Found Wanting or Wanting to be Found?


Belshazzar’s Feast, Rembrandt, 1637

Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 47; 147:12-20, Daniel 5:13-30, 1 John 5:13-20 (21), Luke 5:1-11

Jesus knows you are flawed, and loves you anyway. God knows you are flawed, and loves you anyway. People know you are flawed, and some of them will love you and some of them won’t, but none of them are God so in the long run it doesn’t matter. That leaves you. You know you are flawed; how will you deal with it?

King Belshazzar was deeply flawed, and he seemed to revel in it. When he desecrated the temple vessels of the captured Jews, a mysterious hand wrote strange words on the palace wall. Terrified, he brought in the captive prophet Daniel to interpret them for him. Because Belshazaar praised false idols but ignored the “God in whose power [was his] very breath,” Daniel interpreted the words as follows:

 mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; upharsin, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians

Belshazzar was killed that same night.

Peter was also flawed. When he first realized Christ’s nature, “he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’” Jesus replied, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” Peter would remain highly flawed throughout his career as apostle and founder of the church, but his attitude of faith and repentance kept him close to God.

Some of us think our flaws put distance between us and God. With this mindset, we worry we aren’t as “good” as other Christians (who are doing their own worrying). When things get tough we don’t want to burden others with our struggles (though they would happily lend an ear, a hand, or a buck). With this mindset, our flawed ego tells us we couldn’t possibly be forgiven.

Not so.

Do not be afraid. Belshazzar teaches us to be aware of our flaws. Peter teaches us not to be so aware of them that we despair. God loves us too much to leave us where we are.

Comfort: God loves you as you are.

Challenge: Love and trust God enough to make you even better.

Prayer: Thank you, Holy God, for the forgiveness and love you offer even though I can never earn it. Amen.

Discussion: Have you ever felt like your flaws put distance between you and God?

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