“It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm,
and the light of your face, for you loved them (Psalm 44:3).”
As I sit here this morning, the wind is howling outside and blowing snow around. It is cold, and there is snow on the ground as well.
Cold to me is a sign of death. I enjoy cold weather when my body is warm. However, when I am personally cold, I am miserable.
My wife likes to say,”I like the cold, but I hate being cold.” I couldn’t agree more.
There is one break in all this cold and bleakness, outside. The sun is peeking through the clouds.
A minute ago, it was doing more than peaking. It was shining mightily through my living room window, into my face.
Actually, the sun and the snow together are a beautiful sight. There is something about the contrast that makes the light even more appealing. It reflects off the snow, and highlights the whiteness.
One of Job’s friends told of a frightening experience he had one night in the darkness. He encountered a spirit who brought him a message.
“A word was secretly brought to me,
my ears caught a whisper of it.
Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
when deep sleep falls on people,
fear and trembling seized me
and made all my bones shake.
A spirit glided past my face,
and the hair on my body stood on end.
but I could not tell what it was.
A form stood before my eyes,
and I heard a hushed voice:
‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker?
If God places no trust in his servants,
if he charges his angels with error,
how much more those who live in houses of clay,
whose foundations are in the dust,
who are crushed more readily than a moth!
Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces;
unnoticed, they perish forever.
Are not the cords of their tent pulled up,
so that they die without wisdom (Job 4:12-21)?’
Eliphaz describes a dreary time for him. In the middle of the night he understands his own sinfulness, and despairs of it.
Jesus is like the sun. His light accentuates goodness. When it is seen in conjunction with our sinfulness, His brightness is even more profound (John 1:4,5).
One problem for me is that I tend to focus on my sinfulness over the purity of Jesus. I want to be holy, but I am frustrated because I am not.
Isaiah expresses what I feel: ‘All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away (Isaiah 64:6).”
I am not the only one with dirty laundry. What is also frustrating is that even the most godly men are also dirty. Not one of us can say we have it all together.
Thus, when I seek for wisdom from godly men, I know that even that is tainted. Sometimes they are wrong.
In the early church, the apostles had to deal with sinfulness among their own body of believers, and they themselves had to even spend time in the hoosegow. Yet, they had the right focus. They went out and preached life in the midst of all the death around them (Acts 5:18-21).
Their focus was not on themselves and their own whiteness, or lack thereof. They emphasized the good news of Jesus the Messiah (Acts 5:42).
The good news is that He is the one that gives us cleanness. I’ve got to get my eyes off myself and look into his lovely face.
Helen H. Lemmel expresses my need in her lyrics:
Turn my eyes upon Jesus. That’s the ticket to holiness, not my own navel gazing.
Jesus is saying,”Look at Me!”