Category Archives: Scripture

A Prayer from Micah

Father,

Lay waste to the idols to which my heart is fixed and restore to me the joy of who you are. For you are the Lord, who hates sin and evil your very being despises.

You are my soul’s help in time of need and your ears are bent towards those who cry out to you. You are patient and kind, not rushing to bring about destruction, but seeking reconciliation.

Hear me now and do not turn your gaze from me, but deliver me from evil and forgive my transgression. May I be filled with your Spirit, loving the things you love and hating what you hate. I long to ascend your mountain where I might learn your ways and walk in your path. For in your path alone is life found. Though others walk a way that is right in their eyes, I will walk in the name of the Lord God.

I wait for your reign on this earth and the destruction of the things you detest. You have descended to us by sending your Son to be the highest King and I have heard his shepherding call. I now long to see His face. I know that I am secure because Christ is strong and I am His. What peace is this You have given to the restless? What comfort You’ve laid on those who try to bear burdens too heavy for them! Though danger be close, you are closer. You will deliver.

May I not forget your past deliverance and how you have redeemed me from the curse. How might I show my gratitude for your unending love? You have shown me what is good—that I love mercy, act justly, and walk humbly with you, my God.

I will look to You, Lord ; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Though others say, “Where is your God?” I will rejoice when they are shamed because of the Your help toward me. He has proven Himself trustworthy, so I will rest in Him.

May the peace of Christ that transcends all understanding guard my heart and mind to the glory of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen.

Advertisements
Tagged ,

Behold Your Redeemer

 

Do you know your Redeemer? Do you know who He is and what He has done? I don’t mean that you vaguely have some knowledge about a cross and resurrection, but do you know what benefits he has purchased for you with his own blood? If the extent of your knowing Him is that you know Him only as a Savior who gets you out of hell, then I would encourage you to take a long look at your Savior.

In his person he is himself the sum of all those blessings: the light of the world (John 8:12), the true bread (6:35), the true vine (15:1), the way, the truth, the resurrection, and the life (11:25; 14:6), our wisdom, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Cor. 15:45), the head of the church (Eph 1:22), the cornerstone of the temple of God (Eph 2:20); and for that reason there is no participation in his benefits except by communion with his person.

Yet from him flow all the benefits, the whole of salvation (Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11; John 3:17; 12:47), and more specifically the forgiveness of sins (Matt 26:28; Eph 1:7); the removal of our sins (John 1:29; 1 John 3:5); the cleansing of deliverance of a bad conscience (Heb. 10:22); justification (Rom 4:25); righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30); sonship (Gal 3:26; 4:5-6; Eph 1:5); confident access to God (Eph 2:18; 3:12); God’s laying aside his wrath in virtue of Christ’s sacrifice, that is, the sacrifice of atonement (Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2, 4:10; Heb 2:17; […] the second birth and the power to become children of God (John 1:12-13; sanctification (1 Cor 1:30); […] deliverance from death and from the fear of death (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:55; Heb 2:15); escape from judgment (Heb 10:27-28); and finally, the resurrection on the last day (John 11:25; 1 Cor 15:21) [where we will experience] ascension; glorification; the heavenly inheritance; eternal life already beginning here with the inception of faith; and one day fully manifesting itself in glory; the new heaven and new earth; and the restoration of all things.

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics (Grand Rapids:Baker, 2006) 339-40.

To him be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

 

Tagged , , ,

Christian Cliches

“God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.”

I have often thought about this saying and I think the intention behind it is pure. I think we say and hear this so often because we want to be a community who emphasizes the overwhelming goodness, faithfulness, and grace of God. However, like many cliches, I do not know if they are helpful when all is said and done because I think the tendency can be some sort of attempt to remove sin from us and place it outside of ourselves so that when we sin, we claim it as uncharacteristic of us. However, sin is not just something that we simply partake in, it is naturally who we are at the core. Paul clearly states this in the first several chapters of Romans. He states that men have failed to honor God (1:21), they have suppressed the truth of who He is, and they have exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images (1:23). For this, Paul says the wrath of God is on them (2:6-9).

In addition, if sin truly is something that is outside of us and rather than something we are, then why does Isaiah respond this way when he is confronted with the holiness of God: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! (Is. 6:5)” Isaiah never claims that his sin is simply something he does, but instead recognizes that he is ruined.

Then there are passages such as these that we must wrestle with:

“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evil doers.” Psalm 5:4, 5

“The Lord tests the righteous but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Psalm 11:5

“But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.” Psalm 55:23

Now the tendency might be for us to say, “Come on now, this is talking about really wicked people. The type of people who murder, rape, and commit horrible atrocious acts. However, apart from Christ, everyone is in league with the worst type of sinner. Apart from the redemptive work of Christ, I am a child and slave of Satan and God’s wrath rests on me just as it does on any other wicked person.

