Eclipsed by Glory
Eclipses are a fascinating natural phenomena -- one that many argue exists specifically because God designed His universe for people to be able to study it and glorify Him in the process. Eclipses are formed when the moon or the earth pass between the sun and what the light of the sun is hitting. So during lunar eclipses like the one above -- the earth is blocking the light that reflects off of the moon. And during solar eclipses the moon blocks the light that normal hits the earth.
This relationship seems very similar to the relationship between our temporal life, the struggles in life, and the light of eternity with God. Natural eclipses happen as the stars and planets obey the orders of their Creator. Spiritual eclipses happen as we obey the command of God to allow the glories of heaven to block our tendency to see this life as all-consuming. This life is passing away -- be encouraged, endure the trials, because the Son is coming back.
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." -- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
And if I Stand at Caesar's Throne
People really like the verses in the Bible that seem to remove our accountability to others. “Judge not” may just be the most commonly quoted fragment of Scripture. We like to tell people that they don’t have authority over us and that we can do what we want regardless of what they think.
But that’s not the whole story. We need to hear the rest of the story. The rest of the story is: I stand at God’s throne where I will be judged.
People are skewed judges, who think they know everything, but don’t. They judge based on what they see, feel, and experience. And those things change so their opinions do too.
God is the Just Judge, Who knows everything. Everything. People judged on what they see – our actions, words and attitude. Their perception is often wrong, but it is always limited. God is unlimited which means He judges the heart – including our innermost thoughts and most secret motives. His judgement will be absolutely just because there will be nothing hidden – it will all be revealed.
Yes, I stand before God’s throne – and I will get away with nothing. No one will.
I Stand at Caesar's Throne
Paul was standing before the religious and civil leaders. He was under arrest and giving his defense, again, when the civil authority asked Paul if he would submit to a purely religious judgement. This was Paul’s response.
“I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged.” – Acts 25:10
Now that’s not a verse that I have spent that much time meditating on. But a paraphrase from it has been stuck in my thoughts: I stand at Caesar’s throne.
Paul chose Caesar’s judgement over that of the religious or local civil authorities. He refused to submit to the authority of the religious leaders. He realized that he had the ability to select who was his ultimate judge.
We have the capacity to "choose" as well. (Well, it is more like simply recognizing reality.) Ultimately, we stand before God’s throne. People can judge us, but their opinions don’t have authority over us unless we give it to them. Instead we are to remember: I stand at God’s throne – where I have been judged and forgiven because of Christ. This is where I am constantly being judged and instructed to be more like Christ. And God’s throne is where my every thought, every attitude of my heart, and every word and deed will be judged against Christ’s perfection.
Regardless of people’s opinions or government decisions, I stand at God’s throne.
Jesus may not have had a backpack in real life. But in the TV series The Chosen*, He does. It’s handcrafted leather with simple lines and a boxy style. As we were watching an episode one night I was told by a family member that the production commissioned a family business to make the knapsack. But when the invoice came in the total price was $0.00. They had physically given “Jesus” a backpack.
As I watched Jesus hike up to Jacob’s wall, I realized: this family had, as tangibly as humans can, given God a backpack. It was literally on Jesus’ back.
If only we could each see our service and our gifts to God as being tangible gifts presented before His throne -- because they are.
This act of service, that amount of money, each sacrifice for God, I truly lay at Your feet.
*(If you haven’t seen The Chosen, I recommend it. It is a Biblically consistent TV series about the life and ministry of Christ.)
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.