August 27, 2020
1 Peter 1:17-20
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.  For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
New International Version (NIV)
                 “Need to get away?”  We can be excused for feeling a little stir-crazy these days.  Honestly, we are used to being able to go where we want to go, when we want to go there.  I want to go and see my father in Colorado, but the timing has not been good.  So I wait and hope.

                The Coronavirus is not the first displacement of God’s people.  Exile and fleeing to safety emerge again and again in our reading of the Old Testament.  In the New Testament, Peter writes to the elect, chosen by God who are also “scattered exiles.”  Lest they forget God’s love, they were chosen in spite of being foreigners by the Father through the work of the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ.  So what were they supposed to do while in exile?  What do we do when we can’t go where we want to go?  We live with reverent fear.  We do not primarily fear illness.  But we do live in holy fear in the presence of a holy Father. 

                Peter rests his counsel to the exiles in the character of God himself.  Difficult times so often reveal what we believe about God.  It turns out he is not a Genie who says, “Your wish is my command.”  Peter reminds us that God is our Father.  Did your earthly father ever follow you in a car when you were driving?  How did it affect the way you drove?  Our Father is also an impartial judge.  So we live with the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.  Best of all in God the Son, we have a Redeemer.  We were purchased not with perishable silver and gold.  This means for believers the bottom line is never the bottom line.  People commonly make their decisions based on the best economics for themselves.  But Paul reminds us our retirement accounts are temporary and perishable.   Jesus redeemed us from the “empty way of life” handed down to us.

                 We were purchased with the precious blood of Christ, the spotless Lamb.   My college classmate Bruce Prindle saw a father carry his bleeding son into an ER after a shooting accident.  The son died and someone said to the dad, “Let’s get this blood off of you.”  The grieving dad said through tears, “No.  This blood is all I have left of my son.”  How precious was Jesus’ blood to his Father?  How precious is it too us?  Is it worth more than silver and gold to us?  Our Redeemer enables us to trust the God who raised him from the dead. 

                The good news is our God travels.  We need to get away from sin, but we do not need to get away from God.  God is inescapable.  I read an article today that said our new songs do not offer worship of the Trinity.  In the words of the Doxology, we still “praise God from whom all blessings flow.”  But we so rarely “praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”  In my office I have a beautiful frame with these words to remind me to become a living doxology of praise to the Trinity.  Our Pastor Emeritus, Lester Collins loved a song that I love as well.  Remember Keith Green sang, “There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son.  Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.  Thank you O my Father for giving us your Son and leaving your Spirit until the work on earth is done.”

                In answer to the question in Psalm 137, we really can sing the Lord’s songs in the strange land of exile.  God goes before and behind and stays close by our side.  He is always near.  He is always good.  Whatever you do, do not run from God.  Run to him.  Even when we sin, especially when we sin, God is our only hope.  Run to him now.
Pray with me:         
Father, Son and Spirit, in you we live and move and have our being.  We come to you because we have nowhere else to go.  Come to us in our exile.  Come to us in our aloneness.  Come to us in our frustration with the endless waiting for life to return to some semblance of what we remember.  Give us patience to trust you even when life does not make sense.  As we prepare to return to our buildings, help us to first to return to you, to run to you today.  Thank you for loving the prodigals.  Allow us to “come to” ourselves, so that we can come to you and find ourselves at home.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:27-28
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 

Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

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