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by Mary Alice McGinnis
When I was a little girl, when my mom wanted my attention, she would call out,
“Mary Alice Huss!” Followed with a scolding.
On more than one occasion, it was something like:
“I left these clothes on the steps for a reason. It was NOT so you could just keep stepping over them on your way up to your room. I placed them on the steps so you would pick them up, take them upstairs and put them neatly away.”
Behind her scolding words was a sense of,
“My love for you is so big!
I do so many things for you!
I lovingly wash your clothes and fold them for you every week.
Don’t take it for granted.
Now please show your love back to me by following through with putting them away.”
In today’s reading God’s voice is calling the Children of Israel to LISTEN.
He has an accusation against them. But He does not begin with spelling out all the ways they had disappointed Him, disrespected Him, or walked away from Him. Instead, He reminds His Children of all the ways He had, and still was caring for them. He lists specific stories from their lives to remind them of how, in His mercy and love, He never abandon them and rescued them. Perhaps even when they did not realize it.
If you were to reflect on your life, what could you recall about how God has loving cared for you? What specific difficult circumstances has God brought you through? Looking back, how did His hand of providence guide you, support you, or rescue you? How is He caring for you right now?
Yet, just like the Children of Israel, we tend to forget God’s goodness. We often take God’s grace for granted. Or we consider what He is asking of us is too hard.
Can you hear God’s children’s defensive responses in today's passage?
What is your response when you hear these words from Romans 3:10-12?
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
The scripture teaches that even if were to TRY to make things right with God by following certain rules or rituals, being generous in over abundant ways, or even sacrificing things we dearly love, it would NEVER come close to being enough to restore our relationship with God.
Psalm 49:7-8 says, “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough.”
Yet God DID redeem our lives! He DID pay the ransom necessary to bring us back to Him. He did it simply because He LOVES US!
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3)
God’s desire is for us to stop trying harder and harder, and just come closer.
Stop looking at Him as the angry task master whom can never be pleased.
Instead, cling to the One who died in your place - Jesus, God's own Beloved Son.
Bring your repentant heart to Him.
Be honest with Him about all the ways you have failed.
Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. He will empower you to lovingly return His grace with seeking justice, loving mercy and walking humbly before Him.
Loving Heavenly Father, thank you for all the ways you have shown Your love for me. Thank you that the sun comes up every morning, that the rain comes to water the earth, that You have given me life and breath. Thank you especially that You came to earth to rescue me!
Fill me to the brim with Your Holy Spirit so I may gratefully give my life as a love offering back to You! Show me where I can seek justice, love mercy and walk ever more humbly before You today.