A Devotion for 29 January 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.
What hath God wrought!
How does a wife get the husband off the couch and away from TV news in an expeditious manner? By exclaiming “Company is coming!” At least that has always worked with me since I like to gather many books around my easy chair, many opened lying flat upon the floor. It would not impress the most careless of housekeepers. I would immediately arise, pick up the books, take them into a back room and place them face open about the floor. I would also gather up house slippers and any other bits of informal attire scattered about the premises. We learn to hide our unkempt laundry very well when company is coming, don’t we? Don’t deny it – every person reading this text has had the same experience. It is like a surprise Saturday morning inspection in the military. But the inspecting officer knows from many past inspections where to look to find the hidden contraband a soldier is forbidden to have in a training camp. So does the Lord our God.
Cain believed he could explain away what murderous act he had committed against his brother. He had buried the body for we are told the blood of Abel cried unto God “from the ground.” There can be no hidden sins or thoughts of the heart. God does not observe the outer man, but peers deep into the heart. ““But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Nothing is hidden from the eyes of the Lord. There is a hefty price to pay in attempting to hide our sins from the Lord just as Cain paid and even King David: “9For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
It is the human condition to believe that we have escaped retribution as long as no one else knows of our misdeeds, but someone else DOES know of them! Even many devout Christians will attempt to justify certain sins by twisting and contorting the Word of God. They will make every manner of excuse as to why they remain, for example, in churches whose teaching directly contravenes the Word of God. After all, their ancestors are buried in the church cemetery. Would it not be a sin to abandon those over some doctrinal dispute? It would be a sin to remain in such a church and allow your offerings and labors to contribute to an institutionalized apostacy. “60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:60 and see also “17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the LORD, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 2 Corinthians 6:17 – not much wiggle room there.
God does not hide His blessings or condemnations from us. He openly shares with us in His Word the manner in which He created the world and all that is in the world – including YOU! God, unlike man, has nothing to hide but His pre-ordained counsels which He reveals according to our ability to comprehend. “What hath God wrought?” this is a rhetorical question expressed by Balaam before Balak. “What hath God wrought!” or, “what God doeth.” The meaning seems to be that augury and divination were useless and vain in the case of Israel because God Himself declared and would declare His mighty acts on behalf of His people and that by no uncertain prophecy, but by open declaration.
The Lord divided the waters of the Red Sea before both His people and the eyes of the pursuing enemy to see. He made Mt. Sinai smoke before the entire congregation of Israel. He has never hidden His glorious power from our observation. His Word is full of Truth and Life. We need only fathom the depth of it according to our Plumb Lines of Truth. Our Lord not only died on the cross before the eyes of many witnesses but appeared to hundreds of witnesses after His resurrection. His ascent into Heaven was also observed by His disciples. He did not simply slip away and ascend to the Father.
How many Christians have many sins to hide which have not been confessed to Almighty God? I am not talking about our failures to confess those common sins of each day of which we may not even be aware of our committing. I am talking about grievous sins that lie deep in our conscience and which have become a lingering burden to our Christian walk. Harboring such sins is quite unprofitable since the Mercy and Grace of our Lord is sufficient to cover every sin. Some burdensome sins may have already been confessed and forgiven, yet we continually are grieved at the remembrance and feel that the Lord cannot forgive the enormity of such sins. He is ABLE! He forgave King David the sin of adultery and even murder. He forgave Peter the sin of betrayal and denunciation. He forgave Paul (Saul) the sin of persecuting His Church and stoning His messengers. So, you believe He cannot forgive your sins of somewhat (I hope) lesser degree?
Suppose you were laboring in your field and the Lord asked in a booming voice, “What hast thou done?” I believe you might have many things to answer. I know I would have. My problem would be, “I do not know where to begin, Lord.” How would you respond? But remember; those sins of yours that have been a burden upon you before you were called and chosen as a priceless vessel in the Temple of the Lord, are wholly forgiven and not remembered by our Lord. He tells us that “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19 And in another place, He says: “12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103:12-14
There are depths of the sea yet unexplored by the human eye. That is a great DEEP. Though that Deep may be the largest cemetery of all, it shall give up its dead at the voice of the Lord, but the sins of His people will remain in the Deep – but the sins of the unrepentant will rise with their owners. “13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” Revelation 20:13
You must admit that the distance of the east from the west is a far piece – even infinite in scope. But God says He will REMEMBER our sins no more! “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 8:12. Notice God does not say , “Ah, I will just FORGET your sins!” No, He doesn’t. Why? God cannot simply FORGET our sins. Redeeming us from those sins required the priceless blood of His only Begotten Son. How could He carelessly FORGET them – it is because forgetfulness is a weakness of the mind and involuntary. But Remembering requires a conscious effort. And failing to remember requires a conscious effort. God has no weak mind to forget, but He does have the mercy and grace to decide not to REMEMBER! He decided that for you in the eternity past when He called you and foreordained you in the antiquity past. He counted the cost of not remembering, and He was willing to make the purchase.
Do not allow the past life of sin to bear down upon your shoulders as an unbecoming yoke. Remember the words of our Lord’s in His prayer: “11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes.11:26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight. 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 11:28 Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and all of you shall find rest unto your souls. 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:25-30
The burden of sin is heavy and hard to be borne, but the yoke of Christ is easy and light – in fact, a great JOY!