Sometimes a passage of Scripture acts as a mirror. And the glaring image reflecting back is a most familiar image of something I've seen in myself.
Recently, something I read that happened in antiquity glared ugly back at me, as if it were the here and now.
See if you can relate (oh, please say you do!) . . . .
“Moses heard all the families standing in the doorways of their tents whining, and the Lord became extremely angry. Moses was also very aggravated. And Moses said to the Lord, ‘Why are you treating me, your servant, so harshly? Have mercy on me! What did I do to deserve the burden of all these people? Did I give birth to them? Did I bring them into the world? Why did you tell me to carry them in my arms like a mother carries a nursing baby? How can I carry them to the land you swore to give their ancestors? Where am I supposed to get meat for all these people? They keep whining to me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I can’t carry all these people by myself! The load is far too heavy! If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!’” (Nu 11:10-15 NLT)
In that moment, no mirror held a clearer reflection. Conviction pointed its finger my way.
I have reflected that same whining attitude.
But, oh, the mercy of the Lord—then and now!
“ ‘I will come down and talk to you there. I will take some of the Spirit that is upon you,
and I will put the Spirit upon them also. They will bear the burden of the people
along with you, so you will not have to carry it alone.’ ”
(Nu 11:17 NLT emph mine)
When we can barely stand to be with our own sorry selves, the Lord hears . . . draws near . . . and helps ease our burden.
It is a profitable practice to be convicted—provided response follows.
The person to be concerned about is the one who sees something of himself, then walks away and quickly forgets what God has shown them.
James speaks to this…
“For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.
You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully
into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget
what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
(Jms 1:23-25 NLT emph mine)
For me to look into the Word and recognize a shared attitude or iniquity, then rise and walk away into my day, forgetting what God revealed to me there, is to be deceptive. And the person I am fooling, first and foremost, is none other than me.
What to do with such reflections? Ignore them? Deny them? Or face them?
I think we all know the correct answer there.
God said that He led the Hebrew people the long way through the wilderness in order to reveal to them their hearts. And in the record of that journey of discovery we see man’s heart laid bare. We see hearts of craving—with insatiable appetites. Bottomless desires. Discontentment. Rebelliousness. It’s an ugly truth of the state of all of our hearts.
So we can come to this conclusion, friends: it is yet another reason for time spent daily in God's Word.
It’s a discipline that not only tunes our ears to the Lord’s voice, it
sets our focus on the eternal,
feeds and nourishes our hungry souls,
it trains, shapes, and molds.
It shows, grows, and teaches.
It changes our reflection.
Sometimes the stories we read in the Bible are hard to stomach. Not because they are that gory in themselves, but because the truth they reflect in us is a hard pill to swallow. A pill to choke out confession. One that can transform the beast in the mirror into one of the Beloved’s most beautiful creatures.
So read on . . . mirrors at the ready.
Q: How have you seen the Word reflect something deep within you?