I will praise you, Lord!
You saved me from the grave and kept my enemies from celebrating my death.
2 I prayed to you, Lord God, and you healed me,
3 saving me from death and the grave.
4 Your faithful people, Lord, will praise you with songs and honor your holy name.
5 Your anger lasts a little while, but your kindness lasts for a lifetime.
At night we may cry, but when morning comes we will celebrate. Â Â Psalm 30:1-5 (CEV)
Lectionary texts: 2 Kings 5:1-14, Psalm 30, Galatians 6:1-16, Luke 10:1-20
There are times in my life when God seems so close and personal. There are other times when He seems so big and uncontainable. The reality is â€“ God is both.
The Unexpected Call. In 2 Kings 5, Naaman is a great general in the army and he has leprosy. He goes to Israel to find someone that he has been told will be able to cure him. He is sent to the prophet, Elisha. The general expects to be treated with respect and have the attention of this prophet. Naaman doesn’t get it. And then he is told to do something unexpected, dip himself in a river seven times, and do this in a foreign place. Well, if that is how he is going to be healed, why wasn’t he told this back home, in a familiar place?!
God does this in my life. He sends me to places I do not expect, to speak with people I may not know or even like, and often to heal me. The questions are: Will I hear God’s voice and know it is Him? And when I know it is Him, will I obey?
The Unexpected Salvation. The psalmist tells me to never forget that I have God on my side and He is the One who gives me salvation. No matter how hard this life, not illness, daily needs, even death, are too big for God to overcome. He is a loving Father who wants to be near His children and provide for all that we need. God shows me how much He loves me before I loved Him. He gave His Son to die so I could live. That was surely unexpected.
The Unexpected Love. I would think that if God was going to tell me how to â€œpay Him backâ€ or in some way honor Him for His gift of salvation, it would begin with loving Him above all others. But God began the loving Himself long before I knew Him, much less decided whether I would love Him. Galatians 6 tells me that if I want to show my love for God I am to love others unconditionally. It is through my unconditional love for others that God receives the love I have for Him, it’s a never â€“ ending circle. God loves me â€“ I love others â€“ they love God because they see His love in me.
The Unexpected Priority. Luke 10 tells me about Jesus sending out disciples to share His Good News. They come back excited, with many stories to tell. Jesus told them to walk in His authority, under His name. They do not have to prove themselves to anyone or beg to be heard.
Jesus’ free gift of His saving love is to be given to all who will hear. It does not need to be argued or forced down anyone’s throat but offered just as any free gift, with joy and open hands.
God can not be put into a box and controlled by my ideas of who and what He should be. He is bigger than I can imagine. He is unexpectedly wonderful and powerful. He may look different in someone’s eyes than He does in my eyes. But to all of us He is God, powerful and loving.
Majesty and Glory of Your Name written by Tom Fettke, sung by The Winter Haven Choir 2009