Monday, November 29, 2010

"Can't Touch This"

"I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in a man who walks to direct his steps."

Set in the middle of Jeremiah's depiction of a Israel's pursuit of false religiousity and idolatry, these words ring out with timeless truth. Israel as a nation had been duped into the belief that they could direct their steps. The same goes for me.

Somehow I think that I have God-like qualities; that I know my destination, purpose, direction and hurdles. But if I take a second to stop and think (sometimes a good idea) I'm hit with the futility of my thinking. I can't discern the beginning or the end of "my way."

This is a scary and dissorienting truth to find in scripture. Why? Because I'm struck by the reality of my own lack of control and power. Some things are not for me, including the direction of my steps.

Now I'm not saying that I'm not responsible for the directions I take. But I am saying that their is one who knows my circumstances, steps and their destination.

This is becoming less scary these days as I'm finding out more about the One who knows my direction. God forgives. According to his character is necessary for him to do so. Just look at the next verse in Jeremiah: "Correct me, O LORD, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing."

What does Jeremiah mean by "justice?" Does he mean that he has right standing on his own or that it's necessary for God to simply have mercy. I don't think so. But let's leap to the new testament and take a look at John's statement "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Here we have portrayed for us a justice that requires our forgiveness. In Jeremiah's time it was found in God's covenant and sacrificial law which pointed the way to Jesus himself being our sacrifice.

Why must God forgive? Because for him not to would be unjust! For him not to forgive the repenter would be for him to forsake his covenant, his promise, and his own body that was torn in two for us!

I find this to be a great comfort these days when I think about my own inability to control and have power over my circumstances. God in his Justice is my friend, my record is clean, and my life is in his hands.

With this truth I can open the death-grip I have over my own direction and rest in the "God who loves me and gave himself up for me." As the great theologian MC Hammer once, "My justice, you can't touch this."

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