to preach.  The Christians could not believe it and the Jews were confused.  The Jews sought to kill him and the Christians were terrified of him.  God knew it would take another miracle to change Saul’s bad reputation into Paul’s new identity in the eyes of everyone else.

The miracle God chose to use to accomplish Saul’s conversion was a heavenly light and an audible voice heard only by Saul.  The miracle God chose to establish Saul’s new identity and character was an earthly man’s (Ananias) laying on of hands and praying and another earthly man’s (Barnabas) friendship and reference.

To that end Paul spends the rest of his life in great effort and defense of the gospel.  No longer preoccupied with taking others to task, Paul had a new task: taking his own sin to task and sharing his own struggles as a springboard for the gospel message.  Saul’s shouting had turned into a song about his own sin and Christ’s great mercy toward him.  That song steered the rest of his life and God saved (and continues to save!) more men than stars in the sky though Paul’s salvation and subsequent suffering.

His song is my song, everyday forever. I heard it yesterday upon entering the Doctor’s office.  Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.

Kyrie eleison – a short, repeated invocation used in many Christian litergies, especially at the beginning of the Eucharist or as a response in a litany.  Literally, “Lord, have mercy.” Let it not be Greek to me any longer. 

 Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison
Kyrie

The wind blows hard against this mountain side
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gemlike flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light

When I was young I thought of growing old
Of what my life would mean to me
Would I have followed down my chosen road
Or only wished what I could be

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel
Kyrie eleison, through the darkness of the night
Kyrie eleison, where I’m going, will you follow?
Kyrie eleison, on a highway in the light

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Paul continues in Chapter 2 of Philippians with a “therefore.”  In other words, because Christ has given you encouragement, comfort, love, the Spirit, affection, sympathy, and because of his great example of humility, sacrifice, and selflessness, obey.

Obey.  Continue to obey.

This is the foremost command that Paul gives to the Philippians.  The man is in prison, innocently charged; wrongfully convicted.  He doesn’t call upon his church to start a campaign for justice in his name.  He doesn’t ask them for assistance to obtain his rightful freedom.  Paul considers only the gospel and their adherence to it – not himself.  He tells them to obey.

This is what obedience to the gospel in the middle of a hate-filled, antagonistic, unjust world looks like practically:

 Work out your salvation…  Do not be lazy about your spiritual life.  Give Christ your all with blood, sweat, and tears.  Exercise spiritual disciplines like prayer, fellowship, study, fasting, communion, etc. often.  Exercise your spiritual gifts and give support and encouragement to others with them often.  Know what the truth is, know what you believe, and do it.  Work out, spiritually.  This is how you learn to obey God better.

  …with fear and trembling.  Be serious about your spiritual life.  This being a Christian thing is not a joke.  It isn’t a joyride or a ticket to an easier earthly life.  Following Christ is dangerous, difficult, and daring.  If you are not all in and rightly sober about your daily decisions, you will fall.  Beware.  You will be repeatedly, violently, mercilessly attacked by the Enemy.  But be not afraid of him or those who would carry out his work.  Fear only the one who holds your soul.  Fear God alone and treat the gift of salvation he has given with reverence, respect, and the utmost concern and care.  Be serious about your salvation.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning.  Paul is not complaining.  Wrongfully, innocently incarcerated, yet he rejoices.  He instructs.  He prays.  He sings.  He teaches us by his example that there is nothing worthy enough in this world to forfeit our joy for the sake of.  Nothing!  Not injustice.  Not violence.  Not betrayal.  Not workplaces.  Not difficult children.  Not sickness.  Not brokenness.  Not pain.  Not suffering.  Not inconvenience.  Not disappointment.  Nothing!  It’s like Paul is speaking life to us saying, “Don’t you see?  This ‘rule’ against complaining is not given to rob us of the freedom to decompress or draw encouragement in the midst of difficulty.  No!  This command is given so we might pour ourselves out to God – the only one who can perfectly encourage, comfort, love, sympathize, and counsel by his Spirit – and trust him in all circumstances.”  This command is for this explicit reason: that we might pour out our broken heart without losing our joy somewhere in between our self-defeating words of doubt and our self-pitying words of discouragement.  Christ wants to build us up in faith.  It’s hard to do that when we’re constantly tearing ourselves down in dejection and distress.  Ask me how I know.

Obeying the “don’t complain” instruction is not about rule-keeping, brothers and sisters.  It is about joy-keeping.  Paul says it makes us blameless, innocent, and without blemish.  He says trusting God with our pain by sacrificing our illegitimate right to complain makes us look like God’s children.  This sacrifice makes us shine in the darkness of this depraved world because it makes evident our love and trust in the word God has spoken to us.  Not only that, but it makes our leaders and teachers proud.  Proud.  Not proud of themselves, rather, proud of us for doing what they have called us to on Christ’s behalf.  It gives them encouragement; a return for their investment in us.  And that should give us even more joy.  What child doesn’t long to make Daddy and his friends proud?

