As we look at our Scripture for today they witness to the path that God has laid out and the provision He has made for His people. As they span from the days of David, to the Babylonian Exile, and the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we see how God has and has always had a singular plan. We can see that plan at work here in the past over a vast amount of time (at least as we relate to time in the existence of our human life span). It speaks to us as both timeless and yet resides in the precise moment that we reside in as well. The plan is both complex and majestic for all of creation and yet is simple and personal all at the same time. Through all three scriptures four themes of God’s plan are present – Trust, Hope, Forgiveness, and Redemption.
The first of these is Trust. Trust is essential to God’s plan. He wants to teach us that we can trust in Him. The Psalmist cries out to God in desperation with everything he is. He can trust that God not only hears, but responds. Ezekiel’s prophecy in the Babylonian exile is a call to trust in the midst of exile and desolation. The words of Jesus are to His disciples just before He ascends to Heaven and before they eventually are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Even followers of God will face difficult periods. They do mean the Lord has abandoned us necessarily. If we are trustful, then He will use them to teach us and strengthen us. When we abide in Him they will glorify Him and testify to Him.
The second is Hope. In dire times we understand the need for hope. The thing is though that God is hope, without God there is no hope. Self-sufficiency outside of God is an illusion and a cancerous lie. We must lean upon God for there to be hope – genuine and real hope. This hope will sustain us in the direst situations. But this hope also keeps us humble in the greatest times of triumph and success.
The third is Forgiveness. The Psalmist begins by speaking of a forgiveness that is individual and personal. He moves on to (and Ezekiel will echo) a forgiveness of a nation or a group of people. Luke’s gospel account will conclude this in the forgiveness of humanity. Here the access to forgiveness is to flow out onto and into all of humanity.
The Fourth is Redemption. Redemption is a return to its original purpose, the purpose for which the Creator lovingly and personally crafted His creation, including you and I. All of redemptive history has been woven together to culminate through the work of Jesus to redeem you and I in our relationship with God.
Trust, Hope, Forgiveness and Redemption.
Rev. Travis Yarborough – Spartanburg First Church of the Nazarene – Spartanburg, SC