^ Yup, that car. The one I got shortly after that video. It’s sitting in a tow yard now after an accident last night, probably totaled. Thankfully no injuries to myself (that I know of) or others, and no other vehicles were damaged. Still, a frightening, flustering experience to wreck in a violent spin across lanes of highway traffic, and it leaves me in a challenging situation of having to acquire a new vehicle (they ain’t cheap 🙃) and make do in the meantime. In accordance with the discipline of meditation, here are some of the Scriptures I have been preaching to myself last night and today. These “homilies” to my heart help guard me against the sinful responses I tend toward and remain steadfast in Christ. I hope they are helpful to you too! 🙂
Homily #1: On the Lord’s Discipline
“7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
Losing my car, and all the challenges that will ensue for a time, are a reminder that God is my Father. This is a reminder that I have been set free from bondage to sin, the Law, and the world to become a son of God. It is a reminder that I was chosen before the creation of the world, not to remain in my perishable flesh forever nor to live in financial comfort in the meantime and have cheap, convenient transportation, but rather to be holy and blameless in his sight (Eph 1:4). Therefore, as a good and sovereign Father, he puts me through hardship that I may share in his holiness and reap a harvest of righteousness. He disciplines me for my good. My response should be to see this as an opportunity for further growth in my sanctification, that I may respect my Father more, trust him more, and exercise greater self-control so that my character does not cave under unexpected circumstances. Hardship will strengthen me if I accept it as from his good hand, and from that strength of character, I should then minister to others in their own weakness and hardship.
Homily #2: On Provision and Contentment
1 Timothy 6:6-8
“6 Godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
“20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’ 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.’ “
“31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
What do I have that I did not receive? All that I have comes from the Lord. He in his wisdom may take many things from me far more precious than a car and already has at times. But it is needless to worry about it, for he knows what I need and always provides. All I need is food and clothing and the righteousness of Christ and I have that; so I should be content. May the name of the LORD be praised. (If he should take away food and clothing one day, then I will give myself a homily from 2 Corinthians 11–12.)
Homily #3: On Salvation from Physical Danger
Psalm 18:1-6, 16, 19
“I love you, Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. 4 The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5 The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. . . . 16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. . . . 19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
“16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.”
No skill behind the wheel, no airbag, no flex of probability can save if the LORD does not will it. He may use means such as an airbag, but he alone saves, whether from sin or temporal disasters. Though I long to be with Christ, he deemed it better to keep me serving down here another day and rescued me because he delighted in me.
Homily #4: On the Love of My Neighbor
“3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”
2 Peter 3:9-10
“9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise [of judgment], as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”
While I am grateful to have been rescued from death (and hopefully injury), my gratitude should not end with myself but extend over the many other drivers on the road whom the Lord also spared. In fact, my gratitude should start with their safety, not mine. Not only that, but I am sure there were many unbelievers there last night, whizzing by my spinning car at high speeds. In his mercy he spared them because he is patient. They have lived another day to repent and turn to Christ before the day of the Lord comes. They cannot consider their hardships as the discipline of a loving Father because they are still slaves to sin, not children of God. They cannot have confidence in the Lord’s providence nor godliness with contentment because they are still pagans running after everything other than Christ. They cannot rejoice in rescue from trouble as those in whom the Lord delights because they are still children of wrath. I also walked among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of my sinful nature and following its thoughts and desires. God showed me far greater mercy in saving me from my sins through faith in Christ than he did in saving me from a car crash. I should pray for their repentance and that God will show them this greater mercy too.