February 25, Saturday

REPOSTToday’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on May 10, 2015.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Finding God’s Love in Least Likely Places”

2 Sam. 12:22-4 (ESV)

He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” 24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him.

Upon banishing the first couple from the garden for their willful act God, “made garments of skin . . . and clothed them” (Gn. 3:21).  Methuselah set an all time record for longevity, and once he finally passed away at the age of 969 (6:27), the rain began to pour and it wouldn’t stop for 40 days.  The Lord, in response to the post-Noah generation’s attempt to construct a tower high enough to reach to the heavens, “confused their language so that they will not understand each other” (11:7).   

While God’s fierce judgment is the first thing that leaps out from these stories, upon a closer examination we find something else.   In the first example, God lessens the misery of the first couple by providing garments that would better protect them from the elements as well as cover their shame— seeing God’s mercy while He metes out His judgment isn’t difficult to see.  

As for the name Methuselah, its sub-roots imply “death and sent,” which means that whenever people called him, they were literally saying, “Hey, Mr. ‘Death and Sent.’”   I am sure many had wondered, Send what?—Noah, Methuselah’s grandson, would’ve answered, “Floodwater . . . to destroy all life under the heavens” (7:17).  This means that Methuselah, in effect, lived out what apostle Peter would pen several thousand years later: “The Lord is . . . patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).  The longer Methuselah lived, more people would’ve been reminded of God’s pending judgment; the Lord, of course, hoped that they would repent!  

As for those who could no longer understand each other at Babel, it was a good thing that they, as a result, “scattered from there over all the earth” (11:8) instead of being able to continue with their defiant project. Had they kept it up, “something worse may [have] happen[ed]” (Jn. 5:14).  That’s mercy from God.

So, what do these stories have in common with what God did for David while judging him for his atrocity?  Ask yourself this question: Would you have thought that God’s promise to David—“I will raise you up your offspring to succeed you . . . and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Sam. 7:12)—was going to be realized through what began as an illicit relationship?  But, that’s precisely what happened: “[Bathsheba] gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon” (12:24).  And “the LORD loved him” (25).  God is into the redeeming business!

Look, God is holy; so when our sinful push comes to shove, He will judge—sometimes hard!  But that’s when we get a clear glimpse of His mercy and grace.  I don’t know what you have done and what you are reaping as a result, but don’t give into a lie that as a result of sin, God must not care about me anymore.  These four examples all point to a merciful and gracious God who seeks to redeem your mess after a time of judgment.   Be contrite before God. Turn away from sin. Turn toward God.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for redeeming my life, for apart from You, I am nothing.  Help me to immediately turn to You, even when I mess up, for I know that You are a merciful and gracious Lord.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today:  Revelation 22 & Nahum 1