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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Randy Stonehill

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Friendliness of God

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‘You are the salt of the earth…’ Matthew 5:13

Hi! Oh, as I say that don’t let me forget to wave at you with that greeting. It’s a long-standing tradition to do so. That wave is a sign of friendliness. It and a good old handshake are customary when meeting friends and strangers. The custom of waving started in medieval times in England, apparently for a very good reason. There were many thieves along the roadways at that time. As travelers would come upon other people along their journey, they would ‘show the palm’ to verify they carried no weapon, that they were no threat, it was an expression of trust. It was and continues to be an expression of peace.

I learned about the origin of that tradition a few years ago and it reminded me of the relationship we have between the Father and us. God has also made a gesture of Peace toward us. His gesture has been shown and we can now respond to it with trust. The gesture is His only begotten! God’s declaration of Peace is possible because of the covenant made between the Father and His begotten Jesus Christ. You know, we don’t have a covenant of our own with God. We enter into one that He and Christ made with one another. Thank God it doesn’t depend on one of us to make it. It’s stable for us because it was made for us by The Son. He can keep it. Left up to us, we’d probably mess it up in the first 24 hours. The Father’s Peace is summarized in Isaiah 54: ‘for this is as the waters of Noah for Me, for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so I have sworn that I would not be wroth with you or rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the Covenant of Peace be removed…for all the children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the Peace of your children. Just as in the old testament a rainbow was set in the sky to signify God’s spoken Covenant, now the blood of Jesus has been given as a sign of the guarantee of God’s Peace toward men.

A wave or handshake signifies friendship and kindness. In the Testaments, God delivered with His hand. He reached out to His people with His hand. He holds us up with His hand. In the 91st Psalm angels held His people in their hands. In the Gospels, Jesus put forth his hand and touched them, he held a child in his hands and the fever left her. Many times he stretched out his hands and taught the disciples. God holds us in the palm of His hand. We raise our hands in praise and worship and enter into the presence of God. When the hand is exposed in ministry it is a sign of God coming in Grace and Peace. It’s a sign of His comfort and care.

Paul writes in Ephesians, ‘but now in Christ Jesus, you who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, the law of commandment in ordinances…so making Peace. That he might reconcile both unto God in one body by one cross…and came and preached Peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.’

God continues to stretch out His hand today. Even more compassionately today than any other time. This present covenant is a better covenant than the first, being satisfied and sealed by Jesus’ blood. Why? Because those that love Him are a joy to the Lord. It was a terrible price to pay for us but it was a price He was willing to accept on our behalf. I suppose this great Love is just too simple for 21st century minds to accept sometimes. Yet, Deuteronomy Chapter 32, verse 9, says that ‘the Lord’s portion is His people.’ That’s what He gets out of the deal. He gets someone that has freely chosen Him. He gets someone to be the object
of His great love. We were the joy that was set before Christ at the cross. When you look at Him, do you see Him afar off with His hand opened in an expression of Peace or do you see Him with a clenched fist? Do you see Him inviting us in or someone holding something back, someone hiding something from us or do you see someone greeting you with an exposed palm?

There is a scripture in Matthew 5:13 that talks of salt (Grk: halas). It’s not simply the salt found on dinner tables but a salt that was used in sacrifice. It was added not to preserve the sacrifice but to be burned up. It was a savor, an aroma, added to the meat that was burned and ascended to the heavens. This salt was the agent of the perpetual friendliness between God and man. If it preserved anything, it preserved the reconciliation between the Creator and the created. According to God, we are that agent of His friendliness in the earth. We are the thing that continues and permits the message of God’s Love in the earth. This salt provides not only the preservation of the reconciliation but is the agent of acceptance between God and the lost. We are added to the sacrifice to act as an agent of His Peace toward men, to be an ambassador of His Love and Reconciliation.

WBVN is a ministry designed and committed to bringing you the Gospel of Peace. We desire to encourage people to revisit their first love. How did you feel when you first met Him, how do you feel about Him now? Did you trust Him then, why not trust Him now? You were not a great catch for Him then, and you’re probably only slightly a better one now. But, He initiated the Peace. He provided the mediator for it, when you were incapable of it. I believe His hand is still extended to us today. He is ‘showing the palm’ to us today. ‘Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another’. (Mark 9:50)

David Klinkenberg

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