Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the Silence

Romans 3:9b-18  “No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,  as it is written:
None is righteous, no, not one;
    no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
  “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
      “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
  “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
     in their paths are ruin and misery,
 and the way of peace they have not known.”
      “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Yesterday I wrote about how in America, it is so difficult for us to become still and quiet before God.  I mentioned part of the problem, our culture is focused on pleasure, leisure, and entertainment and how these things become a distraction.  Certainly that is a problem, but only half of the problem.  I also believe that in that quiet and stillness we also meet ourselves, and many of us don’t like who we meet.
In that quiet and stillness, we come face to face to the darkness and ugliness in our hearts.  It’s so easy to fight off those secret temptations when we keep ourselves busy, when we’re around company.  But in that time alone, in the quietness it’s just you, alone with God.  And that to many, is just a scary thought, you before the Most Holy God.
And, yeah, we desperately desire to be alone with God, but yet want to keep things on our terms.  We don’t like seeing the ugliness in our hearts compared to the holiness of God, it makes us uncomfortable.  That, I believe is why Adam and Eve clothed themselves and attempted to hide from God after they ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:8).
After Israel was delivered from the hustle and bustle of slavery under Egypt, they were brought to the wilderness to be stilled.  They were given an invitation to meet with God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:9b-15); however, Israel disinclined to acquiesce to God’s request and let Moses go up for them (Exodus 20:18-21).  I imagine that when God came to them thundering and being heralded by loud trumpets, the Israelites were afraid to face God, being fully aware of the sin in their hearts.
Even Isaiah, a priest and prophet, found himself before God and cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:5).
But, please, don’t stop there, I urge you to step forward and humble yourself before God.  God made a provision for Isaiah to become clean by providing coal.  And the same as today, God just doesn’t leave us to wallow in our sin and darkness.  After writing, “None are righteous,” Paul continues on…
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”  Romans 3:21-26.
Praise be to God the Justifier.  Even though we are a people with unclean lips, He provided something far greater than coal to cleanse us.  He provided this at His own expense, at the highest price possible, that He may bring us to Himself.

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