DayBreaks for 3/14/16: We Walked Together
NOTE: Galen will be traveling for the next 10 days or so. You will be receiving messages from the DayBreaks archive during that time! From the DayBreaks archive, 2006:
Psalm 55:1-14 (NLT) – Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. My enemies shout at me, making loud and wicked threats. They bring trouble on me, hunting me down in their anger. My heart is in anguish. The terror of death overpowers me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me. I can’t stop shaking. Oh, how I wish I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest. I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape— far away from this wild storm of hatred. Destroy them, Lord, and confuse their speech, for I see violence and strife in the city. Its walls are patrolled day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the city. Murder and robbery are everywhere there; threats and cheating are rampant in the streets. It is not an enemy who taunts me— I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me— I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.
Many see reference in verses 12-14 of the betrayal of Christ by Judas, and perhaps it is rightly so. However, verse 13 makes that seem difficult – certainly Judas was not an equal to Christ, even if he did sit in the place of the intimate friend at the last supper. Perhaps that’s just my own hang-up: we are joint heirs with Christ and will inherit all things with Him, He is our elder brother – we are related by blood – His blood – and we bear His image (as defaced as it may be in us from time to time.) He calls us “friend”, not “slave” or “servant.” Those things, as incredible as it may sound, speak of equality – an equality that is not based on inherent worth, but worth imputed to us by a gracious Father through the blood of the Lamb.
While it may be that we should see Judas in verse 13 and the bitterness of the betrayal, I think I again more properly see here Messianic language: verses 4-5 seems to speak of the agony of the Garden where the terror of death and what was about to come to pass was becoming a crushing weight on Jesus’ spirit. Verse 6 reminds me of Revelation, where the woman who gives birth to the child flees to the wilderness, a place of quiet and safety, prepared beforehand by God for her. The Israelites fled to the wilderness in their exodus – and because God was there with them, it was a place of relative safety for them, in spite of their many rebellions. As Christ hung on the cross, did he see the city of Jerusalem (vs. 9) that had become full of violence that had led to the slaughter of the Lamb of God? (I must admit that I struggle with how the first part of verse 9 fits!) The city was walled…and history showed that it would not fall to the Romans until 70 AD, but the fall had already started and was sure to happen because of the wickedness inside. Murder (the killing of the innocent Lamb), the religious leaders robbing God of His due (both worship and the blood money that was paid to Judas belonged to God and they’d stolen both from Him), all were visible to His tear-filled eyes. Yet, Jesus knew it was not his enemy who was afflicting him (vs. 12), but rather that He was smitten by God for our sins and offenses! How he must have longed to walk in equality again to the house of God, side by side with the Father, freed from the humiliation of the fleshly nature that he bore to the cross!
The range of emotions that must have flowed through Christ on the cross is incomprehensible. Perhaps it is best that we are spared the knowledge of most of what went through his mind – except for the few utterances that passed his lips. Yet, lest we make him too human and not enough God, we shouldn’t speculate too far. He died very quickly – as far as crucifixion goes. Indeed, as verse 8 hints, he did escape quickly by dismissing his Spirit into the hands of the Father. Certainly, this world is enveloped in a raging storm of hatred and Christ experienced it more than anyone else ever has. This is such a humbling passage – it cuts to my heart.
TODAY’S PRAYER: Jesus, how I wonder about all the thoughts that went through your mind as you hung suspended between heaven and earth. Did you think about me? What did you think of when my name flashed through your mind? What do you think of me today, Lord? Are you pleased with me? Reveal to us your thoughts and direction for our lives. How we long to walk together with you into the House of God! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.