Paul is not in the business of pointing fingers and wearing us out by unkeepable standards.  Paul just wants us to see what he did.  He wants us to understand that sacrificing our illegitimate rights to the wrong things is a fire that leads directly to our own good.  It is a fire that leads to no-matter-what-joy.  It is a fire that keeps us hopeful, faithful, Christ-centered, and other-centered.  This is how we survive this world without giving up.  It is how he did.

 God, help me obey.

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Throughout Ephesians, Paul has set forth standards for life and relationships for a people who are living in a very corrupt, idolatrous, and ungodly city.  He concludes the book with some important instructions on how to dress.

Armor.  When is the last time someone told you to prepare for war?  Maybe an athletic coach or a drill sergeant has prepped you in the past.  But how about your pastor?

Paul tells the Ephesians to put on armor.  Armor!  His focus is strength and his goal is winning the battles and attacks every Christian is sure to encounter.  So what makes us strong?

Truth.  Paul calls it the belt of truth.  We must know the truth of God because it is our very foundation.  Our belt supports all other garments and keeps them in place.

Righteousness.  Paul refers to this one as a breastplate.  He is not referring to a righteousness gained by works or by any means of our own.  He is referring to the righteousness of Christ. Trusting in his perfect righteousness protects our hearts and gives us the right to stand up to the enemy’s constant accusations.

Readiness.  Like shoes, Paul likens the peace made by Christ through his death on the cross to a readiness to do whatever God calls us to and even meet him if it is our time.

Salvation.  This is our helmet.  The saving power or Christ protects our thoughts and minds from evil.  No one ever acts out sin they have not first thought upon.

The Word of God.  Otherwise known as the Bible, Paul insists that the scripture is our sword.  A sharp, double-edged sword is what we have been given.  Not only that, but also the Holy Spirit to illuminate these divine words and inspire, convict, encourage, and rebuke.  The word of God is both offensive and defensive.  Knowing and doing what the Bible says is a fail safe weapon against Satan’s schemes.

Prayer.  Perhaps the single most important ingredient in this whole soldier suit is prayer.  Jesus himself said that we can do nothing apart from him.  Some of us learn the hard way how true this really is.

Paul concludes the book of Ephesians by urging the people to stay alert, persevere, and pray for all things including him.  He promises to send an informant to them about his work for their encouragement and offers peace, love, faith, grace, and Christ’s incorruptible love to them.

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big6

I’m not into movies.  I can count on one hand the movies I’d enjoy watching a second time.  Most movies violate at least two Loriland principles: 1. Don’t make me sit still 2. Don’t waste my time.  As a rule, I generally avoid movies on days that end in “y.”  I do like reeeeally like popcorn with liquid heart stop syrup, though, which just so happens to be the solitary reason why I submit myself to the theater every once in a while.

Last night was one of those nights.  We took the kids to see Big Hero 6.  With a marshmallow looking robot as the lead role, I assumed it was a tossup as to whether I’d actually be able to keep my eyelids from drooping for the entire 108 minutes.  Quite on the contrary, to my amazement, I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of this story.   I laughed, I cried, and I learned.  And, because I am generally such an anti-movie Nazi, I figure I should at least give credit where credit is due.  For a kid’s movie, Big Hero 6 was surprisingly excellent.

The story is about two very intelligent, albeit orphaned, brothers.  The younger, Hiro, is a prodigy who lacks purpose; the older, Tadashi, is a college student who goes to “nerd school” to build a robot nurse named “Baymax.”

When Tadashi is killed trying to help someone, Hiro is driven to seek revenge.  Since Baymax was designed to be a nurse, he reminds Hiro saying, “I am not fast.”  He upgrades Baymax and makes him a fighter…but with his original healing-centered programming, Baymax can do no harm.

Through a journey of anger, retaliation, revenge seeking, and helplessness, Hiro truly becomes a hero.  When Baymax refuses to comply with Hiro’s anger, corrects him in love, and reminds him of the will of his beloved brother, Hiro finds his purpose.  When Hiro lets go of vengeance towards the deceitful enemies who have robbed him of so much, he is miraculously able to save them from their own reprisals and teach them what he has learned in the process.

Big Hero 6 rightly illustrates how useless it is to return violence for injustice done to us.  It does so in a way that adults cannot miss and children can easily understand.  It requites the bloodthirst in all of us with a subtle, simple message of forgiveness and love.  Baymax teaches Hiro, and us, to turn the other cheek and apprehend (not destroy) evildoers for the sake of the common good – not personal vendettas.  Big Hero 6 is truly a masterpiece.

