Sunday, January 10, 2016

take care


Unfortunately becoming a better speller did not make my son's list of new year's resolutions, but the rest of these are pretty amazing. Apparently he is reliving my childhood angst of not being able to whistle, a skill I couldn't master until college.

 My notes for this year's advent devotional started with an excerpt from Jeremiah 3: 6-11:

The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.” And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. (ESV)
Israel forsook the Lord to worship other gods, playing the part of prostitute, yet it is treacherous Judah, who is called out here for making only a show of holiness while her heart was still black with sin. I was hoping to explore the theme of holiness in the book of Hebrews this year, but this passage made me tremble with the weight of that task. All throughout Deuteronomy, the Lord warns the Israelites to take care to do this or take care to do that. All of these thoughts are echoed in Hebrews 3:12, "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God."

Take care...

The words come to me when I wake up in the morning, when I lie down at night, when I talk to Quinn, and I am convicted of my lack of intentionality about most of the relationships in my life. Then comes chapter 11 of Hebrews with descriptions amazing faith, a particularly discouraging passage to read for those of us convicted of our lack of faith.  But this year I found myself unusually comforted after reading it a little differently. Abraham? Oh yeah, that was the guy who was so afraid of foreign kings that he pretended his wife was his sister. And Sarah? Yeah, she laughed in disbelief when she was told she would conceive. And then there's that liar Jacob, the braggart Joseph, the fearful Moses, the prostitute Rahab... These are my kind of people. I can hang with some broken, ugly sinners longing for a better country.

This is my season for cultivating longing. I pray that I would become more intentional in my relationships. I pray that I would take care to do and not do whatever the Holy Spirit presses upon me. But most of all I pray to cultivate a heart of longing that, despite the inevitable detours into sin, always presses on towards that new and better country.

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