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At the Heart of the Story

At the Heart of the Story

Exodus 9:16-17

“‘“But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go.”’”

I believe wholeheartedly that God has painted the best masterwork of all, and that from the hindsight of heaven, when the final threads of Redemption’s tapestry are woven, and when every detail of the fabric is seen and understood, we’ll drop our jaws in astonishment at all He’s done; yet from this present, finite vantage point, I can’t help but think that the picture would’ve been better had Pharaoh stopped puffing out his chest, fallen on his knees, and cried out with Isaiah, “Oh LORD, am a man of unclean lips!” or with John the Baptizer, “I must decrease and He must increase!” or with David, “Forgive my iniquity and revive my heart anew!”

Think of it, friend: the power of the gospel Paul speaks to in Romans 1:16 is not a sweeping fist of destruction but an outstretched hand of redemption. Which is why the songs that stir our hearts the most don’t have lyrics like, “You rained down hail on your enemies!” or “You put boils on the skin of our captors!” or “You turned the waters into rivers of death!” but “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound! That saved a wretch like me!” and “Thou, O Lord, are a shield for me! My Glory and the lifter of my head!” and “To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry! Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky!”

Let’s take this to heart today: God has raised us up for a special commission, to display the power of His everlasting love and mercy to sinners in need, to share His healing word with the broken and bruised in our lives, and to exalt His Name through our affections, words, and deeds. That’s living in the heart of the story. To do any other is to get lost in the margins.