Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Like a Child

Today is day two of our fourteenth week, reading the Bible through in a year.  Our scriptures today are:  Joshua 18-21; Luke 18; Psalm 15.

Today, I want to focus on what it means to receive the kingdom of God like a child.  In Luke's gospel, we find...

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 

To receive the kingdom of God like a child means to totally trust God, to walk in innocence, and to be uncomplicated in our relationships with God and people.  It means not to manipulate others, the way we learn to do as adults.  It means to love God and our neighbors with the kind of wide-eyed joy that you see in the eyes of a child.  It means not to get tangled up in philosophy and theology that is mere wrangling over words, but to wordlessly embrace the Love that made us.  This reminds me of one of my favorite psalms.

Emily and Elijah just after his birth
David wrote Psalm 131 as a song of ascents.  Songs of ascents were sung as people were going up to the temple to pray.  You can use songs of ascents to prepare your heart for prayer as well.  They get your heart in the right attitude for approaching God.  Here's what David wrote, in this three-verse peoem:

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
    from this time forth and forevermore.

That about says it all.  Jesus wants us to approach God like a little child, and David tells us how to do that.  It's interesting to note here that a nursing child is constantly grasping after his mother.  My new grandson Elijah is nursing, and he's constantly wanting to be fed.  I don't think Emily expected just how much a nursing baby would demand.  But once he's weaned, he won't want her to hold him just so he can get some milk.  He'll want her to hold him simply so he can experience her love.  This is the kind of embrace that David writes about.  Too often, believers are like nursing children, grasping after God for what He can give to us.  "Feed me," we cry.  "Give me more!"  But Jesus didn't say we should come to the kingdom as infants.  He said we should come as little children.  Being weaned, we should now approach God with a simple desire for His embrace, all for the sake of our love for Him and His love for us.

Today, do you find your mind filled with all sorts of worries and cares?  Come to the kingdom.  Experience the embrace of God.  Know that your needs are already met, and simply let Him hold you.  Don't occupy yourself with things too great and marvelous for you.  Rather, calm and quiet your soul and just let God hold you.


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