Embracing Grace: Beyond the Pale

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 70

Scripture: Psalm 2; Isaiah 63.

The “Tribute in Light” memorial is in remembrance of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in honor of the citizens who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, N.J., Sept. 11, the five-year anniversary of 9/11. (U.S. Air Force photo/Denise Gould) Public Domain.

Okay, the writer in me simply MUST speak up. Osama bin Laden has been dead less than a week, officially, and already for those who have eyes to see the battle lines have been drawn.

Editorials abound. Internet chatter is up. You can even view “boot leg” videos of his execution and death photos. I did not know there was an execution until stumbling across an article about it on a news website. I thought he was caught in a routine attack and hid behind one of his wives and a son; and they all died.

Though President Obama today officially stated he would not release any death photos, someone else already has. They caught it on video with their cell phone. I do not see the draw in watching a man die over and over again but can understand why viewing it is necessary closure for some, such as relatives of those who were killed in terrorist attacks.

But that is not what I am writing about.

I want to talk about heart issues.

Church folk in America are famous for forming cult followings, and it is founded on idol worship of leaders. Think about it. Our society is geared to sit back and watch the few. One glance at the slant of television shows in favor of voyeurism is all we need for proof. The church is no different. Here, the few in the spotlight become used to such attention and, if their heart is not in the right place, quickly become a shell of what they once were in God’s kingdom, spiritually speaking. They get lifted up in their hearts. Oh, it is real subtle, but it is there, and anyone willing to see knows it.

The crowds following the few become “yes” men. They fawn over everything spoken by the few and attack anyone who dares to voice disagreement.

The church has become politically correct just like the world, calling good evil and evil good.

Take Osama’s death, for instance. Initially, all I saw in Christian circles on the internet was rejoicing. Personally, I felt “blank” when I heard the news, if you know what I mean. It was more of an “oh” reaction. But shortly after the announcement, one or two leaders, who may or may not have had right motives (only God knows the heart), rebuked all the rejoicing, saying this man is most likely in hell but God loves him as much as you or me. Next thing we know, the same idea is being parroted in varying form by everyone who has any sort of platform whatsoever, complete with quotes of godly men from days gone by. And in fairness, some may have had right motives, but the rest? Completely wrong.

Israel rejoiced when David killed Goliath, they did not say “Oh, God loved Goliath and now the poor sop is dead, so we should mourn for his soul.” No. His head was cut off and carried in victory. I can hear it now…

But this is the Old Testament!

Don’t spout about this being the Old Testament, as though everything written in the Old no longer has anything to do with us. The New Covenant bought in Jesus’ blood fulfills, or completes, the Old; it does not do away with it.

Ponder on this…

We rejoice in Jesus’ death because of what His blood bought us, and He is righteous. We don’t today hate the men who committed the execution, because we know it was necessary for a perfect man to die for us to be saved. We rejoice over His death because without it He could not have been resurrected from the grave. So why is it wrong to rejoice over the demise of evil?

Separate the man from the sin.

An interesting scripture regarding Jesus can be found in Isaiah 63. It is a prophetic passage concerning His return for The Bride:

WHO IS this Who comes from Edom, with crimson-stained garments from Bozrah [in Edom]? This One Who is glorious in His apparel, striding triumphantly in the greatness of His might? It is I, [the One] Who speaks in righteousness [proclaiming vindication], mighty to save! Why is Your apparel splashed with red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the peoples there was no one with Me. I trod them in My anger and trampled them in My wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I stained all My raiment. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption [the year of My redeemed] has come. And I looked, but there was no one to help; I was amazed and appalled that there was no one to uphold [truth and right]. So My own arm brought Me victory, and My wrath upheld Me. I trod down the peoples in My anger and made them drink of the cup of My wrath until they were intoxicated, and I spilled their lifeblood upon the earth

Do you think the Bride of Christ will rejoice when Jesus returns covered in the blood of the enemy?

Absolutely.

Will it be wrong to rejoice that others died? No. Do you think God loved the third of the Host of Heaven who fell? Of course He did. He loves all His creation, but God is a just God. That is why He will be sending Satan and the angels who fell with him to burn in the abyss for all eternity. Talk about tough love. God even laughs about it.

He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them.²

We followers of Christ in America are quick to be religious for the sake of appearing holy. But do you think God is pleased when we judge those who rejoice at evil’s demise? I don’t.

This is beyond the pale.

Read: Psalm 2; Isaiah 63. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, teach me what it truly means to walk humbly with You, so that I will be found IN You wholly. For Jesus’ sake, and the kingdom’s, amen.

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¹Isaiah 63:1-7. Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
²Psalm 2:4. Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise
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