[13MAR2012] Lent 2012: Day 21—Reflection and Meditation
♦ Gospel - Mark 7:6-8
“O that today you would hear the Lord’s voice: Harden not your hearts.“
Today I have two thoughts that have been competing for my attention. The first thought has come from my Bible reading today. The Exodus account of the Israelite people and their encounter with God at Meribah (Exodus 17:1-7) was an encounter that turned out to be infamous. I’m not sure how many times that it might be mentioned in Scripture, but I read about it no less than four times today…it was something that really upset God. (See Exodus 17:1-7, Psalms 95:6-11, and Hebrews 3:1-15). I think the overarching issue in this particular account is the lack of trust the Israelites had in God and when He revealed Himself to the people, they still mocked Him and wanted more. Their hearts were hardened and they refused to listen to His voice. How many times in the course of the day, do we, as a people who profess to believe in the same God, do the same things? Perhaps we don’t qualify our misgivings in the same light as the ancient Israelites, but when we push God to the compartmentalized corners of our lives, we invariably fall victim to the same hardness of heart as our predecessors.
I know that God is speaking to me in every moment of every day… I know that it is by His hand that my daily provisions are met. I want to acknowledge with each inhalation and exhalation of my breath that God is my keeper, healer, and provider. I never want to take for granted what I have or what is given to me by the hand of God. May my heart be ever sensitive to the mercy extended to me and may I never be accused of hardening my heart to His Voice.
The second thought that has been ringing in my ears are the words of Jesus; “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.” I have read these words and heard these words countless times, but for some reason over the past few days, I have thought differently about them. I have been thinking, “Where were the places Jesus went?” That is where I must follow Him and that is where I must be. Yes, Jesus went to the undesirables and to the places many people wouldn’t be seen visiting… He also went to be humiliated, he went to be tortured, and he went to suffer a death for crimes he didn’t commit. I wonder how willing I am to suffer indignities for things I am not guilty of…especially for people I don’t know and for people who would despise me. I doubt I’d do it. This realization makes me sad…because; “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.” It’s a lot easier for me to says those words and see myself feeding bread and fish to a bunch of people, but when it comes to suffering indignities and being tortured-killed for ungrateful and hateful people… well, not so much.
Jesus taught us, saying; “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal anything from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are as one” John 10:27-30
May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us (Psalms 67:1). Dear Jesus, today I call on you in a special way. Today I’d like just to be in your presence. Let my heart respond to your love. Dear Jesus, I can open up my heart to you. I can tell you everything that troubles me. I know you care about all the concerns in my life. Teach me to live in the knowledge that you who care for me today will care for me tomorrow and all the days of my life. “When I called, you answered me; you increased my strength within me (Psalms 138:4).