Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Correct me, O Lord

As I have written before, I am moody and prone to extremes. I have noticed over the years that my extremes can play havoc with the way that I see and understand the God of the Bible. I am not fully sure why one day the proverbial sun can be shining and birds singing and I can glory in the judgment of God upon his enemies, and the very next day, the storm clouds roll in and I question how God can deal so harshly with his people. Yes, they sinned, but the judgment is so, well, final.

Sometimes it is easy to forget that characters in the Bible were real, flesh and blood people who asked many of the same questions as I do. I often think that because they had a special revelatory relationship with God that they must never question him. Therefore, it is a comfort to me when I read Jeremiah questioning God…
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life” (Jeremiah 4:10).
At the same time, Jeremiah’s perspective rights itself. He is significantly more faithful than I am. Several chapters later Jeremiah again writes,
I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing (Jeremiah 10:23–24).
My prayer, then, echoes Jeremiah. Lord, in my extremes, keep me seeing you correctly. I am prone to wander, prone to leave the one I love. Please, Father, be gentle and correct me, not in your anger, but in your mercy. I trust in your own words, that you practice steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth.
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23–24).

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