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Friday, February 01, 2013

We Will Glory In You, O Lord

Meditation and Prayer on Jeremiah 9:23,24

O Precious Father, how vain and foolish are the sons of men.  The things that puff us up and cause us to
boast are vain and empty things that pass away.

We glory in wisdom, as though we could search out and find the reasons for things.  But we cannot even
know the reason for things that vex us and trouble us every day.  We do not know why the good often suffer
so much, why babies suffer cruel death, why the weakest among us are afflicted and tormented.  We do not
know why evil men flourish, gain wealth and honor, and die in the fullness of age, wealthy and honored.

How vain we are, O Lord.  Men strut and preen themselves on the stage of life.  They dress in robes and
hoods and caps and love to hear their names and opinions sought after, but we know not either the beginning
nor the ends of things  Foolish men seek after those who are accounted wise, and yet the wise cannot deliver
themselves from their own sins nor escape the silence of the grave.

The wise talk much of virtue but are themselves corrupt and sinful.  Physicians cannot heal themselves and
teachers do not teach themselves and saviors cannot save themselves.

O wise Father,  the wise man cannot tell why the youth burns in same sex desire.  Who mourns for the lamb
that is torn in pieces by the wild beast far from the habitation of man?  Why do men and women yield to
desires and lusts that debase their bodies, alienate their friends and family and bring misery all around?  And
what will the end of all be?  The wise cannot tell, O Most High God.  They are blind leaders of the blind.

Though very conscious of themselves and puffed up, the wise cannot even tell what consciousness is nor its
source and nature.

But the strong are equally empty vanity.  They boast against the learned and wise.  It starts very early in
school as the young toughs make life miserable for the studious and faithful scholar.  Many who do not glory
in wisdom boast much of strength, agility, and grace in their bodies.  They are powerful in games and deeds
of physical prowess.  But where are the strong men of our youth?  What river carried away Joe Louis,
Rocky Marciano, Ted Williams, Red Grange, Babe Ruth and that other Babe, Zaharias?  What of Stan the
Man?  Shall we also speak of Hercules, Julius Caesar, Alexander, and Geronimo?

In our youth we learned of Horatius at the Bridge and the brave Spartan Three Hundred, but their strength
could not bind the Angel of Death, nor give vigor to the heart beating its last.  Where is the strength of man?
Why are we so foolish as to glory in strength, O Lord?  The strong compete in trials of strength and agility
for earthly crowns but are so weak that they cannot resist drugs and lies to gain an immoral advantage based
on deceit and wickedness.

What is the strength of Wilt who towered above all in his day but could not resist the lust that defiled himself
with thousands of women in serial fornication? What of Tiger?  What of Joe Paterno who could create
fearsome defensive linemen, but could not defend the most vulnerable?  Even thy servant Samson, the
strongest of men, could slay a thousand with the jawbone of an ass but could not overcome desire. What is
the strength of man after all, O righteous Father in Heaven?  What glory is there in the legs of a man?

And the gold and silver is vanished away.  In a moment the rich men of the world wail and weep over
desolation and ruin.  Yet how they boast in their real estate, mansions, factories, institutions and other
playthings.   But their riches cannot buy them one more breath when the Lord decrees, "This night thy soul
shall be required of thee."

What glory is there in riches that cannot buy anything but things that rust and decay, are eaten of moths, and
stolen of thieves?    O Lord, how poor we are if we are not rich toward You!!  What coin will we use to
purchase that which is more precious than rubies and more to be desire than fine gold?  Like swine, O Lord,
we rend those who traffic in such treasures and root in the dust for that which does not satisfy.

O, Precious Father, teach us the vanity of glorying in wisdom, in strength, in riches.   All of these things
cannot keep back the march of death and stay the decay of the body that returns to the dust, nor stop the
flight of the soul that returns to God who gave it.  These are ways that seem right unto foolish men, but the
end thereof are the ways of death, as the prophets have warned us.

O that we might know You, O Heavenly Father!  O that we might understand the Lord who exercises loving
kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth!  These are the true wisdom, strength, and riches and may
be purchased without money, without price.

You are not an absent God, O Lord.  You are active and busy in the world, O Father, exercising loving
kindness, judgment and righteousness.   You have never been absent from Your Creation since the beginning
of the world, for You created it to be inhabited by man and filled it full of blessings and riches and men.  You
prepared the world for the coming of Your Son to put away sins, and You continue in your zeal to bring all
things to completeness and Your sons to their inheritance in glory in Jesus Christ.  You, O Lord, exercise
loving kindness in the world, calling out a people for your Name through the preaching of the Gospel to the
ends of the earth.

But, O Lord God and Precious Father, we  also confess that You are exercising judgment in the world.  You
know the difference between good and evil and use both for Your glory.  The wicked shall not prosper, nor
shall one precious righteous one fall to the earth in vain.  The wicked are like the chaff which the wind drives
away and they shall not stand before Your judgment.

O Righteous Father, all evil and wickedness could be purged from all of Your creation by a glance from
Your eyes that flame like fire, but You rule the evil also and have purposes of good for Your people,
purposes of grace and kindness and mercy. You owe nothing to the rebellious and hard of heart and will
vindicate Your holiness at the time appointed.

You do not dance to our tune nor weep at our call.  This is also a treasure to be known only by faith through
Scripture and the Spirit of God.  This we do confess.  We have eyes that cannot see, ears that cannot hear,
minds that cannot think, and hearts that cannot understand, unless You quicken us by Your Spirit.

We also see Your hand of righteousness in the world, for Your true church is clothed with the righteousness
of faith and is being perfected through tribulations and trials, being prepared as a bride for her husband.
When we have suffered according to the portion given to us, we shall shine as the brightness of the firmament
and as the stars forever and ever, being made partakers of Your holiness.

O Holy and Precious Father, give us grace to seek that city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is
God.   You have said it: "Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in
chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the
Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!"

"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."

In this we will glory, O Lord.  In this we will praise Your Holy Name.  By Your word and Spirit You teach
us the knowledge of Yourself and open our eyes to see You working loving kindness, judgment and
righteousness in the world, for in these things You delight, and so do we, by Your grace.

We praise your Holy Name in the Church that You purchased with Your own blood.   Though this is
foolishness to men who glory in the vanity of men, yet we will glory in Your Name forever and ever.  Amen
and Amen.

---------------------

"Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might,
let not the rich man glory in his riches:  But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and
knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:
for in these things I delight, saith the LORD."   Jeremiah 9:23,24
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