Saturday, July 19, 2014

Brokering Peace

When there is a battle going on, one of the alternatives is to broker a peace deal. Sadly, many times those deals don't last because one side isn't happy with the concessions it made. The last deal that Egypt tried to work out between Israel and Hamas didn't last a day. Hamas called it “surrender" for them and they continue to fight.

In Job 22:21, a friend of Job named Eliphaz advised him, "Agree with God and be at peace". (ESV)

Many people I know seem to be trying to make peace with God on their own terms. They like to try to get God to agree with them. "If you will just save my neck, then I promise to..." "If you let me win the lotto, then I will give..." "If you will change my family member, then I will..."

We make deals all day with God, all the while feeling like we need to do a little more to “get right” with Him. There is no peace in that!

There was a young man who came to Jesus and thought he had his deal all sewn up. He was ready to do any good deed to get eternal life.

“Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16b. (Well at least he left half of the deal open for Jesus to add the prerequisite.)

Jesus pointed him to the last five commandments…the ones dealing with how you treat others. The young man knew he could close the deal because he was sure he kept them all. But, for some reason he thought there must be one more thing he had to do to be faultless.

So Jesus gave him that one more thing and the deal for eternal life was hanging, waiting for that handshake to seal the deal. You see, Jesus saw straight into his heart and asked that young man to give up his worship of wealth…

Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”  Matthew 19:21 (ESV)

The young man went away sad, because he was very rich.

When we look at the list of demands—the whole Ten Commandments, not just the last five—we become like the young man, sorrowful, because we can’t seem to reach that requirement of perfection.

The thing with God is that there are no treaties or peace deals to be made with Him. He requires total surrender. And for many, that price is too high to pay.

What if I told you someone had already lived that perfect life? What if I told you that he is willing to trade your life for his? Does that deal seem too good to be true? It really is a free gift; you just have to accept it. There is nothing you have to do, no contract to sign, no extra points you have to earn…there is no “then I will” clause for you to fulfill. It’s all Jesus Christ and what He did. He lived that perfect life and exchanged it for yours on the cross.

Is today the day you make peace with God? I would hope so.

I like to think that later on, that young man “got it”, because there is mention of a “young man” following Jesus in Mark 14:51-52. In the end, he had nothing but a linen covering…and even that was snatched from him. I like to think that young man sold everything and followed Jesus to the end because that was just too sweet a deal to turn down.

“Give in to God, come to terms with him and everything will turn out just fine. Let him tell you what to do; take his words to heart. Come back to God Almighty and he’ll rebuild your life. Clean house of everything evil. Relax your grip on your money and abandon your gold-plated luxury. God Almighty will be your treasure, more wealth than you can imagine."
Job 22:21-25 (MSG)

No comments: