Car Chases & God’s Grace

Why do we watch high speed car chases? 

I’m not talking about those in the movies, though they are exciting in and of themselves. No, I’m referring to the helicopter or dash-cam views of police pursuits on the city streets in real time.  

It seems like every week you see another chase play out on national media.  Just last week there was a wrecked RV leading police through Los Angeles, and what got everyone watching was the fact that there were two dogs in the RV – and yes, both are fine.

Are we drawn to this because we want to see fugitives come to justice? 

Is there a darker side of us waiting for the fiery crash that may come at the end? 

Is this now our Coliseum, where we cheer and boo the gladiators in the arena, and watch until all is settled?

Maybe these events speak to our inner “fight or flight” instinct, and we’re watching to learn what we already know – running from your problems never works.

As I was pondering our obsession with chases this morning, I read from Isaiah 30 in my M’Cheyne Bible Reading plan.  Here, God is speaking to the people of Jerusalem though the prophet, warning them of the coming judgment for their rebellion, and telling them not to go to Egypt in order to escape judgment, thereby “adding sin to sin” and face greater ruin. The people were ready to fly to Egypt, to ride swiftly from the hand of God. God’s warning was clear, “your pursuers will be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one…” 

Reading this is like watching the chase unfold. You say to the screen, “Don’t run!” but you know they’re going to anyway.

Still, in this midst of the warning, God extends a gracious promise  Isaiah 30 is beautiful in its promise. Even in the threat of coming judgment, God calls to His people, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength (Isa 30:15).”  Turn to me,  God is saying, find your rest, your salvation, and strength in me.  

From verse 19 on, the remainder of the chapter is God’s promise of restoration:

  • God will be gracious to the sound of your cry
  • Though the Lord gives the bread of adversity, your Teacher will not hide himself anymore
  • Your ears will hear him speak to you, telling you which way to go
  • You will turn from your idols
  • He will give rain for the seed, and bread, and produce, and livestock
  • There will be brooks flowing with water
  • The Lord will bind up the brokenness of His people and heal their wounds
  • You will have a song, and gladness of heart
  • The Lord will cause His voice to be heard
  • The enemies of God’s people will tremble before Him.

No one likes to see the lights in the rear-view mirror, or hear the siren calling them to pull over. Neither do we like the discipline of the Lord when we have erred. But with our Father’s discipline, there is always the promise of rich and redeeming grace, a promise confirmed for us in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Trust in His gracious promises, and know that resting in Him you will shall be saved.

From the Pastor’s Desk:

Here are some of the things I’ve been reading this week that I’d thought I’d share:

Don’t Be a Lazy Pastor: Lately I’ve been sharing articles on what the Pastor does, and how you can pray for your Pastor. Here’s another, from Desiring God, on the plague of the lazy Pastor.

PreachersNSneakers: Speaking about Pastor’s, there’s apparently a trend among some Pastor’s of wearing REALLY expensive shoes, clothes, or jewelry. Here’s an article about the trend – and just to clarify – my suits are all over 10 years old, and my most expensive shoes are the Brooks I run in.  I’m not saying I’m above the cultural trappings, but fashion is not mine.  Something I read a while ago, however, did lead me to stop wearing a preachers robe. One of the old Puritans stated that anything that separates you from you congregation, keeps you from your congregation.  If what your wearing, or the house your living in, or the car the pastor is driving is an extravagant leap from what the people of the congregation would have, there’s a disconnection taking place.

Can A Christian Lose their Salvation:  Finally, here’s an article by R.C. Sproul on the perennial question about one’s security in salvation.

We are Gomer

The following is an excerpt from James Montgomery Boice’s commentary on the Minor Prophets.  I’m beginning this year by reading through the minor prophets first, and was immediately reminded of Boice’s love for this chapter as I read through it today. First, read through Hosea 3, then read Boice’s commentary on the chapter. Enjoy!

Hosea 3 (ESV)

And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

The Greastest Chapter in the Bible – James Boice

The third chapter of Hosea is, in my judgment, the greatest chapter in the Bible, because it portrays the greatest story in the Bible – the death of the Lord Jesus Christ for his people – in the most concise and poignant form to be found anywhere. Our study of Hosea’s story has already shown that it is a pageant of the love of God for Israel, indeed, for his people in every place and age. But when we ask, “Where in the whole of human history is that love most clearly seen?” the answer is obviously, “At the cross of Christ.” It is that cross and the work accomplished on that cross that is portrayed in this chapter. Hosea 3 shows us God’s work of redemption – the work by which the Lord Jesus Christ delivered us from sin’s bondage at the cost of his own life – portrayed in Hosea’s purchase of his fallen wife from slavery.

Hosea owned his wife. She was his property. He could do anything he wished with her. If he had wanted to kill her out of spite, he could have done it. People might have called him a fool to waste his money on a worthless woman. She might have suffered far more as a slave to some beautiful woman where she wold have been obliged to fetch and serve and carry and watch and never enter into the kind of pleasures that brought her to her state in her first place. Still Hosea could have killed Gomer if he had wanted to. Yet he did not, because at this point Hosea’s love, which is an illustration of God’s love for us, burned brightest. Instead of seeking vengeance, he put Gomer’s clothes on her, led her away into the anonymity of the crowd, and claimed that love from her that was now his right. Moreover, as he did so, he promised no less from himself.

Does God love like that? Yes, God loves like that! God steps into the marketplace of sin and buys us out of sin’s bondage by the death of Christ. We read in our Bibles, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16). We ask, “What does so mean?” The answer is in Hosea’s story. When we see Hosea standing in the marketplace under orders from God to purchase his wife, who had become an adulteress and a slave, we recognize that this is the measure of God’s love.

We are Gomer. We are the slave sold on the auction block of sin. The world bids for us. The world bids fame, wealth, prestige, influence, power – all those things that are the world’s currency. But when all seemed lost, God sent the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, into the marketplace to buy us at the cost of his life.

Boice, James Montgomery. The Minor Prophets: Vol 1 An Expositional Commentary Hosea-Jonah. (Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Books, 1983) pg. 31-36.