Digging in Deeper: Luke 23:34

“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided his clothes and cast lots.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some things I write about a lot. Part of this is because this particular slate of topics are ones about which I am personally passionate. That only makes sense. This is my blog, after all. I’m going to write about the things in which I naturally have an interest. Especially on Fridays. Some of the things I write about frequently, though, I cover because I genuinely try to stay tuned in to what is happening in the culture around me, and these are topics that keep coming up again and again. One of these recurring topics is forgiveness. It is a topic that has come up several times even just recently. I wasn’t totally sure what I was going to write about this morning even as late as last night. But then I watched a recent episode of the CBS comedy, Ghosts, and I had my theme. Let’s talk today about some wisdom from beyond the grave.

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Morning Musing: Amos 9:8-9

“Look, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will obliterate it from the face of the earth. However, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob – this is the Lord’s declaration – for I am about to give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, as one shakes a sieve, but not a pebble will fall to the ground.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few weeks ago, and several times since (including yesterday), we talked about the fact that while God certainly delights in justice, He does not delight in judgment. He would much rather bless than punish. We get another glimpse of this truth here in a way that points us toward a few important ideas. Let’s talk about those.

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Morning Musing: Amos 9:1-4

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said, ‘Strike the capitals of the pillars so that the thresholds shake; knock them down on the heads of all the people. Then I will kill the rest of them with the sword. None of those who flee will get away; none of the fugitives will escape. If they dig down to Sheol, from there my hand will take them; if they climb to up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. If they hide on the top of Carmel, from there I will track them down and seize them; if they conceal themselves from my sight on the sea floor, from there I will command the sea serpent to bite them. And if they are driven by their enemies into captivity, from there I will command the sword to kill them. I will keep my eye on them for harm and not for good.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I was in middle school when one of the most sensationalized murder trials in American history took place. The defendant was Hall of Fame running back, O.J. Simpson. He was charged with murdering his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman. A great deal of that case has entered our cultural memory as a nation from the nationally televised police chase as Simpson foolishly tried to evade capture in his white Ford Bronco to the bloody gloves found at the crime scene with his DNA on them. I remember when, after weeks of the trial, the jury’s verdict of “not guilty” was rendered in just four hours in spite of a mountain of evidence – including his DNA (which was still a fairly new form of criminal evidence and not yet well understood) found on the bloody gloves at the crime scene – suggesting powerfully that he was in fact guilty. By most accounts, Simpson had escaped justice. Sometimes that happens in our unjust world. There is a day coming, though, when no one will escape justice. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Amos 7:8-10

“The Lord asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ I replied, ‘ A plumb line.’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will no longer spare them: Isaac’s high places will be deserted, and Israel’s sanctuaries will be in ruins; I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with a sword.’ Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent word to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, ‘Amos has conspired against you right here in the house of Israel. The land cannot endure all his words.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever tried to work with someone whose mind wasn’t made up yet about some detail, and because of that kept changing it? You get all set thinking it’s going to be one thing, and then suddenly something else is desired. It’s enough to almost give you whiplash. God had just finished telling Amos He was going to spare the people from His terrible judgment. Now He comes back around and declares their time is up. What changed? Let’s explore this today and think through how we can avoid such a change of mind about us.

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Morning Musing: Amos 5:1-3

“Listen to this message that I am singing for you, a lament, house of Israel: She has fallen; Virgin Israel will never rise again. She lies abandoned on her land with no one to raise her up. For the Lord God says: The city that marches out a thousand strong will have only a hundred left, and the one that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left in the house of Israel.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever had to do something you didn’t want to do? Probably so. That’s eventually part of life for all of us. Perhaps there is someone wealthy enough to have avoided that for a long time, but it doesn’t last forever. Besides, we don’t want what is good for us on our own, so having to do what we don’t want to do is part of growing up. Given that, what kind of attitude did you bring to doing it? It wasn’t likely a very good one. There was a heaviness to your doing it. You did it grumpily, angrily even. What we find here in Amos is God having to do something He didn’t want to do. Let’s talk about why that matters.

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