The author of Hebrews states emphatically that God’s word is not dead and in the past. It is a soul-dividing, joint-splitting instrument that pierces the darkness of our sin and our disobedience. What happens when you turn on the light in a dark, dusty room? Roaches scurry for cover, cobwebs in the corner indicate inattention, dust on the furniture is made visible, dirt on the floor becomes disconcerting. But what action do you take when these things are brought to light? Turn off the light? Assume the dust and dirt will clean itself?
When it comes to matters of the heart and soul, matters of life and death, I can safely say that ignorance is not bliss. We have another option. The epistle author exhorts us to allow the light to do its work. Let the light of God’s living word expose all that hides in darkness. Submit to the soul-cleansing illumination of God’s Spirit. Only then can the difficult and healing work of removal and redemption begin to restore the spiritual home that has been left in disarray.
When God’s word shines a spotlight on the immensity of our personal brokenness and sin, we have a blessed assurance that God knows and God intervenes. It doesn’t matter what you have done or what you have left undone. Journey toward the light. It matters not whether you think you are worthy. Turn your eyes to Jesus anyway. “Hold on to the confession,” and “draw near to the throne of favor with confidence” (ceb). Feeling a little exposed and naked? Take off the fig leaves anyway. Quit pretending. No more hiding. It is time to get serious and get real with God and with ourselves. Nothing less will suffice. When we do, we will “receive mercy and find grace” (ceb)—amazing grace!
Lord, shine the light of your living word upon me. Cleanse me, renew me, and remake me that I may find grace and help in you alone. Amen.
Faithful people still have questions for God. Job wishes he could sit down with God and plead his case because he wants God to justify what has happened to him. The psalmist, traditionally identified as David, also feels abandoned by God and wonders why God is not coming to his aid. God can handle our questions. Job wanted an advocate, and Hebrews says that Jesus now fills that role for us. He is our great high priest and understands our sufferings, so we may boldly approach him for help. In Mark, Jesus deals with the challenge of money. It is a powerful force and can come between God and us if we cling to our resources instead of holding them loosely with thanksgiving for God’s provision.
• Read Job 23:1-9, 16-17. When have you, like Eliphaz, attributed your own suffering or that of others to wickedness on your part or on theirs? How often do you find yourself blaming others for the situations in which they find themselves?
• Read Psalm 22:1-15. How could your prayer life be more honest and transparent? What feelings do you hold back?
• Read Hebrews 4:12-16. When God shines the spotlight on your soul, what does God see?
• Read Mark 10:17-31. How do you square your “wealthy” life with Jesus’ call to discipleship?
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This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.