"An evil man seeks only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him." - Proverbs 17:11
In the book of Exodus, Moses was sent to Pharaoh to free Israel from the tyranny and oppression of Egypt. Through many terrible displays of the power of God, the Israelites were finally released and thus began the great Exodus. As I look at this wonderful story of deliverance, I see within this physical historical event, the very express image of what began in my heart on that glorious night that Christ first reached down into my dark existence. I was once in the death grip of Satan just as Israel was in bonds in Egypt. As I look back on my experience that night I see the beginning of my Exodus and the first steps into what I had come to refer to as my wilderness experience. Being given an initial touch of God, I was given great assurance of His being just as Israel was given as they were shown many great wonders and signs. Yet like Israel, in spite of the display of God's power and grace, my neck was still stiff, and my heart was still so desperately wicked that it was God's perfect will that I must be led into and tried in the desert. I was quite arrogant for a homeless meth cook and in my heart I clung to my own lofty and self-serving desires which I was not so willing to part with. There were certain things I expected from God which were contrary to His will, and so I initially set out to follow Him out of pretence to fulfill my own wicked desires.
In truth, grace was still far from me because I had not been brought to terms with the necessity of it. I considered my own righteousness as a leg worth standing on. As I had said, I attempted to reform my actions. I also tried to manipulate God to fulfill my desires. This of course failed and grave fear would settle upon me from time to time. I often would cry in my self-pity when I was made to see the futility of my own strength and inability to deliver myself. When I now read of Israel with all of her grumblings, complaints, stubbornness and rebellion, I see quite clearly the wicked man I was. As conviction set in (as it often did), I would again and again mount up in my own strength to deliver myself not knowing every attempt was an act of rebellion and the very fruit of my unbelief. So a cruel messenger was sent to me whom God had providentially allowed to torment me that I would come to the end of myself. Along with this messenger would come the weight of the law, a burden I could not lift and a tall order I could not fill. Back and forth I'd go and in every attempt to reform myself came forth the fruit of my bitter rebellion. In frustration I would dig out my lab equipment again and turn back to my addiction and my sins hoping to suppress the truth with my wickedness. As I did so the relief I received became shorter lived, and I would have to consume larger and larger amounts of meth to drown out my increasingly accusative conscience.
An amazing thing is that I often carried the scriptures in my backpack. There were many times after reading God's word sheer terror would seize me. This fear became progressive, growing ever more urgent, demanding my surrender. Within my heart would rise questions: "How much farther can I go before it's too late? Have I already gone too far?" Yet throughout all of this there was also given me an unseen hope and an assurance of something more; though I knew it not.
Just as Israel's name implies, I too wrestled with God. I fought in the wilderness with God until I was finally brought to terms with what I am: A wretch and a sinner. In all my struggling to deliver myself, I was in truth fighting God. When I came to see myself in light of God's law, and when the actualization was birthed within me that I could in no way uphold His law, this truth caused my knees to buckle, and in due season, I fell dead at His feet; for no flesh shall glory in His sight. Although it took a few laps around the mountain, I eventually found myself slain in the desert. Having experienced that death, I was then made able for the first time to turn away from myself, and as I looked I saw His hand outstretched to embrace mine.... It was at that point I was granted true repentance, and it was then I received His grace. Behold old things have passed away; all things have become new.
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A Christmas Prayer
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