Look up

I’m a helpless news junkie.  The kind that knows exactly what time BBC America comes on.  And what time it’s replayed in case I miss it.  NPR and talk radio round out the top 3 pre-sets in my car.  My Twitter feed looks like it belongs to a White House pool reporter.  While this obsession interest provides for some great mommy brain stimulation, it can also be incredibly depressing. Because the news is awful.  Horrible.  Vile.  Perverse.  And that’s just my local 11pm newscast.  As you move from there to the national and international stage, the news becomes overwhelmingly dark, almost too much to wrap your mind around.  Sex trafficking?  Hostages burned alive?  Children tagged and sold in open markets simply for being Christians?  Tens of millions of babies aborted on our street corners?  Child pornography flowing like water across our airwaves?  It’s simply more than I can bear sometimes.

What do we do with this evil?  Some of you may choose to look the other way.  Some of you may choose to join it.  Some of you may look down in shame that you do nothing.  But I have found that the only place to look is up.  The only answer to the horror that surrounds us is God the Father.  The God of the Bible.  The God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  You see, the presence of this awful depravity is proof of God’s existence.  How can there be dark without light?  How can there be evil without good as its counterpart?  How can there be lies without truth?  God stands alone as the perfect specimen, the ideal form, the classic exemplar.  When men and women reject Him, turn from Him, walk in their own way, they do so at their own peril.  Because walking away from the Light must be equivalent to walking toward the darkness.

Friends, we were not created to live in darkness.  We were fashioned perfectly to walk with Him in the garden [of Eden] in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8) but instead, God found us hiding in shame.  Why?  Because we chose against Him.  We chose the forbidden fruit.  Darkness instead of light.  Self-gratification instead of obedience.  And so, we left Him no choice.  As a holy, righteous and pure God, He could not abide with rebellion.  Like a bright light suddenly casts off all the darkness, so Adam and Eve had to be cast from His presence.  How it must have grieved the Creator to be separated from His creation.  In fact his grief was so great that then and there He set a plan into motion to rescue those lost and wayward children from their own depravity.  He signified this by the first ever shedding of blood.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.  (Gen. 3:21)

Adam and Eve could have never known the significance of this act.  But God knew.  He knew that several thousands years later, after seeing His people suffer from the consequences of sin and rebellion, He would put an end to it once and for all. An end to the rituals of blood sacrifice.  An end to the rigorous requirements of Jewish law.  And ultimately an end to the evil that had entered the world with the bite of an apple.

Look up He chose for Himself one last sacrifice.  But this couldn’t be an animal.  No, even the most pure and spotless lamb wouldn’t do.  The only sacrifice that His righteous nature could abide was that of a perfect human.  And so God looked around, found none who was righteous, and chose from His own family.  His Son, Jesus.  We know the story of Christmas, of the carpenter and of the miracles.  But that was all just the preamble to His ultimate purpose.  On that fateful Good Friday, Jesus accepted His role as our scapegoat.  He opened His arms and embraced every vile, disgusting, depraved act or thought we have ever or will ever commit.  This blanket of filth enveloped Him and it killed Him.  Our precious Lord lay dead on a tree.  But, my friends, the story is incomplete.  Though his body lay in a borrowed tomb for three days, His spirit descended to the depths of evil itself, depositing our awful deeds in the fiery pit where they belonged.  Then Sunday morning came.  His limp body inflated with life and He walked out of that tomb, free from stench of sin and rebellion.

This act both reviled and pleased the Father immensely.  Imagine watching your only child tortured and killed, yet knowing this martyrdom would be the salvation of all that you love.

So is that it?  No, because my nightly news is still full of the horrors of sin.  You see, God has done His part.  His Son fixed the problem with His death on the cross.  We are no longer banished from the garden.  We are no longer sentenced to death for our rebellion.  God has offered us a robe of righteousness, meaning that any of us can accept the blood sacrifice of Jesus that washes away all of our sin.  Any of us can stand in the presence of a Holy God and be loved, accepted and welcomed.  We can turn from the darkness and walk in the light.  But the choice is ours.  He does not force it upon us.

Where are you walking today?  Is your heart heavy with guilt, shame, lust and anger?  Do you feel as if all around is dark, Look upthe way is unclear and the night is closing in?  My friend, this doesn’t have to be your life.  Look up.  Ask the Lord to wash your heart clean of all that is unholy.  Receive his forgiveness and the sacrifice of His Son.  And take His hand as He brings you into the light.

The evil that we see does not get the final say.  There is One who stands watching, waiting, pleading for a dying world to simply look up.

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