Sunday, March 13, 2016

lifting Jesus up

The Word for today:
Jeremiah 2:1-3:5
I've read a gazillion words and I've written a billion, but some of the saddest words I've ever encountered are in the second chapter of Jeremiah.
So it makes me sad to write this. Because there's no avoiding God's broken heart in today's reading.
Have you ever been forsaken? God was. Have you been deserted? God was. Rejected? He was that, too.
Scorned? Mocked? Demeaned? Our holy, holy, holy God was, was, was and is, is, is.
Such a broken and vulnerable heart is revealed in these verses that I want to shield my eyes. I don't want to see Jesus this way. He'd handed his heart to Israel, and they handed it back:
Remember the springtime of our love?
"I remember how faithful you were when you were young, how you loved me when we were first married; how you belonged to me alone; you were my sacred possession." (Jeremiah 2:2-3/GNT)
What's wrong with me, that you left me?
"What fault did your fathers find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?"
 (Jeremiah 2:5)
You never really cared.
"They did not care about me, even though I rescued them from Egypt and led them through the wilderness." (Jeremiah 2:6/GNT)
It's difficult for us to hold two pictures in mind at the same time--the creator of the universe and the man on the cross. But we must if we are to know him. His hand is revealed in creation. But his heart is revealed at the cross.
So if you want to look deep into the heart of God, look at the cross. That's how God feels about you.
If you want to look deep into the heart of man, look at the cross. That's how man feels about God.
God picked us up when we fell down. But who amongst us can pick God up?
A man called Simon from Cyrene once helped Jesus when he'd fallen down. I don't know the theology of all this. In fact, I don't think theology has anything to do with it. God fell down and Simon helped him, carrying his cross. (Luke 23:26)
We can do the same. We can lift His Spirit. One of my favorite passages in the New Testament is when Jesus gave an assignment, the disciples followed his instructions, and they returned to tell him the results. In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit, we are told; and then he let them peek into the supernatural through his eyes, informing them that as they had carried out his directions, he "was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." (Luke 10:18-21/NASB)
We hate to see him the way we saw him today. So let's figure out a way to lift him up:
Bless the Lord, O my soul
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
Bless the Lord, all His works,
In all places of His dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul! 
 (Psalm 103:20-22)

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