“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed” (Prov 19:17). Lisa and I read this this morning and I was struck by the phrase, “…lends to the Lord,” which makes generosity so personal. I also thought of the mountain of supplies waiting for Jubilee Reach in the Narthex. Thank you.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isa 26:3). Our CCHS Apologetics class has been discussing the essential fact of objective reality: objective moral standards that exist independent of whims and feelings; objective standards for meaning that transcend (and are much more powerful than) mere self-affirmation. But above all is the objectivity of God himself: “the Lord himself is the rock eternal.” He is both unchanging and everlasting.
In an unprecedented moment like this one, there are lots of interpreters offering their spin on what’s “really” happening. America loves a “pundit,” a term borrowed from Hindi meaning, “a learned man, a master.” We’re drowning in punditry right now. The truth, of course, is the pundits and bloggers are as enmeshed in the consequences of the pandemic as the rest of us. The Lord alone “sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.” He alone “stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in.” No one else is able, at a word, to bring “princes [and pundits] to nothing, and make the rulers of the earth as emptiness” (Isa 40:22).
Certainly Isaiah is writing about the sovereign power of God, but few biblical images express as well the objectivity of God as this vision of him sitting above the orb of the earth. God alone has sufficient distance to see this moment for what it is. And it is not only within his grasp, but under his power. He knows “the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isa 46:10).
Remember in this moment, and all moments, that in Christ you have God, and he has you. You are bound eternally to the One who sees this moment with absolute clarity and whose purposes will be accomplished. And you have an intentional place in his purposes: “those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:30ff).
Here’s a picture of what it’s like for God to be for us. When I was little, we lived in a cul-de-sac on which every house had kids. As nearly the youngest of all those kids, I was often the one getting pushed around. One day I brought heart-felt and noisy complaint of a particularly grim injustice to my mother. Mom was busy. She worked full-time and kept house. So on this occasion she looked at my brother, 8 years my senior, and said, “why don’t you go fix this?” I’ll never forget walking out the back door toward the camp of the Philistines, my big brother, the largest and oldest kid on the cul-de-sac, baring his arm like a warrior. My conquest was a fait accompli, which is French for “a severe realignment of attitude and appendages provided by an irritated and vengeful older brother.”
Our passage through this thing is a fait accompli. “Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, the shield of your help, and the sword of your triumph!” (Deut 33:29). Indeed, who is like us?