Come…

5000

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

My son and I just read about Noah and the ark. We talked about how the floodwaters surged on the face of the earth for 150 days, and how the ark finally came to rest atop a mountain. Eventually, the waters began to recede. And after 40 days, Noah opened the window of the ark to send out a raven… and the rest is history.

After the story, I asked my son how he would have felt being surrounded by all those animals in an ark for so long. And his answer took me by surprise. That’s because he said, “Hungry and thirsty.” What?? This is not at all what I expected, and so I asked him why he said what he did. And he answered, logically, “Well, 40 days and 40 nights…”

And quite rightly. Because after forty days without food and water, I, too, would be hungry and thirsty. My son seemed to have overlooked how long Noah was really aboard that ship, though… and obviously, we neglected to discuss food rations.

At any rate, I was stunned by my son’s reply. Because earlier this morning, I just thought about his early years. I smiled as I reminisced, picturing my son on his throne (otherwise called the couch), and how he used to make his demands. He would cry out, “Hungry! Thirsty!” And until I realized how very wrong it was, I used to jump at his every command, supplying him with food and drink as quickly as possible.

Eventually, I figured out I needed to teach my boy some manners, and how one should politely ask for food and water. But, for a time that’s just what I did… he would yell, “Hungry!” or “Thirsty!” and I would fulfill his need.

I find it amazing that this is where his little mind took him this morning. For in contemplating what life must have been like on that ark, he did not hone in on it being fearful, or dark, or scary, or perhaps exhilarating and exciting. No, it was physical needs that spoke to my son. And that makes me think of Jesus, who also had physical needs.

Before Jesus began His earthly ministry, He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. And afterward, quite rightly, He was hungry. That’s when the tempter approached Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” See, although Jesus knew the reality of real hunger, he also knew a deeper truth… and it was this deeper truth He spoke of in Matthew 4:4.

Today, we know very well how real hunger and thirst are. Because when our throats become dry, or when our tummies begin to rumble, we can barely concentrate on anything else. Because those physical demands consume us. But, there’s another type of hunger and thirst that is every bit as real as the physical. Only this type goes so much deeper than the surface.

See, I have felt hunger pangs that Wonder Bread cannot assuage, and I have experienced a thirst that not even Evian could quench. And perhaps the woman we read about in the fourth chapter of John felt the same. Perhaps she, too, had an unquenchable thirst and a hunger for more than bread alone. Because although this woman went to the well to gather water, she gained so much more. Oh, she was thirsty, alright, but for something deep and internal…

I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:2

Jesus came to a town of Samaria, and because he was worn out from his journey, he sat down at a well. In the evening, a woman of Samaria came to draw water but Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” She was surprised that He spoke to her since He was a Jew, and Jews did not associate with Samaritans. When she mentioned this, Jesus simply said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who is saying to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would ask Him, and He would give you living water.”

The woman wanted to know how to get this living water since Jesus didn’t even have a bucket and the well was deep. He said, “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I give him will never get thirsty again-ever! In fact, the water I give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.” She said, “Sir, give me this water…”

I’ve heard several sermons on this passage of Scripture. And because of circumstances, we can infer that this woman must have been an outcast. First of all, she was a Samaritan hated by the Jews even though they shared the same ancestry. Basically, she was from a mixed race and apparently racism extends as far back as we can recall. Not only that, she came to the well when it was evening… perhaps there was less chance of running into people she wished to avoid. And finally, this woman had been married five times and the one she lived with was not her husband.

I would bet this woman had some excess baggage and a closet full of skeletons. I would even venture to say she probably felt quite desperate. And hungry. And oh, so thirsty by the time she ran into Jesus. But then, something out of the ordinary occurred… for when the woman from Samaria tended to her daily chores, she encountered not just another man. No, this time she encountered a Savior. Right there in the midst of routine, she discovered Jesus Christ.

And though He was a Jew, Jesus did not turn the other way in an attempt to avoid her (which would have been the norm). No, He did not greet her with indignation or contempt or condemnation or judgment. Rather, He met her right where she was. He tended to her deeper needs. He spoke of spiritual matters and He told her how to assuage her thirst with living water.

I just have to smile when I think about my son in his more tender years. When his stomach growled, he’d yell out, “Hungry!” knowing that his mama would take care of him. And when his throat became parched, he’d call out, “Thirsty!”, again, knowing I was there to handle it. And I just have to smile when I think about what God would say to us, His own children, when we do the same today…

Because there are those times when I ache inside… times when I need something, but can’t say what. And it’s then that my starving soul must be crying out, “Hungry!” And His reply?

“I am the bread of life. No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry again…” John 6:35

And for those times when I feel as dry as a bone… times when I am near desperate for revival of my soul but just can’t seem to get there. It’s then that my insides must be screaming, “Thirsty!” And His reply?

