Meditating on the Word
“In His law he meditates day and night” Psalm 1:2
“Meditating on the Word,” edited by Wayne Burger, is a work of the church of Christ, which meets at 11873 Springs Rd. Unit #250, Conifer, CO 80433. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Website: coniferchurchofchrist.com
Vol. 15 No. 5 February 1, 2015
See then Hear
Would you believe that you have to see before you can hear? Isaiah saw something before he could hear God’s call.
He wrote, “I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple,” Isaiah 6:1. He also saw seraphim, a special class of angels, manifesting reverence toward the one on the throne. One act of reverence was one seraphim calling to the others, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” Isaiah 6:4.
Seeing the throne of God, the reverence manifested toward God, and hearing the seraph God by declaring His holiness, caused Isaiah to examine himself. His conclusion was, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” Isaiah 6:5. Symbolically, Isaiah was cleansed when a seraphim took a hot coal from the altar (probably, the Altar of Burnt Offerings) and touched his lips and he was forgiven (Isaiah 6:7).
Then, he was able to hear “the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’” Isaiah 6:8. “Then I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8. He had to see God’s holiness and his own unholiness before he could answer God’s call for him to go.
Have You Seen – Have You Heard?
Before we can answer God’s call, we must see God’s holiness. We in turn must then see our unholiness. Unless that happens we will never answer God’s call. Until we see God’s holiness we say, “I’m a pretty good person.” Until we see God’s holiness, we say, “I’m not as bad as ______.” Until we see God’s holiness, we say, “I don’t need organized religion; God will accept what I offer the way I want to offer it, because I’m a good person.”
All those who are committed to God have seen God’s holiness and their unholiness. “When Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, ‘Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’” Luke 5:8. Because Paul saw the Lord he said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” I Timothy 1:15.
The Holy Spirit spent several verses in Romans convincing us that we are sinners. He said, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God…
Until we see the holiness of God and our sinfulness we will never see the need to hear God’s call nor come to God for salvation. Our old man of sin is so contaminated that it has to die. That is what happened to Paul. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ ives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” Galatians 2:20.
Who Is In Charge?
A throne represents power and authority. When Isaiah saw the throne of the Lord he recognized God was the ruler — He has the authority. When we see God’s holiness we will also see God’s authority. Only one being can sit on a throne at one time. Who is sitting on the throne of your life? God wants to sit on the throne of your life, but as long as you are saying, “I’ll do it my way,” you are on the throne.
Until you put God on the throne of your life you will never say, “‘Here am I. Send me!’” To say ‘Here am I. Send me!’” is a confession that you are not in charge. Who is in charge of your life?
You must see before you can hear. You must hear before you can serve. God calls for committed followers. Committed followers have seen the throne of God, their own unworthiness, and the need to serve. What we see determines the call we answer. Remember, Jesus said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” Matthew 22:14. You determine if you are chosen by God. What is your decision?
The Weight of the World
“My Burden Is Light”
Life is often challenging/difficult. The weight of the world is indeed a most heavy burden. Clichés like, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” are not always helpful in dealing with the day-to-day struggles of life. So, what will help when the world is pressing down on you? God has the answer.
Pray. Jesus prayed before He chose the 12 disciples (Luke 6:12-13). He prayed before He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41-43). But when Jesus came to His most heavily weighted moment in life, His prayer was not answered in a way that was favorable toward Him. This is found in Matthew 26 when Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. All other prayers (as far as we know) had been answered in His favor.
James said, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray” (James 5:13a). God’s word teaches us to pray for public leaders, our enemies, our brothers and sisters, the sick, wisdom, sinners, open doors, forgiveness, healing and for help in our time of need. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:7). James affirmed that “the fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Trust. Although Jesus did not receive the answer to His prayer that He desired, He had complete trust that God would provide the answer that was most needed. This is evidenced by the fact that in each prayer Jesus concluded by saying, “… nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus said it, and He meant it. When Pilot threatened Jesus with life or death (John 19:10), Jesus answered him, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). He meant it with every ounce of life in His body. His trust in God was that strong.
When faced with the threat of death, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego trusted God to deliver them from the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:17-18). Even the often prideful king of Babylon, Darius, trusted in God. As they sealed the lions’ den, having put Daniel inside, he said, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you” (Daniel 6:16).
Follow Through. When you read Hebrews 11 you will find that many of those faithful men and women listed did not receive this recognition because of living a quiet and restful life. Most of them lived through very difficult times and suffered much persecution. Many of them died a horrific death. But each of them lived faithfully through their various trials and tribulations.
The “Hall of the Faithful” does not end in Hebrews 11. It continues into chapters 12 and 13. Jesus is the ultimate example of faithfulness. His endurance on the cross set the standard.
With Jesus in mind, Christians are not to become weary and discouraged (Hebrews 12:3); they are to resist evil unto bloodshed (vs. 4); endure chastening (vss. 5-11); strengthen the weary (vs. 12); pursue peace (vs. 14); resist bitterness and trouble (vs. 15); remember you have come to the city of the living God, and the church of the firstborn (vss. 22-23). You have come to Jesus Christ and His blood (vs. 24). It is Jesus who said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Pray, trust, and follow through.
Insight – Hating the Garment
We appreciate those who risk their lives while treating those who have contagious diseases. They are at risk everytime they try to help the victim. Two nurses in the Dallas, Texas area who treated an ebola patient have contacted that terrible disease. Interestingly, Jude makes a similar comparison when we reach out to save sinners. He says, “On some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh” Jude v. 23. The background of this idea comes from Leviticus 13:47ff in dealing with leprous clothing. We must reach out to sinners, but be careful that we don’t “catch” what they have.