Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 30, 2019
Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. Psalm 113:5-8 (NRSV)
For much of human history, our thoughts about God have tended towards extremes. If there is a God, he must be entirely other. High and elevated, distant and uninvolved in creation, especially in any ongoing or intimate way. On the other hand, people have thought he must be one with creation, seen in a sunset or gentle breeze, yet otherwise indistinguishable from the world around us.
The radical claim of the Christian faith is that God is both transcendent other and intimately close.
As the psalmist says, God alone is “seated on high” and “looks far down on the heavens and the earth.” We must always reach for an ever-increasing vision of God’s glory and grandeur. He is always more powerful and mighty than we can begin to grasp. Whatever we know to be true of him has only scratched the surface. There is always more than we will ever be able to comprehend or grasp (Ephesians 3:18).
Yet this very same God, seated above the heavens, is the one who makes his home amongst us, drawing near as a weak and vulnerable child. He is a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19) and is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). Jesus dignifies the path of poverty and says neediness is not a barrier but is the key to the kingdom.
Do you feel like you are sitting in the dust or an ash heap? Do you struggle to see a way forward or a way out of the challenge you find yourself in today? Rather than ignoring or running from the painful situation, trying to escape as quickly as you can, what if you instead invited Jesus to meet you in that place?
I think of St. Paul’s well-known words to the church in Rome: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). What was true then is true now. The creator of the stars above draws near in love and longs to meet us at our very worst. Will we have the courage to open our lives to him afresh and tear down our walls of pride, acknowledging our need for rescue and redemption?
Father, remind us that you speak hope when all we hear is despair. You see a future when all we see is the past. You bring life when all we know is death, through Christ our Lord, Amen.
How can you invite Jesus into your deepest fears and doubts?
The radical claim of the Christian faith is that God is both transcendent other and intimately close. #liftedup #wisdomhunters
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