Thursday, May 28, 2009

Godiva pushes out Palmer

As a little girl, I was very undiscriminating about chocolate. Chocolate was chocolate and I loved it all. When I grew older, I tasted Godiva --smooth and rich -- and I began to associate Palmer with wax and sugar. Now I will pass up a poorer chocolate because I have tasted the best. I share this not to encourage you to a fastidiousness about food. Proverbs 23:3 warns about dining with a ruler: "Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food." Rather I share it to say that I have done what the Psalmist calls all to do: "Taste and see that the Lord is good." I have tasted the Lord. He is good. I want to keep tasting so that my appetite for idols will be killed. Why shall I settle for less? At stake is not merely the satisfaction of a craving, but my very real need to have my sins forgiven so that I may stand before a holy God. The alternative is not only inferior joy, it is the loss of sweet fellowship with the One we were made for.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ah, Jeremiah, you are right.

Most Americans think they are good. If you are among the most, you need to google for the Westminster Larger Catechism and read questions 101 to 148. These questions deal with the ten commandments and what is commanded and forbidden in each one. For example, some violations of the seventh commandment are immodesty and the undue delay of marriage. Obedience to the fifth commandment calls parents to, among other things, commend and reward good behavior. Obedience to the ninth commandment requires the free acknowledgment of others' gifts and graces. This was what we talked about in our Sunday School small group as we discussed Ps.34:13; "Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit." There are many ways to bear false witness. See the guests at Simon's house when a woman broke a flash of costly nard and poured it over the head of Jesus. Some present refused to commend the grace of this woman who rightly discerned and demonstrated the worth of Jesus. That which was good, they called evil. And they cloaked their love of money in a seeming concern for thrift and good stewardship. In contrast, Jesus models a perfect obedience to the commandment: He tells the men to leave her alone because she has done a beautiful thing. He acknowledges her graces. O Lord, I know so little of my own heart. May your commandments unsettle my self-righteousness. I am undone except for the blood of Christ. The prophet Jeremiah said that the heart of man is deceitful beyond imagination. Ah, Jeremiah, you are right.