Wednesday, April 1, 2009

SOAP: Grace, Mercy, and Justice

SOAP {Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer}:
1-3 Moses climbed from the Plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the peak of Pisgah facing Jericho. God showed him all the land from Gilead to Dan, all Naphtali, Ephraim, and Manasseh; all Judah reaching to the Mediterranean Sea; the Negev and the plains which encircle Jericho, City of Palms, as far south as Zoar. 4 Then and there God said to him, "This is the land I promised to your ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with the words 'I will give it to your descendants.' I've let you see it with your own eyes. There it is. But you're not going to go in." 5-6 Moses died there in the land of Moab, Moses the servant of God, just as God said. God buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth Peor. No one knows his burial site to this very day. 7-8 Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eyesight was sharp; he still walked with a spring in his step. The People of Israel wept for Moses in the Plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses came to an end. 9 Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. The People of Israel listened obediently to him and did the same as when God had commanded Moses. 10-12 No prophet has risen since in Israel like Moses, whom God knew face-to-face. Never since has there been anything like the signs and miracle-wonders that God sent him to do in Egypt, to Pharaoh, to all his servants, and to all his land—nothing to compare with that all-powerful hand of his and all the great and terrible things Moses did as every eye in Israel watched. Deuteronomy 34 [MSG]

God's justice and grace know no limits.

He was arguably the most Godly man in the history of Creation. Born of a pauper and raised by a princess, Moses was used by God to confront Pharoah when all of Israel was held slave to the Egyptians. God did many great and wondrous things through Moses. Moses -- a soft-spoken, ill-prepared stutterer -- was used by God to lead His chosen people out of Egypt into the Promised Land. He was chosen by God to present His Ten Commandments to the people. He was appointed by God to preside as judge over Israel, solving disputes and ensuring that the order was kept. God knew Moses face to face. God appeared to Moses in many forms -- as a cloud over the Tent of Meeting, as the famed Burning Bush -- He even allowed Moses to see Him pass by, though Moses was not permitted to look upon the face of God as the sight would have killed him. But Moses, like many of us, was not a perfect man, and the country he led was imperfect as well. As Israel repeatedly rebelled against God, even Moses at one point questioned God. It was a moment of lost faith that cost Moses his chance to enter the Promised Land. Through Moses, God led Israel to the Promised Land, but he denied Moses the privelege of actually entering the city. God took Moses to a high hill and allowed him to look into the Promised Land -- to see what he was missing. An act of justice? Or grace? I say both. God took Moses to the very gates of the Promised Land, but refused to let him enter, paying the price for his moment of lost faith. Justice, certainly. But at the same time, God had the grace to allow Moses a peek at the great city, to see that His chosen people had actually reached the land of their inheritance. He showed Moses high on that hill that He was a God of His Word, and that Israel would receive her Promised Land. Unmatchable grace. Then Moses died and was buried by God.

Father, You have always shown grace and mercy greater than I deserve, just as you did for Moses. I can't imagine how a sinner like I can be worthy of the kind of love and grace You once showed to one so great as Moses. Thank You, Lord, for not making me earn your grace.

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