Fully Known and Fully Loved

FULLY KNOWN and FULLY LOVED

Psalm 103:14 – “For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”

Someone once said that one of our great hopes in life is unattainable.  What were they talking about? They were talking about the hope that is within us that someone will love us completely and know us completely.  That person went on to say that that is simply unattainable, because if someone knows everything about us they really aren’t going to love us completely.  Quite a pick me up isn’t it?  Very encouraging words, yet such is the attitude of the world.  A world that is quick to find fault and outrage with other people.  That of course leads to that pronouncement, if a person really knows you then that person isn’t really going to love you.

We certainly can see that rationale behind the statement can’t we? After all we all have some things that we don’t want other people to know about us.  We all have some things that we attempt to hide and to cover up.  Why? Because we don’t want people to know about them, we don’t want to embarass ourselves.   Even beyond that however we hide things and try to cover up things even from those people that we are closest too.  Why? Because we don’t want them to quit loving us.  We are afraid those words are really true – if a person fully knows you they won’t fully love you.  

The Psalmist however makes a shocking announcement, God does fully know us.  For he knows our “frame”.  He knows our make up, He knows everything about us, that is what the psalmist is saying.  Is that a frightening thought? Of course it is.  God knows us even better than we know ourselves, and He remembers that we are dust.  What is the meaning of that? It’s a humbling statement isn’t it? We are dust.  So what does the Psalmist mean? He means that God knows everything about us, our frame, our make up.  He knows our humility and He knows that we really are nothing but dust.  But here is the kicker, here is the good news, He really does love us anyway.

If one of our hopes and in fact a driving force in our lives is to be completely known and completely loved (and I think it is), then we find that hope fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ.  God, come in the flesh.  He knows us, completely and loves us completely.  In fact He loved us enough to die for us and to die in our place.  Let that sink in a minute: God knows all of your faults and your failures and yet He still loves you.  Your hope is fulfilled.  But it goes beyond that, He not only loves you, but He deems you so valuable that He died on the cross to redeem you. To God be the glory!

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Compassion in the Difficulties

COMPASSION in the DIFFICULTIES

Psalm 103:13 -“As a Father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.”

We had a meeting at school today about our middle son and some of the issues that He is facing with his autism.  It was a good meeting but in a lot of ways a difficult meeting.  Good, because I know that he is surrounded by people that care about him and good because he is making a tremendous amount of progress.  Difficult because of the realization that he is struggling in some areas.   

He is very bright and caring in many areas but he struggles socially.  At home he communicates well but at home he knows what to expect.  When he is with different people in different situations he doesn’t know what to expect, so he shuts down and communicates very little.  It has taken him over a year to really begin to communicate with his speech therapist. Communication can be very uncomfortable for him. 

I listened as they talked about his IEP (individual education plan), and I was thankful for these people who were giving so much to help him.  We talked about all he had been through, with the seizures, and the absence seizures (thankfully these both appear too have stopped).  And as I sat and listened, I experienced almost the entire gamut of emotions, from sadness to anxiety to joy to thanksgiving to everything in between. Then the realization hit me how I wish I could take this from him, I wish it could be me in his place.  

Now let me confess, I heard my mom say to me one time when I was sick, “if I could take it from you and me be sick instead of you, I would,” and I thought she was crazy. Today, I fully understand what she said and that she really did mean what she said.  I would do the same thing, most parents would.  

Thankfully our heavenly Father did.  He was willing to take our place.  Jesus was really willing to take the punishment for sin in our place.  When  He looks at us as His children He doesn’t say “if I could I would take it in your place,” instead He says “because I can I will take it in your place”. And He takes our sins upon Himself and takes the punishment and pays the price. ” 

That is love is it not? Love expressed this way, “As a Father has compassion on His children, so the Lord has compassion on those that fear Him”. Jesus stood in our place.  As one person said, “Christianity can be summed up this way, in my place condemned He stood”. Because of that I can be forgiven, I can be a child of God.  Because of that I can have the hope of the Kingdom of heaven, a place where I can talk to Jesus face to face, a place where I will really be able to talk to my son, and a place where he and I can talk to Jesus together because then we will truly be home.

Distance

Psalm 103:12- “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Are we there yet? This is of course the familiar refrain that parents have heard for years and years as they take trips and vacations with their children.  Sometimes it’s a question that you might even hear driving around town, but mainly it is reserved for trips  and generally it is asked every 5 miles or so.  When the miles roll on and the distance traveled becomes greater the question gets even more frequent.  Distance is important.

