We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
I can imagine how the Jewish religious leaders who were responsible for convincing the crowd that demanded Pilate the indignant crucifixion of the righteous, once having witnessed the bloody execution and confirmed that the humble carpenter would not be any longer a nuisance to them, returned to their homes to begin the Sabbath that Moses had instructed them to follow by orders of God himself. They should have arrived home minutes before sundown to start the day of rest. They must have felt very pleased to have achieved the goal that they had long had committed themselves to take the life of the humble but popular and dangerous (for them) Galilean leader. They should have eaten that night with great pleasure and joy because they believed that their problems had been solved once and for all. Little could they imagine that him who had died on the cross a few hours before was whom they had been waiting for so long and who was the fulfillment of the promise of freedom given to the people by God.
Just the night before they had held the annual ritual of the Passover, that is the commemoration of the protection with which God covered the people of Israel when the Angel of the Lord fulfilled the ultimate measure of pressure on Pharaoh to let free the people chosen by God. Little could they imagine that lamb that they were chewing on the night before was the sign of the true Lamb of God that few hours before had been sacrificed for all, Jews and non Jews. Like Satan, their guide, they were glad to see how things were going. By no means they came to suspect that the next day, the death that they had used to get rid of the teacher from Nazareth would be defeated forever. May the glory of the resurrection of the Lord always prevails over the sadness of the painful and bloody sacrifice which the Lord had to go through to rescue us from sin and death. Only to God be the glory!
For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.
It often surprises me the boldness with which some ─I include myself in this group ─ if not most of us come before God without confessing our sins and without having asked for forgiveness. We present ourselves as if nothing had happened, as innocent lambs, when in fact our sinful nature has been responsible of violating the precepts that God has given us to live a holy life. Sometimes God has to put us in extreme situations so we can realize our sinfulness and of course, this results in something that is not very nice to us. God loves us and as our Father he disciplines us so we may learn to be people full of integrity and moral authority.
Let us constantly review our lives and identify those areas in which we are failing. Let’s take our weaknesses to the throne of grace of God and let us act in a way our repentance shows. In this way we will be rid of the heavy burden of guilt and avoid the anguish that tries to dominate us. As an additional benefit in some cases we will receive health and in others we will find the solution to those problems that seemed to have no way out. Let us not miss the plank that is hosted in our eye and makes it difficult for us to see. May God speak to us and tell us where we are not behaving up to standard. He will respond with tenderness and love and show us the way for us to follow. To God alone be the glory!
“If his sons forsake my law
and do not follow my statutes,
if they violate my decrees
and fail to keep my commands,
I will punish their sin with the rod,
their iniquity with flogging;
Laws, decrees, statutes and commandments, many try to justify themselves by saying that God’s demands regarding our conduct can not come from him since he is all love. The idea is that all the warnings that God gives us to prevent our misbehaving are invalid and spurious. This is only a cowardly escape from their responsibilities. The word of God is very clear about this: God disciplines his children when they do not meet his demands of holiness. And even if it were true that God does not punish us because He loves us we still have to deal for the rest of our lives with the consequences of sin. Make no mistake, God disciplines those he loves and although disciplinary punishments may seem painful and disproportionate, we are receiving exactly what we need to learn the lesson well. Can you imagine someone trying to make a beast of burden obey his commands using tenderness and sweet words? How, then, we think that God will deal with our stubborn sinful nature if not through a fair discipline?
God is love but he is also justice and truth. He can not overlook sin without providing a rebuke commensurate with the offense. As we often do not realize the mistakes we make, the gentle and loving discipline of our heavenly Father will remind us that we, as his children, must be holy as he is Holy. Let us receive, then, with joy the discipline that God imparts as this is an additional demonstration of the love he has for us. Let us view discipline as a loving and on time correction and not as an angry response to our bad behavior. Discipline is part of our education. We must understand that if our behavior is correct, we would not need discipline. Discipline is a proof that we are children of God. To God alone be the glory!
From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
The wicked hide their true and grim intentions. As much as they simulate and make an effort to hide what is really behind their actions, it is generally easy to see where they come and what they want. Pride and arrogance make these people feel optimistic about getting their ill will go unnoticed in order to do more damage or more profit. Unfortunately many people, boasting an incredible naiveté come to accept without question all the false promises and lies that these people offer. Many, unsuspectingly end up entangled in the traps of these vile creatures. The product of their misdeeds is erroneously considered by the ignorant as a personal victory and a demonstration of intelligence and leadership.
The children of God must be very careful when they observe the actions of these individuals to not be swayed by their lies and their honeyed words. God has given us the discernment to not be misled by the siren song of these evildoers. The more we rely on the word of God the better we will be protected from the scams and traps that they will try to use against us. let us not neglect, then, the daily study of God’s word which along with the application of that word to our lives will result in strength and intelligence not to believe the lies of these slaves of Satan or get carried away by their bad examples. Close to God nothing can deviate us from the path of righteousness.To God alone be the glory!