Looking at record highs today! Woo Hoo! Then back to seasonal temperatures. Such is life! I hope you took advantage of the Lord’s great Sabbath blessing and your batteries are fully recharged for the week.
Today we will look at the seemingly random verse of the bible that fell open for me today. Let’s take a gander.
Jeremiah 30:21-22 Their priest shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the Lord.
According to the MacArthur commentary, Jeremiah 30 speaks of the millennial kingdom in which Jesus reigns on earth for 1,000 years, after the tribulation and before the lake of fire. I’m no expert on all that, but there seems to be a consensus with the teaching preachers I hear on the radio, ones that have spent a lot more time studying their bible than me. What I find particularly interesting about this verse is the striking picture it paints.
All over the world, most churches teach of a meek and mild god, a sheep or a shepherd, one that welcomes us all simply because we have been born. When pushed, those will become very uncomfortable with all the business we see in the Old Testament all the while forgetting that Jesus taught the same difficult things in the New. Here’s the stark reality of the situation.
“for who of himself would dare to approach me?”
We forget time and again of all the instances in which mere man was met with that which indeed is holy. People fall on their face, paralyzed in fear at the sight of angels let alone the angel of the Lord (Jesus). They are consumed with the realization of their sin and are rendered completely helpless. Indeed, we are very confused about our own holiness. I recall hearing Robert De Niro, the Hollywood tough guy, say something on the order of when he sees God, he’s going to make him answer for all the stuff that’s wrong with the world. I hope he and I don’t die at the same time. I don’t want to be standing next to Robert when he does see Jesus face to face. Yikes!
At the same time, I don’t want to be me, either. The lesson here, the first part of the lesson, is that none of us would dare approach God once we know the immensity of His Holiness and the magnitude of our depravity. How could we? The more I study my bible the more I am repulsed about my sinful nature. It’s not just the sin I commit; it’s the core of who I am that sickens me. Some of you reading this will understand exactly what I’m saying. Others won’t. Conventional psychology and most theology will teach us that we humans are good at our core and that proper education and affirmation will bring out our true nature. It goes without saying that the whole world would be a much better place if we only learned to see that.
That’s not what the bible teaches us. On the contrary, the closer we come to God, the more we identify ourselves as putrid. I’m not going to be able to take the time here to go into it, but do yourselves a favor and very carefully read Matthew 25:31-46 to see what each of two types of people thought of themselves at the final judgment. Suffice it to say, one group saw nothing but good in their deeds; the other, nothing but betrayal. Now, I’m not the same man I was, and my sin life is nowhere near what it was; but I can tell you my sin has not gone away. I willfully sin far more often that I care to admit to you. Do I do anything awful in the opinion of prime-time television? No, I suppose not. Even so, it is extremely disturbing that what sin I do commit is with even more awareness of whom I am committing it against than in my previous life. In other words, I know better; therefore, my guilt is greater.
That idea doesn’t bode well outside a relatively small group of people. But, it does allow us to view our passage today so that it makes sense. How could I DARE approach the King of Kings with such filthy hands, mind, and heart? I should run and hide, that’s what I should do! But the other side of this lesson teaches us something else. It tells of one who us called to approach God, one whom came from among us, the man named Jesus. Through him we are able to approach God. It’s not because he simply became a human, but because we have faith in who he is. This is that born-again business, that Jesus stuff that some people get carried away with. Everyone knows there is something different about those people.
Scripture bears this out for us.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
I think this is pretty self-explanatory. I don’t know what will actually happen when I do see Jesus. I envision myself falling as if dead for 10,000 years. Still, we are commanded to draw near to God’s throne and find mercy and grace in our prayer. How incredible is that? Finally, there is one more verse to this passage in Jeremiah:
v. 22 And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
That, my friends, should bring tears to your eyes.
Father, sometimes words cannot express the gratitude I have. Sometimes all of this is simply too overwhelming to comprehend. I’m simply left with, “Thank you.” Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers