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3rd Commandments

June 29, 2009 Leave a comment
The Good Shepherd (Ravenna)

The Good Shepherd (Ravenna)

If you haven’t guessed, I’m working my way through each of the 10 Commandments and meditating upon the glory that I believe is revealed and guarded in the command. This is not comprehensive but thoughts that come to mind after spending the last 18 months reflecting on these grand and wondrous Words.

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. (Deut. 5:11)

Blessed be the our Lord Creator and Ruler of all times, all places, and all peoples. We bow our knees and confess, “Jesus is Lord, Jesus is King, Jesus is Savior.” We confess Jesus as the name above every name. We lift our voices to the Lamb of God who is worthy of all praise and honor and glory and power and wisdom.

We rejoice that the Father in heaven has adopted into the family of God through our Lord Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for sealing us with the Spirit of Truth, who teaches us to say, “Jesus is Lord.” Not simply with our mouths but with our lives. The word of truth articulated and translated in our tongues, in our hearts, in our hands and in our feet.

We rejoice King Jesus in your righteous rule. We didn’t know what greatness was, we didn’t know what glory was, we didn’t know what beauty was, until you came. You revealed the rule of the Father in the heart of a servant. Clothed in glory and dwelling in unapproachable light, you precede all things, all thoughts, all referents. No idea, no concept, no word can contain you, the Lord of Glory.

And yet.

Instead of grasping for glory and power and honor (which are all yours), you let go and humiliated Yourself before all creation and entered into creation as Word made Flesh; as servant; as criminal; as the cursed scapegoat of all our violence, all our cruelty, all our pain, all our brokenness, all our sin. You carried all of the darkness and pain and evil of the world upon yourself.

In dying, you poured out your body, your love, your life into the Father’s hand who raised you up by His Spirit and exalted you above every name. We glorify this name. We honor this name. We bow before this name. We swear fealty to this name.

We confess this name by Your Holy Spirit.

By the great and wondrous Grace of Your Spirit, we’ve been caught up in your Righteous Rule and we rejoice. We’ve been taken up to the throne. We’ve been set in a family: the family of God. We’ve been made kings and priests of our Lord Jesus, the King of all Kings.

May our words and our hands and our feet and our hearts become an anthem of praise and glory and honor unto the true King, the Kinsman-Redeemer, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Advent – Waiting on the Light

December 4, 2008 Leave a comment

Advent begins in darkness.

The children of God stumble and fall … into captivity. Cast into outer darkness. The Temple burns. The Promised Land is desert.

The land where milk and honey flowed lies waste. The lonely howl of hyenas echo across the desert plane. Jackals wander the ruined palaces. Wild goats and owls now dwell in this place that has become “no place.”

And the people once named by God now lie in chains with “no name.” Called to be a blessing, they’ve fallen under the curse. Called to bring the light of righteousness to the world, they multiplied the darkness of wickedness instead.

Century after century after century, they mocked the commands of God. They abandoned their high calling. They forsook YHWH, the Lord God who redeemed them from Egypt.

Finally, the Lord said, “Enough!”

And their idols became their captors, dragging them into exile and destroying their homeland.

Now they sit in darkness–no longer a people. Only the ache of loss and regret remains. In this place of darkness, of absence, of exile, Advent begins.

There is no laughter, no song, no joy in Babylon. Only weeping.

The people weep and wail and lament. They cry out to God for mercy. In their deep grief, these cursed people become the blessing they were created to become. For now their cry becomes the cry of an entire world, languishing in outer darkness.

And God hears their cry.

In the dark oblivion of hopelessness, they hear the light wonder of God’s promise. Isaiah’s words pierce the hellish night of captivity with hope:

“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Is 11:1)

A king will come from the house of David. A king will come. And,

“The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” (Is 11:2)

This king will fear the Lord. This king will restore justice. This king will slay the wicked. This king will renew the land. This king will gather the children of Israel from the four corners of the world. This king will bless all nations.

And this king will be called, “Immanuel,” meaning “God with us.” When this king comes, Israel will know that God has returned to redeem and restore His people.

Their prayers were answered. The King came. The hope of this promised king became a light for all people living in darkness.

During Advent, we meditate upon this King whose light overcame the darkness. We meditate upon Immanuel, God with us.

God came to dwell among His people in and through Jesus. King Jesus entered into the darkness of His suffering people. King Jesus entered into the exile of His people cast into outer darkness. King Jesus drank the cup of suffering and hopelessness and pain caused by the sins of His people.

King Jesus took the griefs. King Jesus bore the sorrows. King Jesus bowed under the crushing stripes of judgment … for our healing.

During Advent, we watch and wait for King Jesus. He alone is our hope. He alone is the hope of the world. He alone brings light to a world stumbling in the darkness of captivity.

As we wait and watch, let us bring our sorrows, our desert places, our griefs, our sicknesses before King Jesus. As we cry out for the coming of King Jesus into our own brokenness, let us bring, bear the brokenness of a world crying out in desperation.

Let us cry out on behalf those suffering in Sudan. Let us weep for grieving in Mumbai. Let us bear the dark struggles of those languishing in Somalia. Let us share in the burdens of weak, frail, poor, forgotten, abandoned, forsaken, and dying. Let us cry out afresh for the coming of King Jesus.

We have known the light of love that pierces the dark death of hopelessness. Let us pray and give and act on behalf of all those suffering in this world. May they know hope and peace and joy and love. May the rule of King Jesus bring the light of justice and healing and restoration to all those cast into all the outer darknesses of this planet.

Categories: Advent Tags: , , , ,

Jesus as the True King of Israel

March 31, 2008 Leave a comment

Jesus comes as the Messiah, the true King of Israel who serves with his life. He brings us into the land and fulfills the Law. Listen to a description from Deuteronomy 17 of the good king:

14 “When you come to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, and say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ 17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
18 “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.

I am thinking it would be interesting to work through each aspect of the king’s responsibility in relation to the law and find Jesus fulfillment in the NT. Some jump out immediately. Then how does this relate to the land (world) today as we serve the good King?

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