Sunday, September 30, 2012
Welcome to Day 273 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Zechariah 7:8, “And the word of the Lord came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.'”
This chapter is a picture of the ultimate state of the kingdom of God, when God brings His final and fullest blessings on His people. RSB
13 “As you have been an object of cursing among the nations, O Judah and Israel, so will I save you, and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong.”
Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
(Sound familiar? See Mark 11.)
Luke 13:14, “Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
Seems Jesus loved healing people, especially on the Sabbath… it really irritated the religious leaders! They didn’t have compassion or understand the true purpose of the Sabbath.
As western-Christian-Gentiles, it’s not easy for us to fully understand the Sabbath and its significance.
Keep in mind, in the Old Testament, the keeping of the Sabbath was critical. One could be stoned to death for not “keeping” the Sabbath! (See Numbers 15.)
Just like when the priests asked Zechariah if they should continue fasting… They had missed the point. Why were they fasting? Was it a ritual? Or did it have meaning and purpose?
Jesus was amazing at getting to the heart of a matter. His comparison of healing to letting your ox or donkey out to get water… unbinding them… setting them free. He said there was no difference.
Again, it sounds ludicrous to us, because we are not bound by the Sabbath as they were. But the principles still apply. It is still easy to become religious and miss the point. God desires mercy, not sacrifice and obedience is better than sacrifice. Love God. Love your neighbor.
I hope I never become like the Pharisees, hardened to my own shortcomings and yet, really good at pointing out other people’s. Binding up burdens and laying them on people’s backs and not being willing to lift a finger to help them. They “washed the outside of the cup” but “the inside of their cups was filthy.”
It’s pretty easy to put on a show. To put on my best Christian face. To say all the right things. To give the appearance of having it all together when, in reality, we could be falling apart.
I guess that would still be better than the Pharisees who didn’t even try. They were blinded by their own pious attitudes… confident of their own righteousness. And missing the point every step along the way.
It’s funny, I’m not sure it’s really any easier to live under grace than the law…
At some level, we all default to, “It’s ok… God will forgive me.”
Fill in the blank yourself as to what the “it” is.
Honestly, in recent weeks, I’ve had a hard time staying motivated to write this blog. I really want to do it well… not just do it because I have to, or because it’s expected. And I don’t want to see it as “being obedient” and thinking that is good enough. I really want to give it my best every day.
I have found myself extremely tired of hearing about Israel and Judah and all their ups and downs, disobedience and turning away. Slavery and exile.
Then God restoring them… again. I mean that’s great news, but following their 1,500 year roller coaster ride hasn’t been easy for me, personally.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that God keeps his covenant! And that he forgives and restores!
We all need that. I need that!
We have all been at this now for 273 days. Fewer than 100 days left on our journey!
I am determined to finish strong.
I just wanted you to know, if you have been struggling a bit to stay engaged or to keep up… so have I. I feel like I sound like a broken record…
By sharing my struggle with you, for me, it helps me to make sure that I am not simply cleaning the outside of the cup, while the inside is dirty. That was the issue. No transparency. Pretending they were better than they were.
If you don’t mind, I’d rather just keep it real.
Lord, thank you for your word. That it gives life… I thank you that you speak to me regularly, daily as I do this journal. Help me to never lose sight of that you want relationship, not just obedience. It’s about spending time with you, not writing a blog.