In Wrath Remember Mercy

I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.  Hab 3:2

Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin….

Moses bowed to the ground at once and worshiped. “O Lord, if I have found favor in your eyes,” he said, “then let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.”

Then the Lord said: “I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.  (Selections from Ex 34)

God is an incredibly compassionate and merciful God.  Although he should have vaporized the Israelites, or at least turned His back on them, for worshipping the golden calf at the very time when he was carrying out His plan to benefit them, He instead makes a covenant with them to drive out the other nations before them and give them the promised land.

A couple of days ago I did the cross study with someone. I feel I have been brought to a place where new depths are revealed and I am in reverent awe at the unfolding.  I am more in awe of how much Jesus went through, the torture, the anguish, the barbarous pain…things I wouldn’t be able to leave my comfortable life to endure for more than a moment, he endured on a massive scale.  The more I read the Bible, the more I see how much the grand scope of history and the prophets culminate in this happening.  It is unutterably sacred.  It gives me limitless hope.  I realize I have profound value.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

As God showed mercy in Moses’ time, so he shows mercy through Christ.  And mercy is something the world needs so much.  Even this morning I read about people bombing and killing each other in Iraq, and in Pakistan.  There is such hatred, such hostility.  And even if nations don’t solve their problems through violence, they are corrupt.  There is such hopelessness among the inhabitants of the earth, that there could be a nation that finds peace or integrity.

We watched a movie last night, “Children of Heaven,” about two children in Iran who were so poor they had to share one pair of shoes between them.  While the rich of the country were sequestered in palatial dwellings, the poor scraped by.  The two children were a picture of purity.  They cared for one another and gave to one another, even though they had almost nothing.  They understood mercy.  The message of the film was that we all should be like these “children of heaven.”

And now I want so much for God to renew His awesome deeds in our time.  We are wicked and stiff necked, but I want to see God work powerfully to bring many people to Him in Auburn and the surrounding areas, and in the world. Lately I have been disconcerted by the ugliness and tenacity of my sin.  Yet I would come before God and beg him to work.  I dream.  I need to drink His mercy in though my pores, and let it quiet me.  I need to get excited that even though we have failings, God WILL do amazing things.

I am trying to finish my musical about Rahab and Joshua.  I read the Jericho battle scene again a couple of days ago.  A big part of the story is that they must dedicate everything in Jericho to the Lord.  A big part of God’s promise of strength to the Israelites was that they do not get involved with the profane practices of the other nations.  The voice of the Lord must sustain us.  Just as they could not let other things fill their needs, we must always live in the green pastures and still waters given by God, and not sample the addictive junk food of the world.

God is already renewing His awesome deeds in our time.  There are miracles God is doing, and I must hold onto these as my food, remember them as so many needs and failures swirl around me like a sandstorm.  In the last two days I have seen people understand Jesus who could never understand Him.  I have seen people who were stuck in a lack of effort, now taking initiative and making a difference.

I pray that I can be humble, and that He can continue to work.

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