Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Western culture, especially since the 20th century, has been very suspicious of a surveillance state. Though in some circles we have become more accepting of security cameras, checkpoints, and being tracked by our cell phones, we generally don’t like being watched. Hopefully nobody will ever actually review all that footage that could be used to follow our actions and possibly either accuse us of something we didn’t (or maybe did) do, distracting us from what we would like to be doing, or possibly detaining us.
In Isaiah 40:25-31, however, we find God portrayed as the one who sees everything and is always watching everything. Not only is he watching everything, but he created it and knows precisely how it works. This could lead us to considerable fear. Is there some charge that will catch up with me? When I consider my life carefully I realize it falls short of the perfection God demands. What do I do about that? Perhaps we were hoping God wouldn’t notice our sin, or at least that he would overlook it. Maybe compared to everyone else’s failings, what I did or didn’t do wasn’t that bad after all!
God’s justice requires action. He who demands perfection will not accept a lesser standard. And the soul who sins must die. That’s God’s rule, not one I would make up. After all, if I were making the rules, I would have a different standard with a bunch of loopholes. Certainly my family and I would escape from judgment, along with the friends I actually like.
Thankfully, God’s judgment doesn’t work that way. He understands our weakness, our frailty, In verses 28-31 he promises to care for us even in our times of failure. How can he do that? Our failure should be our death sentence! But that is the good news of this Easter season. Jesus himself, God the Son, served as a substitute for us. He, the one who lived a life of perfect righteousness gave his own life to satisfy God’s justice against all our sin. He, through his love for that countless host of humanity, which he created and understands, chose to replace us in death so that we could receive his life.
God’s justice desired action, and that action was death. But he, by himself, put sin to death by dying in the place of sinful humanity. He is great, and able to do all that he intends. He has accomplished salvation. Therefore we can stand before him, receive his strength, run and not be weary, walk and not faint. Thanks be to God.
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