The Majesty of Judgment

“We give thanks to you, O God;
    we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.

‘At the set time that I appoint
    I will judge with equity.
When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants,
    it is I who keep steady its pillars. 
I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
    and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
    or speak with haughty neck.”’

For not from the east or from the west
    and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
but it is God who executes judgment,
    putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
    with foaming wine, well mixed,
and he pours out from it,
    and all the wicked of the earth
    shall drain it down to the dregs.

But I will declare it forever;
    I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
    but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.” Psalm 75:1-10

“In Judah God is known;
    his name is great in Israel.
His abode has been established… in Zion.
There he broke the flashing arrows,
    the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war. 

Glorious are you, more majestic
    than the mountains full of prey…
At your rebuke, O God of Jacob,
    both rider and horse lay stunned.

But you, you are to be feared!
    Who can stand before you
    when once your anger is roused?
From the heavens you uttered judgment;
    the earth feared and was still,
when God arose to establish judgment,
    to save all the humble of the earth.” Psalm 76:1-4,6-9

Our world is fuzzy with muddled morality and vapid living. It can be harsh with incessant caustic chatter and violence. The angst of making our way through a fallen culture unscathed and unscathing is unsettling at best. Amidst this uncertainty and certain troubles there shines the majestic beauty and rightness of God’s justice.

“The Lord sits enthroned forever;
    he has established his throne for justice,
and he judges the world with righteousness;
    he judges the peoples with uprightness.” Psalm 9:7-8

God’s judgment is flawless, measured, excellent. It is never capricious, out of control, or unfair. It is perfectly timed and always appropriate. Often this splendid facet of God’s character is neglected, even disdained, because we shun the concept of being judged. In the flesh, we despise accountability and want only to be left to ourselves, except when offended or infringed upon by others. But in our depths, we cry out for everything to be made right, and find our hope in the Lord alone.

When circumstances totter, where do we look for stability? When pain, poverty, and injustice seem to outgrow compassion and supply, where do we turn? If we say we trust the Lord, how convincingly do we prove it by expressed gratitude, withheld revenge, expectant faith? Do we nitpick and chafe at God’s justice, or look for God’s majesty as He upholds His holiness and promises? Do we criticize or question His methods or patience in waiting, or increasingly trust that all His ways are good and redemptive and His throne is unshakeable? (Matthew 7:1-2; Romans 12:17-19; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 6:10)

Lord, let me see and trust the majesty of Your judgment, and by confidence and emulation, express its beauty in my world.

The Greatest Grant

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

“To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.” 2 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭1‬-‭15‬

Peter extended grace and peace to the varied church by his reminder of all they’d been granted in Christ. In light of present suffering and opportunities to expand, in the midst of corrupting influences and opposition, their inheritance was precious and very great. This should fill them with deep soul calm and vibrant vitality. He himself knew the Holy Spirit’s constant influence, and with every breath would stir up reminders of true truths in God’s children. The large grant of the divine power and nature should be effecting great righteousness and godliness in their sojourn. (John 14:26; 21:18-19)

Does consistent exposure to God’s word and fellowship bear forth deepening spiritual disciplines and graces? Are we regularly relying on the indwelling Spirit and increasing in Christ-like qualities in thought-life, work, home, relationships? How often do we diss our inheritance, doubt the promises, and squander the riches we own? Where are we failing to reckon truth into our temptations and weaknesses? Is over-commitment, laziness, or apathy causing us to drift from wholehearted zeal?

What can we implement to nurture bountiful growth in all God has generously given?

Good Father, may I honor You by making the most of time and gifts to be more like You and magnify Your greatness.

