Monday, March 25, 2013

Eagles & Lambs

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Over the past two days, this verse has been everywhere. Read aloud on the radio, tucked into several songs played on my pandora stations, in our pastor's sermon yesterday, in the book I'm reading ...

I finally realized this morning that God probably wanted me to dwell on this verse.

And so I remember that this verse isn't just a verse. It's a promise. When you hope in the Lord, your strength will be renewed.

When I feel weak, when I feel like I just can't do it anymore, when I feel alone, if I'll put my hope in the Lord, I'll experience a renewal of strength. I will not only make it through, I'll SOAR! I, me, Lindsay with the once bum-knee that is now being restored, will RUN this race of life without growing weary of the path that God's laid before me. And as I walk each step closer to God, closer to LOVE, closer to eternal certainty, I will not grow tired.

....

Growing up, each of us children had a holiday of which we shared ownership with our Dad. Passover was my holiday. 

You might be thinking, isn't she a Christian? Isn't Passover a Jewish holiday? Did I miss something here? Did she grow up Jewish?

No. We're not Jewish, or of Jewish descent. I am a Follower of Christ and was raised in a Christian home. And, yes, we celebrated Passover.

Why? 

Well, The Jews celebrate(d) Passover to remember back to when they were in bondage in Egypt and specifically the night that God spared the first born Israelites. 

While Moses was continuously asking Pharaoh to free the enslaved Jews, God sent all kinds of horrible plagues upon Egypt - this being the last one:

"For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgement: I am the Lord." Exodus 12:12

God instructed Moses and Aaron that if each home would apply the blood from an unblemished lamb to the top of their doorway and along the doorposts, when He passed through Egypt and saw the blood around the door, it would be a sign to Him to pass over that home and spare that firstborn. (Exodus 12:13)

God included some other instructions, and one of them was that this event be remembered year after year. 

"It is a night of solemn observance to the Lord for bringing them (the Israelites) out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the Lord, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations." Exodus 12:42

So, hundreds of years later, Jesus likewise celebrated Passover. 

If you look at the instructions for preparing and celebrating Passover in Exodus, they're pretty detailed and riddled with symbolism pointing towards the future sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And, that is why my family celebrated Passover, to remember not only what God did the night of the first Passover but to remember the sacrifice of Jesus. 

...

As I dwell on this verse in Isaiah, I am humbled by the strength of our Savior. 

He was God, there, sitting at the table with His disciples, celebrating the Passover. He knew what was coming. He knew that back when the Jews experienced the first Passover, God was setting an example of what was to come. 

Only the blood of a perfect lamb would do. It was only that blood that could spare life. Jesus knew His was the only blood that could serve as retribution for the judgement of all mankind. That night, He said to his disciples, "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matthew 26:28

Sitting there, I have to believe that Jesus likewise put his hope in God, His Father. Why? He was fully God, yes, but He was also human. And, the agony and duress He was about to experience would not only be physically taxing to the point of death, but emotionally distressing as well. To see your beloved friends abandon you... To watch your mother cry while you hang from nails hammered into wood... To listen to the very people you're dying for mock you... To feel your lungs fill with fluid while you press your feet into the nails through your ankles to support your body up so you might breathe another breath... To do all this willingly... 

What strength would be needed in order to endure this by choice...

What love... 

Love that I can only barely, with my little human brain, understand. 

When we put our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is when our strength is renewed. Why? Because we've already seen the proof of God's love for us: He willingly became the unblemished lamb whose blood we need to spare our life. Remembering this, how can our strength not be renewed? His love for us today is just as great as it was for us then.

These next several days as we make our way to Good Friday, I'll dwell on the strength and love of my Savior, who became a lamb for the whole world. I'll put my hope in the Lord, and my strength will be renewed. I'll soar on wings as eagles, I will RUN and not grow weary, I will walk and not be faint.

"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29