Thursday, January 15, 2015

Righteous and True

Friday, January 16, 2015
And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb:  “Great and amazing are your deeds, Lord God the Almighty!  Just and true are your ways, King of the nations!  Lord, who will not fear and glorify your name?  For you alone are holy.  All nations will come and worship before you, for your judgments have been revealed.”   Revelation 15:3-4  (NRSV)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ contains many scenes of worship in heaven.  This one has seven angels poised to deliver the final seven plagues of judgment on earth.  The angels are standing-by as martyred saints praise God for His holiness.  And that holiness is extoled on the basis of the “justness” and “truth” of God’s character.

The holiness of God is framed by these two powerful words, “just” and “true”.  Both of those words are forever on trial among humans.  It’s not just that human beings doubt a truly just God; humans also accuse Him of trickery and sadism, torturing us for sport.  If that were so, it would be the opposite of righteousness and truth.

In the final analysis it matters little what humans hold as an opinion of God, for God is who He is, just and true.  Scripture declares he is just (righteous, always acting within the loving confines of pure motive) and true – always consistent with his loving nature.

An old expression I count true is you have to choose what hill you’re willing to die-on.  There are a few things worth dying for; among them is truth. 

Many years ago a man whom I did not recognize came to me after a worship service and told me he was considering joining the church.  He invited me to visit at his home that week.  We set a time and I went that next day.  Upon entering the home he welcomed me and gave me the grand tour of his “wall of fame”.  On the wall were no less than 50 pictures of himself and important people – government officials, sports figures and well-known preachers.  Next to each picture was a letter of commendation or certificate of completion, accreditation or high praise from music seminars or churches where he had “run” the music program.

Having been duly informed of just what a magnificent person I was privileged to be visiting, the man launched into his agenda for our meeting.  He told me that with all his musical training and awards he was just what I needed.  He knew our music person had left the church and we needed his help.  He told me that he and thirteen other families had just left another church and they liked our church; they would all be willing to join if I guaranteed that I would make him the music director.

I could probably write a book on the feelings and thoughts that raced through my mind at that moment.  But the one thing that stands out vividly after all these years is a picture I had of a smoke-filled back room where booze flows, deals are cut and careers launched.  It is the place where, political agendas are underwritten and power is wielded.  It is the place where deception meets opportunity and the truth is murdered.

I’d like to tell you I told the man to “stick it in his ear” – but all I could think of to say was “I’ll think about it.”  In reality, I think that’s what I said; I just wasn’t at all prepared for what I saw and heard, and all I wanted to do was go home and take a shower.

I did call the man the next day and told him I thought he had the wrong church in mind.  He muttered something about my heritage as he slammed the phone in my ear.  I never heard from him again. 

Needless to say, none of the other thirteen families joined our church either.  And the only bad feeling I had about the whole experience was I was certain that group would join (and probably wreck) some other church. 

It wasn’t hard to come to that decision; some other decisions about truth are harder.

For You Today

You will be faced with a truth-decision today, just like any other day in our deception-filled and fallen world.

Make sure you side with the One who is righteousness and truth!

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