Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Unlikely Garb"

    How easily we make our spiritual evaluations according to human rather than Divine standards and parameters.
    "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
    Certainly we use our minds in seeking to understand and interpret the doings of God in our lives and the lives of others.  However, we also remember Solomon's charge that we "lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).  Appearances often deceive, especially in matters of the Spirit.  Indeed, who would have thought that a baby born in a feeding trough would herald the arrival of the Son of God into the world?  Or that a twelve year old boy would confound the learned wisdom of highly educated Jewish religious leaders?  Or that a carpenter's son would speak as did none other?  Or that a man condemned as a sinner would die not for His own crimes, but for those of all others?  Or that a sad tomb would become the scene of the triumph of the ages, and of that joy which is above every joy?  Or that its humble Occupant would be enthroned as the King of kings, with a "Name which is above every name?" (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 6:46-47; John 7:46; I John 2:2; Matthew 28:6; Philippians 2:9).
    Where is this principle of "judge not according to the appearance" presently active in your life and mine?  Probably in more ways than we suspect.  In His trusting children, the Lord Jesus Christ comes no less in unlikely garb and manner than He did in His earthly advent.  We will miss Him if we are not anticipating this enigmatic way of God in our lives, and we will miss Him sometimes even if we are expecting the unexpected.  Our Heavenly Father's way is perfect, His mind is infinite, and His heart is utterly devoted to our best interests in terms of both time and eternity.  Our calling is to trust Him, to submit ourselves to Him, and to believe that He is dynamically active in our lives whether we see and understand, or not.  He has never disappointed anyone who walks this path of faith, and He never will.
    Because of our presently limited vision, the perfection of God's way is most often seen after the fact.  Even then, we see only a small portion of the Divine significance that infuses every moment and matter of our lives.  For now, we do well to acknowledge that the appearances of our lives tell us little of all that is actually transpiring.  We "live and move and have our being" in a God so vast that the universe cannot contain Him (Acts 17:28; II Chronicles 2:6).  Our lives teem with His dynamic presence, and "righteous judgment" calls us to believe that great things and good things continually ensue in that holy dimension just beyond the limits of our vision.
"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."
(II Kings 6:15-17)

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