Connect the Dots

I look to the hills!
Where will I find help?
2 It will come from the Lord, who created the heavens and the earth.

3 The Lord is your protector, and he won’t go to sleep or let you stumble.
4 The protector of Israel doesn’t doze or ever get drowsy.

5 The Lord is your protector, there at your right side to shade you from the sun.
6 You won’t be harmed by the sun during the day or by the moon at night.

7 The Lord will protect you and keep you safe from all dangers.
8 The Lord will protect you now and always wherever you go.    Psalm 121 (CEV)

Lectionary texts: Jeremiah 31:27-34, Psalm 121, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Luke 18:1-8

The lectionary texts this week are not for Christians who are easily blown about by the newest fad in teaching/preaching (Ephesians 4:14). If you want to hear “feel good” teaching, these are not the four Scriptures to link together. I could not follow the dots from Jeremiah to Luke without wincing at God’s words.

God tells Jeremiah and me that the good news is that we children will no longer be punished for the sins of our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and great-great-grandfathers. We will take on the burden of our own sins. God has written His laws on my heart (I know right from wrong!) and He is my LORD! I am to take responsibility for my sins because – Jesus came to die for my sins, didn’t He?

I am dancing in the arms of my Father as I read Psalm 121! I look up to God and know that my journey to be with Him is a path that is steep and treacherous. But I will not fear because God is not up there somewhere but with me, right with me, on the path! However difficult the road may be, God is a shelter where I can run to escape the sweltering heat when I battle against the evil of this world and the treachery of moon shadows from my own flesh and delusions. Wherever I may go, even if I stray from God’s marked map, God will be there to guide me back.

I know this because in 2 Timothy God said that all of His Word is useful and will teach me. I am clearly warned that if I look for those who tell me what I want to hear, who profess that if I believe in God that “everything that I touch will prosper and I will be rich and happy” then I am listening to a false teacher. Instead I should keep my eyes focused on my LORD and endure through the hardships by His strength.

At this point in my readings, my mind is going back to Psalm 121 and I’m thinking, “The LORD is my protector and will not let me stumble. Ummm – but I have stumbled. And the LORD has allowed me to go through very difficult days and nights!” And I again read Jeremiah who is speaking to the children of God who are in exile! And I read 2 Timothy who is living during a time of severe persecution. And I come to the passage in Luke 18. And I begin to nod as I get it.

I am the persistent widow. If I do not understand or think that God is not hearing my cries, I am going to keep on crying out to Him! I am not going to give up.

When I was a child, I drove my parents crazy because when they would tell me to do something instead of “Yes, sir” I would respond with “Why?” My father would get very angry as he expected obedience. My Heavenly Father is OK with my “Why?” He will speak to me in His Word, in prayer, in dreams and visions. He will help me grow and strengthen, watering those roots so that they grow deep in His fertile soil. Deep roots will save a plant when the storms blow. The plant may lose its leaves and blossoms but with a good root system it will come back even better than ever.

Let us take the whole of God’s Word and allow Him to write it on our hearts and place in our memory so that it may teach, rebuke, correct and train us, that we may be prepared in all seasons to share the Good News of His salvation.

For Your Name is Holy written and sung by Paul Wilbur

 

 

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