When we take trips we wish that we could get there quickly, that our home and the place that we are traveling to were close together.  Sometimes however it seems that they are an eternity apart.  The psalms here in Psalm 103 does make reference to places that are an eternity a part, and those 2 places are us and our sins.  Distance matters and God in His grace takes our sins and throws them as far as the east is from the west away from us.  They are an eternity a part.  In other words we are forgiven, and God Almighty no longer holds our sins against us.  In fact He casts them away from us, so that He no longer views us as sinners.  He sees us as redeemed, as being the righteousness of God.

How is that possible? Through the blood of Jesus.  Through His work on the cross.  That’s why the cross and the empty tomb are to be celebrated everyday not just at Easter.  He has declared us to be righteous, because He has removed our sins from us, as far as the east is from the west.  In other words we will never feel the effects of judgement for those sins because the east and the west will never meet.  

God is an amazing God.  His grace is immeasurable  and indescribable but it makes all the difference in the world.  The grace of God saves us from the punishment of sin, from the power of sin, in that He is changing us and transforming us daily.  And one day His grace will deliver us even from the very presence of sin.  To God be the glory!

IMMEASURABLE 

Psalm 103:11- “For as high as the heavens  are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear His.”

Paul prays for those early Christians that they would “know the height and the width and the depth of the Love  of God, a love which surpasses knowledge”. How can we know something that is unknowable? What Paul is actually praying for that church is that they would know God’s love but in reality it is a love so great that you will never fully comprehend all of it.  It is a love inexhaustible.

It is also a love that is immeasurable. The psalmist says “for as high as the heavens are above the early so great is God’s faithful love.  That statement begs a question, and the question is this how high above the earth are the heavens? And the answer is it is immeasurable.  God loves you with a love that can’t be measured.  It is that great and that amazing.

We can measure a lot of things.  In fact we can measure most things but God’s love is so great it is immeasurable.  It is that amazing.  We see it when He leads His people out of slavery.  Certainly we get a glimpse of it in Noah’s building of the ark.  We perceive some of it as we read of Jesus’ healing, or of His encounter with the woman at the well.  We can look to it in all of those areas but the greatest glimpse we see of it is on the cross.  “Greater love has no one than this, than they lay down their life for their friends.”. God’s immeasurable love however is greater than even that because He laid down His life for us while we were still His enemies.  That is why God’s love is immeasurable.  We can’t even comprehend that and yet God did it for us on the cross.  No wonder the writer of the song says ,”amazing love how can it be that You, My King would die for me”. I can’t imagine it, I can’t comprehend it, I certainly can’t measure it, but I am thankful I can accept it, bask in it, and enjoy our daily.” To God be the glory!

Shocking!

Psalm 103:10 -“He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve, or repaid us according to our offenses.”

We sing about the marvelous grace of our loving Lord and about His amazing grace that has saved a wretch like me, but I think it is time that we added another adjective to the word grace, and that adjective is shocking.  Yes God’s grace is amazing, yes it is marvelous, yes it is greater than all our sins, but His grace is also shocking.  Shocking in that He is a God of forgiveneness and love. 

He would be right and just and fair to condemn us and to make us pay for our own sins.  After all we have “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  We owed a debt that we could not pay.  So what God does in response to that is shocking.  He sends His one and only Son to pay that debt for us.  This is not just any debt either, it is a debt of sin, and the wages of sin is death.  We cannot pay for our sins and live, death is required.  So Jesus willingly says, “I will die in their place. I will pay their debt.  I will bear the wrath so that they don’t have too.”

That is beautiful, but it is shocking.  Think of it this way, what if you were condemned to die and someone stepped in and took your place.  Or what if you were 10 million dollars in debt and someone paid the price for you.  Or what if wrath was going to fall on you and someone said let it fall on me instead.  That, and even more, is what Jesus has done for us.  That is amazing grace, marvelous grace, grace that is greater than our sin, and it is shocking grace as well.  Shocking to know that God loves me (and you) that much.  

So much that He doesn’t deal with us as our sins deserve.  Make no mistake about it He is in control and He has the right to punish sin, but thankfully He doesn’t deal with us according to what our sins deserve.  He still deals with sin, and He still punishes sin, He has too.  God is holy and in His holiness He hates sin, but instead of dealing with us as our sins deserve, our sins are laid on Jesus and His punishment and wrath are poured out on Him.  

He doesn’t repay us according to our offenses, instead He forgives us of our sins and then covers us with the righteousness of Christ.  Paul sums it up nicely in 2 Corinthians 5:21 when he says, “He made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God takes away our sin, and lays it on Jesus.  And then God takes Jesus’ righteousness and puts it on us.  It is the most unfair trade in human history, and it was something only God Himself could dream up.  Now sin is punished AND we are forgiven and free.  To God be the glory!