Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 7. (MsgB)
Close the book on Evil, God, but publish Your mandate for us.
You get us ready for life: You probe for our soft spots, You knock off our rough edges.
They say in heaven there is a one-volume masterpiece resting in the center of God’s reading room. Scripture calls it the Book of Life.
Both Jewish and Christian traditions believe that God will open this Book in our presence on the Last Day and read from it. John, the author of the New Testament’s Book of Revelation, indicates that our eternal destiny will be decided based on the factual information found in this Holy Book. A careful study of Scripture will indicate that God’s Book of Life actually has the names of every living being written in it. But when it comes time for the final reading on that Last Day, apparently some of our names will have been blotted out.
Frightening stuff, don’t you think?
Can you imagine standing in front of God on that last day and having God pronounce this horrifying statement over your life or mine?
I’m ever so sorry, my dear son. Your name is right here in my Book, but because of your unwillingness to humble yourself in life, never allowing Me to close the book on Evil, and never choosing to read and follow My mandate for your life, I must tell you that we have no reservation here in heaven assigned to your name.
Now, unfortunately, there are some religious folks out there who believe that God, the Author of the Book of Life, chooses from the beginning of time to send some people directly to hell. To that theory, I politely, say ‘bull’!
As I see it, I’m more on the line of thinking found in the writings of C.S. Lewis. For Lewis, one of the great theologians of the 20th century, God is a God of great love and amazing mercy. The Creator of the Universe does not want a single person to live in eternity outside the on-going presence of God. Yet, being a loving Father who refuses to make His children choose something against their will, He offers us here, in this life, two clear choices. Choice number one: Living life where we say ‘let God’s will be done’. Choice number two: Living a life where we say ‘let my will be done’.
So with that truth in mind, on that Last Day, my name will be blotted out of God’s Book of Life only because I consistently and persistently chose it to be so. Not because God chose it. Not because God wanted it. But because I, alone, chose again and again in this life to adamantly refuse God’s mandate that He had written for my life.
You see, John the Revelator saw numerous books in heaven prior to seeing God’s Book of Life opened for all to read. (See Revelation 20: 12) Now I’m just guessing here, but could it be that these other books John saw are the books of God’s mandate for our earthly lives? Books about our lives that are published, as David the psalmist indicates, after God closes the book on Evil. Could it be that you and I have full access to these books today? In truth, God’s mandate is not hidden from us down here. As David clearly states in Psalm 7, God’s mandate is to get me ready for life. Get me ready for eternity. But will I listen? Will I choose to allow my Loving Father to come and probe for my soft spots and knock off my rough edges?
Now that I know that my name is in God’s Book of Life and that the only thing that can blot my name out of that Holy Book is my own stubbornness, self-dependence, and self-preferring pride, maybe I can choose rightly here.
To that, I say, come on God; let’s get it on! Enter in, Holy Spirit. Let me have a read or two of that life mandate God has already written out for me! Go ahead, Jesus. You’ve defeated the enemy on the Cross, so go ahead. Probe for my soft spots. I know I got ‘em! Have at it, Lord. Hey, and those rough edges You find. Go ahead, Poppa, hammer away at ‘em. I know it will hurt a bit, but for heaven’s sake, if it means keeping my name written in Your Book of Life for eternity, let’s go for it!
My prayer: Father, I’m honored that You have chosen from the beginning of time to write my name in Your Holy Book of Life. On the other hand, I’m humbled and a bit frightened to think that only I can choose if my name remains in Your Book for eternity. With that awareness, I choose to defer to Your love and mercy. I choose to humble myself, allowing You to freely come into my life today, probing for my soft spots and knocking off my rough edges. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what does my published mandate from God look like? Now that Jesus has closed the book on Evil by His work on the Cross, what wonderful plans has God written down about my life? How can I adjust my worldly pursuits so that I’m found passionately pursuing His mandate while rejecting my selfish and self-consumed interests?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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