My point in bringing this up is not so I can correct people when they use the phrase, “God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.” I have no interest in being a theological nit pick. However, if we so quickly dismiss God’s hate toward us as evil doers, then we miss out on a truly beautiful aspect of the Gospel. John Calvin, citing St. Augustine, describes this in The Institutes of the Christian Religion:

“God’s love,” says [Augustine], “is incomprehensible and unchangeable. For it was not after we were reconciled to him through the blood of his Son that he began to love us. Rather, he has loved us before the world was created, that we also might be his sons along with his only-begotten Son—before we became anything at all. The fact that we were reconciled through Christ’s death must not be understood as if his Son reconciled us to him that he might now begin to love those whom he hated. Rather, we have already been reconciled to him who loves us, with whom we were enemies on account of sin. The apostle will testify whether I am speaking truth: ‘God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ [Rom 5:8]. Therefore, he loved us even when we practiced enmity toward him and committed wickedness. Thus in a marvelous and divine way he loved us even when he hated us. For he hated us for what we were that he had not made; yet because our wickedness and not entirely consumed his handiwork, he knew how, at the same time, to hate in each one of us what we had made, and to love what he had made (Book 2, Ch. 16, Sec. 4).”

Does God hate sin? Yes. Does God hate sinners? Yes. Does God love sinners? Yes! Do not so quickly dismiss the hatred of God toward the sinner because in his hatred we see the depth of His love. Only at the cross could God’s hatred for us and love for us meet.”He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).”

Tagged , , , ,

Reading Rightly

As Christians, we are to make it a priority to read the Bible faithfully. When I say that I don’t necessarily mean that we need to read it daily—although I believe we should. By faithfully, I mean two things: First, we need to read it in faith, knowing that the Triune God of the universe has revealed Himself in it. Perhaps there are times we approach the Scriptures flippantly with no fear of God in our hearts. Similarly, perhaps the Scriptures simply become another textbook that we are forced to read, thus we focus on our method of reading rather than the God who wrote it. I have experienced this firsthand and it is a frightening thing to read God’s revelation of Himself and be unmoved by it. Second, it is absolutely necessary that we read the Scriptures with the faithful. The primary reason the Bible has been given is not so  I can lock myself in my study and discern what God has to say to me. The Scriptures are for the church, the community of faith and it is meant to be read within the community of faith.

Herman Bavinck, late 19th century to early 20th century Dutch Reformed theologian and author of Reformed Dogmatics (which I highly recommend) writes about the importance of the role of the historic faith community in our reading of Scripture (where asterisk is found, see definition at the bottom) :

Neither scientific objectivity[1] nor complete subjectivity[2] are possible. All knowledge is rooted in faith, and for faith to be real it must have an object that is knowable… Christian theologians must place themselves within the circle of faith and, while using church tradition and experience, take their stand in the reality of revelation […]

The concern for revelation-based normativity in dogmatics[3] must not be construed to serve as a reason to overlook or deny the importance of confessional and cultural factors in dogmatic treatises. No one is free from the biases of church upbringing and particular environmental contexts. We are always products of our background, including our ecclesiastical[4] upbringing. Awareness of this reality led some to attempt divesting themselves of their confessional identities and returning to the more confused and “pure gospel” situation of the New Testament and the early church. So-called “biblical theology” is then opposed to “scholastic theology,” as though the latter were not at all biblical. But setting Scripture against church teaching is as wrong as separating heart and mind, feeling and knowing. The sole aim of dogmatics is to set forth the thoughts of God that he has laid down in Holy Scripture. A good dogmatic method must take into account church teaching and Christian experience as well as Scripture. Dogmatic theology is possible only for one who lives in the fellowship of the Christian church.


[1] Objectivity can also be described as unbiased, or not influenced by one’s personal feelings.

[2] Subjectivity – whereas objectivity is unbiased, subjectivity means that one is influenced by their personal feelings. In other words they are biased.

[3] The word dogma, from the Greek word dokein (“to be of the opinion”), denotes that which is definite, that which has been decided, and is therefore fixed. When we use the term dogma, or dogmatics we are referring to beliefs in the Christian community that are non-negotiable.

[4] from the Greek word ekklesia, meaning assembly. Ekklesia is the word in the New Testament for church.

Tagged ,

Same Song

Reading the Old Testament through the lens of Jesus Christ continues to blow my mind. Seeing Jesus in the OT is often deemed unwise because it is reading something into the text that is not there. However, when you begin to investigate the New Testament and all the claims that Jesus makes about Himself, you do not have to read him into anything—you simply recognize that He is there.

