My one defense, my righteousness
Oh, God, how I need You.
(Copyright 2011 worshiptogether.com Songs)
This morning I turned to a couple passages in the Bible that our pastor suggested reading throughout this week to bring home the message he had for us last Sunday. There were many jewels to be mined from them but the words that stood out to me for me this day were GRACE and REST.
Hebrews 3 and 4 are passages about how necessary it is to listen to God's voice TODAY and to not harden your hearts.
"Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God."
"Today you must listen to his voice. Don't harden your hearts against him..."
It is teaching us to not be like the Israelites who were testing God's patience in the desert as He led them to the Promised Land. Over and over again it says not to harden our hearts so that we can enter into God's rest.
"But never forget the warning: 'Today you must listen to his voice. Don't harden your hearts against him as Israel did when they rebelled'."
Those who didn't harden their hearts entered into God's rest.
"So God's rest is there for people to enter. But those who formerly heard the Good News failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his place of rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David a long time later in the words already quoted:
'Today you must listen to his voice. Don't harden your hearts against him'."
If you know anything about God's Word you know that if God repeats a word or phrase often that it is very important.
Here's where I found hope.
"This new place of rest was not the land of Canaan, where Joshua led them. If it had been, God would not have spoken later about another day of rest. So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who enter into God's rest will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world. Let us do our best to enter that place of rest. For anyone who disobeys God, as the people of Israel did, will fall."
Interestingly enough, from here God seemingly goes into another direction:
"For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done."
I don't know about you, but if everything about me is going to be exposed to God that doesn't feel very restful. That feels very vulnerable and uncomfortable. Earlier in chapter 4 it says that the Good News is that God has prepared a place of rest. But being exposed doesn't seem very restful and certainly doesn't seem like good news. I can identify with this.
In this journey we have been on for the past 8 plus months NOTHING has felt restful and everything about us has been exposed. In our home we are completely real and raw and uncomfortably exposed to one another emotionally. It is NOT restful.
This morning I feel completely drained and not very gracious or rested. But God's warnings from chapter 3 of Hebrews resonate with me. "Be careful". "Don't harden your hearts". "Today you must listen to his voice."
Then He hits me with that whole cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires and exposing me for who I really am thing and I feel like I want to give up.
But then there is this:
"That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it."
The words at the beginning of this post are from the song Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher, Jesse, Reeves, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels and Daniel Carson. The words "my one defense, my righteousness, Oh, God how I need you" from this song have played over and over again in my mind and heart for many months as I truly needed them. They are kind of a song picture of these Scriptures from today.
The only place I can find my rest. The only place where grace is more than the sin that runs deep in me. Lord, I need You.