Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How Low Can You Go?

Fear not, thou worm Jacob, ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith Jehovah, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.  -- Isaiah 41:14 (Darby)
How weak, imperfect, and low can we be and still have God help us?  As low as a worm says Isaiah.  Redemption is a word that means to buy back, so a redeemer is one who does the buying back.  God, the Holy One of Israel buys back even the lowliest of worms, and then without hesitation stands solidly with this ragtag group of misfits, who seem to have trouble staying on the straight and narrow.

Staying on the straight and narrow seems to be the "stuff" that parents, priests & clergy, moralitsts, and the smugly righteous all seem to think is life's goal.  Yet if this is so, if it were within our power to do that, why is scripture so littered with the examples of those who couldn't?  Why does it say in multiple places, particularly in Isaiah, that the crooked ways will be made straight and the rough places smoothed by the Messiah who is to come?  Why are the first words uttered by heavenly beings and the Divine, "Fear not?"  Because the legalists and righteous can be so rigidly unforgiving and unaccepting perhaps, that it is what we've come to expect from angels and the Savior?  

No.  The Divine model in this verse, and in hundreds of other examples, points to a God who is willing always to help, love, and forbear.  Model behavior, precise moral tip-toeing and devout uprightness bringing you to the epitome of Perfection is not embraced any more deeply than is the lowly worm who struggles to extract itself from the wet mud before it drowns.  All are beloved ones, all redeemed by The Master, all accepted into the circle of the sacred family of God.

Help, help, help us Lord not to be afraid to walk the crooked, twisting paths while Your Son goes before us making a new way.  Amen.

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