Judges 17:1-18:31; John 3:1-21; Psalm 104:1-23; Proverbs 14:20-21
Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD. That pretty much sums up our Old Testament reading today. Thieving sons, idol-commissioning mothers, Levites expressly usurping the role of priests, and a marauding, murdering tribe (who didn't obey the command to conquer their own territory so they go poaching on "peaceful and unsuspecting" [Judg. 18:7, 27] towns). And I have to warn you, tomorrow is even worse.
So Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus is refreshing, to say the least. Here is a religious leader pursuing time with Jesus to learn more from him. What beautiful things Jesus says to him:
- "Everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" (Jn. 3:15). It's available to everyone and anyone, anytime. I'm thinking of the criminal on the cross next to Jesus.
- "God so loved the world" (vs. 16). Sit with those five words for a moment, as if it's the first time you've read or heard them. God LOVED and he loved SO much and he loved the entire WORLD. That is incredible, profound stuff. The rest of the verse is considered great, too.
- "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world" (vs. 17). No condemnation, friends. Those voices that tell you of your guilt and shame, your lack of value and worth, your inadequacy and un-use-ability - they are lies. You are covered by the blood of Jesus, who does not condemn you and who stands before God the Father for you and for me. "There is now no condemnation in Christ," Paul reiterates in Romans 8:1. Talk about freedom!
And I have to geek out on the imagery of the psalm today. God wearing splendor, majesty, and light as his clothes (Ps. 104:1-2). God using the elements (wind, fire) as his servants (vs. 3-4). God placing boundaries on water (vs. 9). The tremendous and intimately personal care that God lavishes on his creation (vs. 11-18). The order and rhythm of creation (vs. 19-23). Isn't the psalm stunning? Maybe read it out loud, just to catch the movement of the poetry, to listen to the rich beauty of the words. And then realize that this mighty, powerful God is the same God of John 3:16.
- Sarah Marsh
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