There Shall Come Forth

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins…
They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:1-5,9

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” Jeremiah 23:5-6

What a promise! To this rebel land doomed to judgment by a wicked nation, Isaiah brought a hope-filled message: there would come a righteous Judge who would make all things right. When all seemed impossible to know and understand, there would be One full of the knowledge of the Lord. (Isaiah 10:5-12)

And the powerful breath of His lips that would execute judgment could also breathe into them life, living hope, wisdom, grace, and joy. The hope for their future had a present reality. Their sense of depression and despair could become delight if placed in the promised Spirit. (Genesis 2:7; Isaiah 11:12-16)

Do I get caught in a daily tangle of who deserves what, and can you believes, and never take sober stock of my own deserts? Do I wrangle over seeming injustice and bad timing in the gnarl of current circumstances and never take a high view of matters? What if I cast these cares on the Lord? What if in it all I endeavored to be more like Jesus and introduced light into the destitution that shrouds daily news? What if into every consternation and roil of turmoil I brought a spirit of wisdom, understanding, and righteous discernment? (1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 55:22; John 13:15; James 3:17)

The Spirit of God in us can bring forth fruitfulness the world cannot comprehend or procure, and His heavenly fruit makes a difference in conversations and in our communities. We may be rejected or misunderstood, but we can honor the Lord and offer hope not found elsewhere. Where and when will we begin? (Matthew 10:22; Galatians 5:22-23)

Lord, as my strength, song, and salvation, bring forth from me a bounty of grace and truth, light and wisdom and joy, to a needy world. (Isaiah 12:2-5)

By God’s Power Guarded

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,  who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,  so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls…

“You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,  but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you  who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:3-9,18-21

Because work was finished and perfectly done, God’s children are born into an imperishable inheritance and guarded forever. Fear of failure or the future have no place in the minds of those in Christ. We are kept, His promises are kept. We cannot be moved! Though the earth shake and we are tested, He is our very present help, stay, and security. By the power that raised Jesus from the dead, we are guarded. (Psalm 37:28; 46:1-3; 121:7-8; Ephesians 6:13-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8)

What are we doing to remind ourselves of our standing? We cannot recite often enough what Christ has accomplished, so we know that we know the riches He’s deposited for now and the future. The truth is a present buttress against doubt and fear and the taunts of the unbelieving world. It is our mode and substance of faith through hard times. The sureness of all Christ has done and won for us gives security, unshakable hope, and protection that have their bearing on how we conduct ourselves. (Ephesians 1:16-21; Hebrews 11:1)

How does certain love by Christ compel us to love lavishly, unafraid of rejection? What freshness and purity does it bring to our speech and compassion? What heightened generosity and wider hospitality does it inspire? What boldness to proclaim the gospel does firm standing in salvation fuel? What confidence in selfless service, knowing that our labor is never in vain? Christ who has saved us and goes before us is the Christ in whose glory we can daily rejoice. (1 Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Peter 1:22-23; 2:1)

My Lord, guarded by Your power may I fully trust Thee as I lavishly serve, love, and give to others, that You might be known and exalted.

Harness the Emotions

“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us’?  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you…

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” James 4:1-10,13-15

So many emotions come in to play every day, enriching life but also wreaking havoc with mental fortitude and disciplines. They are given to add color to love, and zeal, but they need harnessing and tenacious superintendance. God made and has given passion, attraction, anger and jealousy for righteous purposes, but when we let them assume control they preempt the best of us, sully relationships, and cause us to sin.

Any emotion can be steered for good or destruction. Warring passions and affection for the world should signal danger, but zest for living and selfless love and can beautifully enrich our days. Yielding to the Lord at day’s beginning does much for smooth bridling of passions and tongues through the hours. The moment we sense a flare of greed, rise of sultry attraction, or boiling selfish reaction to circumstance, let the Spirit check halt and redirect us toward godly sorrow, a rending of heart, and drawing near to God. Surely He harnesses and purifies desire as we submit to His loving, merciful control.

How aware of and sensitive are we to our motives and impulses? How will we utilize emotion for ruthless putting away of sin and tenacious pursuit of righteousness? Would we deliberately trust God’s grace to channel our affections toward Him, His holiness and righteousness? What self-drive and wayward emotion need we surrender to humble ourselves and trust His lead?

Lord, take control of and cleanse my deepest passions, that my every emotion be employed for others’ good and Your glory.

Rays of Day

“You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.”

