Me with my lovely wife, Kathy:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two worthwhile pieces by other guys:

I read stuff on Front Porch Republic fairly often. I find Mark Mitchell to be thoughtful, and kind, even when he is taking on issues with which he very much disagrees. Here is an article he wrote about Ms. Coach. I've been teaching a group of Junior Hi kids in Sunday School about gender-role models, etc., so I found the article quite interesting.
(I need to say that there are some articles on FPR with which I disagree. In fact I find some of them needlessly insulting. It is not a Christian site, but if you know how to eat fish, you may find some stuff worth thinking about there.

Then there is an aritcle that encourages me greatly. My son, Chad, has been on a major Christian-growth curve for the past couple of years. Here is an article that gives some of his thoughts on a rich Old-Testament passage. Not bad for a guy who manages chickens.
He's still working on it, but it is worth thinking about.

Micah 7:16-20

16 All the nations of the world will stand amazed
at what the LORD will do for you.
They will be embarrassed
at their feeble power.
They will cover their mouths in silent awe,
deaf to everything around them.
17 Like snakes crawling from their holes,
they will come out to meet the LORD our God.
They will fear him greatly,
trembling in terror at his presence.
18 Where is another God like you,
who pardons the guilt of the remnant,
overlooking the sins of his special people?
You will not stay angry with your people forever,
because you delight in showing unfailing love.
19 Once again you will have compassion on us.
You will trample our sins under your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
20 You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love
as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.

I think that I am finally, maybe, starting to understand God’s grace. I have been thinking about this passage for a long time. I used it as an example in a lesson I taught a few Sundays back, and realized that there was just so much more here, than I had originally seen. Verse by verse, we see so much of who God is, and what His grace is all about. We see a picture of who God truly is and what makes Him happy. He is powerful, sovereign, Holy, fully at rule. Yet unfailingly loving, faithful, compassionate, timeless.

We see a picture of the awesome power of the Lord. Nations will be embarrassed by their feeble power! Even crawling out of their holes like snakes to come and meet the Lord our God, in total awe! Sheepishly, scared, reverent, yet compelled to come. This is an amazing picture of a sovereign God, completely at rule. His rule can not be questioned! Even nations, powerful nations, are feeble in comparison. I picture leaders stricken silent, with the sudden knowledge that their words don’t measure up in HIS presence. Snakes crawling out of their holes, fearing Him but coming to meet Him. It is impossible to view a right picture of God, seeing Him for who He truly is (Holy, Sovereign) and not be in awe, not fear Him and tremble at our unworthiness to be in His presence. Our unworthiness in comparison to His Holiness demands consequence. There is no hiding, so we come out of our holes, trembling at the thought of what we deserve, knowing that He has all power, knowledge and authority to exact our deserved consequences on us.
As I read the verses again, I wonder, “Do I ever come to a place where I am in awe of the Father? Where the sounds of the world around me, all its distractions are inaudible due to my complete attention on Him?” Am I ever intentional about seeing Him for all He is? Then bowing in awe?
This is fast becoming one of my favorite passages in the Bible. Maybe the truest picture of God’s grace that I have ever read.
In verse 18, the author recognizes that ONLY God can pardon. The same God who causes nations to be embarrassed and feel feeble as they tremble, is the God who pardons! He hates my sin, but does not stay angry with me! And why? Because He DELIGHTS in showing me unfailing love. It makes Him happy to love me! The God who puts nations to trembling, DELIGHTS in showing me his unfailing love.
His Power is shown in v19, and His power stems out of compassion. Even in His power HE is showing me unfailing love. Out of compassion he exacts consequence upon my sin, and NOT upon me. Out of compassion he acts in great power, not toward me, but toward my sin. He sees me separate from my sin.
V19b, I love this part: He TRAMPLES my sins under His feet and he throws them into the depths of the ocean! He ALWAYS wins over evil. Sin has no place with Him, and puts it away from Him! Picture that, a rock being thrown into the ocean. How insignificant and forgotten that rock becomes in the expanse of an ocean! It barely makes a ripple, maybe a small splash and then, it is consumed, it disappears, it is gone. And not only is it under water, but the waves of the ocean and the currents of the water continually bury it further under. Even breaking it down further, until it is gone, unrecognizable, forgotten forever.
I can in my mind picture throwing enough rocks into a river or a small lake to be able to finally discern a pile of rocks, maybe even change the flow or landscape of the body of water, But an ocean? Dumptrucks of my sin (rocks) could be dumped into an ocean of grace and still they would be buried, and rendered insignificant under the waves. His grace is like the ocean! He throws my sin into an ocean of grace. He forgets my sin, but remembers me with unfailing love. That is what God’s grace looks like.
And finally, verse 20, He will show me His faithfulness and unfailing love just as He promised Abraham and Jacob. His promises are still true, and just as relevant as they were in the Old Testament. Our God is timeless, and His promises never expire. I can rest on the same promises as Abraham and Jacob. God is eternal. Eternally Good. Eternally powerful. Eternally Loving. Eternally Holy. Eternal Grace.
Thank you Father for your ocean of grace. For trampling sin underfoot. For loving me unfailingly. For Delighting in your love for me.

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