This morning I read just a few scriptures out of Micah...not John! It reminded me of our study in Ecclesiastes. (The thought rushed through my head that one scripture here is related to this scripture there, and then on to another. All of the Bible's scriptures are so tightly knit together. How I love this God and His powerful Word!)
Back to Ecclesiastes. Everything is a grasping for the wind...except the Lord. I wept as I realized that I do have some compassion for the lost world. I pleaded with God to show them the way. I pleaded with my having the right words to say.
How far we have strayed, like Israel, from God. It's like we read: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. ...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Isaiah 53:6, Romans 3:23). It's so true. We like to think we are so good, at least better than this person or that. And we are not! We all start out walking in grave clothes. We all start out dead like Lazarus. How these thoughts evolved!
Remember Lazarus who Jesus brought to life? I would suggest reading all of the account of Lazarus in John 11. Let me share some of the things Jesus said about this situation:
When Jesus heard that [Lazarus was dead] He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” ...after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:4,11,26)
But what were the words Jesus spoke to bring Lazarus out of the tomb, out of his "slumber," his death? "Lazarus, come forth." (John 11:43) Two words! Only two!
Death surely is ours but resurrection can be ours through Jesus Christ. He urges us, whether we hear it or not...and sometimes I think we hear and ignore His plea...come forth. That's all we need to do. Come forth. We may not hear those words. We might hear, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, follow Me, or maybe receive Christ for the remission of sins, or you must be born again. We all have sinned and strayed from God but He calls us to return. This world has nothing for us, but He has it all. We walk in this world in our grave clothes like Lazarus. We are dead in this world though we are living. We stumble in the darkness of life in the world. But if we would come forth when Jesus calls, we would no longer stumble but be going by the lighted way which is Christ.
It's not about a religion, denomination or church. It's about Jesus Christ. It's about Him alone and what He has done. We must have a personal relationship with Him. He is available to all. You cannot have a relationship with Him by just going to church or knowing someone who has that relationship. He wants it directly with you. It's why it is called personal. It's a commitment you make with Him. In the world we daily make deals with the devil!
When we come forth and make a commitment to Jesus, the glory of God has taken place in our lives. This is not some arrogant thing. He changes us. He unwraps those grave clothes. We walk in a resurrected life in Christ. This is not some scary thing. But, oh how difficult it is to explain to someone who is not ready to give up death in the world and take on life in Christ.
At dinner with a friend last night, I watched her weep as she talked about how she felt helpless to do anything to save the lives of the many people in the cars around her, people she doesn't even know. There comes a time when we have to let that go and just deal with those lives we can touch. We know the path is narrow and few will be on it, even those who believe they will be. We can do just so much and pray God will do more. We aren't called to save the entire world, just our little corner of it.
We talked about all the well-meaning people we all know who miss some of the points of what's happening in this world, how evil is escalating, how compromise or tolerance has set in against God and His truths, about how we will be considered intolerant and hateful because they do not understand what God says. And her words pretty much summarized it: I guess that's what I will look like then. I agree. If we are on God's side it will happen. If Jesus was persecuted for His beliefs, so will we. But in the end, we will come out victorious, like He did...like Lazarus did too.
Like Lazarus, those grave clothes come free. Listen for Him and be willing to take off those grave clothes and follow Him. He heals, He raises people from the dead, He brings new life, He sets people free from bondage.
John 11:44 - And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”