“Advent Vespers” Monday, December 2: Refine Me

advent_vespers

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

***

Today, I’ve been reflecting on the passages from Amos 1 and 2 from both yesterday and today’s daily lectionary reading.  The judgment pronounced against Judah in Amos 2:4-5 has particularly captured my attention.

Thus says the Lord:  “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but their lies have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked.

5 So I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.” (Amos 2:4-5, ESV)

The judgments against the neighboring peoples of Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab listed in Amos 1 are dire and sobering, certainly.  For “three or four” transgressions, these kings, peoples, cities and nations were condemned to judgment.

Yet on a certain level the judgments pronounced against these peoples are somewhat easy to dismiss or skim over as being different from my own sin since it seems to be acts of war and violence that God is condemning.  However, in Amos 2:4 cited above, Judah is judged differently.  The judgment against Judah focuses on the heart – their rebellion against the Lord, how they have strayed from Him and His paths and chosen to follow lies.  God’s people are held to a higher standard.

Reading those words this morning, I acknowledged “I am guilty like Judah.  I’ve rejected and scorned Your laws, Your ways.  I’ve disobeyed Your commands.  I’ve let lies lead me astray from You, and my transgressions are in the thousands, not merely “three or four!””  I asked the Lord to help me repent and return to Him in the areas I’ve strayed…

I wonder about those who heard Amos’ prophecies of fire and judgment.  Did they quake in fear?  Did they repent in ashes, or did they harden their hearts still further?

I’m struck by the fact that although I’m guilty, like Judah, of a heart that has strayed from the Lord, verse 5’s declaration of judgment does NOT strike a terrible fear into my heart!  Thankfully because of what Christ has done, and because in faith I have thrown myself on His grace and mercy, I don’t have to fear fiery judgment, but instead, can WELCOME God’s refining fire that purifies my heart and destroys the strongholds of sin, and the flesh, and the enemy in my heart.  HALLELUJAH!

Oh Jesus, may I open my heart to Your refining fire today and throughout Advent.  Amen.

***

Advent WorshipRefine Me, by Jennifer Knapp (YouTube)

You can find the song on Jennifer’s 1998 Album: Kansas (Gold)

I come into this place
Burning to receive your peace
I come with my own chains
From wars I’ve fought for my own selfish gain
You’re my God and my Father
I’ve accepted your Son
But my soul feels so empty now
What have I become?

Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me

My heart can’t see
When I only look at me
My soul can’t hear
When I only think of my own fears
They are gone in a moment
You’re forever the same
Why did I look away from You
How can I speak Your name?

Lord, come with Your fire,
burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Come rescue this child
For I long to be reconciled to You

It’s all I can do
To give my heart and soul to You
And pray, and pray, oh I will pray

Lord, come with Your fire,
burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Come rescue this child
For I long to be reconciled to You

Refine me, refine me
Refine me, refine me

– Karen B.

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One Response to “Advent Vespers” Monday, December 2: Refine Me

  1. […] “Advent Vespers” Monday, December 2: Refine Me […]

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