In my personal devotions I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus. Each time I study the Old Testament, I am struck by the fickleness of the Israelites. In the perfect aerial view and 20/20 vision I am allowed in scripture, I find myself becoming proud and judgmental. Sentiments such as, “Come ON people! You saw God part the Red Sea. He killed ALL the Egyptians who were chasing you and has been leading you around in a pillar of cloud and fire.” and, “He descended in a cloud with thunder and lightning and fire on top of a mountain where your leader is meeting with Him, right now, at this very moment… and what do you choose to do with your free time? You melt your jewelry into a cow, decide that IT is your god, and worship it. This very jewelry, may I remind you, God (the real God, not this cow which you just made) gave you as plunder as you escaped Egyptian captivity.” as well as the ever popular, “Seriously guys? Give me a break! How dense can you be?” can often be found running through my mind and heart. Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit dwelling within me. He stops me short each time I begin down this thought pathway. “Melissa,” I hear Him gently whisper to my heart, “how many times have you turned your back on Me just moments after I showed you grace and blessing? How many times have you harbored unforgiveness in your heart even after I have forgiven you so much?” and “Do you doubt I have a plan even in the bad stuff? Is My power and sovereignty limited?” These reminders are humbling. They show me again and again that I am truly no different than the stiff-necked people I read of in Scripture. These stories shed the revealing light of God into the depravity of man’s hearts, and in that process this pure light shows so clearly what a good and powerful God we serve. Oh that I could simply rest in this thought and trust in the goodness of my God. I, however, am so prone to self-loathing. In endless ways I demand perfection from myself. I see the true nature of my heart as I study Scripture and walk with the Lord. I see my selfishness, my pride, my vanity, and my love of ease and comfort. I see all the areas I do not have victory: my poor attitude toward my boss, my lack of self-control, and my lack of faithfulness and depth in my time spent in prayer and study of God’s Word. I see my sin, and I listen closely to the voice of the evil one who tells me I’m not worth anything. Instead of looking to the cross where Jesus shed His blood in the greatest gesture of love this world has ever seen, I choose to look at myself, my poor, wretched, stiff-necked self, and I wallow. Instead of running to the arms of the one who loves and accepts me for all that I am, I sit alone with my sin, trying to make it go away. But, oh what I patient God I serve! He never gives up on me. He never stops waiting for me to lay down my burdens and come to sit at His feet, and He rejoices at the opportunity to shower me with His love. Let us all rest in this great love.
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”