Monday, October 29, 2012

God's Grace in the Judges

"But when they cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, who saved them. The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, so that he became Israel's judge and went to war. The LORD gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died." 
     -- Judges 3:9-11 (NIV)

When most Christians read this violent Book of Judges, grace does not seem to come across as an abounding factor; but it is. These wicked Israelites deserved nothing but punishment and rebuke for the evil they did in the eyes of the LORD. But when they cried out to God, he gave them what they didn't deserve: a warrior by the name of Othniel, who defeated the Aramites for them and gave them peace for 40 years. This cycle happens several times in this Book with many different judges, and each time, the grace of our LORD abounds. When we cry out to God, he gives us what we don't deserve: forgiveness... Forgiveness through his son Jesus Christ... our deliverer... and the one who bring us peace. Not for 40 years, but for eternity.

-- Jonathan

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Keep Me as the Apple of Your Eye

I was planning on blogging on Judges today, but after reading a verse in Deuteronomy a few days ago, I have to go back to the Torah for one more week.

"In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye."
     -- Deuteronomy 32:10 (NIV)

This verse, which is echoed in Psalm 17:8, appears in my favorite non-Divine service in the Liturgy: Compline. The apple of one's eye, in this context, refers to the pupil. This is the most sensitive and delicate part of the eye, and without it we wouldn't be able to see a thing. No wonder we protect our pupils so obsessively! By asking God to keep us as the apple of his eye, we are imploring him to protect us at all costs. And he does. He protects us so obsessively that he sent his Son to die for us so that we might be protected from the torment of hell. And through his protection, we will one day inherit his kingdom, and see with our own eyes the apple of his.

-- Jonathan

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Sinless Successor

"After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: 'Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-- to the Israelites."
    -- Joshua 1:1-2 (NIV)

Moses was unable to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and obtain victory here. So instead of abandoning His people, God chose a successor: Joshua. And through Joshua, Israel was able to obtain the Promised Land. But Joshua's victory did not abolish all that Moses had done for the Israelites. And in the same way, Jesus' life, work, death, and resurrection did not abolish the Mosaic law. But rather, He fulfilled the law. Jesus succeeds the Mosaic law in the same way Joshua succeeded Moses. Jesus leads us to everlasting life through His Word. Our sinless Successor... Our sinless Savior.

-- Jonathan