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Lord's Day Liturgy

Pots Throwing Pieces

I bit the bait and clicked an inflammatory link a while back that permanently burned my brain. A straightforward tweet asked: What is the most offensive verse in the Bible? and promised an answer behind a click. The answer surprised me, stirred me, and settled for me so much of our cultural, and even Christian and Christian cultural, woes.

The most offensive verse in the Bible is Genesis 1:1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

If that verse is true–and I believe it without hedging or hesitation, without a wink or crossed fingers behind the back–then God must be acknowledged as Creator, thanked as Maker, and obeyed as Lord by all. This God who created the world rules the world and He makes the rules for the world. He does not need anyone’s counsel, nor does He ask for it or take it. He did not create in order to disclaim His authority but rather to demonstrate it.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8)

What is good for man requires man to submit to God. What is this strange word, “submit”? It means to do what someone else says.

As the t-shirt so memorably exhorts: There is a God, and you’re not Him. Resistance is futile, like clay pots throwing pieces of themselves at the Potter, destroying themselves in the process.

We would do well to take the posture and pray in a way similar as Jesus did, “Not my world, but Yours be done.”

Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

Strong “Ewww” Reflexes

Maybe the only threat more grave to our souls than unrighteousness is self-righteousness. Both make us enemies of God, the former by honest rebellion and the latter by dishonest resistance.

If our consciences are working, either by the Spirit or common grace, then the last section of Genesis 19 turns our stomachs. But we need it to turn them in such a way that we appreciate God’s mercy more than we appreciate that we are not like Lot and his daughters.

The girls exaggerated their misfortune, premeditated their manipulation, and dishonored their father in more ways than one. For Lot’s part, it’s almost as if he enjoyed the opportunity to get drunk in his self-pity and forget everything he lost. The sons of this incestuous perversion, Moab and Ben-ammi, were the fruit of selfishness, weakness, and unbelief. Thank goodness Lot’s plot line is over.

Until we get to Ruth, the Moabites. This Moabites married Boaz, the great-grandfather of King David. This Moabite woman is in the genealogy of Jesus. She’s mentioned by name in Matthew 1, the first chapter of the good news of the New Testament.

The point is “Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), and not just the “good” sinners. He really identifies with the ungodly, on the cross, and even in His family tree. Our invitation to the Table of communion depends on His mercy, not because we sinned in “natural” ways or have strong “ewww” reflexes.

If we want to compare, let us compare correctly. We compare ourselves with God’s standard, not to others. So we eat and drink and boast, not that we are not like other men, but that God is merciful to us, sinners. He knows what we’re capable of and He is glad to have us here because of Christ’s death and resurrection, and that is amazing.