Bread – Disobey

August 22, 2016


Psalm 32

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven…” Ps. 32:1

The three Breads this week will focus on the three types of sins which David talks about and the three ways in which God deals with those sins for those who turn to Him in repentance and believe in Jesus Christ.  Because of the use of words and Jewish poetic parallelism, these three distinctive forms of sin and God’s work with each type are almost lost in the speed with which David delivers them.  But they are important enough that they need to be broken apart.  This week, therefore, we will not go beyond the first two verses, where it all is.

What is a “transgression.”  I admit that my normal automatic interpretation of this is to think that it means a violation of God’s law.  It does not.  It means a stepping upon God’s person, His authority, His righteousness, His kingship.  It means a rebellion against God and His authority over all.  This transgression first occurred in the garden of Eden, before there was law.  There was one simple command, meant to maintain a proper relationship between God and man.  And that instruction was to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  And that request by God was ignored by man, Adam and Eve ate, and man’s relationship with God was torn to pieces.

There can be all kinds of disobedience to God, some having to do with His law but most having to do with our relationship with Him.  God asks us to step through a door in faith, perhaps to pray for sick person or engage in a new job, and we resist in doubt and worry.  Is there any law in this?  No.  Is there rank disobedience and unbelief?  Yes,  God asks us to live our lives to bring glory to Him.  Is there any law to this?  No.  When we follow our own paths to act in ways which bring glory to ourselves, is there rank disobedience and unbelief?  Is the failure to trust God and follow Him transgressing His good name, denying His authority and power, and placing Him either beside or beneath us, instead of over us, a transgression?  Yes it is.

And what does God do about these transgressions to His person when we do them and we return to Him, confessing our sins against His Majesty?  David says that the transgressions are forgiven.  The Hebrew word for “forgiven” in this Psalm means to “lift off.”  When we disobey God, we know it.  O we may hide it in a dark closet where we put away our worse memories, or we may bury it in a flurry of busy-ness, or we may discount it by saying that my disobedience was trivial compared to other people’s or compared to some standard of my making, but we know it.  And because we know it, it is a burden which drags us down.  We lose our sense of the Lord’s presence.  Satan finds the hole to discourage us.  We begin to wonder if He cares.  We find excuses to run further and further away.  We either undervalue our disobedience or over inflate it.  All of our disobedience, no matter how silly to us or how serious, is a horror to God.

And yet what does God do with our sin of transgression, of disobedience?  He lifts it from our shoulders and throws it away when we come to the cross of Christ in repentance.

And the amazing thing is that God does it immediately.  David says in verse 5b: “I said ‘ I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.”  Ps. 32:5b

In Jesus parable of the prodigal son, the son is far away from the father, steeped in his transgressions against his father’s will … and he turns toward the father and says “I will go back and say to my father, I have sinned …”  What happens?  The father, while the son is on the way back, starts up the party and is waiting for him.  As soon as he turned and acknowledged that his transgressions needed to be confessed and forgiven, they were forgiven.”

The pressures of life this week will cause us to bend and stoop and will pile up on our backs without slowing down. But these burdens are nothing compared to the burdens we carry around as weighted stones, due entirely to our desire to disobey God, to transgress against Him.  When we sin, we do not just violate a law, we step on God Himself.  These burdens can get so severe that they cause us to look at the ground as we plod away, step by step.  And yet, in the midst of this, if we will but turn toward Him and raise our eyes to hills from whence cometh our help, He is ready to forgive us, to lift the burden from our back for all time, and to place us on solid rock where we may stand free.

How crazy glorious and amazing is this!  And yet there is more to come.

But you can begin right here, right now.  If you have been disobedient to God (and you know you have), turn to Him now in repentance and He will forgive you your trespasses against Him.  You can count on it.

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© 2016 GBF   All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

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Bread – Crosses

May 11, 2015


Readings for Monday, May 11, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Deut. 8:1-10; James 1:1-15; Luke 9:18-27; Psalms 77, 79, 80

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It is Monday and everything in our reading today points toward the crosses we must bear this week. The question is not whether we will bear them, but how. Will we bear them in pain, suffering, and anger toward God or will we bear them in joy, love, and gratitude to God?

Deuteronomy points out that God may save us from our particular prison but He may also let us wander in the wilderness for a long time before we see the promised land. He will be there, but the road will be hot and dusty, and we will be driven to our knees in radical dependence upon the bread (manna) and water which God provides. During this wilderness time, what we receive from God will never be what we want, but it will be what we need. In these circumstances, we should be full of joy, love, and gratitude because the Lord has told us why: “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what is in your heart, whether you will keep His commandments or not….that He might make you know that man does live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord… For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land…And you shall eat and be full…” Deut. 8:2-3,7,10

And James reminds us that we shall meet trials and, because we have faith in Jesus, we are to meet these trials with joy. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness…Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation…Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life…” James 1:2-3,9,12

And, finally, from Jesus Himself we hear these words: “And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoevere would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

From Scripture today we see there are three ways crosses can come. God can cause us to go through them (Deut.), we may face them from the world simply because we are Christian (James), and we may choose to take it up on our own, because we are in fact followers of Christ.

But regardless of how we get it, a cross is a cross. It is heavy, tiring, difficult to handle, rough to the touch, and an instrument of torture and death. And, in fact, when we are carrying our particular crosses in dealing with our own sin, in dealing with our families, in dealing with the workplace, and in dealing with each other, we may in fact feel tortured, put upon, roughed up, and weighed down.

How will you choose today and this week to carry your cross(es). In joy, steadfastness, and hope, or in misery. The choice is ours. Come, Holy Spirit, and help us choose wisely.

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© 2015 GBF

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