October 8

Psalms 40:6-8 (NIV) 6Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. 7Then I said, "Here I am, I have come– it is written about me in the scroll. 8I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

The author of Hebrews quotes this passage and tells us it is about Jesus. He was reading the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the original Hebrew. There is a variation there, possibly a mistranslation in that Greek version. Instead of "but my ears you have pierced" it reads, "but a body you prepared for me" (Hebrews 10:5 (NIV)). Could it be a mistake? I believe every passage is inspired by God and that both expressions are true. The Son of God was given a human body through the womb of Mary. His ears were opened to God. In the tradition of a servant who chose to continue as a slave after his term of service was up, Jesus was a bondservant to the Father. The sign of the bondservant was the pierced ear. Both versions are applicable to Jesus.

The sacrifices the Jews made at the altar every morning and evening were merely a shadow of The Lamb to come. They were never what God desired for a covering of sin. Then the Son said to the Father, "Here I am, I have come." The Lamb of God came into the world to be the sacrifice God desired to take away the sins of the world. It was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. Jesus said He had come to do the will of God. That is the expression of a bondservant. He came to do the will of the Father in shedding His blood for our sins. The Law of God was in His heart. He knew His objective because the Law outlined it clearly, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin". God told the people of Israel He wanted to make them a nation of priests. There was only one way to do it. The heart of Jesus knew that He had to crush the head of the serpent but that in the process His heel would be wounded. Thank God! The Son desired to do the will of the Father for our salvation.

Consider: You had a body prepared for you also. Is your ear open to God? Is it pierced as the sign of a bondservant? Do you delight to do His will? Is His Law in your heart?

October 8

Philippians 1:20-23 (NIV) 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;...

Paul was sitting in prison, unsure whether he will be released or be torn apart by lions. His concern was that Christ be exalted in his actions, whether released or executed. Some Christians had not stood up to the horrors of the coliseum, while others had honored Christ in their death. Paul expected and hoped that he would be among those who died in a way that would exalt Christ. Expectation mixed with hope is confidence in God while recognizing the weakness of the flesh. He knew God would help him, but he wasn't going to say his flesh wouldn't get in the way. He learned not to be overconfident in his own ability. None of us will know exactly how we will stand until the time is upon us.

If he lived, he would go on letting Christ express His life through him. If he died, he would go to his eternal reward and stand in the presence of the glorified Christ that he met on the road to Damascus. If he could make the choice, what would he choose? He knew that being released would give him the opportunity to lay up more treasure in heaven, to bear more fruit for the kingdom of God. He liked the idea of going home to be in the presence of Christ best. Still, he sensed the need to help the church grow.

In this dilemma, we can see a heart of love for God first, and the family of God second. His heart was in line with the great commandment. Is yours? Would Paul's dilemma be yours? Most of us would long for our physical family, but not especially the family of God. Our role in the body of Christ would not be a key factor, nor would the desire to be with Christ our first desire. That is because our daily life is not Christ. When our daily life is Christ, our desires will be the same as those Paul exhibited.

Consider: The more Jesus lives in you, the more you will desire to be with Him in glory.