Sunday, January 30, 2005

Donkey Salvation

Exodus 13:13

In this section of Exodus, we witness God's decree of how to perpetually celebrate the Israelites removal from Egypt as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Later Moses is relaying to the people how, once they have reached Caanan, that they are to give over the firstborn of every womb to God. Now some animals are clean, and others are unclean. The donkey is one of the unclean, so in order to give that firstborn over to God, one had to either break it's neck or redeem the firstborn donkey with the sacrifice of a lamb. It was a life or death choice.

Redeem, "to buy back with a price". This is why we say we are redeemed if we have accepted God's gift of salvation. The Lamb of God, Jesus, was sacrificed as God's firstborn on our behalf to redeem us from the consequence of our sin. We then are the unclean firstborn donkeys I suppose. We are beasts of burden doomed to a life of toil and death if not for God's saving grace.

Imagine any simple situation where you redeem something; perhaps you purchase an old object which still has a useful life in it and prevent it from being discarded as trash, or you rescue an animal who has been abandoned by the world. How do you feel about that THING? Isn't it in some ways precious to you? You have a history together, you have a connection.

How much more then is God's love for us? He didn't plunk down a few bucks to redeem you and me. He gave His firstborn, the Lamb of God, to redeem us unclean donkeys. How fitting then was it that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem just before his crucifiction?

“Say to the Daughter of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

Matthew 21:5

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Three Times a Prayer, Kid

Matthew 7

In chapters 6 and 7 of Matthew, Jesus is teaching his disciples about how to live what would later become the Christian life. In the middle of chapter 7 He gives us a formula and an expected attitude with which to approach prayer. Ask, seek, knock and do it as a child.

With a childlike faith we then:
  1. Ask - What do you need? What do your loved ones need? What do your brothers and sisters in Him need? It will be given to you. You can't earn it. It's a gift freely given.
  2. Seek - What questions need an answer? Which direction should you take? What wisdom escapes you? You will find it. You were lost, but through His grace now you are found.
  3. Knock - You must come forward to God and be assertive.
These three modes of prayer meld together through the Holy Spirit's guidance to help the little child to grow in his walk with the Savior, so the Asking becomes more Christ-centered, the Seeking becomes more fervent as we mature in wisdom, and the Knocking is with the expectation of the door flung wide open to the mercy and grace of God in a daily walk, in praise to Him, from whom all blessings flow.