March 25, 2008
""Come now, let us reason together" says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."" (Isaiah 1: 18)
I normally write "Tuesday's" on Monday. However, if my sweet angel of a daughter doesn't go into labor this weekend, she will start being induced on Monday. Because I wouldn't miss writing to you for anything in the world, here I am at the keys on Saturday afternoon.
I have been way too self-focused of late. While, thank you, Jesus, I have had awesome moments of ministry in the last couple of weeks, too many of my thoughts and prayers have been all about me, my sins, my shortcomings. I would venture to say that many of my recent days have been Saturdays in my soul. Trying to make some sense out of all of this, won't you come along with me... just in case you're relating in any way to what I'm saying?
Not much is recorded in the Bible about that Saturday. You know the one I mean. The sound of the nails, fastening their Hope to the cross on Friday, was still ringing in their ears. The only words that refer to that day are found in Luke 23: 56. Listen to this: "The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment." Let me go back and read that again...they "rested"? I don't know about you, but this woman would have found it quite hard to rest. The Greek word used for "rested" is "hesuchazo" and means "to be still, to rest from labor". According to their custom and God's commandments, which were still in full force despite the events of the day, the Sabbath rest was observed.
I will concede a physical rest to those women. But what about in their souls? What about in the deepest recesses of their hearts? Could they have truly been at rest? Interestingly enough, the same word, "hesuchazo" is used elsewhere in the Bible to mean "holding one's peace". Sometimes we just don't "hesuchazo" very well, do we? Holding one's peace is hard when circumstances and situations beat us up. When things don't turn out the way we thought that they would. When life isn't fair and we just plain can't seem to get it together the way we know God wants us to. "Hesuchazo" is hard when Friday has stolen your hopes and your dreams and all of your joy. Now it's Saturday and you don't know what lies ahead.
Sometimes those Saturday's come when we are feeling beaten down by our past or by our present sin. Let me know if you're feeling this one at all. "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man (woman) I am!" (Romans 7: 15 and 21-24a) Oh, Paul...it's as if you were reading my mind! In my inner being, I love God's Word. I absolutely delight in His law and His ways and His commands and not the least of which, I delight in Him. I cannot adequately describe my delight and joy in following your ways, O Lord! So why do I continue to do those things that I don't want to do? Why don't I do those things that I should? Are you feeling this one at all? "Who will rescue us from this body of death?" (v. 24b) Where is there any hope for us? Look at verse 25: "Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Because we are "in Him", "there is now no condemnation" for us! (Romans 8:1) Because of Him, we have true "hesuchazo".
Last night we experienced a snow storm that seemed so out of place for the weekend of Easter. I was outside very early this morning, before anyone had disturbed the snow, and God reminded me of something that was written thousands of years before those words of my friend Paul. "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1: 18) When God says that He wants to "reason" with us, He is using a law term that is used of arguing, convincing, or deciding a case in court. We are to be convinced that our sins are like blood-colored stains on our souls, but God in His grace, through His Son, Jesus Christ, has decided the case against us and has made those sins spiritually white like that snow I saw in my own backyard. I am truly forgiven and free from anything that would condemn me. When the devil and my own mind take me to court...case closed!!
My hand held the hammer that drove the spikes into my Savior's hands. And occasionally I drive them in afresh. Scarlet sins shed innocent crimson blood that Friday. But we know something that those women didn't know. Sunday was coming, and Jesus would rise, so there could truly be hope. Hope in Christ. No condemnation. Sins like scarlet made white as snow. I am free to take my eyes off of myself and fix my eyes on Christ. I may be sick of me, but I'm so in love with Him! That, my dear one, can give me "hesuchazo" rest on this Saturday afternoon.
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