Open Arms

24 09 2009

Hey guys,

 Hope you’re having a good week despite the gloomy weather.  Here’s an exercise for you…

 Open Arms – Eugene Peterson

Read this passage several times.  As you read, listen for a new perspective on the way life is, or the way God is, that stands out to you today.  Perhaps you will notice that God can have dangerously “hot anger,” yet under other circumstances He is tender and open to a people who have walked far from intimacy with Him.  Maybe you’ll be struck by the pigheadedness that kept some Israelites from taking “God’s outstretched hand.”

 Then Hezekiah invited all of Israel and Judah, with personal letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, to come to The Temple of God in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to Israel’s God… and they sent out the invitation from one end of the country to the other, from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north: “Come and celebrate the Passover to Israel’s God in Jerusalem.” No one living had ever celebrated it properly.  The king gave the orders, and the couriers delivered the invitations from the king and his leaders throughout Israel and Judah. The invitation read: “O Israelites! Come back to God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, so that he can return to you who have survived the predations of the kings of Assyria. Don’t repeat the sins of your ancestors who turned their backs on God, the God of their ancestors who then brought them to ruin—you can see the ruins all around you. Don’t be pigheaded as your ancestors were. Clasp God’s outstretched hand. Come to his Temple of holy worship, consecrated for all time. Serve God, your God. You’ll no longer be in danger of his hot anger. If you come back to God, your captive relatives and children will be treated compassionately and allowed to come home. Your God is gracious and kind and won’t snub you—come back and he’ll welcome you with open arms.” 

(2 Chron. 30:1,5-9 MSG)

 Study the perspective you’ve absorbed, looking at it from different angles and holding it up against different experiences you’ve had.  Do you ever fear approaching God because you worry He might snub you?  Have you ever refused grace?  Consider a specific situation.  Then become aware of God’s presence with you.  Tell Him what was going on during that time.  How does the God of this passage (offering His “outstretched hand” to the Israelites) compare to your image of God in that situation?

 Close your time today by saying the Lord’s Prayer.  Speak the words aloud very slowly.  Picture the righteous but compassionate God described in this passage, the One who is hearing your prayers now: “Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are.  Set the world right; do what’s best— as above, so below.  Keep us alive with three square meals.  Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.  Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.  You’re in charge!  You can do anything you want!  You’re ablaze in beauty!  Yes. Yes. Yes. 

(Matt. 6:9-13 MSG)

 Amen!

 Praying for you this week.

 To the King!

Katy

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