My Baymax is the Holy Spirit.  He is the gift left by my big brother, Jesus.  He will never allow me to do harm no matter how much I’ve been wronged.  He is not fast.  The work he is programmed for is painstakingly slow.  He refuses to comply with my anger, insists I let go of vengeance, and teaches me how to work towards the salvation, not destruction, of my enemies by ever reminding me of the one I love most – Jesus.  The Spirit of God heals what is broken in us and shows us how to do the same for others – just like Baymax did for Hiro.

Bravo, Disney.  You did it again…on the back of borrowed capital from Christianity.

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Paul has made his deep concern for the Galatians very clear.  He now goes on to offer an allegory for these men which was unmistakable, given their knowledge and background.

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. 23 But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. 24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written,

“Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
    break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
    than those of the one who has a husband.” ~Galatians 4:21-27

 In an effort to reason and help them see what they are doing, Paul questions them.  He’s like, “Hey you guys who think you want to be under the law – do ya remember what it says?  Let’s review…Remember Abraham?  Which one of his sons was from God and which one was from man?  These guys were very different weren’t they?  Hagar represents slavery.  Ishmael was a result of man’s faithless attempt to accomplish God’s will by his own effort.  Trying to keep the law to earn God’s favor is a result of the very same unbelief which brought about Ishmael.  This error results in exile, slavery, and never receives an inheritance from God.

Sarah, however, represents the promise of God.  She had no entitlement.  She had no faith.  She laughed at the very notion of God’s ability to save her from her desolation.  She neither trusted God nor obeyed him in this situation – even after the promise was made to her.  Still, God’s will prevailed despite her.  God’s will prevails to save his children despite them – not because of their own works!”

Now, Paul does something that makes theology geeks get up at 3 a.m. and worship God.  Paul applies the Old Covenant Promise to the New Covenant believers.  He takes God’s Word and he interprets it for us.  He leaves no room for error.  He says:

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” 31 So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman. ~Galatians 4:28-31

Now, you, brothers.  You are not slaves!  You did not come by way of Hagar!  You are Issac’s brothers and sisters.  Stop regarding men who are trying to tell you otherwise and enslave you by your never-going-to-be-good-enough works.  These men are persecuting you because they are slaves; they are jealous; they are excluded by mere virtue of their lack of spiritual birth.  Cast out their ideologies!  Do not let them oppress you any longer!  Spiritual birth does not come from man’s efforts!  Spiritual birth comes from God’s promise!  We are not slaves!  We are free!

Oh! The glory of the truth!  Let no man confine God’s children to a mere game of merit and measuring up!  Let no teacher, no matter how influential, or prominent, or persuasive imprison the people of God!  We cannot be dismissed on account of our failures!!!  Brothers and sisters!  We cannot be dismissed on account of our failures!!!  Hallelujah!  We are saved on account of our faith!  This, not from ourselves, but the very gift of God alone!  We are not slaves, and even if we were, it would not save us!  No amount of morality or law keeping would ever make us righteous!  No amount!  It is our freedom that gives us a heart to obey rightly; to be godly; to love truth; to cease from rebellion.  And that freedom is found in the love bestowed upon us by Christ and his promise.  Therefore, use love to lead.  Use love to lead!  Not the wretched law!  Be like Christ and bestow love and grace in the face of failure.  And when you do, you will find that there is no need to lunge at others with the law.  They will love it, too, because of you.

This is glorious!  Glorious truth!  This is truth that makes a miserable sinner like me want to worship.  This is holy ground.  How beautiful!  How glorious!  How absolutely amazing!  Praise God!  We are not slaves.  We are children of a promise which cannot be broken!  That is what makes us obedient.  That is what gives us the confidence to go hard after God.  That is what we pour our very lives out believing.  The law is nothing more than our accuser.  It is the promise which serves as our motivator.   Amen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlHqG00xCLA

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The worst thing about being a self-published, degree-less, amateur writer is the necessity to be one’s own editor.  This, by far, is the most humbling and awkward position for such a person to be in.  I’m not referring to petty spelling errors or the occasional typo (although those, too, can be quite embarrassing at times.)  No.  There are certain times where the truth becomes so crystal clear after the fact that a writer longs to obtain the magic cyber eraser from the sky and begin again.  But it doesn’t work that way now does it?  Consequently, the only solution is to either spend far more time thinking, praying, and fasting before pressing the fearful “publish” button, to return to the damaged article and correct it, or, to simply bite the bullet and draw the attention of your readers to the fact that you are the farthest thing from perfect that they have ever met…or read.

That said, my red pen is calling me this morning.  I cannot leave any room for doubt.  I must make some corrections in what I previously thought to be publishable.

To whom it may concern:

Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before. ~1 Samuel 17:28-30

Little baby brother is showing big tough front-line brother up.  Big tough front-line brother is mad.  He is mad because he is jealous, prideful, and insecure about his own failure to do that which baby brother has the courage to do.

The writer speaks of her own cowardice and shame concerning that which she is called by her Lord to do.  How many underdogs have quietly shown her up simply by showing up and doing God’s will without talking about it!  She is often beside herself with pride, anger, and jealousy.

Why did you come here small boy?  Just who do you think you are?  I’ll tell you what I think: you are nothing.  You probably left the one itty-bitty responsibility you had unattended.  I know you.  I know what is in your black heart.  You are bored.  You are lazy.  You are just looking for some action in your miserable, purposeless life.  You have no business here on my turf.  You are worthless; better yet, you are evil.  Go back where you came from, inferior.

In her pride, the writer often errs with harsh, repeated diatribes where she should instead be expressing humble gratitude, holy grace, and the deferential  sorrow over her own sin.

Eliab, in his unrighteous anger, used every angle he could find to discredit David.  He sought wholeheartedly to deny him the honor due him for his courage and hunger for righteousness.

The writer often wrongly believes that her anger is righteous and that others’ actions and speech are suspicious, unrighteous, and undeserving of honor.  Because of this, she discounts their efforts and replaces acclamation and thanks to God with disgust, rejection, and unbelief towards God and the people he has chosen to use for his glory.

Nevertheless, David was obedient.  He was zealous for the Lord.  He was courageous, fearless, and wise even despite the towering foe he knew he was about to face and the pain of his brother’s injurious accusations.

Despite all the writer’s sin and suspicion, Jesus was obedient.  He was zealous, courageous, fearless, and wise in her stead.  Jesus paid no mind to Lori’s ridiculous demeanor.

Eliab would not hear of it.  He made sure his false accusations and unfounded charges were loud and clear.  He tells David he is presumptuous as he himself stands presuming upon his innocent brother.

There was no shortage of presumption or accusation.  The writer not only failed to appreciate her brother’s grace, she accused him of that which she was guilty.

David is not fazed.  David answers softly and turns around.  He continues about his Father’s business.  Consider, though, that there are quite a lot of things David could have said or done to defend himself.

Jesus was not fazed by Lori’s absurdity.  Jesus ignored her bogus rants.  He did all that the Father commanded him – for her.  Imagine what she really deserved…

He could have argued.  He could have cried.  He could have owned it.  He could have gone back home.  He could have clocked his brother a good one.  He could have reciprocated his brother’s false accusations.  Doubtless, there are countless ways David could have returned evil for evil.  None of them,however, would result in giving glory to God.

Jesus annihilated the writer with his wit and wisdom.  He wept for her condemned condition.  He owned her sin completely.  He refused to go back home without her.  He crushed her by falling upon her like a stone.  He never accused her.  He uses her imperfections to glorify God.

The bottom line is, David had bigger fish to fry and he knew it.  He’s got no time for this kind of infantile tomfoolery.  David was interested in only one thing – the Lord’s will.  He knew it was not his reputation that was ultimately at stake here; it was the Lord’s!  How important it was for him to overlook the insults being hurled at him and turn away from that mess.  Therefore, he was wise.  He was patient.  He was forgiving.  Such things are apparent by the way he held his peace (save a question or two about the validity of the charges) and, in doing so, kept his peace.

Jesus has a plan that far exceeds any error the writer can make.  He does not let her stupidity slow down his sanctification in her.  He has only one goal – conforming Lori to himself.  He is not concerned in the least with what this means in regards to her reputation; He is concerned about his beautiful child and his worthy Name.  He disregards her foolish, blatant, repeated errors and he allows his flawless wisdom, patience, and forgiveness to reign over her with peace.  He questions her softly and, in his kind mercy and gentle grace, convicts her of the sin she holds most tightly onto.

Likewise, Matthew Henry writes, “Those that undertake great and public services must not think it strange if they be discountenanced and opposed by those from whom they had reason to expect support and assistance; but must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of their enemies’ threats, but of their friends’ slights and suspicions.”

Will walker writes, “Through a variety of means, Satan attacks our children at the level of their identity and purpose. If he can get them to believe that they are nothing more than a sinner (a message propagated through much of the evangelical church), then he can render them useless in the mission of God.” Lord, let it never be said of me again!

The writer offers extensive apologies for her dullness and ignorance.  If there is room in your heart to be like unto her Savior, please forgive her.  May his face shine upon you, be gracious unto you, and give you peace.  Amen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIRk5bebycI

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