There is no other God!
“There is no other god…”
† In Jesus Name †
May we realize that, if there is only one God, then it is to Him we should listen, as He reveals His love and grace to us, and assures us, that He has us in the palm of His hand.
How I don’t want to be part of the crowd…
Holy Week… a time of betrayals…
The Crowds praising God, for bringing the Messiah into their midst… in a few days, the crowds would be crying out to crucify the very person they praised the Father for sending.
The brothers James and John, arguing about who is first in the Kingdom, even to the point their mom would ask Jesus if He could separate them – by placing one at his right hand – and the other at His left. This they asked of the one who would kneel and wash their feet….
The kiss of Judas, how that must of hurt the One who came to embrace the sins of the world.
The sinner of sinners, Peter. Who though he walked with Jesus over three years, though he trusted him enough to set a record for walking on water. Who was at the mountain of transfiguration, who did and saw so many things at Christ’s side… would betray Jesus three times – in Jesus’ hearing, even as Jesus told Peter he would.
Boy do I understand Peter’s grieving, his tears this year. For I find – that as much as I don’t want to be part of the crowd that can go from doing right to doing wrong in an instant, I too often find myself doing so, sometimes faster than I can realize it. My instinct is to find an excuse, a logical reason for sin, to explain the intent – even knowing that the result does not legitimize the sin. We do all sorts of strange things when we sin – we deny the sin, we attempt to bargain, we get angry – maybe to the point where we crucify ourselves, or sometimes, perhaps worse – we attempt to crucify those who point out our error.
If we are blessed, as I have been – we have brothers who have walked that way before, and are ready to share with us, the very grace of God. To remind us that we are forgiven, when we confess the sins we’ve committed. They remind us – that even in our weakest most broken points, that God is faithful, that He is with us. Our reading from Deuteronomy explained it this way, Yahweh will see his people righted, he will take pity on his servants. And 39 See now that I, I am he, and beside me there is no other god. It is I who deal death and life; when I have struck, it is I who heal and no one can rescue anyone from me.
There are those days… when I would wish to escape from God, that I need to hear such words. Then as I realize the love behind them, they bring peace to one who struggles, partially because, like many of you, at times I am my own biggest idol.
Idols – fact and failure.
An idol is something we depend on, something we rely on, instead of relying on God. It can be anything from a good luck charm, to a person we desperately “need” in our lives, to the old fashioned idols made of wood or stone.
And as I mentioned – sometimes we are so impressed with our knowledge or our maturity, that we can become our own idol. We think we have all the knowledge, all the wisdom, all the power. We might even make ourselves an idol of ourselves because we are good Christians, just as Paul realized that he did last week – when we heard of all the things he counted as skubala as dung, because He realized He couldn’t rely on them.
Fact is, when we aren’t on guard – idols have a sneaky way of worming themselves into our lives, making us depend on them, more than we depend on God.
Then they fail – as God tells us they will. It doesn’t matter how much we work, how much we prepare, how much we tell ourselves we’ve got it down- our idols will fail – they will not provide us shelter, or comfort, or help.
There is only one God – the Lord who revealed himself to Abraham, to Moses, to Gideon as we saw during Lent. The God who waits – knowing that our idols, our false gods will fail us….
Ready to pick us up – ready to reveal again, that He is the Lord, that He is with us.
Death than Life.
As the deacons and vicars sat in my office this week – they came to an immediate realization about very 39, the difficult phrases they make us wonder at first glance. It is I who deal death and life; when I have struck, it is I who heal! They both remarked – this is talking about Law and Gospel – about the cross and baptism.
It is one of those moments where I realize that working with them is a great joy! They nailed it. ( Hmmm that might not be just the right way to say it, with Good Friday around the corner. ) But this passage is about this week – about a death that leads to life – and about how we are joined to that death in our baptism.
A death that shows the passion, the very heart of God, that He has for us….
That our sin, that even our idolatry can and is cleansed from us. Not that we should be proud of it, but we shouldn’t nail ourselves to the cross over and over again.
We’ve been there – because we’ve been here – at the baptismal font, at the place of St. Paul said,
12 For when you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and in baptism you were also raised with Christ through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from death. 13 You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; Colossians 2:12-13 (TEV)
That is where our confidence needs to be, not in ourselves, not in the failures that we so grieve over, but in the God who will not let us escape His grasp.
For there – when we realize He will not let us go… we find the peace that so eludes us, when we realized we cried Hosanna – hoping that God would do what we thought was right, the peace that eludes us as well, when we realize we are crying out “Crucify Him”, and then grieve over our guilt.
He won’t let us go, and because of that – we can know He is God, and that He crucifies us in Christ – that we can be raised to a new life. A life in which He reigns, and in which we live in peace. AMEN?