READ: Job 16-18, Psalm 5, Luke 22, Revelation 6


The appearance of intimacy (when unfounded) is most painful to Jesus. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss as do we. It is our pretension that most wounds the Savior. Those who pretend to abide, who posture themselves to be seen as intimates, while their hearts and actions are treacherous, these inflict the most pain on the sacred heart. May God keep us from being men and women who linger long with Him (in His Word and His presence) while hearing little and changing less. Unlike man, however, who strikes when he is wounded, when Jesus is hurt, He heals.

We all betray Jesus. Peter in the end was no different than Judas. Woe to the one who thinks he can be loyal to Jesus in his or her own strength. Peter claimed that prison and death would be embraced for Christ (Luke 22:31-34) and faltered at the accusation of simple peasants. We all have treacherous hearts, we all cover a basic cowardice in our natures. None of us can stand for Jesus in our own strength. Those slain for the Word of God and the testimony they held (Rev. 6:9) did so because they were graced.

Jesus promised woe to those who betray Him. This woe is not necessarily an active punishment by God; it is more often the active agony of man when he realizes he had what was pure, sublime, and supreme, yet idiotically threw it away. This too is a mercy, a calling to return humbly to the one we have despised. Thanks be to God whose kindness leads Him to intervene with man, to deconstruct us that He might build us up again. Job experienced this loving deconstruction. “You have shattered me,”Job says. “You have shaken me in pieces, surrounded me, pierced my heart, poured out my gall, broken me with wound upon wound, run at me like a warrior.” Job needed to be broken down in order to be built up in God’s image (Job 16:12-14).

One of the harshest punishments of God is when He leaves us alone. To not break us down, to not shape us would be a cruelty, for left to ourselves and our own wisdom, we self destruct. The interventions of God are His greatest mercies. We complain and strive when God breaks us, but would these painful processes be absent, we would speed toward the disaster of self-rule. How beautiful are the breakings of God. These are the consolations of God (15:11), that in His mercy He loves us enough to shatter us. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him”(13:15).

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