We See Broken; God Sees Mended


S (Scripture): Isaiah 37:14 Hezekiah took the letters from the messengers and read them. Then he went to the temple and spread them out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:

16 “Lord of heavenly forces, God of Israel: you sit enthroned on the winged creatures. You alone are God over all the earth’s kingdoms. You made both heaven and earth. 17 Lord, turn your ear this way and hear! Lord, open your eyes and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words. He sent them to insult the living God! 18 It’s true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have destroyed all the nations and their lands. 19 The Assyrians burned the gods of those nations with fire because they aren’t real gods. They are only man-made creations of wood and stone. That’s how the Assyrians could destroy them. 20 So now, Lord our God, please save us from Sennacherib’s power! Then all the earth’s kingdoms will know that you alone are Lord.”

21 Then Isaiah, Amoz’s son, sent a message to Hezekiah: The Lord God of Israel says this: Since you prayed to me about Assyria’s King Sennacherib, 22 this is the message that the Lord has spoken against him:

The young woman, Daughter Zion, despises you and mocks you;
Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head behind your back.

28 I know where you are,
how you go out and come in,
and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me and because your pride has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth.
I will make you go back the same way you came.

33 Therefore, the Lord says this about Assyria’s king: He won’t enter this city. He won’t shoot a single arrow here. He won’t come near the city with a shield. He won’t build a ramp to besiege it.

O (Observation):  King Sennacherib is planning to attack God’s people in Israel.   He has conquered many people and taken many lands.   This time, he has his eyes set upon taking over the Israelites.   

King Hezekiah (of Israel) hears of these threats made by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, and takes the letters which contain Sennecharib’s plans…and Hezekiah lays them out before God.  Hezekiah seeks God’s discernment on this matter, which weighs heavy upon his heart.  

God’s response is priceless.  God says that the Assyrian’s will not get a single shot of an arrow off, let alone build a siege ramp.   Reading past these verses above, you will notice that God sends his messengers to slay 145,000 Assyrian soldiers and has Sennecharib’s own sons kill King Sennecharib!

God was pleased with his people turning to God, rather than to their own strength or wisdom.    In response, God protects the Israelites.  

A (Application):  When was the last time you relied on God?   We try to be self-made people…and yet we have a God who calls us to call upon and depend upon God.   The struggle we have is that we think we can make it on our own…apart from God.   

We think need is a sign of weakness in this world…like if I need childcare, or money, or help fixing a car or doing taxes.    Why?   What if we know people who can help with these things?   Isn’t that part of the reason why we have community?   Aren’t we here to help each other out?  If so, why the shame?

We’re not fighting an army or worrying about a pending attack, but we are facing our own challenges.   The biggest struggle is likely self-image.   When we think we have to rely on ourselves to get us through our problems, we will likely fail.   Or worse, if we get through it and forget to thank God, we find ourselves like so many of Israel’s kings…thinking “we” did it, no thanks to God. 

But I hope we can be like King Hezekiah: ready to lay out the world’s sinister plans for us, and seek God’s power and wisdom.   

In doing so, we become vulnerable, but vulnerable to God’s ways, which is a good thing.  We lay down our ways, and pick up God’s ways.  This is God’s grace for us.  A way forward that relies on God.  

I was listening to a song today on the radio: Matthew West’s “Mended.”   (Listen to “Mended” by clicking here.)  When we lay down our ways, and instead see ourselves and the world around us through God’s eyes, we see a world waiting to be mended.   

May you see the world through God’s eyes today: when we see broken, God sees mended.   

P (Prayer):  Lord God, we lay our plans and the world’s plans at your feet.   Guide us. Save us.  Amen.   

Every Creature, in the Image of God

(Photo credit: here)

I don’t normally post on Saturday’s, but Richard Rohr’s meditation from Friday, June 9, 2017, is too good to pass up.  

Click here for is his daily meditation, in full, with my favorite quotes from the meditation below:

In his original Rule, Francis instructed friars who traveled to Muslim lands not to engage in argument or disputes, and to accept local authority, even if it meant making themselves vulnerable. [2] He wanted them to carry the Gospel, not take up crusaders’ weapons. We need such a message today.

Imagine what the world would be like if we treated others with inherent and equal dignity and respect, seeing the divine DNA in ourselves and everyone else too—regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, appearance, or social class. Nothing less offers the world any lasting future.

Every creature carries the DNA, or Imago Dei, of the Creator, and it shall not be taken from them.

“How Do I Look?”


S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another.

O (Observation):  Paul spends some time explaining the afterlife.  What will our bodies be like after we die?   What will we be like in the resurrection?

Paul uses the metaphor of the seed.   The seed must die in order for it to become a plant.   The form will change from one phase to another.  So, too, will our bodies be changed from an earthly form to a spiritual form.  

A (Application):  We place a lot of emphasis on image in this world.   Our weight, our skin, our height, our clothes, our cars, our homes, etc.   We have a bit of an illness as an American society regarding our consumption of products and services regarding our image (of body and property).   

We should take care of our bodies and treat them as temples (as we believe the Spirit dwells in us).   Yet we should not be obsessed based on what other people think.   What others think should not drive our consumption of these goods and services.   

In the resurrection, we will be given a new framework in which we will live and move and have our being.  The earthly form will be no more.  The form dies.   But we will be brought into a heavenly form, perhaps that of Jesus’ form when he appears to the disciples after his resurrection.   (Yes, this is conjecture…but this is the only scriptural witness we have of a post-resurrection body.)

We don’t fully know what that heavenly body will be like…but we will let go of the earthly body.  We will move on.   

And maybe we will look back and say:

“How silly we were…to worry so much…about so little a thing as our image.  We were always made in God’s image.   What more did we need?”

P (Prayer):  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we give you thanks for making us in your image.  Amen. 

A Royal Priesthood… Who me?… Yeah, you!

  

S (Scripture): 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy.

O (Observation): Peter is reminding other Jesus-followers that their call is to be set apart from the rest of the world, while living in the world. The Christian faith is extremely young at this point.   People are not sure what direction to go.  Peter gives them encouragement and a sense of identity: a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own.  

A (Application):  I’m a father to a middle school boy.  To say that image is important to him is an extreme understatement.  I never had that problem when I was younger.   I was in full on “dork mode” for most of my middle and high school years.   Yes, I cared about image, but I couldn’t do anything about my image even if I wanted to – I just didn’t have style (and some say I still don’t : )

I try to remind my son, and everyone I talk with, that God’s image is the image into which we are created.  Our image is also shaped by the fact that we become part of the body of Christ through our baptism.   As part of the body of Christ, we start to see that we are part of a royal priesthood….not forprivilege  and not because we deserve that designation…but because God declares it so.  

Is image everything?  In a sense, yes.   Not our worldly image, but our image as God sees us: redeemed and made holy, for good works in this world.  

How are you reconciling your image in the eyes of the world with God’s image of you?

P (Prayer): Lord…thanks for putting up with us, and for having enough of a sense of humor as to use goof-ups like me and those I serve as members of your royal priesthood : ) Amen.