Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Matter of Perspective

The other night we were out driving as the nearly-full moon was on the horizon. "Isn't that a beautiful moon?" my husband asked.

"Where?" I said, looking toward what I thought was the East.

"Over here!" he said, pointing out his side of the car.

"Gee, what's it doing over there?" I said. And then we rounded a curve, "and over here?" Then another curve, "and back over there?" (We live waaaay out in the country.)

It was so interesting to see the moon "seemingly" move from one side of the road to the other, and I got to thinking about perspective. What we "see" is all a matter of our perspective.

Over "Reformation weekend" (halloween weekend) we got to hear one of the very best Bible teachers I've ever had the privilege of hearing (in person or otherwise.) Her name is Evelyn Laycock. And if you ever get a chance to hear her - do whatever you have to do to get there.

She was teaching on the Parables of Jesus, but on Saturday night she began by talking about Psalm 137. You remember how it starts, "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion..."

It is a Psalm of Israel when they were taken into captivity in Babylon. You may recognize the beginning, but do you remember how it ends? It ends by saying, "How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock." That is what had happened to their children, and yes, it is what they wished upon their captors. But more than that, it was a prophecy of what would (and did) happen to Babylon.

But a sentiment like that disturbs us. And rightly so. It is the picture of vengeance, of retaliation, and of judgment. Judgment without mercy and grace should disturb us.

As Evelyn taught about it, she mentioned our view of God. She said that many people view the God of the Old Testament as being a harsh "mean" God. And that the God of the New Testament is loving and kind.

"But," she reminded us, "God is immutable. God never changes."

So, how do we reconcile that viewpoint? It is a matter of perspective. Not in that God changes or moves, but that we do - just like mine and Joe's viewing of the moon. The moon did not move, but we did!

Jesus Christ - the Word - became Flesh so that we might be moved from one perspective to another. The "veil" of sinfulness that prevented us from being in the presence of a Holy God was torn away, our eyes were opened and we were/are allowed to see.

In the Old Testament we view God more as Moses did on Mount Sinai - from His "backside" - without understanding.

In the New Testament we view God in the very face of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.

(But, even at that - the "backside" of God is more merciful than we deserve!)

Our loving and gracious Heavenly Father we thank You for sending Your Son, Your only begotten Son to take away our sin. He is our mediator and the One who allows us to "see" Your loving face. It was always there... we just couldn't see it. Thank You for changing our perspective. Thank You for changing our standing.

In Jesus' Holy and Precious Name - Amen.

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