Have you ever been reading the Bible or contemplating it and suddenly a light bulb goes off? You have an understanding of it that you had never considered before! Maybe a good teacher or preacher was expounding the text and gave you an insight you hadn’t thought of.
It is awesome (btw: this is one of the great blessings of memorizing Scripture).
A few years ago, I was meditating on the Lord’s Prayer (it is good to say it daily, and even many times a day: those who cite the “do not use meaningless repetition” text in Matt 6:7 are missing the point. Matt 6:7 doesn’t condemn repetition, it condemns “meaningless” or “vain” repetition. The kind of repetition that suggests that God hears us because of our “many words”; Matt 6:7), when I had a light bulb moment.
I realized that (okay this is going to sound stupid but I bet a number of you are right there with me and are about to have a light bulb moment yourself), when I would say, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” that I was not giving God permission to do His will.
Instead, I was saying, “okay, Lord, here am I. I am asking for You to use me to do Your will.”
In other words, this phrase in the Lord’s prayer is about us submitting and allowing God to use us to do His will! (and here I had been thinking all along that God needed my permission: “Our Father, oh, by the way, while I am thinking about, it is fine by me if You want to do your will on earth as You do it in heaven”—oops!
I should have known better because this is the way God works. God chooses to do His work on earth through His people.
Sure, He could call down fire from heaven; or send His angels to do His bidding. But He rarely does that.
Look at the example in the book of Exodus. God called Moses to go and rescue the Israelites.
Note: the narrative flow of Exodus 2-3
- The cry of the Israelites went up to God (Exod 2:23)
- God heard their cry (Exod 2:24)
- God took notice of them (Exod 2:25).
- The very next verse: “Now Moses was pasturing the flock” (Exod 3:1).
In other words, Exodus 2:25 and 3:1 form a segue. God hears their cry and then the story shifts to Moses. The segue is because it is through Moses that God responds to the cry of the oppressed Israelites.
The Scriptures are full of such examples.
- Philip is told to go and speak to the Ethiopian (Acts 8).
- Ananias is called to go and lay hands on Saul/Paul (Acts 9).
- Peter is sent to go and speak to Cornelius (Acts 10).
My point is that most often God does the work of bringing His kingdom through His people.
This is why Paul can say “For we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:9).
Note that God’s response to the outcry of the oppressed is to call His people to engage in doing righteousness and justice.
So, what does this mean?
I will continue this series over the coming months. At this point, I will make several deductions:
- It is not good enough to just be good enough
For too long evangelical Christianity has focused on personal salvation and personal spirituality. For many, this has come to mean: become a Christian and be a good person. But the Scriptures are clear:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9).
We have been chosen not simply so we can go to heaven when we die. We have been chosen to be a part of God’s covenant family and in order that He might be made known through us—i.e, “so that we may proclaim his excellencies”; or, as the NLT says, “you can show others the goodness of God.”
- Doing justice and thereby making God known means we have to step out of our comfort zone.
There is something simple about resting content in the security of our own salvation (especially if you lean towards Reformed theology). I find nowhere in Scripture, however, where we are called to be comfortable and rest securely in our own salvation.
To do so is a prime example of self-centeredness, which is the antithesis of what it means to be a Christian: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34).
Doing justice means that we must be ready to become uncomfortable–to weep with those who weep!
- Doing justice is what Jesus commands
I argued in an earlier post that Jesus’ command to love is the NT application of doing justice.
 See also, Psalm 34:17 and Deuteronomy 22:24, 27.