Tuesday, February 28, 2006
“For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” (Heb.7:26)
Notice the verse does not say He became like us; that would have been magnanimous. No; He literally became us. And, humanly speaking, that was ridiculous. In fact while He lived among us, He was ridiculed over and over for that very fact. When I read the book of Hebrews I get the idea that its writer was as blown away by the Incarnation as I am (e.g., chap. 1). Then, as if to underscore just how unreasonable it is, he lists some of our Lord’s myriad virtues that mark Him as being nothing like us: “…holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” For what earthly reason, one could surely ask, would such a One as He, choose to become us? And there you have it. It was not for any earthly reason, but, rather, a heavenly purpose.
He had to become us, so that we could become Him (Jno.17:22-23). It had to be an even exchange. He became us, without sin; and we became Him; without deity. Frankly, our transformation is as unfathomable to me as His Incarnation. He did not deserve to die, and I did not deserve to live. But He could not live and die for us without actually becoming us; and we cannot die and live in Heaven without becoming Him. It has to be an even exchange.
I don’t begin to understand all the implications of this, but I do understand the imputation, because I am a grateful participator in this Holy exchange. And I say with Isaac Watts:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul…my life…my all.
Monday, February 20, 2006
“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” (Jer.8:22)
In the last four verses of Jeremiah eight, the prophet sounds much like a gynecologist, addressing maladies of women. He even sympathizes in verse twenty-one by saying, “For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt.” Setting aside the historical significance of these verses about a backslidden nation of Israel, they remind me of women who are hurt, but who look for healing in all the wrong places. Peace of mind in not found in a pill, but a Person; emotional healing cannot be accessed in books, but in the Bible; and the source of true love is not a good man, but the God-Man. Medication may work in the short run, but it’s only a stop-gap, not a cure. Books—even Christian ones—may provide insight, but they cannot claim Spirit infusion. And a good man can meet many needs a woman may have, but not the greatest need: peace.
Jeremiah wonders why health is not restored to the “daughter,” when there is a Great Physician standing by with soothing salve for every aching soul. As with all remedies, however, it must be appropriated. But, so often, not until we’ve “suffered many things of many physicians” and “spent all that [we] have, emotionally, do we turn to the only One who is able to say, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace…” (Mark 5:34)
“Is there no balm in Gilead?” Answer: “Yes” “Is there no physician there?” Answer: “Yes, there is” These are simply rhetorical questions with obvious answers. But here’s a real one for you: “Why then is not the daughter of my people recovered?” And that’s a question, “daughters,” only you can answer.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Today is Valentine’s Day, so I’ll take the occasion to address something that has bothered me for some time now—pre-nuptial vows. Not that I’m against vows, mind you. It’s just the legal contract this term has come to mean that I question. I realize that, most often, it involves individuals of means, and, therefore, I may not be as sympathetic as others might be. My husband and I have had enough money through the years to quibble over from time to time but certainly not enough to warrant taking someone to law! But the idea has always seemed to me to be a presumption of failure.
Actually, my husband and I did make some pre-nuptial vows. They went something like this:
“I,_____, take thee,_____, to my wedded husband/wife, to have and to
hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer,
in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part,
according to God’s holy ordinance, and thereto I plight thee my troth.”
Those quaint words, “plight thee my troth,” mean “to pledge one’s faith in solemn agreement or undertaking.” A vow, or a covenant, is only as good as the good faith of the ones who enter into it. The health, wealth, or temperament of the other party is of no consequence. When I entered into the covenant of marriage, it was “according to God’s holy ordinance,” therefore, to breach that agreement involves not only my husband, but God.
I am blessed that the one with whom I joined in the sacred covenant of marriage is still the sweetheart of my life. Love is a choice, and I made a good one!
Living for one another,
Observing kindness true,
Vowing unending devotion,
Enjoying each day as new.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
“…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day.” (2 Tim.1:12)
It’s probably safe to say, the “that” which Paul claims to have committed to God against the day when he would stand before Him, was his soul. Having said that, I think we will miss a great benefit if we limit that principle to the next life. Just as faith is not all squandered in salvation, commitment does not end at the Cross.
Once we have committed our souls to Him for all eternity, does it not make sense to commit everything else outside our capabilities to Him also? After all, it says of our Lord that He “committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1Pet.2:23). It was not His soul He was committing to the Father, but His will. We say so easily, “Well, I’m just going to commit it to the Lord.” But in the dark of night, those areas in our lives outside our control, but within our sphere of worry, are apt to rear their heads, if they are not truly committed to God.
The key to victory in this particular battle is recognition and realization of the first part of the phrase. “[I] am persuaded that he is able…” It’s imperative that we face ourselves and understand that we hesitate to commit something to someone else, if we are not sure he or she is capable of taking care of it. We find it hard to delegate authority as long as we think no one else can do things as well as we. If Jesus considered God to be trustworthy enough to commit His earthly life to, pray tell me, why should you or I hesitate to commit to Him all the needless worries we hug to our breasts?
He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him—people, possessions, health, future, all of it. It’s not a question of His capability, but my “commit-ability.” And of that I am persuaded.