Saturday, 18 July 2015

Dear Pilgrim, has He breathed upon you?

Dear Pilgrim, has He breathed upon you? Has the living God breathed life into you?

For so long, dear Pilgrim, you chased after the wind. When you surveyed all your hands had done, all you had toiled to achieve, you saw that everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind, that nothing was gained under the sun (Ecclesiastes 2:11). You saw that everyone, yourself included, is senseless and without knowledge, shamed by the idols they trust in, for those images are false – for they have no breath in them (Jeremiah 10:14).

But God, the God who gives breath to all living things, came and He called your name. The One in whose hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:10) came near. The One who made the heavens by His word and their starry host by the breath of His mouth (Psalm 33:6) came close to you.

He came so close that He breathed into your nostrils – He gave you the kiss of life.

He breathed, and His breath came from the four winds (Ezekiel 37:9).

He breathed, and the east wind came! The east wind came in judgement to scorch, to wither and shrivel up the fruit of the world from you (Ezekiel 19:12). For this fruit has no place in Him, this fruit that you bore for death (Romans 7:5). It was consumed by the east wind of judgement.

He breathed, and the north wind came! The north wind came in power and brought an unexpected storm upon you (Proverbs 25:23). You saw clearly for the first time your meaningless chasing after the wind. O Pilgrim, how you cried out to Him as you stood there, stripped and naked before Him, as the storm blew away all the fig leaves that you had attempted to clothe yourself in, your own righteousness of filthy rags ripped away by the powerful north wind.

He breathed, and the west wind came! The west wind carried your sins and iniquities far away (Exodus 10:19). The west wind came and hurled your iniquities into the depths of the sea. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:12).

He breathed, and the south wind came! The gentle south wind (Acts 27:13) brought a hush and calmness upon you (Job 37:17) as He clothed your nakedness with His own righteousness. For the first time you rested in Him. A wondrous peace came into your heart as realisation dawned on you that you had been reconciled to Him. He gave you the kiss of life – and righteousness and peace kissed each other deep within your heart (Psalm 85:10), the heart that He had now won for Himself.

So His breath came from the four winds, and brought life (Ezekiel 37:9). The One who rebuked the wind (Mark 4:39-41) and terrified His disciples when they saw how the wind obeyed Him came, and He breathed upon you and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). And for the first time you were able to exclaim, “The Spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty gives me life!” (Job 33:4). And you began to see that it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding (Job 32:8), for understanding comes from the mouth of the Lord (Proverbs 2:6).

O Pilgrim, you now see how meaningless it is to trust in idols. For when those who trust in them cry out for help, the wind will carry the idols off, a mere breath will blow them away (Isaiah 57:13). There is no breath in the mouth of the idols (Psalm 135:17). But His breath, the breath of the living God, is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck (Isaiah 30:28). The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen (Job 37:10). The valleys of the sea are exposed and the foundations of the earth are laid bare at His rebuke, at the blast of breath from His nostrils (2 Samuel 22:16). With righteousness He will come and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth; with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked (Isaiah 11:4). The Lord Jesus will overthrow the lawless one with the breath of His mouth and destroy him by the splendour of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Who is like our God?

O Pilgrim, as we tremble, watching and waiting for His return, may we draw close to Him. May we lean against His breast, just as the beloved disciple did, and who was later chosen to receive a great revelation from Him. For the One who creates the wind is the One who reveals His thoughts to mankind (Amos 4:13). May the God-breathed words of Scripture be our meditation and our food, as He unfolds His words to give us understanding. May the fragrance of our breath be to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. And may He receive praise from everything that has breath!