For who is God, but the LORD?

   And ho is a rock, except our God—

the God who equipped me with strength

   and made my way blameless.

Psalm 18: 31, 32

David may have been able to claim to be blameless, but I certainly can not. There are so many misdeeds and mis adventures woven into the tapestry of my life that the story it tells is ragged and rough to the point of near ruin. From what I know about David’s life, he was by no means saintly in his conduct of life, either. The point is that we humans are a troubled and a troublesome bunch of creatures. We give God fits by the ways that we ignore His will, set aside His way of conducting life, and act in direct opposition to His Word. Still, the Lord is engaged with us, and He is involved in our lives, even in the broken and chaotic aspects of them. Even David, living so many years before Jesus, was aware of God’s desire to save us from the totality of death that separation from God brings about, for none of the claims that King David makes here are true if not for the work of the Lord in his life and upon the nature of his journey through it.

For us, Christ has continued this divine work of eternity, and He has taken it to the place where God’s plan of redemption and restoration is completely developed and is set fully into motion. We are blameless before the Father when we are in Christ, for it is His blood that was shed as the requisite sacrifice for the forgiveness of all of our sinfulness. Jesus gave all that was required by God in order to set people free from the penalty of death that we so fully deserve, and all that He gave is more than sufficient to set us in right and holy standing before God. This is how our ways have been made blameless. In knowing Christ, we are known by God to be His people, and His people are granted the gift of life now and throughout all of time to come. The reality of this gift should be life changing for us as we are removed from the rule and the authority of this world and its death-bound culture of deception, lies, and the destruction of all that is good, pure, and just.

In Christ, we are granted strength with purpose as our feet are given a place to stand upon the solid rock of God’s Word with truth as its main component and love as the glue that holds all of life together. This strength that the God grants to His people is intended to be used in service to the Lord as we seek to care for the world that He has placed us within and the people that He has put us in contact with. As we do these things, we will misstep and even think and act in ways that are unworthy of our calling as God’s people. However, we are now blameless in God’s eyes in Christ; so, we are set free from the need to remain guilty and to be defeated by these times of wandering away from God’s path. Christ accepts our repentance for what we have thought, said, and done that is contrary to His will, and He provides correction and guidance for us to continue on in the journey that He has set out for us. This is where we are called upon by Christ to put to use the various forms of strength that He has given to us. Here, in the conduct of life, we can stand unafraid and confident upon the rock that is God’s Word as Christ’s gift of strength is poured out into the world in the form of love, grace, mercy, justice, and peacemaking.   

The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, “The LORD is There.”

Ezekiel 48: 35

 

Ezekiel makes this statement at the end of eight chapters of description of the new temple in Jerusalem and of the way that temple life is to be conducted in that center of a redeemed kingdom. Somehow, I think that God was not nearly as concerned about the five miles plus of the circumference as He was about the second half of this final prophetic utterance. This is what most Christians say that we desire today. We desire to live in a redeemed city, which is within a reformed nation, which is situated in a world turned toward God. The general climate around us makes it clear that these ideas and wishes are more fantasy than reality, and this seems to be true regardless of where on earth we live. Our world has abandoned God as its center, and it seems to have lost its way back to Him in this process of deeming the Lord to be irrelevant and unnecessary.

 

So, if dwelling in a place where this visionary dream is true is my own desire, what does that mean for me? It would seem that it requires me to stop living as I have always done it. By that I mean in the center of comfort and personal safety. There is little about the work of redemption that is easy or that brings about comfort, for it is the work of Christ in our world. Engaging in this process with its seemingly endless struggles and on-going animosities is not for the faint of heart. It requires courage, wisdom, and commitment at levels that I do not possess myself. The strength of character and the resources that I need to follow the Lord’s redemptive path into the world are found only through my submission to Christ and in the relationship with Him that results from that surrender to Him.

 

If my daily travels are to be along paths that are named in honor of Christ, then I need to recognize the fact that all of the terrain and territory of this earth are, in fact, His already. Every step that I take during each hour of my life falls upon the Lord’s holy ground. That attitude of reverence brings about a realization that all that I do is a part of being a follower of Christ, and every interaction that I engage is a moment when Christ is there. Thus, I do have opportunity upon opportunity to join my Lord in His work of redemption in this world where He has placed me. The Lord is truly there in this place, and my journey here is a small part of His grand and glorious plan for redemption of this world.