October 5, 2009

Kissed

In the Bible God often has authors of different books repeat things twice for emphasis.  Basically, God is saying through this emphasis, "pay attention to this!" Over and over as I meet God in the Bible and books, songs or sermons, God will bring the same Scripture to me more than once within a short period of time. Sometimes they are Scriptures I know and maybe think I have some understanding, and sometimes I think "what??"

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff and I went to Mexico with Keith and Susan. Our beautiful hotel was situated where every room had an ocean view. Awesome. It also had a big balcony.  Every day, when the Lord called up the morning, my eyes would sense that little bit of red that announced that the earth would roll back and let the sun make it's daily arrival.  We were on vacation but I couldn't resist. I slipped from bed, took my devotional book out on the balcony to see what God had painted up for the day and to thank Him and praise Him for His glory and for giving me another day live in this beautiful world He created.

The really sweet thing was that most mornings in real life I don't see Jeff since he heads off so early. It was a real treat for me when he slipped out the door to see what I was up to. I loved it when he would join me, have a pot of coffee ordered up to the room and turn to me and say "What's the Lord have to say today?" Wow, could anyone know what that meant to me?

On one day in particular, I turned in my Daily Light devotional and read September 26.  I stopped when I read this verse: "Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed." Ps. 85:10  What in the world?  I asked, "Have I ever read that? What does it mean?"  I told Jeff I was going to have to meditate on that. There were five words in that Scripture that intrigued me: mercy, truth, righteousness, peace, and that one word that stuck out like a sore thumb, kissed. They kissed!

I thought about it a little, but not much, thinking I would have to wait to get home and get into a few commentaries so someone smarter than me can tell me what this meant.

But I didn't have to wait. (God is good!)  On the flight back I read Timothy Keller's book, The Prodigal God. Near the end he was explaining the significance of the feast thrown by the father for the son who had come home, and also how devastated he must have been that the his other son, the "older brother," refused his father's invitation to the feast.  And there in the middle of the talk of a feast was Psalm 85:10. The Lord had my attention.

Here is Keller's explanation based on probably the best remembered parable of the New Testament.
Jesus tells us that both the sensual way of the younger brother and the ethical way of the elder brother are spiritual dead ends. He shows us there is another way: through him. And to enter that and to live a life based on his salvation will bring us finally to the ultimate party and feast at the end of history.  (Keller, Prodigal God, p. 132)
Grace is the link between the law that could not save us and sin that would kill us. Grace was the kiss. It is the wonderful, powerful touch of God. I have been kissed by God into eternity. None of us can just stand in knowledge and obedience like the older brother and get angry at God for blessing the undeserving younger brother. Obedient or undeserving, what the Father really wants from us is  relationship. He wants to kiss us. Give us grace and with it righteousness and peace. He wants to know Him, know His heart, sit down and eat with him taking in all that is on his banquet table. Our Father wants to celebrate. Joy comes with righteousness through the grace of our Father who loves us so. Now I believe that calls for a feast:
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wines--- the best of meats and finest of wines.
On this mountain he will desroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.
           The LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:6-8)

 Praise God I've been kissed. I am so hungry for that feast that is coming!


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