The Trouble with Holes

The next stop in our journey of understanding in a bit more detail just what we believe as followers of Jesus isn’t an easy one. This is going to be one of the more difficult conversations we’ve had together. This isn’t a fun subject. But it’s one we have to talk about or else we run the risk of missing out on something absolutely essential to a relationship with Jesus. This week we are talking about sin. Hang on tight and stay tuned for what comes next. This one is hard, but it gets a whole lot better.

The Trouble with Holes

Have you ever been in a deep pit, but managed to pull yourself out of it? I remember crawling over and around and through some boulders at a park somewhere near Gettysburg, PA on a family vacation when I was growing up. We were playing tag or something with some other kids and I went into a passage that was pretty narrow. I remember crawling in and thinking, “I’m not going to be able to get through this.” Thinking about it today still makes me feel claustrophobic and panicky. Fortunately, I managed to stay calm then and squeeze through the passage to get out the other side.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 13:1

“On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the residents of Jerusalem, to wash away sin and impurity.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Why do you behave toward your kids and make the decisions you do when they have done something wrong? “Because they’ve done something wrong,” you might be tempted to answer quickly. Yes, but why? What is the goal of your actions and decisions? Is it punishment? Retribution? Revenge? Sometimes that seems to be the intended goal of God’s actions and declarations in response to sin in the prophets. But here, Zechariah points us to something even better in His crosshairs: restoration.

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Morning Musing: Nahum 3:7

“Then all who see you will recoil from you, saying, ‘Nineveh is devastated; who will show sympathy to her?’ Where can I find anyone to comfort you?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever seen someone who was a mess and felt awful for them? I was at a birthday party a few weeks ago for one of our youngest’s friends. When I arrived to pick him up, most of the kids were outside playing. This was a fine thing except that it had rained hard the night before and everything was muddy. Really muddy. The party was progressing normally inside until chaos erupted. One poor little girl came inside crying. It looked like she had tried to a belly slide through the mud. Everything from her chin down was brown. The poor thing was a complete mess. Mom got her all cleaned up, but the rest of us just felt awful for her. You’ve perhaps encountered a situation along those lines before. But what about when someone is a mess…and it’s her own fault?

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Digging in Deeper: Hosea 9:16

“Ephraim is struck down; their roots are withered; they cannot bear fruit. Even if they bear children, I will kill the precious offspring of their wombs.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

On occasion, our kids misbehave. This is usually met first with a warning. If they keep at it, there will be a consequence of some kind. The longer they go down this path, the greater the consequence will be. Now, different situations call for different approaches from us. Sometimes, when they seem particularly stuck on a troublesome path, we will lay out for them what will be the results of staying on that path. Depending on the behavior, these results could be pretty uncomfortable. We don’t necessarily mean to scare them…well, actually we do. We want them more unnerved by the prospect of what the consequences facing them will be than they are motivated to continue pursuing the behavior that will lead to them. Ever been there as a parent? That’s where we find God here with the people of Israel.

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Digging in Deeper: Hosea 7:13

“Woe to them, for they fled from me; destruction to them, for they rebelled against me! Though I want to redeem them, they speak lies against me.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

This verse starts out the way most folks expect the prophets to go. There goes God judging the people again, promising doom and destruction on them. It ends the way we would expect something from the prophets to end. There goes God again, accusing the people of wrongdoing. It’s that thing in the middle that catches us off guard. God wants to redeem them? Wait, what? Let’s look into that one a bit more.

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