Friday, April 14, 2017

April 14

Joshua 9:3-10:43; Luke 16:19-17:10; Psalm 83:1-18; Proverbs 13:4

I’m glad to be sitting down to write this post today. My middle son’s asthma has been acting up, so it’s meant lots of breathing treatments with a nebulizer strapped to his face, including in the middle of the night. This makes both of us cranky – he doesn’t like coughing all the time and I don’t like missing my precious sleep. I can tell I’m a little short with my kids (and even my husband, truth be told) and I need the break that being in God’s word and meditating on it provides. Hooray for the routine and discipline of the One Year Bible to pull me out of myself, just in the nick of time.

I was struck today by Luke's telling of the story of the rich man and Lazarus, particularly of the rich man’s pleas to Abraham that he send Lazarus from the dead to warn his brothers of their coming peril if they don’t repent. Abraham says they should listen to the prophets, but the rich man says, “No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (Lk. 16:30). Sounds like a pretty convincing plan, huh? The rich man is worried that his brothers are going down the same path to hell that he used, and so he wants a miraculous intervention to bring them to their knees. Judging by how miserable the rich man is in hell, you can’t blame the guy for trying.

But Abraham surprised me in his reply, as he says, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (vs. 31). I say I was surprised because, at first glance, it seems crazy that someone wouldn’t believe a messenger from the dead. These brothers had probably dined at the rich man’s house frequently, so they likely knew of Lazarus and would recognize him should he return from the grave with a warning. How could you deny the validity of that claim and not repent?

And yet, as I look around our world today, I actually see so much of the same thing. I’ve definitely thought before that what God really needed to do to get people’s attention was a huge, miraculous sign. Like having the sun stand still, or parting a huge ocean, or speaking through a well-known celebrity. But as I get older and experience more of the world, I see now that people whose hearts are hard will always find a way to “explain” away God. They might call it Mother Nature or a freak coincidence, or label a person as mentally disturbed or confused or a liar if that person shares an encounter they had with God. If our culture isn’t willing to accept the truth of Jesus as presented in God’s word and the very testimony of creation, then they won’t believe it if God arranged the stars in the night sky with the words “God loves you” either. They would explain it away with astronomy charts and graphs.

Help me, Lord, to have a soft heart, a heart that sees where are you working, in both the big and small ways. Amen.

- Esther McCurry

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