Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘God’s faithfulness’

When People Decide What Is Right

Speaking of sordid stories—the current headlines have nothing on the final chapters of the book of Judges which I read recently with growing loathing.  The “disclaimer” says, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” (17:6 & 21:25)  Since they had already turned away from God in favor of pagan gods, these are the sorts of things that seemed “right” to them:

Abimelech killed 69 of his half-brothers and convinced the people of Shechem to make him their king solely on the grounds that he was their relative.  The whistle-blower went unheeded.  After three years, the citizens finally caught on that they’d made a poor choice.  Abimelech cared only for himself and for power, not for them.  But when they resisted, Abimelech slaughtered them all and demolished their city. (He met his end when a woman dropped a big stone on his head.)  (Judges chapter 9)

Micah stole 1100 pieces of silver from his mom.  When she found out, she blessed him (!) and dedicated that silver to be made into an idol for him to worship!  He made other religious trapping to go with it and even hired his own priest to serve his manmade religion—concluding that the Lord would bless him for it. (Chapter 17)

An unnamed man went to retrieve his runaway concubine.  On the way back home, they overnighted in the territory of Benjamin.  That night they were thronged by a gang of perverts who gang-raped the woman and left her dead.  The man rounded up an army from all over Israel to take revenge on the Benjaminites, who refused to hand over the culprits.  After three bloody battles, 40,000 of the Israelites were dead and 25,100 of the Benjaminites—all but 600 of them. Then, feeling sorry for their “cousins” whom they had almost wiped out, the Israelites sat down and wept and then took more drastic measures to procure wives for them.  (Chapters 19-21)

That’s enough!  Enough to make one sick!  These are the kinds of things that happen when people do what they think is right.  Are we any different today?  Should we be surprised at how low society stoops when they have turned their backs on God?

One more story, though.  After all the sordid stories of Judges, I turned the page and breathed a sigh of relief!  There is Ruth, a bright spot of faithfulness and hope in the midst of all that darkness.  God was still at work, preparing the way for the Savior who would be Ruth’s descendant. Interestingly, it was a foreigner (she was a Moabite) who showed this unfaithful nation the faithfulness of God.

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What if…

Habakkuk is famous for his statement of hope in the the face of impending calamity .  First he describes the total devastation of all the staple foods of his land, then he switches the focus to his all-sufficient God and holds it there. 

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength! 
(3:17-18)

How might we paraphrase this for our day?

Even though drought burns up the crops of the Midwest
and super hurricanes devastate coastal cities;
even though the stock market crashes, 
our jobs disappear and fuel grows scarce;
even though mysterious diseases run rampant
and nuclear war breaks out;
(and all the other horrible things we imagine and fear)—
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!

AMEN!!  Rainbow

Fading Flowers

On our way to work we pass a wall covered with magnificent morning glories and creamy white flowers.  In the morning, they bloom brilliantly.  But on our way home in the afternoon, we see that they are shriveled and about to fall…and make way for a whole new batch coming the next morning!  This reminds me of several Scriptures:

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Exodus 16:17-18—Each family gathered manna and had “just enough” for a day. 

Lamentations 3:23—”Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

2 Corinthians 12:9—“My grace is enough for you”—one day at a time.

1 Peter 1:24-25—”The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.”

2 Corinthians 4:18—”So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

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