God Himself

Recent circumstances (namely – getting laid off a few weeks ago) have given me and my family another opportunity to learn to walk by faith. We have the opportunity to take God at His word that He will not only provide for our needs but also direct our paths.

While I am actively looking for my next job, I have been reading through different scriptures. Most recently I was reading in Deuteronomy (where Moses gives Israel the law, again, just before they enter into Canaan – 40 years late).  In chapter 31, Moses is reminding the nation that God will go before them and will be with them as they enter the new land and fight many battles in order to conquer and claim the land. Verses 3 and 8 caught my attention:

“The LORD your God himself will cross over ahead of you.” (v. 3, NIV)

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you.” (v. 8, NIV).

What really stands out to me the is the emphasis of “himself”.  Who is “himself”?  I know, an obvious answer, but really think about it – this is the God who created everything that exists with a few words and this is the nation that had a knack for perpetual rebellion against God.  God could have sent an angel to lead them – after all, they’re pretty bad dudes, one of whom could wipe out an entire army on his own.  But God chooses to lead His people himself.  He will fight their battles.  This is dripping with grace, that God steps down to lead a grumbling and rebellious people to the fulfillment of a promise that He gave to His chosen people.  He’s giving good things to those who haven’t earned it.  Absolutely amazing!

And the best part is that this was a precursor to Christ, who came, humbled Himself to take our place on the cross, offered us His righteousness, and who will himself lead us into the eternal promised land for those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that He is Lord.

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A spiritual whore?

I may have caught your attention with the title of this post.  It’s based on a song I’ve heard several time’s lately.  It’s Derek Webb‘s song, Wedding Dress.  Here are the lyrics:

If you could love me as a wife
and for my wedding gift, your life
Should that be all I’d ever need
or is there more I’m looking for

and should I read between the lines
and look for blessings in disguise
To make me handsome, rich, and wise
Is that really what you want

I am a whore I do confess
But I put you on just like a wedding dress
and I run down the aisle
and I run down the aisle
I’m a prodigal with no way home
but I put you on just like a ring of gold
and I run down the aisle to you

So could you love this bastard child
Though I don’t trust you to provide
With one hand in a pot of gold
and with the other in your side

I am so easily satisfied
by the call of lovers so less wild
That I would take a little cash
Over your very flesh and blood

Because money cannot buy
a husband’s jealous eye
When you have knowingly deceived his wife

I was caught off-guard the first time I heard this song as most “Christian” songs aren’t this blunt.  Yet it’s a great description of how our lives are often lived.  Far too often we seek satisfaction in things other than in Christ.  Like Israel, we become lovers of things other than God Himself.   C.S. Lewis stated it best:

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

We have access to the deepest riches and pleasures in God’s presence (Ps 16:11) and yet we often settle for that which is worthless.  Thankfully, God’s grace exceeds our greatest sin and He loves us for reasons I do not understand.   He  pursues us and continues to be faithful even when we’re not.  The greatest demonstration of His love is that He came into the slums to pull us out of the mud.  May we recognize the depth and richness of His grace and His love.  And may He be praised.