Read His Words Before Ours!
My body racked with pain and it shook violently. Of their own volition, sobs overtook my frame. My legs could not sustain my weight and I crumbled beneath my grief. I gasped for air, my ribs pressed in, and I tasted the metallic hint of blood where my own teeth had crushed my tongue in anguish. The pain was too much. My fists clenched and opened rhythmically as I furiously pounded the hardpacked earth beneath me.
No, I wasn’t being tortured by enemy forces. No whip lashed my back. My head was not bowed by blows to my brow. The agony inside threatened to swallow me whole.
Injustice upon injustice was mine.
“Yahweh!” “Where! “Are!” “You!”
Each word punched the air as I screamed, the stone walls deafly pressing my agony back upon my ears.
Other prisoners banged on their bars to stop my clamor, but I didn’t care. What did it matter? My only hope of escape had flown away, the stones seemed tighter every day, and the memories of old dreams mocked me every time I closed my eyes.
My brothers’ sheaves bowing down to mine, then theirs turned to laugh at me with disdain.
My beautiful coat paraded as a king’s and then covered in goat’s blood.
The stars encircled me and then my embers exploded into oblivion.
Why would you mock and humble me, Yahweh?!
I obeyed you!
I listened to Your voice and believed You when You gave me dreams.
I was faithful to You and didn’t give in to temptation with Potiphar’s wife!
I sought You, not myself, for the answers to other prisoners’ dreams.
AND WHAT HAS MY OBEDIENCE GOTTEN ME?!
Injustice Upon Injustice
“I don’t understand,” the Ethiopian continued as he turned his eyes from the scroll to meet mine. “Who was despised? Why should we bother if he was rejected?”
Instantly, gruesome images and horrific sounds assaulted my mind’s eye as Isaiah’s centuries-old prophesies had played out right before me days before. The Spirit of Christ living within me had brought me to this Gentile Ethiopian’s chariot because he needed to know the truth. He needed to meet the risen Christ that Isaiah had foretold would come to suffer.
As the scenes in my mind flashed, God’s Spirit inside loosed my tongue and I explained Isaiah’s words.
“His body was wracked with pain as the Roman whip bit into his flesh, tearing skin away and exposing the bones of His spine and ribs. His wrists bled profusely where He was tied to the whipping post. The cries of a man near death hung in the air that morning, haunting all of us. The whip was not enough, of course”, I continued, not even seeing the Ethiopian beside me, for I could only see the scarcely recognizable body of Jesus in my mind.
“Thorns pierced His brow,” I went on, knowing I could do nothing to stop my voice from shaking. “Blood. So much blood, it was everywhere. But even the nails piercing innocent flesh and the wretched pain they brought, were nothing compared to the agony inside Him as He was separated from the Father as He bore our sin.”
I caught my breath and fixed my eyes on the Ethiopian. He must understand. “He was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5)
I made no attempt to stop the flood of tears now streaming down my face as I repeated Jesus’ anguished words from the cross, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?!” (Matthew 27:46)
The man’s eyes still clouded with confusion, so I begged the Spirit to make it clear to him as I said, “Isaiah’s prophesied Messiah is Jesus. He took our place, took our punishment for our sin and suffered injustice upon injustice, that we might be freely restored to God forever.”
Slowly my heavy weeping slowed, my body spent. Dirt that had mixed with my tears and saliva caked my face. Broken and shaking, I lay silent, wondering if the Lord would hear my cries.
Unsuspectingly, an early memory of my father wafted over me like a welcome embrace. I saw my young, boyish self sitting at his feet and heard his strong voice warming me as he told me again how the Lord had come to him in one of his dreams. My eyes were alight with wonder that Yahweh would speak to Father and unwittingly my breath caught in my chest as I remembered one particular phrase, “I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you.” (Genesis 31:12) The God of Dreams SEES injustice. Surely, Yahweh longs to reverse the curse of injustice and usher in His favor just as He did with my Father!
I uncurled my frame and sat upright, wiping my face and breathing deeply, calmly, as if with new life. Yahweh sees. As I held onto this truth, repeating it over and over, memories came flooding back of how the God who sees injustice and gives Himself for the righteous had acted for me and generations before me.
Yahweh was indeed a faithful God and deep inside, I knew my story was not over here surrounded by stone, dirt, and darkness. He would finish the plans He had for me; I would wait for Him.
I bowed my head as fresh tears of gratitude washed my face. My once-clenched fists now lifted upward with palms raised in worship to the God of all Faithfulness who would take my injustices and finish the work to make me whole!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!