I recently listened to a sermon by Tim Keller called Getting Out (You can watch it here. Where he parallels the life of the Christian with that of an Israelite during the Exodus. His point is that the Israelites were “getting out.” God delivered them and they got out of slavery and oppression. In Matthew 2:15 it says speaking of Christ, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”  This verse is a quotation of Hosea 11:1, which refers to the Exodus. The son in Hosea is the nation of Israel. However, Matthew attaches a completely different meaning to Hosea. He is claiming that Jesus is the true Israel, the true son. The point is in Christ we are experiencing the true, perfect “getting out.”

Keller shares a piece about how an Israelite would describe himself:

Think about it. Think about what an Israelite would say coming out of Egypt. Here’s what they would say. If you were to say, ‘who are you?’ They would answer, ‘I was in a foreign land, under the sentence of death, in bondage, but I took shelter under the blood of the lamb. And our mediator led us out and we crossed over. Now we are on our way to the promised land, but we’re not there yet. But he’s given us his law to make us a community and he’s given us the tabernacle because you have to live by grace and forgiveness. And his presence is in our midst and He will stay with us until we get home.’

Shocking. The church joins with the saints of old to sing the song of the redeemed!

Tagged ,

Let the Children Come: Nuisance or Blessing?

When I read the Old Testament, one thing that seems apparent to me is that children are seen as a blessing, not an inconvenience. When God made a covenant with Abraham, He promised to bless him, give him land, and a son. If God would have gone 2-for-3 on his promise, but left out the heir part—the whole thing would have been shot. That is because children were a sign of God’s favor and a symbol of life within the family. The same concept can be seen in the book of Ruth where Boaz redeems (if you don’t see Jesus in the story of Ruth there is no hope for you) Ruth and gives her a son—Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. Prior to Boaz, Ruth couldn’t have children. This is a bad thing! For Boaz to take a barren woman is quite a risk. As a matter of fact the people probably thought he was out of his right mind. Ruth reminds us of the importance of children because through Boaz and Ruth comes King David, who in part paves the way for King Jesus.

Children are pivotal to the story of God. Through children the promises of God continued from generation to generation in the OT. Through A child, THE child Jesus Christ—the infinite become infant— salvation has come to men.

So it should be no surprise that God holds children in high esteem, even when culture depicts them as a nuisance. My wife and I do not have kids and we are constantly told, “Enjoy yourselves as long as you can.” “If you have kids you will never sleep again.” “Say goodbye to traveling once you have kids.” “Wait to have kids as long as you can. They just drain you dry of your time and money.”

Here is what really bothers me—I listen. This has not only made me want to wait as long as possible to have kids, it has also made me short and impatient with other kids. I have the tendency to see kids as an inconvenience rather than a blessing.

I am at a family get together in Branson, MO this week with my family and we are staying at an RV park. Randomly, this 8 year old girl named Kaylee takes a liking to my wife Emily. Kaylee is here for 3 weeks with herself and her grandpa, so it took about 5 minutes for Kaylee to attach herself to Emily. Kaylee immediately started calling her, “my friend” and “my Auntie.” The problem is I have been traveling a lot this summer and I wanted my wife to myself. In no time I was scheming ways to get rid of this child. She reminds me of mix between Russell from the movie UP, and Bessie from THe Mighty B.

 

 

 

 

In other words she likes to talk… a lot! In all honestly the last thing I wanted to do is entertain an 8 year old who I have absolutely no relation to whatsoever. I just wanted to be able to lay by the pool and read The Heresy of Orthodoxy in peace. Likewise, my wife works a tough job and I wanted her to be able to relax. To me she was a nuisance who was getting in my way—a problem of mine that I had to get solve by getting rid of her.

I suddenly realized that I have bought into the idea that kids are a curse. They are a kill joy who come to rob you of your time, money and freedom. My view of children is far from the Kingdom view, the view that says, “Let the little children come to me for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these [Matt 19:13-15].”

I think one of the ways Christians can live missional lives as ambassadors for Christ is to change the way we view children—yes, even ones like Russell and Kaylee. The world, America in particular tends to look down on children as joy killers and thieves of time and money. Christians should know better. Children are gifts. They embody grace, faith, and humility. They hope for things bigger than themselves and embrace the simple joys of life.

My wife was Christlike in this situation and I was not. She let Kaylee lay on her float with her, she talked to her, she ate breakfast with her (yes, we fed her), and she did not shun her. God should have seen me as a pesky nuisance, but he did not. At the expense of his one and only Son, He has brought me into His family and He has called me, “mine.”

