There are five words in the Bible that bring me to tears at nearly every reading.
They weigh on my spirit, send a dagger into my soul and pierce my heart with their sharpness.
Jesus said in Luke 13:34,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,
This is the Savior of the world, the long-awaited Messiah, talking to Pharisees about the hardness of the Jerusalem townspeople and their complete rejection of those the Lord in mercy sends to them.
Jesus Himself would rescue and gather them, giving within Himself a place of refuge, safety and more love than they could ever of dreamed, but they were not willing.
Does that not crush you a little bit?
There are similar statements scattered throughout the Old Testament, “But you would not go up…” (Deut. 1:26); “But you did not listen…” (Jer. 23:7); “But they did not obey…” (Jer. 32:23); “Because they did not pay attention…” (Jer. 29:19).
In these Old Testament passages we see God, the Creator of the universe, make these beautiful promises to an undeserving people and the people don’t abide and obey the conditions He places on them, so instead of mercy intense punishment follows.
The Lord is not to be trifled with.
Or, as we see in Luke, Jesus, the great God of holiness and compassion in human form, would have mercy on the very ones who want Him murdered… yet they were not willing.
I wonder if we are willing. I wonder if our church is willing. If my girls are.
Maybe (obviously) God is not the problem.
Oh Jerusalem, Oh Paducah, turn to the Lord. There is still time. Trust and obey. Repent and believe. Or you shall indeed perish under His just and holy wrath. Trust in the Lord, oh Paducah, for with Him is steadfast love and plentiful redemption and He will redeem you from all of your iniquities.