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Gracious God, you are indeed a lover of justice. This passage from Isaiah reminds us of just how much you care about justice, especially for those who can’t secure it for themselves. Help us, dear Lord, to share your passion for justice and to seek justice in our lives. Guide us in our personal relationships, in our professional responsibilities, and in the exercise of our citizenship, so that we might reflect your justice in how we live.
In yesterday’s devotion we considered the apparent oxymorons of a “crucified Messiah” and a “doubting disciple”. Leaders who find appropriate ways to share their doubts help their followers understand that Jesus won’t reject us for doubt alone. Today, I want to talk about another apparent oxymoron.
I think the New Testament has a couple of apparent oxymorons. The first is “crucified Messiah”. Keep in mind I’m calling these apparent oxymorons because, though they might seem absurd, in God’s wisdom they are simply true.
Psalm 69 is David’s passionate cry for divine help. He has been sinking into the mire of trouble. Some is the result of his own sin (69:5), while much of David’s difficulty stems from the evil of his opponents (69:4). Even though people laugh at him for his consistent yearning for God (69:10-12), David persists in praying to the Lord, hoping that this is a time of God’s “favor” (69:13).
I wonder how I need to know Christ today. I also wonder how you need to know him. Do you need him to be a wonderful and wise counselor, one who can guide you in your work, your family, and every other context of life? Or do you need Christ to be mighty, to be a source of strength and healing in your life? Perhaps you need him to be like a faithful father, whose love for you is forever firm? Or do you need Christ to grant you his peace to your troubled heart, or to your family, or to your workplace?
In a world of competing loyalties, we often feel torn. Who gets our primary commitment? Our company? Our country? Our political party? Our church? Our family? Isaiah reminds us to put God first above all. When we do, the rest of life will fall into its rightful place.
Through Matthew, we know that Jesus is Immanuel, not in that this was his given name, but in that he, more than any other sign, demonstrates God’s presence with us (see Matt 1:23). This presence continues after Jesus’s ascension to heaven through the gift of the Spirit.
When God considers your co-workers, your neighbors, your family, your fellow students, your friends at the gym, your brothers and sisters at church, the homeless who hang out downtown, and the other people in your life, he asks: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” How will you respond to this question?
God reminded me that Adam and Eve never knew the concept of sacred vs. secular. These premier human beings just existed in perfect harmony before the God that created them. Every action that they took was worship unto their King.
What in your journey might you use to recollect who you are and what you are called to do in your work of leadership? Perhaps it’s a photo, a piece of artwork, a book, or a saying. How might you find a place in your workspace for such a reminder?
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