August 24, 2017
Isaiah 1:18 - "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD: "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."
In the late 1800s, there was a small town in Wyoming, which boasted a fine country store.
Yes, it was a well-stocked store, but it was also a store which, in spite of excellent foot traffic, was not turning a profit. An inventory showed the owner-brothers that many of the smaller items they had stocked were not there, even though the records showed these items hadn't been sold. Thinking they were being robbed blind, the brothers tried to check it out.
Sure enough. Three small holes drilled in the floor of their storeroom, directly above the shop, allowed them to see what was going on below.
It didn't take too long before the men made some startling discoveries. They found things were flying off their shelves -- literally. They also found some of the town's upstanding citizens weren't as upstanding as they had once appeared. So the brothers had identified the problem, and then they discovered a solution. No, they didn't arrest anyone.
At church and around town, they casually mentioned their peep holes in the store ceiling.
The shoplifting stopped immediately. And the brothers, they laughed every time they saw someone trying to look upwards to see if someone was watching.
Here's another story also from the 1800s.
It begins in the middle of the night when a man went to steal corn from his neighbor's field. His reluctant young son was drafted to serve as lookout. Before the man climbed over his friend's fence, he took one last long look to his left, then a long look to his right, and yet another long look over his shoulder. Not seeing anyone, he put his foot on the lowest fence rail.
It was at that moment his boy spoke up. "Dad," he said, "there's one direction you haven't looked."
The father, thinking that some unnoticed observer was coming, whispered back, "Where? Who?"
The boy replied, "Dad, you forgot to look up!"
The boy was right.
When we look up we realize that although we may be absolutely brilliant in hiding our sins from others, we are failures in hiding them from God.
We may wear our masks of respectability 24/7, but our all-knowing God sees past our disguises into the sinful recesses of our hearts. King David, an expert on trying to hide his sins, wrote, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me! Where shall I flee from Your presence?" (See Psalm 139.) David knew no matter which way we look, God is looking back.
But David also knew, as all Christians know, God looks back at us with eyes of love.
Most certainly He was saddened by our hated sins. And He decided to do something about them. To save us, to rescue us, He sent His Son to take our place under the Law and offer Himself as the ransom to rescue us. Now all who are brought to faith in the Savior know the Lord sees us with souls washed clean of transgression.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that I have been washed of my sins by Jesus' sacrifice. May I point others to Him, so they also might be rescued. In Jesus' Name Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries