Psalm 26:2-3 (ESV) Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.
Well, God is good! He is patient. Loving. Kind. He gives me the time I need to calm down and circle back to Him – time and time again. It is hard sometimes to keep our mind, will and emotions focused on the Father and centered on the Son. Especially, when angry, hurt, betrayed, offended or any other of the plethora of feelings in the human makeup. Shielding my heart and warding off the fiery darts attempting to penetrate the soft, broken surface to produce callus, hard spots. Ugh! People are tough. This morning I have calmed in anger, the sting of betrayal a little less painful and as I sit in the quiet before the sun rises, I can feel Him softly shining on me.
Prove me, O Lord. Try me. Test my heart and my mind. The words on the paper fall easily from our lips but are the very essence of growing faith and maturing in Jesus Christ. To live the Words and not just read them. For your steadfast love is before my eyes and I walk in your faithfulness. It’s funny how sometimes reading the Word of God – subtleties are missed. For His Steadfast Love is before my eyes not my weak affection that I try to display for Him. For I walk in His Faithfulness for though I strive to be faithful it just isn’t in me apart from Jesus Christ. This is so important when faced with the test. I can do all things through Christ but very little of worth in and of myself.
Hosea 3 (ESV)
And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.
What in the world? Who could ever imagine this kind of drama in the Bible? It is like a made-for-tv movie or reality show. The Lord tells Hosea to go take back his wife who has given herself to another. She is called a whore and some scholars believe she was a prostitute. Yet God tells him to take back the adulteress. Now I know what you are thinking…heck no! Not going to happen! But to gain perspective of ourselves on a regular and ongoing basis is to see ourselves not in Hosea but Gomer. How many times does God redeem us with His Love? We stray and wander becoming unfaithful and adulterous with the world and things of the world. If only our heart and mind could conceive the sheer beauty of redemption, it might be easier to love and care for others from the same vastness given to us. God has redeemed us – over and over again. Each time repentance falls from our lips and empties our heart – God fills us with His Grace and Goodness. Every single time… Sin is filthy to the Lord. It is a slap in the face. Every single sin…every single time it is committed – willingly or unwillingly – knowingly or unknowingly. To understand the magnification of redemption is to know the magnitude of sin.
Jams 2:10-13 (ESV) For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Mercy triumphs over judgment. It is the law of liberty that allows us to live under the dispensation of grace. However, in all the positive efforts and good choices – one might somehow be misguided into thinking that humans are capable of steadfast love and faithfulness outside of the Lord. Not true! In all the good things I do the only good thing in me is still Jesus! One sin taints the whole body. It is poison in the well of the soul making it unsuitable for consumption so one must rely on Jesus to clean and purify us each day. This leaves no room for judgment because as those redeemed by God there is nothing to impute. Everyone will stand together before the Judgment Seat one day and give account for our life.
Today I am humbled as the Lord yet again reminds me just how much I need Him. I was angry – now I am not. I was fuming – now I am calm. I was unsettled – now I have peace. None of it at the expense of another but fully paid for by Christ. Sometimes it’s hard to be angry and sin not. The only way it is accomplished is to look deep within ourselves. I am redeemed. Nothing can change that. It doesn’t matter how steadfast my love for the Lord seems or even for those around me – if I cannot live in steadfast love for everyone including my enemies – I fall short of the Law and have sinned yet again. It doesn’t matter how faithfully I serve the Lord in my family, home, church, workplace and even when no one is around – if I do it without love – I still miss the mark. What does this means? His Grace is enough for me. I must rely on it fully or become like Gomer. The Lord will redeem those who choose to live in the humility of love and grace because mercy will always triumph over judgment.
Micah 6:8 (ESV) He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?