Monday, August 25, 2008

How not to miss the visitation

Israel does not know,
my people do not understand. Isaiah 1:3

Reflecting this morning on Isaiah, I am struck by their innocent intentions versus the massive consequences.

Most of the sins we commit are not conscious. It’s natural to live in a mental environment of good intentions, protected from self-awareness within walls of soft but impenetrable emotional benevolence.

The Lord said, for example, “You are robbing me” (Malachi 3:9). Israel did not respond, “Busted! We didn’t think you’d notice.” They honestly said, “How have we robbed you?” They may have felt misunderstood. So God explained, and showed them a new path of blessing.

Christ said to his church in Laodicea, “You say, I am rich, . . . not realizing that you are wretched . . . .” (Revelation 3:17). Then he counseled them to do new business with him, “so that you may see” (Revelation 3:18). Their loss would be the comforting illusion of okayness, but their gain would be his living presence (Revelation 3:20).

When Jesus wept over Jerusalem (he wept, he didn’t rage), he said, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!” (Luke 19:42). They weren’t consciously pushing away the shalom of God. They just had a full to-do list that day, and if Jesus had to be dealt with at all – their incomprehension made a snap judgment, and they missed their historic opportunity. The Lord said, “You did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44).

To miss our time of visitation, it is not necessary that we consciously defy Christ. Just not knowing, if at heart we do not want to know, is defiance enough. We cannot change what we cannot see. But we can place ourselves under the light of God’s Word, especially the book of Acts where biblical Christianity is so clearly displayed, and ask the Lord to show us ourselves in our real condition and show us himself in his all-sufficiency and tell us what he wants us to do next.

I believe the Lord would be pleased and would visit us wonderfully.