Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wash yourself in the word, let its comforts engulf you!

Sometimes we know that God is so big, we wonder, how can He know us? Why does He care about little old me? Will He even remember me? We know He does, but sometimes it's hard to think on, that He is so mighty but that He cares about even our daily provision. So when we offer each other comfort, we often turn to the wonderful verses about God knowing all about us. Here is one-

"I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12:4-7).

I am going through Ezra and I read Ezra 2 the other day. I was struck by the verses that make up the bulk of that chapter. It is the part where the LORD puts on the exiled Israelites' hearts to leave Babylon. The 70-year exile is over and it is time to return, build the temple, and resume life as a person of God in the Land. Fifty-thousand people were to return. The Remnant.

"The number of the men of the people of Israel: the sons of Parosh, 2,172. The sons of Shephatiah, 372. The sons of Arah, 775. The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,812. The sons of Elam, 1,254. The sons of Zattu, 945. The sons of Zaccai, 760. The sons of Bani, 642. The sons of Bebai, 623. The sons of Azgad, 1,222. The sons of Adonikam, 666. The sons of Bigvai, 2,056. The sons of Adin, 454. The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98. The sons of Bezai, 323. The sons of Jorah, 112. The sons of Hashum, 223. The sons of Gibbar, 95. The sons of Bethlehem, 123. The men of Netophah, 56. The men of Anathoth, 128. The sons of Azmaveth, 42." (Ezra 2:2b-24)

Look how exacting! Look how perfectly God's records are kept! Look how much He knows! And it doesn't end there. After the genealogies which comprise the bulk of the chapter are exhausted (so that the generations of priests and Levites will be able to maintain their claim to the office of Priest), we read how many singers and gatekeepers there were:

"The singers: the sons of Asaph, 128. The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, in all 139." (Ezra 2:41-42).

And He is not done, after all the listings of the different types of servants, there is a list of how many horses and donkeys! "Their horses were 736, their mules were 245, their camels were 435, and their donkeys were 6,720." (Ezra 2:66-67).

Rather than wanting to hurry and read through these extensive lists, I slowed down and lingered over these verses. First, because if it is in the bible it is put there for a reason, likely, many reasons that prayer and meditating upon will bring out. Secondly, I like to picture in my mind the men whose names are listed actually gathering their sheep and packing up the donkey and the women un-pitching the tents. I like to imagine the scene so as to bring to life that this is a real event and these were real people. Third, I was simply struck at the exactitude of the Lord. His record-keeping is as exact and controlled as He is. Of course He knows us! He knows our struggles, our sins, our attempts, our repentance, our thoughts, our failings, our past and our future. He knows. And not only that, this great God of ours, He empathizes. How can such a High and Exalted God sympathize with our puny problems?

Here is how:

"Surely our griefs He himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted." (Isaiah 53:4).

Because of this, He personally can sympathize with us. He is our great High Priest:

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Friend, if you are struggling, if you feel lost or alone, go to the throne of mercy. It is not far, only as far as closed eyes and clasped hands. We serve a great and holy God who loves us and knows us through and through. Let Him comfort you--

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

2 comments:

  1. Exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you for the encouragement.
    A sister in Christ. :0)

    ReplyDelete

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