Sunday, April 18, 2010

Forever and Ever

God's faithfulness. Because he is God, whatever he is faithful in will be the strongest, most durable thing we've ever seen. So what is God faithful with? His mercy. God's steadfast love and mercy are rampant even in the Old Testament, and it blows us away. Israel has played the part of the unfaithful prostitute, forsaking God for man-made trinkets. God disciplined them, but for some inexplicable reason went outside his covenant, bringing Israel back to him; not because of what they've done, but because of the Lord's steadfast love, which keeps enduring for all of time. Hundreds of years of idolatry/adultery - hundreds of years of saying, "How can I worship what I can't see?" Hundreds of years of saying, "Look at what I've made! Look at what WE'VE done, growing in prosperity and power because of our own strength."

God exiled his people because of this and Israel was dispersed throughout Assyria and would never return to the Promised Land. Judah, however, the barely slightly more righteous half of the kingdom, remained intact even in Babylon. The Lord had prophesied dozens of times about keeping David's line alive and that he would raise the tent of David and restore Judah.

But even before that fully happened, he brought Judah back to the Promised Land! Things were different and though the temple, the house of the Lord, was built, his glory did not fill it. He sent prophets and spoke through them, but you can't help but deny that though this return had been great and God-done, something greater was yet to come. More on that another day, but before You-Know-Who comes, there is still a lot of mercy in how the Lord deals with returned exiles. As Hosea prophesied, he bought the unfaithful prostitute of Judah back, redeemed her and went beyond his covenant to have fellowship with and bless his people who really had done nothing worthy of such acts. He rescued them from being in the possession of another nation, and protected them as they rebuilt the wall and the temple.

In a lot of ways, this is a sign of - a step towards, if you will - future redemption. That redemption is in the past for us, but like I said, more on that another day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ask, Seek, and Knock

I wrote this because God has answered a lot of prayers lately, and I think it's to show me that he'll provide all that I need, no matter how big. Right now, 600 more dollars is big. But God is bigger.

Luke 11:9-10. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

We ask, against all our nature that says "Don't; it's unpredictable and makes you vulnerable." But we do because deep calls out to deep; because deep in us we want something bigger to help us, to guide us, and to speak to us. And it is then we see it is not something, but someone. And this Someone delights in our entreaty, rejoices in our openness, and cares for our needs.

We seek, against all all our nature that says, "Don't; you don't know what you will find and what it will require of you." But we do because embedded in our minds is the experience of incompleteness, of not measuring up. And it is this not measuring up that pushes us out the door to find the "it" that will complete us and make us worthy. But then we see it's not an "it" but a "who," and this Who is infinite and intimate. We learn it is actually this "Who" who sought us first with fiery passion, a steadfast love, and a faithfulness that pours peace over many and would make any old woman blush.

We knock, against all our nature that says, "Don't, no one's going to open, and you can't fulfill what's asked of you anyway." But we do because there is a purpose and a calling for each of us and in our hearts we know it, our blood pulses with it. We want more, so we knock. We know we can't go it alone, so we look to a power source, and realize it is God Almighty, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, who holds our hand and walks us through the door, giving us breath and a purpose to breathe.

"For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened."