Saturday, July 16, 2016
Roads of Grace and Mercy - 16 July 2016, Anno Domini
16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jer 6:16)
The “Home of the Brave and Land of the Free” has come under dire spiritual and wanton depravity. Our men suddenly desire to be women (against the law of Nature and of Nature’s God) and our women want to be men. Men desire to marry men, and women, women! Our government is ruled by both idiots (a generous term) and/or traitors lacking all moral compass. Our children are victims of drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and indoctrination in our public schools instead of liberal educations. Those things that God has labelled as abominable sin (bad) has been labelled ‘good;’ and those things which God commends (good) is now termed to be ‘evil.’ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20) Liberty and freedom lie mortally wounded at the door while totalitarian and alien ideologies have gained the prominence. How did America get into this rut of depravity, and how shall we reverse our ill-winded fortune?
In summary, we have taken the wrong path. We have refused to heed the counsel of the prophet Isaiah: Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Not only have we refused to walk in the righteous path of our Founding Fathers, but have departed with evil intent from that path. We have proudly proclaimed, “We will not walk therein.”
There are many good roads upon which we may travel that lead us closer to God. No matter at what point we find ourselves spiritually or geographically, there is a straight Road that leads to God from that point. But there is also a corresponding number of worldly roads that lead away from the God of our Fathers and the place of safety and security. Those are bounded by every imaginable sin and evil – murder of innocent babies, homosexuality, promiscuity, drunkenness, drug abuse, sexual depravity of unimaginable magnitude, and that kind of total immorality and ungodliness that guides the minds and hearts of the butchers of ISIS.
There is no need to point out the wrong roads to those who seek after God, for they do not desire them. So let us examine some of those Roads of Righteousness (there are many) that lead the disciple ever closer to God and His righteousness. The hunger in the heart of the sinner compels him, at the prior behest of the Holy Ghost, to seek out the salvation and righteousness made available through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I will say from the first there are not many WAYS to God; there is only One Way – that is Jesus Christ; but there are many roads that lead to that Way depending on the present state of the seeking sinner. Here are SOME of the Roads that lead the pilgrim of Christ ever closer to His loving Bosom.
The Road to Damascus – The Road of Revelation
We all have traveled that same road of malicious do “ubts and denial of the apostle Paul (Saul): 1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (Acts 9:1-4) We are quick to judge without evidence, and act without authority. The blinding Light of Christ prevailed over Paul for three days. Christ must often blind us to the attractions of the world, for a time, so that the Holy Ghost may teach us not only the right way, but the fact that we have traveled the wrong way. Paul became one of the greatest of the Apostles.
The Road to Emmaus – the Road of Doubt and Sorrow
You came with unabashed faith and confidence to Christ at a moment of the dawning of your soul. There was no question of His offer of Salvation. But, by and by, moments of grave doubt were engendered by the challenges and difficulties of life. Your faith wavered as your doubts ruled over faith. You may have complained to the powers of Heaven for your predicament. You may have felt that same abandonment and alienation of our Lord at Calvary: My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? But Christ never gave in to those feelings of abandonment. Though His flesh yearned for the fellowship of His Father, His soul knew that God was working out the crucial matter of all time and eternity. And He is doing that for us as well.
The Jericho Road –the Road of Christian Service in Mercy and Compassion
There are those, such as the priest and Levite in the account of the Good Samaritan who practice religion very much – but not enough. Their religion is superficial and affected. Both the priest and the Levite refused mercy to the Jew who was beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho. They may have done so even out of religious concerns involving the maintenance of their washing at the Temple. But the Samaritan who was hated by the Jews, suffered the man his compassion, his time, his interest, his wealth, and his own ride to an inn. He showed compassion. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. (Luke 10:33-35) True religion compels us to the same.
The Road to Bethlehem – walked by lowly Shepherds and Royal Wise Men
We all know the magical and thrilling account of the first Christmas from the Gospels of St. Luke (2:1-20) and St. Matthew 2. We learn that the night was one of pristine beauty and peace. It was the kind of moment that we took our first step of faith, just as the shepherds and Wise Men, in going to see this thing which has come to past! Whether near to home as a child raised by Godly parents, or from a great distance over desert sands and wilderness areas such as men who never before knew God, the Road to Bethlehem is that which brings us to see the Face of Jesus – even for the first time – a meeting that will change us forever!
The Road to Gethsemane – the Road of Trust and Prayerful of Intercessions
Our most heartfelt prayers are private and personal prayers. On the most sorrowful and climactic moment of His earthly ministry, our Lord went into Gethsemane to pray alone. 39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:39-44) Though His virtue and modesty at being falsely accused, beaten, publicly stripped naked, and displayed for all to see on a crude wooden cross repulsed His righteous spirit, His prayer invoked, not His own will, but that of His Father. In our own most desperate times, our misery and want calls out only for our own wills to be done often with grave neglect of petition of the Father’s Will.
It is a thing of miraculous and glorious divine strength that our Lord’s prayer included only a single phrase on His own behalf Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42) But the greater amazement is the loving and heartfelt prayer that He offered on the behalf of His disciples – and you and me. Ten words He used to express His own desires, but in His prayer (St. John 17:1-26), our Lord offered an all-encompassing prayer of more than 600 power-filled words for His elect. Even at a moment of passion and suffering, His mind was fixed, in love, upon you and me.
The Narrow Road – the daily Road of Righteousness of the Saints (the Road Less Traveled)
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matt 7:13-14) This is the Road which we travel day by day in faith and hope of our coming LORD. Though this Way may be punctuated by mountain-top experiences of exhilaration, it traverses great valleys and shadows which may test our faith. But we know the destination, and we know the Way: And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. (John 14:4) Unless we remain doubting Thomases, we will be certain of the Destination and the Way which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Which Road do you travel? As our Lord says: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.
There are many additional Roads of Righteousness that you will discover by a persevering study of God’s Word. May you discover many more than we have discussed herein!