Previously posted on facebook in January 2010.
I've been watching Joyce Meyer's Enjoying Everyday Life (thank you Candy for turning me on to it). And I have been enjoying her practical, no nonsense, tell it like it is, take the Word for what it is, straight-forward, speaking the truth in love approach. Today I was so struck by this passage out of Isaiah that she read from. Sometimes we know scriptures, or have them committed to memory, but if we read the scripture either prior to or after it, we can have a total shifting in our thinking. My eyes were opened to something I had never seen before.
Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried away our sorrows and pains, yet we ignorantly considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God as if with leprosy. But He was wounded for OUR transgressions, He was bruised for OUR guilt and iniquities; the chastisement (needful to obtain) peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him, we are healed and made whole.
I never really read the scripture preceeding....He was wounded for our transgressions...etc. I always just assumed it meant He did it for me, which He did. But I was ignorant of the fact that it was my sin that drove Him to the cross. I'm just as guilty as those who stood there and mocked Him or deserted Him on the day of His crucifixtion. And when I had this revelation today, I internally gave a sigh of relief. That might sound funny but it's nice to be reminded that I'm on a level playing field with all other people in the world past, present, or future. All have sinned and fallen short.
Then I was struck by the following passage.
All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, yet when He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth....
How fair is it that this perfect one suffered on my account? Because of my selfishness. Because of my choosing to be wise in my own eyes and go my own way. And He chose not to defend Himself, even when He had done no wrong. He humbled Himself for me. I was on His mind when He was on the cross. I was burning on His heart.
How many times have I been tempted (and/or tempted and sucuumbed) to defend myself in situations that seem unjust to me? There is a time and place for the truth to be spoken in love. However, God has me in a season where He is teaching me to wait. Teaching me to depend on Him. Teaching me that shutting my mouth and turning into Him with everything I have in me yields the best fruit.
Sometimes the battle is simply the Lord's. Sometimes He wants to be my defender. Vengeance is His after all. And when things seem unfair and I simply don't feel that justice is being served, I will remember that Jesus opened not His mouth. He humbled Himself when He had every right to defend Himself. He offered mercy and turned the other cheek. I will consider Him who suffered.