Esau’s [Seemingly] Denied Repentance

I don’t know that I have come across a more Christ exalting book in all of Scripture than the book of Hebrews. It feels strange to pick one book because the reality is, the whole Bible is about exalting Jesus! However, the point of Hebrews is to show Jesus Christ as bigger and better than anything else. He’s better than angels, He’s the better prophet, He’s the better priest, He’s the better sacrifice, He’s better than Moses and He’s the true Sabbath Rest. In some ways, I feel like the book of Hebrews is the interpretive key for the whole Bible. Of course, Hebrews may not mean that much if we did not have the Old Testament, Gospels, Acts, and the rest of the Epistles. So I am not saying we should throw out other books, but what I am saying is we should know Hebrews well.

If you have never read Hebrews through in one sitting, you should. Recently I read the book of Genesis and half of Exodus—then I read Hebrews. The author does such a great job of weaving these stories together and showing how Jesus is the true and better Moses, Aaron, sacrifice, and priest. The book is beautiful!

I reached a bit of a snag in Hebrews 12:17 where it says, “For you know that afterward, when [Esau] desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears (ESV).” My question is, what is the referent of “it” at the end of v. 17? Is the author of Hebrews saying that Esau sought after repentance with tears and God denied him? It sure seems so, which makes me very uncomfortable. However, just because it makes me uncomfortable does not mean it is wrong. If that is what Scripture is saying, I must submit to it but how does that fit with Jesus’ teaching of Ask, Seek, Knock?

So the question is, what is “it?” Looking at the story as it is written in Genesis 27, Esau wasn’t really seeking repentance.

34  As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35       But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36       Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37       Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38       Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
39       Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:
“Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be,
and away from the dew of heaven on high.
40       By your sword you shall live,
and you shall serve your brother;
but when you grow restless
you shall break his yoke from your neck.”
41       Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob (ESV).”

Nothing in Esau’s lament leads me to believe he actually sought out true repentance. Seems to me after he realized he gave away his birthright, he pleaded and wept for his father to undo what he had done. Repentance was never denied to Esau. He wanted the consequences of his choices removed, but he never truly sought repentance. Never once in that story did he cry out to God, rather he resents his brother and vows to kill him.

In all of this let’s not miss the point of the author of Hebrews. He is telling his listeners to “see to it that no one becomes an imoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal (v. 16, NET).” All this time the author is trying to convince his readers that Jesus is better! Esau serves as a model of the worldly, sensual person. He traded his blessing for a meal! Christian, don’t trade Christ for anything! He is better!We might look at Esau and think, “How stupid! He traded everything for a meal!” For a moment let’s turn this criticism of Esau on ourselves. We trade Christ consistently—daily, maybe even hourly for the lusts of our flesh.

Christian, don’t be like Esau. Don’t trade Christ for anything. Not for money, sex, power, notoriety, your wife, kids, mom, dad, technology etc… He is BETTER!

Tagged ,

Erasing Hell

 

The line that hit me the most in this video was when Chan talked about humility. Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

So when someone says, “I could never believe in a God who…” Who what? Doesn’t think like you think and act like you act? I thank God that He doesn’t think like me. I would have never thought to create, to be merciful to a rebellious people, or to send my Son to die at the hands of my creation.

All great thoughts by Chan. I appreciate this guy and look forward to this book. 

Erasing Hell by Francis Chan will be released July 5th.

 

Maranatha (Come Lord)

Exodus 5 describes an interesting scene—the people of Israel, God’s chosen people were enslaved to a power hungry Egyptian king. They were reduced to making bricks but it was God’s will to deliver them, so he sent Moses and Aaron—two normal (or less than normal) men, one of which had a speech impediment. There request was straight forward, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go…(v.1)'” Pharaoh responds with a bit of mockery, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? (v.2)” After Moses and Aaron leave, Pharaoh decides to tighten his grip on the Israelites in order to show his “sovereign power.” It is as if he was trying to stick it to God by showing him who the Israelites belong to.

So now, not only has Pharaoh reduced the chosen people of God to making bricks, he also unnecessarily makes their labor more strenuous. At the end of chapter five Moses laments, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people,and you have not delivered your people at all.”

Moses’ heart is simply, “Come Lord! Fix this! This is not the way it is supposed to be! Make it right!”

The people of Isreal, those who were the offspring of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob—those in the line of Joseph who saved Egypt, now reduced to brick making. They were appointed by God to be the object of His affection and commissioned by Him to be a blessing to the surrounding nations. However, rather than being a blessing, they were enslaved. This was not the way it was supposed to be! They were to be ambassadors, not slaves; devoted in free worship, not trapped in coerced labor to a self-proclaimed god. Come Lord! Rescue your people!