“If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 65:8b; 139:9-12

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” Revelation 22:5

Darkness diffuses almost imperceptibly as the golden orb approaches. Shadowed trees give way to shaded outlines in the predawn mist. What was all dark is now revealed as layers with dimension. Then the rays… piercing through like arrows of glory, defining edges, revealing the Maker’s creative handiwork. Day after day He speaks through His turning of hours, Hope in Me, trust My glory. (Psalm 19:1-3)

Always the rays come, sure as the seasons and every promise of God. Morning by morning they pierce the shadows of layered darkness, confusion, and uncertainty. At the right time, at the end of waiting, they outline what is certain and true, what stands rooted and strong. (Genesis 1:16-19; Isaiah 31:33-36; 33:25-26)

In long darkness of soul, seemingly endless unanswered questions, unfulfilled yearnings, pain so deep breath can’t be caught, the rays come. No shadow is too thick, no distance too great, no grief too vast that His light cannot pierce and penetrate. In God’s eternal economy it is endless day, even when life is turned upside down and we cannot see light.

Where have we misplaced hope? In what fleeting individuals, plans, dreams, pedigrees do we trust? Will we resist and wrestle with the darkness, or trust God to work His glory in and through it as we look for His appearing? (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 12:9)

“Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

Great is thy faithfulness!
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” ~Thomas O. Chisolm (1923)

Lord, in every darkness, help me hope in You and trust the rays of Your glory.

In Light of the End…

“Since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,  so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God… 

“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.  Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:  whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

“Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:1-2,7-14

The mention of ‘time’s up’ can for many cause panic and irresponsibility, but for the Christian, it is a call to continuing, steady faithfulness as we anticipate glory. It is a goad to love, and persevere in trial. In view of the rest of the time in the flesh, we’re to be watchful, hospitable, and vital in serving. (John 9:4-5)

How rigorously are we doing good with the hours of each day? Would we ask Christ to change passion for wants to passion for His will? Do we fritter away or invest time? Use people, or use our gifts for people? Spend on self, or spend ourselves for Christ’s glory? Faint in suffering, or suffer with the fainting to bring gladness?

“What gift of grace is Jesus my redeemer
There is no more for heaven now to give
He is my joy, my righteousness, and freedom
My steadfast love, my deep and boundless peace

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
For my life is wholly bound to his
Oh how strange and divine, I can sing: all is mine!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

The night is dark but I am not forsaken
For by my side, the Saviour He will stay
I labour on in weakness and rejoicing
For in my need, His power is displayed

To this I hold, my Shepherd will defend me
Through the deepest valley He will lead
Oh the night has been won, and I shall overcome!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

With every breath I long to follow Jesus
For He has said that He will bring me home
And day by day I know He will renew me
Until I stand with joy before the throne

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
All the glory evermore to Him
When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat:
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!” ~Jonny Robinson, Michael Farren, Rich Thompson (CityAlight, 2018)

Lord, may I live in Your will and for Your glory until the end.

Pondering on Passing on

“Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad… They stood before Moses.., ‘Our father died in the wilderness… and he had no sons… Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.’

“Moses brought their case before the Lord.  And the Lord said to Moses, ‘The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession… and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.  And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, “If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter…”’

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel.  When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people…’ Moses spoke to the Lord, ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation  who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.’  So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him.  Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and commission him in their sight.  You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey… At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.’  And Moses… laid his hands on [Joshua] and commissioned him as the Lord directed.” Numbers 27:1-8,12-13,15-21,23

As the Lord established Israel, He ordained the inheritance of land and succession of leaders to preserve and provide for His chosen people. In wisdom He cared and counseled for individuals and the whole, intending their continuum under His lordship. He answered their requests and upheld His larger plan as a faithful Shepherd.

There come times of reckoning for us all, moments of decision making, stepping away from a work or service and passing the baton, or closing our eyes for the final time before waking in glory. While there is a uniqueness in each of us that cannot be imparted, some things of which we have been stewards will be passed on. How we handle them in the preparation and the passing is important to the Lord and vital in the carrying out of His will.

Do I value the gifts and heritage of God enough to take full possession, to seek His direction and help in timing and methods for both implementation and impartation? What resources and responsibilities has God entrusted to us? What aspects of our spiritual inheritance do we daily employ? Do we take them gratefully and seriously for the Lord’s sake, and not for granted? How well do we manage them for maximum effectiveness and multiplication, and plan for their release? Is my handling of these positions and possessions redolent of greed and control, or faithfulness for the season? (Psalm 16:6; 61:5; Romans 8:16-17; Ephesians 1:3,13-14,18-19; 1 Peter 5:2-3)

Lord, may I value all You’ve entrusted to me, including the treasures of those who’ve gone before, and generously pass on the riches of Your grace, truth, and love that Your glory be praised.

O my Strength, Meet Me!

“Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
    protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil,
    and save me from bloodthirsty men.

For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
    fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
    for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!
    You, Lord God of hosts, are God…

But you, O Lord, laugh at them;
    you hold all the nations in derision.
O my Strength, I will watch for you,
    for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
    God will let me look in triumph on my enemies…
    O Lord, our shield!
For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,
    let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter,
    consume them in wrath;
    consume them till they are no more,
that they may know that God rules…
    to the ends of the earth. 

Each evening they come back,
    howling like dogs
    and prowling about the city.
They wander about for food
    and growl if they do not get their fill.

But I will sing of your strength;
    I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
    and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
    for you, O God, are my fortress,
    the God who shows me steadfast love.”* Psalm 59:1-5a,8-17

*A miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

In a jealous rage, King Saul ordered that his son-in-law be killed, and the noble, heroic David responded by pouring out his anguish to the Lord. God was his confidante, defender, and friend. God alone was his strength, shield, and fortress. When enemies plotted and preyed in hatred, God upheld in steadfast love. David’s cry was earnest, it was heard, it brought solace. And it can be ours. (1 Samuel 19:1,4-5,9-11)

We may not be confronted by physical armies, but in this life we face many foes. People who would trip up our path of faithfulness, sobriety, righteousness. Pests of anxiety, rights to be bitter, hearts cold to love and forgive. Varmints of crude talk, enticing gossip, sultry affections. Hoards of fear, doubt, shame. These lie in wait for weak moments and seasons of fatigue and frenzy. They rise up to attack when we think we are stable. They are persistent to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:8)

Yet, we have a faithful God who meets us. He meets us, face to face, fully invested. He hears, He comes. He guards, He strengthens. And He is worthy of trust and praise.

What is my default when encountering strife? Where do I go when under siege from failure, worry, or pain? Do I strike out or call out? Retaliate or rest? Watch in panic, or watch for God in soul peace? How will I redirect angst and moaning to begin voicing my miktam in confidence to my loving Lord? Where will I trust Him to meet me today?

Lord, keep me dependent on You as my strength and fortress against every foe, that I might ever sing You the praises You deserve.

Shiloah or the Raging River?

“The Lord spoke to me again: ‘Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,  therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks, and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.’

“Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered;
    give ear, all you far countries;
strap on your armor and be shattered;
    strap on your armor and be shattered.
Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
    speak a word, but it will not stand,
    for God is with us.

“For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people.” Isaiah 8:5-11

“Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water… Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” John 4:10,13-14

“Jesus cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”’” John 7:37-38

“[Jesus] said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.’ So he went and washed and came back seeing.” John 9:7

Water offered, water refused. Deaf to God’s repeated warnings, Israel persistently raged against His word in stubborn rebellion, and He had had enough. If they shunned His gentle mercy, they would meet His jealous wrath.

We, too, turn our backs on God’s gentle flow and by default choose the raucous torrent. Yes, life brings billows of sorrow and the rush of riptide waves, even when we are safe in Christ. Yet rather than turn to His grace for help and refreshing, we too often are unwilling to relinquish our toiling, anger, fretting, and angst, inviting torrents of consequential judgment or correction. We eschew mercy for want of self-sufficiency, and pure devotion for self-love and aggrandizement.

Maybe this is unwitting, but God can give eyes to see and a heart to desire. Are we willing to be made willing to repent? Would we really have God remove our blinders? Can we recognize when we rage against God that often He is giving exactly what we have asked in prideful independence, that we are reaping the whirlwind of the rebel winds we’ve sown? (Hosea 8:7)

The invitations of our Lord are gracious, extended in patience and love. Are we listening? Would we come, be healed, held, and satisfied?

Lord, may I ever yield to Your irresistible affection and abide in Shiloah, daily refreshed to take Your living water to those around me.