Sunday, November 25, 2018

Bruised Reeds

In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish and cleanse the sanctuary. The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the temple… 

And so you shall do on the seventh day of the month for everyone who has been led astray or is immature (Ezekiel 45:18-20).

In Ezekiel's vision of future things he sees Israel’s high priest applying the blood of the sin offering to make In Ezekiel's vision of future things he sees Israel’s high priest applying the blood of the sin offering to make atonement for the sins of God's people, a symbol of the sacrifice for our transgressions that Jesus, our High Priest, made once for all on the cross. 

Then, the high priest singles out a select group, those who need special care and for whom a special offering is provided for “those who are easily led astray and immature (Hebrew: peti, clueless)" (Ezekiel 45:20). This is an “over and above” sacrifice for those who are struggling to keep up: failing, falling in their efforts to be good children.

C.S.Lewis says this of those who so struggle: “If you are a poor creature—poisoned by a wretched up-bringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels—saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome sexual perversion—nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends—do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day He will fling it on the scrap-heap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all—not least yourself" (Mere Christianity).

Our Lord knows and understands and makes provision for his damaged and difficult children. He will never turn away from you, nor will he ever cast you aside. “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoking flax He will not quench until he brings forth justice (sets things right)” (Isaiah 42:3). This is the sure and stedfast word of God. 

So keep on, do what you can, despite stupid, humiliating failures and prat-falls. Know that God has borne all your judgment, your sins—even sins not yet committed—are gone; forgiven, forgotten forever. None of us will get everything right in this world; we are not yet one with Jesus in thought and act. We "will breed contradiction, strife, and doubt, for Christ is not yet grown enough to cast them out" (George MacDonald). 

But he will—in due time. 

David Roper

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