The people of God, the church—those saved and redeemed by the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father incarnate, and indwelt by the Holy Spirit; those chosen by God as the object of His love and affection and commissioned to love and proclaim the gospel to others. They currently find themselves caught ina  laundry list of distractions: materialism, sex, money, notoriety, family, friends, jobs, and self-exaltation. Rather than fulfilling the Great commandment and commission, the church has strayed away on account of evil desires and are entagled in sin, which has been conquered by their King, yet they choose to remain. This is not the way it is supposed to be! The church is to be Ambassadors, not slaves; devoted in free worship to God, not trapped in tireless labor to ourselves. Come Lord! Rescue your people! Set everything right!

Daniel Attaway—a child of God, heir to the kingdom in Christ Jesus, adopted and redeemed by the blood of the lamb, and made alive with Him in His resurrection. I am chosen by God as the object of His love and affection, commissioned by Him to love and proclaim the Gospel to others, yet I am entangled in complacency, pride, self-righteousness, and self-exaltation. Rather than live a life worthy of the Gospel, I am concerned with the lusts of this world. This is not the way it is supposed to be! I am to live free, not enslaved to my passions—an Ambassador, not a servant of evil— a free worshipper of God, not a worshipper of self. Com Lord! Rescue Me. Set this right! Renew this world and your people!

“O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much about man’s creaturely power and goodness, when, if thou didst not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incarnate (The Valley of Vision, 4-5).”

Ash Wednesday (Repentance)

Today marks the official beginning of Lent, otherwise known as Ash Wednesday. Historically, the season of Lent calls Christians to reflect on their mortality and need for a savior. This year Lent spans from March 9th to April 24th, a total of forty-six days—although Sundays are not typically included (40 days total). The 40 days of Lent represent the time that Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan (Matt 4, Mark 1:12-13& Luke 4). It is meant to be a special time of fasting and prayer as we attempt to focus our hearts and minds on the beauty of God and His gospel rather than the transient things of this world. Ash Wednesday holds special significance for Christians beyond merely being the first day of Lent. Today is to be a day of repentance.

But why the Ash?

Ashes are a common motif throughout Scripture that symbolize mourning over sin and the act of repentance. In Job 42:1-6, Job responds to God after God has shown his power.

1 Then Job answered the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted; 3 you asked,‘Who is this who darkens counsel without knowledge?’ But I have declared without understanding things too wonderful for me to know. 4 You said,‘Pay attention, and I will speak;I will question you,and you will answer me.’5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself, and I repent in dust and ashes!

Ash Wednesday is the day that we recognize the weight of our sin and look forward with anticipation the day when sin will be no more. It is not a day where we simply put ash on our foreheads to show that we are religious, rather it is a day that we despise the sin that indwells.

But when is the last time we actually thought about the severity of our sin? When is the last time we actually pondered how much God hates it? When is the last time we ask God to bring about such a hatred for sin in our lives that it caused deep mourning?

When I was eight years old I was probably playing outside, annoying my sister, or thinking the world revolved around my wants and needs. In the Old Testament there was an eight year old kid who was King. His name was Josiah and his story of repentance is soul-stirring.

When Josiah had been king for eighteen years, he ordered that the temple of God be restored (2 Kings 22). To this point, Israel and Judah has been ransacked with idols and false gods and during the temple repair, Hilkiah the high priest found the Book of the Law (v. 8). When Josiah heard the words of the law he tore his clothes as sign of anguish and despair. Josiah recognized that God’s people had not walked in his ways and his wrath was upon them (v. 13).

The mourning and anguish caused Josiah to do radical and seemingly nonsensical things. He defiled all the places of false worship by tearing down and burning anything dedicated to a false god. He sought out the false prophets, had them put to death, and burned them. He killed and burned any livestock that was used for worship of a false god. He dug up the bones of the false prophets of old and burned their bones! Every altar, every tomb, every prophet (dead or alive), every shrine and every monument was defiled and destroyed at his command! Everything that portrayed Israel’s disobedience and idolatry was reduced to ash. This is true repentance and thus it is said of King Josiah, “No king before or after repented before the Lord as he did, with his whole heart, soul, and being in accordance with the whole law of Moses (2 Kgs 23:25).”

That is the aim of Ash Wednesday. Not merely an outward religious ceremony, but a turning of our whole heart, soul, and being to our great God. May God’s people take on an attitude of repentance that stands in the tradition of King Josiah. May we reflect on the severity of our sin and the abounding great grace and mercy of our Triune God!