If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! John 7:37

God is simply waiting for us to ask… because He is our heavenly father. When we’re hungry, He will feed us. And when we’re thirsty, He will give us drink. And if we open our ears to His word, we will hear Him.

For He says, “Come…”

Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why do you spend money on what is not good, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. Pay attention and come to Me; listen, so that you will live. Isaiah 55:1-3

 

Let them eat cake…

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly…” Micah 6:8

Justice shall go forth…

Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear.

BUT… no one calls out for justice, nor does any plead for truth. For they work iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. The way of peace, they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways. Therefore, justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us. We look for light, but there is darkness! For brightness, but there is none… for salvation is far from us. For in transgressing and lying against the LORD… speaking oppression and revolt and uttering from the heart words of falsehood… justice is turned back! Righteousness stands afar off for truth is fallen in the street and equity cannot enter, so truth fails.

The LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice. He saw there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor…

Yes, He wondered that there was no intercessor. (condensed from Isaiah 59)

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” and You will not save. Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For there is strife and contention and the law is powerless. Justice never goes forth! Why, O LORD, why do you look on those who deal treacherously and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours those more righteous than he?

Yes, O LORD, why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble?

And so, I will stand my watch. I will wait to see what He will say to me. This is the LORD’s reply:

Woe to him who increases what is not his. Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house that he may set his nest on high that he may be delivered from the power of disaster. Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establishes a city by iniquity. (condensed from the book of Habakkuk) And so, I have to ask myself, is this what I’ve done? Have I turned a blind eye to what’s happening around me, so that I could increase my own? Have I coveted evil in that I’ve worked to deliver me and my own from disaster and strife, regardless of who may perish at my own gain? And have I built up my own city through bloodshed… is my very own house built upon blood because I ignore the wars and the ravaging of human beings that take place every day… just not here… where I can see it. Is this what I’ve done?

And so, I pray to God. I ask Him to revive me… the work of His hands… in the midst of the days. For behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. Justice shall go forth…

poor-child

A big question today is, “Why?” If God is so loving, then why is His hand not saving those who are perishing in the world? And if God is just (and He is), then why does injustice seem to escalate? Why, oh why, are there starving, and homeless, and diseased, and addicted, and enslaved, and exploited, and murdered? Why do people have to suffer and die for what seems senseless? How is it that I have food overflowing, and there are kids who go home to empty pantries? Why would a loving God allow all this? Life just seems so unfair… and so we cry out to Him in prayer. We cling to Him and ask these tough questions. We cry out “Violence!” and at times feel helpless. And honestly, we sometimes feel like God’s hand is shortened that it cannot save… and that His ear is heavy, that it cannot hear. Because nothing seems to change.

But you see… God wonders that there is no intercessor. See, He’s waiting for that one who will be moved from complacent, yet uncomfortable, walls. He’s waiting for that one who is willing to wake up to His call of compassion. He’s waiting for us… His people who call themselves Christians… to do just what Jesus did. Because His people make up the body of Christ today. And as the body of Christ, we are His hands. May we not be shortened that we cannot save. We are His ears. May we not be heavy, that we cannot hear. We are the body of Christ, and as such, we need to do what Jesus did. And so, WWJD? What would Jesus do if He were still here today?

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” 1 John 1:6

Jesus would preach the gospel to the poor and heal the brokenhearted. He would preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. He would set at liberty those who were oppressed and held captive. And all the while, he would meet real needs in real ways. Because when He walked the earth so long ago, He was moved by what He saw. When He saw a great multitude, He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. (Matthew 14:14) And when He saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” (Luke 7:13). And when Jesus called His disciples to Him, He said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint away on the way.” (Matthew 15:32) Jesus had compassion… do we?

There’s a quotation attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette, although there is no evidence to support that she ever said it. However, I think we’ve all heard the expression, “Let them eat cake.” Supposedly the Queen voiced this phrase when she was made aware that the people were suffering because of bread shortages. “Let them eat cake,” acquired great symbolic importance in later histories when people wanted to demonstrate the obliviousness and selfishness of upper-classes at that time (Wikipedia).  At any rate, it strikes a chord here. We can pray and plead with God, “Let them eat cake…” Or, we can be moved to action. Our hearts can start beating as one with His heart, and we can be moved to not only pray that they have cake, but that we also be so moved as to go out and give them the cake. See, He gave us arms and hands. We are His arms and hands… may God revive our hearts and open our eyes to see the need that surrounds us, so that we will use what He gave us. May we be what He created us to be… His limbs.

God is waiting for an intercessor today. Right now. Perhaps God is waiting for you and me.

May His justice go forth…