Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lessons from Sophie - Looking unto Jesus...

"...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

If I could simply look to Jesus the way my dog looks to me, all would be well. Sophie thinks I’m the greatest (the picture is of Sophie in July, 2007). When I’m away, she sits and waits by the front door in anticipation of my return. When I come back she is exuberant over seeing me. All of her body trembles in the expression of her excitement. Her tail, wagging at warp-speed, propells the rest of her body in unison.

Sophie does not center her attention on herself. Her eyes are always toward me, even when she dozes off. Her desire is for me. She works at remaining by my side, following along when I move from room to room. Her motivation is to be with me and enjoy me. Whatever makes me happy, makes Sophie happy. And when I am somber, she feels that also and seems to empathize.

Discipline crushes Sophie. She knows she has met with my disapproval. Making up is then her passion, craving a good word from me. Submissive, she seeks to be restored to my good graces, which, translated, means a good tummy rub.

This dog lives for me, making much of me. So I give her myself. Her devotion to me results in my careful attention to her, though it was originally my love for her that rescued her from doom and destruction. She loves me because I first loved her, though she did nothing to deserve my love and is really only a liability to me.

As Sophie grows and learns more about what makes me happy and what I expect from her, she will become more and more devoted, loyal and obedient. Because she is so enthralled with me, she is a happy dog and things can only get better. The reason Sophie relates to me this way is because she recognizes that I am her superior, in fact that I am a superior being. So she shows her fear and love for me by behaving appropriately.

Now that you have Sophie's behavior fixed in your mind, let's think about ourselves in relation to God. Psalm 123:2 says, "Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you the LORD our God, until He is gracious to us." A handmaiden did not hear orders spoken from her mistress. Rather, she looked to her hands and received her orders as signals. Thus the term "handmaid".

So we look to Jesus our Lord. When our eyes first fell on Him what did we see? We saw Him looking to His Father's hands pointing to Calvary. We saw the Master, infinitely superior to us - very God of God - becomg the servant (Philippians 2:5-8). We saw Him dying our death on the cross, paying for our crimes. Then looking closer at His hands we saw the nail piercings for our sins. Instead of crude hand signals ordering us about, we saw His hands scarred from the work He did for us on Calvary.

So our eyes have looked to You, our LORD and our God, and indeed, You have been gracious to us beyond human imagination. May we look to Your nail-pierced hands for our joy and strength today. May all of our attention and affections be focused on You, Lord Jesus. May we go where You send, serve when You bid, love as You love, may we share in Your sufferings. And may the glory be all Yours, dear Savior."Behold, the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to Your word." (Luke 1:38)
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