An Espresso Machine Between the Eyes
Recently, my sister and I met in a Scandinavian bakery on a snowy night. Huge snowflakes covered our cars within minutes, and I laughed as I tried to catch snowflakes on my tongue while walking in. Partway through the night, fearful shrieks and a hissing noise cut through the calm cafe. The espresso machine was malfunctioning dangerously and two female baristas scrambled to turn off the machine and get out of the way. Mixed coffee drinks were off the menu until a repairman could arrive.
That image returned to my mind this week as I was studying Isaiah. (You, my reader friends, know that we have been talking about Isaiah often, including here, here, and here as it leaks onto the blog from my time in God’s word these last few months.) Anyway, Isaiah 43:7 delineates, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made,” and verses 21-24 continue that thought with “…the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”
“YET, you have not called upon me, O Jacob,
you have not wearied yourself for me, O Israel.
You have not brought me sheep for burnt offerings,
nor honored me with your sacrifices.
I have not burdened you with grain offerings,
nor wearied you with demands for incense.
You have not bought any fragrant calamus for me,
or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices.
BUT you have burdened me with your sins,
and wearied me with your offenses.”
Wow… I circled and reviewed the verses, scrawling quickly across my journal. The mirror poetry and words were powerful to me.
Along with the Jewish nation, God formed us so we could proclaim his praise.
But, very often, I/ we?
we don’t fulfil our purpose.
We don’t call on him.
We don’t weary ourselves for him.
We don’t bring him sacrifices of our time, energy, or money as praise for him.
We haven’t honored him with our tithes, when we do give.
He says HE hasn’t placed burdensome or wearisome demands on us — his creations.
He says we/I haven’t made an effort to spend time connecting with him in prayer (calamus is linked with incense and prayer), or lavished on him the best part of my time, energy, resources, as extravagant praise to him.
Rather, we — I –burdened him with my sins, and
wearied him with my offenses.
Wow! Where do you go when a gentle God lays it on the line like this? What’s next when he so boldly, plainly lays it bare?
We malfunctioned. We did not deliver. We are a broken product.
Silence. Sadness. A still quiet. He’s right. My pen stopped writing and I sat in silence. He’s right.
What words are next? His mouth opens and the very next verse spills out like water in the desert.
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (vs. 25).
Forgiveness, grace, and a restoration that humbles me.
The repairman has come and gone, and I am working properly now. I will proclaim his praises. Thank you, God.
This journal and Bible time may have just been for me this week. But it hit me, and I pray that God uses it mightily in your life too. Humbly, sitting quietly and happily proclaiming his praise, I’m your Jennifer. I’d love to hear what is on your brain this week, or how I can pray with you.