Lent Devotion for March 18
"Forsaken Because of the Sins of Others"
Reader: “Why are you so far away… "
Response: “…when I groan for help?"
SCRIPTURE: Psalm 22:1-8
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
3 Yet you are holy,6 But I am a worm and not a man.
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 Our ancestors trusted in you,
and you rescued them.
5 They cried out to you and were saved.
They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
I am scorned and despised by all!
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me.
They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
8 “Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
let the Lord rescue him!”
SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Have you ever taken the rap for someone else? They messed up and you covered for them. But not only did you cover for them, you were blamed for what they did and lost the friendship as a result. Think of the story of Joseph. His brothers did him wrong and lied about it. He suffered the consequences of their sin in being sold into slavery. He ascended to a position of power only to be betrayed again and wind up in prison. Think how abandoned he felt. Though Psalm 22 would not be penned for a few hundred years, I’m sure he could have identified with David’s words. But the ultimate was yet to come. Our Lord, in the words of Paul, took our sin upon himself and experienced the separation from His Father for the only time in all of eternity. God the Father was divorced from Son of God. He was utterly forsaken as He endured the wrath of His Father toward our sin. I am quite sure we cannot begin to imagine what Jesus experienced in the abandonment or the depth of His love that would drive Him to fulfill His mission of reconciliation. Jesus did what needed to be done, regardless of the consequences to himself. He endured abandonment out of love and obedience. His ultimate obedience to the Father did not prove to be an easy path. When He said, “Not my will but thine be done,” He meant it. Would that our obedience to our Father would be as determined. May our witness summon others to our great God.
MUSIC: “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” by Selah
Thou who has taught us that we are most truly free when we lose our wills in Thine, help us to gain that liberty by continual surrender unto Thee that we may walk in the way which Thou hast prepared for us and in doing Thy will may find our life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.