Receiving and Acting on the Word; April 23, 2018

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”

This verse is famous for John referencing it in connection with Jesus’ crucifixion, (John 19:37) specifically talking about how the Roman soldier rammed a spear through Jesus’ torso, from just under His ribs. The level of detail in the prophesies of the Messiah that are recorded in the Old Testament is amazing at times. Psalm 22 has details of what happened on Golgotha that completely exceed the possibilities of chance, but there are still people who refuse to accept that Jesus was and is the promised Messiah. How tragic! Whether we can see and receive such things as evidence of God’s grace to us depends far more on our heart attitude than on anything else. The whole Bible is a record of how some people humbled themselves before God and some didn’t, and what happened as a result. Logically speaking, that should teach us to seek God in all humility with everything we’ve got, but very few people are that logical. Everything comes down to our choice of whether to accept what God has done and provided, or not. The Bible makes it very clear what the consequences are of each choice, but in our stupid willfulness and pride we tend to go our own way, just like sheep. (Isaiah 53:6) That makes the magnificence of God’s love, grace, and mercy in sending Jesus to die for us all the more astounding. When it really penetrates just what God has done for us, the only appropriate response is total gratitude and the obedience that comes from love. (John 14:15)

I say this, yet my own obedience is far from perfect. Like all preachers, I need to listen to my own sermons! Thankfully I have grown in that, but I have tried God’s patience far more than I like to think about. That should teach me to be patient with those around me, but there too I have room to grow. One of Jesus’ strictest parables was of the servant who, forgiven much, still refused to forgive far less. (Matthew 18:23-35) For that matter, right after teaching His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, He said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15) That’s about as black-and-white as you could ask for. I have no room to be judgmental of others failing to act on God’s Word when I have so much of that Word in my head but do no better than I do about putting it into practice. I am to speak the truth in love, which can sometimes come across as very strong, but I am to do so with a sharp awareness of God’s grace toward me, that is equally available to everyone else.

Well, Father, I certainly didn’t expect this when I started writing! Thank You for being faithful to tell me what I need to hear, even when I don’t expect it. Help me indeed receive and act on everything You say to me, so that Your will may be done in and through me for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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