Summary: God’s committed persistence for His people to work out his new holy way in them.
A Holy New Thing
February 19, 2006
This week our 5-year-old son Luke, Deb and I began to read The Horse and His Boy book #3 in the Chronicles of Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis.
After reading the 2nd chapter in this book, Luke had a disturbed and frightened look on his face. The reason for his look related to what he had just heard read to him. In chapter 2 of, the young boy Shasta, a little older thank Luke’s age, over hears his supposed father making a deal with a stranger. This deal would result in Shasta being sold to him for the rest of his life.
As I was reading the words myself for the 1st time - I was thinking how I might respond to Luke if indeed he was disturbed by the words we were reading. So when indeed he was - Deb and I both assured and reminded him of the fact and truth that he has heard dozens of times in his life.
"Son, there is nothing you can ever do to make us stop loving you."
"Luke, there is nothing you could ever do that would make us stop loving you."
My Son, we will never sell you, abandon you, give you to anyone. For there is nothing
you can ever do to make us stop loving you."
After a bit of convincing, some reassurance, some hugs and kisses, we had turned his frightened face into one with a measure of peace on it.
And Saints - Saints in the making - the same words are said to us by our God in our Bible. The truth of these words are lived out time and again by our God. Though there must have been times when God was tempted to discard us - never once did he, never once has he, and never will he - ever turn his back, sell us out, or abandon us. "Nothing you have done, or doing, or will do will ever stop our Almighty God from loving you."
One of the times we put God to the test in this area is recorded for us in the book of Isaiah. Before we look at our specific text. I’d like to read to you a bit of chapter 1, page 1059. Isaiah is a spokesman, the mouthpiece of God. God is going to use him to speak truth into the lives of his people. God is going to speak through Isaiah in order to cause his people to realize their wayward ways, their propensity toward rebellion. God is going to use Isaiah to worn the people of the consequences of such a life - upcoming imprisonment, death, destruction, separation and sorrow. This he doesn’t hide - in fact the 1st 39 chapters are called the Book of Judgement. But there is another side, the rest of the story found in the final chapters, chapters 40-66 called the messages of Hope and Comfort that demonstrate the truth that "There was nothing these people could do, to make our God stop loving them."
(The Message - Isaiah 1:2-ff)
"I had children and raised them well, and they turned on me. The ox knows who’s boss, the mule knows the hand that feeds him, but not Israel. My people don’t know up from down. Shame! Misguided God-dropouts, staggering under their guilt-baggage, Gang of miscreants, band of vandals-- My people have walked out on me, their God, turned their backs on the Holy of Israel, walked off and never looked back."
Saints - turn to your neighbor and say, "Not much has changed. You’re a sinner and I’m a sinner." Though these words were written around 2700 years not much has changed. We are a rebellious people. A hurting people, people who self-medicate, self-intoxicate, read self-help books, listen to tapes and watch gurus on TV to try to fix what is eternally true of us. We go to medical doctors seeking help with this sickness, with this illness and in doing so spend hundreds of dollars. Others go to the courts, to the Judicial System, to try to put an end to the lawlessness that pervades those that do spend hundreds trying to govern right behaviors.
There is a role for doctors and lawyers to help us with our physical ailments and to help pursue justice, but the root of our problem is sin. You and I are sinners. You and I fall short of the glory of God. But what is different about our God is that, though this sin separates us from Him, He will not let it separate Him from us.
"There is nothing we can do to make God stop loving us." Yes? Yes. Yes
Though there are 39 chapters of God naming our behavior as disgusting, disgraceful and a rampant disease running through his people, there are 26 chapters that speak hope to us in our situation.