Thursday, November 22, 2012

Roaring, Raging, Radiant Grace

I don’t understand it.
I don’t know how to explain it.
Most days I don’t even know how to receive it.
But this I know.
Jesus runs circles of grace around His bride.
It’s dizzying.
My filth.
My unfaithfulness.
Circled by His grace.
My fears.
Circled by His grace.
I am hedged in by grace.
His grace looks like thorns sometimes.
His grace looks like a desert sometimes.
It looks like a waterfall other times.
His grace is fierce.
His grace is overpowering.
His grace is tender.
His grace is kind.
His grace wars for me.
It wars for my heart.
Hosea 2 is full of grace.
Verse 6-7a
“Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them...”
Hedge: To hedge or fence about.
A circle of grace.
Up her way: “Derek” (deh’ rek)
1.       Way, road, distance, journey, manner
2.       Direction
3.       Manner, habit
4.       Of course of life
5.       Moral character
God builds fences around us to protect us.
I read a blog post once from goodwomenpoject that talked about rejection. When we think of rejection normally we instantly think something bad, painful, or unfair. But rejection is actually God’s grace. It’s him building a fence around us to protect us. Think about every boy who has ever rejected you. How different would life be if you never experienced that rejection? If God hadn’t shown you grace by allowing you to experience that rejection where would you be today? Some of us shudder at that thought… I know I do.
In Hosea, he is building fences around her way. Her way, habit, direction, course of life…. All of that… Prostitution. Harlotry.
He built a fence of thorns around her to prevent her from continuing down a hazardous, painful road.
Thorns hurt.
Thorn fences are not comfortable.
But if the thorn fence keeps you safe in the end…
Isn’t it worth it?
Jesus would rather you be angry with him, uncomfortable for a time, and be protected than you be comfortable and going down a destructive path, or worse, end up separated from him eternally.
That’s grace.
Verse 14
”Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.”
The word allure one of its meanings is to deceive. To bring to a place by deceit.
Wilderness- uninhabited land.
This last part…
“Speak tenderly to her”
I will come back to that one.
That one wrecked me.
Verse 19-20
“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”
Side note: Jesus, write my love story. You write the most beautiful ones.
Verses 19-20 are just incredible.
He is fighting to make you his bride. He is warring to make you his bride.
That’s grace.
Even though I have played the prostitute.
He is warring for my heart.
He is fighting to make me his bride.
He is chasing me down. Fencing me in. Holding me there and speaking tenderly (I’ll get there) to my heart, while I kick and scream and beat my fists into his chest, squirming, cussing, begging him to let me go and let me be. He is fighting for my heart.
A grace that fights to win FOR me
A grace that sings and dances WITH me
Jesus fights FOR you
He rejoices OVER you
He delights IN you
And He dances WITH you
Grace is not so fierce that He cannot lift you up tenderly.
Grace is not so tender that HE can’t destroy anything that tries to come against you.
I said that I would go back to the “Speak tenderly to her” part.
The Hebrew word for speak used here is “Dabar” it’s pronounced  da-var’
To speak, declare, converse, command, promise, warn, threaten, sing.
That word.
It so beautifully paints the picture of grace.
Grace speaks to us intimately.
Grace declares victory and freedom over us.
Grace converses with us. It empowers us.
It commands the enemy to flee.It gives us sweet promises, and keeps those promises.It warns us when we are going the wrong direction.Ha. It threatens us (in love) when we don’t listen to the warnings the first hundred times
It gets better when you see what the word tenderly means. I didn’t believe this at first glance. I just knew that there had to be a flaw in my program. I dug deeper and realized there’s no flaw. It’s not a glitch. As I dug deeper, it just got better.
Tenderly- The Hebrew word is Leb, Pronounced lave
You’ll never believe it.
When Hosea 2 says that He speaks tenderly to us… It’s saying he speaks (The full definition from above) He SPEAKS leb to us…
Inner man, mind, will hear, understanding
1.       Inner part, midst
A.      Midst (of things)
B.      Heart (of man)
C.      Soul , heart (of man)
D.      Mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
E.       Inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
F.       Conscience
G.     Heart (of moral character)
H.      Seat of appetites, emotions, passions, and courage.
He speaks over the most inner part of our being.
He commands the enemy off the most inner part of our being.
He declares freedom and victory over the most inner part of our being.
He speaks his promises to our hearts.
He warns us to protect our hearts.
He converses with us in the most intimate way, in the core of our being.
Our memories… no matter how good or bad they may be
Our reflections.
Our thinking.
Our hearts.
He sings over them.
That is Grace like I have never known before.
Grace does that.
No matter how filthy we are.
No matter how many times we run back to the brothels.
He comes.
He buys us back.
He purchases us.
We stand there with our hands tied and heads hung.
Broken. Bruised. Scraped. Filthy.
On the slaves auction block.
The man starts the bidding.
We stand there broken.
One voice from the crowd cries out.
She’s mine.
I’ll pay whatever it takes.
She will have no other lover.
Strong enough to fight for you. Gentle enough to clean your wounds.
Remember how I said I didn’t believe it so I dug deeper?
Want to know what else I found? 
Isaiah 40
Full of grace.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
That word speak. Same word. Dabar.
That word tenderly. Same word. Leb.
He sings over you.
He declares over you that you warfare.
Your fight.
Whatever it may be.
It’s over.
Because of His grace.
My warfare is over.
Because of His warring grace.
You don’t have to fight any more. He fights for you.
You don’t have to struggle to be free.
Don’t fight the fence around you.
That is his grace.
Jesus, I surrender to the roaring warrior, raging waterfall, and radiant lover that is your grace. I surrender to grace so glorious it's blinding. I surrender to a grace so amazing that I can't contain it.
Jesus, I surrender to your grace.