Monday, September 12, 2011

Last Man Standing

Grape vines

"Woe is me! For I have become as when the summer fruit has been gathered,
as when the grapes have been gleaned:  there is no cluster to eat,
no first-ripe fig that my soul desires.  The godly has perished 
from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind;"
Micah 7:1-2a 

As I look back at 9/11/2001 and numerous other events in our recent history, sometimes I find myself in the same state of pity as the prophet Micah.  I feel somewhat like the last man standing.  His judgment, without doubt, will come down and come down hard on those who have committed such atrocities.  He is not blind.

And then I look at my own life and recognize that I, too, am in need of God's mercy.   
What caused the incidents of 9/11?  
Black, ugly sin. 
And what causes me pain in my own life?
Black, ugly sin.

I, too, can be an empty cluster of grapes, useless and without effectiveness.  That is what had happened to Israel during the time of the prophet.  They had forsaken their God, joined the masses who worshiped vain idols, and become like the fig tree that was past bearing figs. 

In the midst of their sinful desertion of the God of their salvation, the prophet makes this wonderful statement:

"Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over 
transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in steadfast love."
Micah 7:18

What brings me great rejoicing is that God, in His steadfast love, has already given me mercy through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  My sin has been cast into the depths of the sea.  He has pardoned my iniquity and passed over my transgressions.  Therefore, without guilt I may serve Him as a fruitful vine.  I can say with the prophet, 

"But as for me, I will look to the Lord;  I will wait 
for the God of my salvation; 
my God will hear me." 
Micah 7:7 

Grape tendrils clinging to the wire provided by the grower

The grower of grapes places support wires for the tendrils of the grape vines to grasp onto so that they don't fall.  If you are laboring under a load of sin, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have the privilege of looking to the Lord, the God of your salvation.  Confess and forsake; He will hear you.  If you do not know Him, Jesus Christ is the answer.  He is the means to your salvation.  If you cry out to Him in genuine repentance, He will hear you.

As we attend to our duties this week, let's be fruitful vines and productive fruit for our Lord. 

Still standing on often wobbly feet,