Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for July 12, 2020; Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 55:10-13; Psalm 65:9-13; Romans 8:12-17; Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23
You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing. Psalm 65:9-13
Last night we had a downpour. I sat and watched as the water pelted the earth in sheets. Each tiny droplet, teamed with other tiny droplets, affected the face of creation all around me. Now following the downpour, I see the grass is greener, the flowers are brighter, and the fields seem fuller. Besides the beauty that those waters brought, I also see weak and unstable roadways washed out, berms collapsed, and ridged, sharp ledges of dunes smoothed out. Everywhere those individual droplets landed, the earth responded. Either positively or negatively, the earth was changed. A good watering not only brings God’s creation to life, but it also refines and re-sculpts that which is weak and either puts it in a state of greater strength to withstand the storms or annihilates it altogether. God’s rain is transforming, convicting, life changing and life giving.
With these visions of how powerful, life changing, and life giving rain, and water in general, is to God’s creation, let us compare it to the life changing and life giving power of God’s word. Yes, each and every person onto whom each droplet of Scripture falls, is affected. In fact Isaiah tells us just that: “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the
sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Can’t you see it now? Can’t you see how God’s living word gives you strength to stand taller, shine brighter, live freer, in the same way that those rain droplets affect each individual flower in the gardens and stalk in the fields? His word is food for the soul and his Spirit springs to life in you, like the purest spring, to grow strong and brilliant; a beauty for others to see. Therefore, if you are regularly showering in His word, rejoice and shine brightly.
Or perhaps, can’t you see how God’s word is refining, redefining, and re-sculpting you as it washes away the weak or rough edges of sin in your life? How it guides you to be more Christ-like and to see him in all that you are and do, as you let go more and more of yourself and trust in his guiding and perfect ways. If you are being refined, continue to plunge into his deep ocean of truth and guidance, love and grace as poured out in His word.
Or finally, when confronted with a watering of His word, do you feel the heaviness and its weight of inhalation upon you? Do you feel you cannot live under the load of sin with which his word confronts you? Do you clearly see the depth of your own sin and unworthiness to stand? If you feel the need to avoid God’s blanketing waterfall for fear of being crushed, do not be afraid. Do not build up a dam, but instead, let his word gently wash over you. Let His words, and the Holy Spirit bring to light the areas in your life that may need to be demolished. Is it addiction? Is it chronic temptation? Is it feelings of unworthiness? Lowliness? Lonliness? Whatever the crushing weight that His word seems to have upon you, know that you haven’t heard enough. You need to hear more.
The word He desires you to absorb into the depths of your soul is this, “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17) He does not desire to crush and condemn you. …but remove your sin from you. To remove it from the inside out. Oh yes, that is how much God loves you. He sent Jesus to redeem you. To take the heaviness of that annihilating sin you feel and wash it away, and cover you with the purest of coverings. Therefore, “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18-19) In Christ, it is your sins that are annihilated, you just need to stop clinging to them. But cling to the one who has come to save your life through his redeeming blood. He has accomplished it. You just need to let go and repent of those anchors that weigh down and crush you, then let his love, grace and forgiveness wash over you.
No matter what, just know that God’s word in your life will accomplish that which he desires it to accomplish. And his ultimate desire is for you to see yourself as his redeemed child; to know that the heavy penalty of your sins has been paid for; to believe that Christ accomplished it once and for all, because he loves you. Then you too can “shout for joy and sing!” (Psalm 65:13b)
Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me my sins. Take away the crushing load that they bear upon me and let your word wash over me to free me from the crushing burden of sin, to re-sculpt me to be more Christ-like, and to feed me in order to shine your brilliance in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!