It’s rare that I cry in church, but today we sang this hymn, and I did cry. I think if I really understood the things we talk about in church, I would cry more–I am sinful, people are broken, and God is pursuing us to save us for Himself. Sometimes I just don’t believe these things about myself. Why did I cry today? I’m not sure. The church was full, and everyone was singing beautifully. But I wasn’t feeling forgiven. I wasn’t feeling holy.
This morning, I read Jeremiah 1–where God tells Jeremiah that he was consecrated from before he was born, that he had been chosen to speak the words of God to the nations, “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” And I also read 1 Peter 2:9-10:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
I am a chosen nation. I am a royal priesthood. This morning I wasn’t feeling it. I was feeling downtrodden. I have so much medicine to learn, I can’t “pluck up and break down, destroy and overthrow, build and plant.” I sin too much. I don’t have time.
So I guess the hymn spoke to me this morning. I was feeling like I hadn’t done enough. I’ve been a Christian for so long, but what have I sacrificed? I was discouraged by this, but I hadn’t thought to look to God. The hymn turned my mind to God, to Jesus his Son who justifies me in spite of my inadequacy. The power to be a “holy priesthood” comes from Jesus’ sacrifice. I’m a holy priesthood because my name is graven on his hands, not because I’ve done or not done something.
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great High Priest whose name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God, the just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I Am,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Saviour and my God.
I had trouble finding a good version of this hymn, but here’s the best I’ve found so far. It’s worth a listen (although probably not a watch):