Friday, November 29, 2013

The Damage of an Inside Job

I love watching Breach, whether on DVD or when cable networks have the guts and cojones to broadcast it late at night.  It deals with espionage and government secrets. However, the underlying thematic undercurrents deal with personal betrayal and undermining the person more than the system.  

It is a lot like the Gospels and the rest of the Scriptures

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.  - Matthew 26:15

Judas was a disciple of Jesus.  We tend to see his betrayal without getting a glimpse of his beginnings.  We hardly ever hear or read about him as a zealot or how he was the one who was not a Galilean disciple.  Yet, we are certain to remember that he betrayed the Master for thirty pieces of silver, that he kissed the Lord as a sign to the Lord's captors and that he hung himself some time afterwards.

We rarely get an authentic, biblical view of Judas because his tragic betrayal stands out beyond anything else he could have ever done.

But Judas was a follower of Jesus.  In fact, Judas was one of the Twelve.  Judas did not choose to walk away when Jesus shared one of His so-called hard sayings (John 6:66).  The truth of the matter was that Judas was trusted among the disciples because he handled the treasury of funds for the ministry.  We know that Jesus said that one of the Twelve was a devil, but he never tossed Judas out nor called him on his eventual betrayal of Him.  

But Satan entered into Judas' heart.

For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.- Psalm 55:12-13

Judas was subject to many of the troubling things that we all experience while serving beside great leaders.  Wasn't Benedict Arnold a trusted leader serving with General George Washington for the Colonies?  Wasn't Brutus a comrade and friend of Julius Caesar? Oftentimes, it is the inside job's betrayal, deceit and disloyalty that damage us more than the act itself.

We come to realize that Judas' betrayal of Jesus was part of the prophecy.  Judas was used as part of the plan for salvation; no betrayal = no conviction, no cross.  Judas was a necessary evil for the good to come about for us all.

Think about it.  If all of that can occur with someone who walked with Jesus for three years, what is going to happen in your in-house small group or local ecumenical association? Jesus' ministry was not immune to the treachery of a traitor or the deception of a devil, so you surely cannot expect the Lord will not allow you to suffer in a similar fashion.  He knows that you can recover from the damage.

If you ever find it hard to believe that you can live on after having been bruised and battered by betrayal, read Isaiah 53 and Psalm 55 then read Jesus' words to His disciples upon His resurrection.  His words comfort and heal.  We see the betrayed innocence emerging as beautifully clothed in holiness.  Look at Jesus.  After all, He lives on as the result of the after effects an inside job.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Best You Have to Offer

And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord.
And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the Lord, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.
- 1 Kings 8:62-63 (KJV)

What ever you have to offer the Lord, let it be your best.  Give Him the best that you have to give.  Let Him bless you like you have never been blessed before based on your willingness to give Him of your best, not just what you decided to part with.

And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.  On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
- 1 Kings 8:65-66
The king led the people in offerings and prayer.  Then, after all of that was done, he led them in celebration for an extended period of time.  You see, when you offer God your best, you can enter into His rest.