Praising Christ’s Righteousness

Scripture Focus: Ezekiel 14.13-14
“Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its people and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel, and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.

Psalm 55.16-18
As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.

From John: The repeated failure of leader after leader after leader who promised to “save” us from various threats makes this post from two years ago more relevant than ever. Within the repeated failure of leaders both religious and political, perhaps we may find a lesson and a judgment against us for continuing to trust in leaders who deceive us more than the God who wishes to free us.

Reflection: Praising Christ’s Righteousness
By John Tillman

We cannot save ourselves. Praise God.

God specifically tells Ezekiel that not even the greatest, most righteous men he might trust in would be able to save the nation.

God specifies that even great men of the past like Noah or Job could not save the country. Neither could the greatest living leader of the Israelites at that time, Daniel. Not even if all three of these men at once were in Israel, could they save it from its destruction.

Praise God we cannot be saved by the righteousness of humans.

Imagine our difficulty finding one trustworthy enough. Imagine hanging our hopes on a great leader, only to watch him or her fall near the end of the race.

Most of us don’t have to imagine it. It has happened. It has happened on the left and on the right. To secular leaders and to Christians. At personal levels and at the highest levels of governmental and institutional power.

Men and women who have betrayed our trust litter the media landscape. Think back over the past year and their faces and headlines will float up from your memory—comedians, judges, police officers, politicians, pastors, writers, journalists. Human leaders who won our trust, but can’t save us.

And the collective effect of humans working together, doesn’t solve the problem. If anything, human institutions magnify the failures of individual leaders.

How pitiful a situation we would be in if our salvation relied on human institutions. Think of the wide variety of institutions that have failed and continue to fail the people they are meant to help. Banks have failed us. Insurance companies, oil companies, food companies, charities, churches, ministries, and governments have failed us.

Praise God we are free from the delusion that humans and human institutions are infallible.
Praise God that despite the sinfulness of humans and our institutions, we do have a place to put our trust.
Praise God that our salvation does not rely on any person who may turn and betray us or fall into error or sin.
Praise God that we can live in fellowship not because we or “they” are trustworthy, but because we are united in our need for forgiveness and redemption.
Praise God that we can embrace our fellow brothers and sisters with the same mercy that we have been shown.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Morning Psalm
God takes his stand in the council of heaven; he gives judgement in the midst of the gods:
“How long will you judge unjustly, and show favor to the wicked?
Save the weak and the orphan; defend the humble and needy;
Rescue the weak and the poor; deliver them from the power of the wicked.
They do not know, neither do they understand; they go about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
Now I say to you, ‘You are gods, and all of you children of the Most High;
Nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, and fall like any prince.’”
Arise, O God, and rule the earth, for you shall take all nations for your own. — Psalm 82
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Ezekiel 14  (Listen – 4:09)
Psalm 55 (Listen – 2:43)

This Weekend’s Readings
Ezekiel 15  (Listen – 1:09), Psalm 56-57 (Listen – 3:11)
Ezekiel 16  (Listen – 10:36), Psalm 58-59 (Listen – 3:32)

Read more about Christ—Ruler of Political Leaders
Part of what we say when we say that a structure is God-given is also that God will hold it to account. — NT Wright

Read more about Servants in the Age of Showboats
Truthfully, our emperors have no clothes. They think they are rich, but they are poor, blind, and naked.

Names of Christ—Vine, Resurrection, and Door :: Throwback Thursday

Psalm 55.22
Cast your cares on the Lord
   and he will sustain you;
he will never let
   the righteous be shaken.

Reflection: Names of Christ—Vine, Resurrection, and Door :: Throwback Thursday
By Nicetas of Remesiana (335-414)

Do the pleasures of the world seduce you? Turn all the more to the Cross of Christ to find solace in the sweetness of the vine that clustered there.

Are you a lost sinner? Then you must hunger for justice and thirst for the Redeemer, for that is what Christ is. Because he is bread, he takes away all hunger. If you are stumbling, fix your foot firmly on him, for he is a rock; and like a wall he will protect you. Are you weak and sick? Ask for a medicine from him, because he is a doctor.

If anger is tormenting you and you are torn by dissension, appeal to Christ who is peace, and you will be reconciled to the Father and will love everyone as you would like to be loved yourself.

If you are afraid that your body is failing and have a dread of death, remember that he is the resurrection, and can raise up what has fallen. When sinful pleasure tempts you and the flesh is weak, recall that you are in the presence of a just judge, severe in weighing the evidence and one who is making ready everlasting fire. Then, sinner as you are, you will lose your taste for sin.

In your hour of death, brother, should you lose hope of obtaining a just reward in heavenly glory, be bold in faith to remember that he is the door, and through him once you are raised from the dead, you will enter the mysteries of heaven, join the company of angels, and hear the longed-for words; “Well done, good and faithful servant; because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many; enter the joy of thy master…take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Amen.

*From The Names and Titles of Our Saviour

Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” — Matthew 10.29-31

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Numbers 17-18 (Listen – 6:58)
Psalm 55 (Listen – 2:43)

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Read more from Nicetas of Remesiana: Reflection: Jesus, Priest, Lamb, and Vine
In the Holy Scriptures there are many names and titles which are applied to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

Read more  from Nicetas of Remesiana: Names of Jesus—Justice, Doctor, and Bread
He is called justice because through faith in his name sinners are made just; and redemption, because he paid the price in his blood to buy us back— we who had been so long lost.