..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Defending the Truth as Lambs

On my way to church I pass a farm that
sometimes has a sign out front that
says, "Lambs for Sale." I try to think
the best about that but I always kind
of shudder. I think I should shudder.
There was once, and still gloriously
is, a Lamb, a precious spotless Lamb,
the Lamb of God, who was sold for
30 pieces of silver.

He is the One who gave His life
for us and the One who shows us
how to live as lambs.

In a world that teaches us that
exterior strength wins, and that
power is what changes things,
the Lamb of God sets His little
lambs free to do His Father's
will. So often there is a
tone of militarism in the church.
We are always fighting battles,
doing our warfare, singing
warrior songs, marching,
marching, defending, marching.

I'm wondering if we have just
whitewashed worldly war-making
with a Christian symbol and
gone off to fight our crusades
for truth, justice, and
frankly, the American way.

No doubt the church of Jesus
has taken some blows of late
and we can feel like we need
to be defending the truth. I
really want to revisit that
kind of thinking. I hope you
will, too.

I think we have a real call
to be lambs and we have a call
to defend the truth as lambs.

A lamb's only defense is its
innocence. A lamb's only protector
is its shepherd.

If I am going to the farm to
buy a lamb, the only hope for
that lamb is if I look at its
innocence and can't bring myself
to do it violence. It's only hope
is the intent of my heart to
offer it peace and not bloodshed.

In Israel, the lamb that would be
sacrificed was taken into the home
on the tenth day and sacrificed on
the fourteenthth day (Exodus 12)
--long enough to get attached to
it, long enough to feel horror at
its death, long enough to think
about what sin costs. It had to be
sacrificed. Jesus, the Father's
Lamb, had to be sacrificed.

Now no more. The Sacrificed Lamb
has been slain once and for all.
Now we are called by peace and
to peace. We are heralds
of a new and living way, a way of
peace. We need to be a sign and a
reminder to people that causes them
to repent of their violent ways and
all that their violence cost them
and cost God. Might we still suffer
violence at their hands? God knows.

When people look at us do they
feel like giving up their violence,
their warring,their sinning,
their fighting? Does something
melt in their hearts that takes
all the "fight" out of them?

Or do we provoke the warring spirit?
Are we prone to argumentativeness?
Do we shut our mouths and not
defend ourselves? "As a sheep before
its shearers is dumb, so He opened
not His mouth" (Isaiah 53:7).

The Lamb of God taught us not to
fight with our mouths. He showed us
not to defend ourselves with our mouths.
We may speak the truth, but He
does not call us to provoke others
to wrath. The truth, speaking louder
than words, can speak loudly through
the silence of the lamb.

A lamb's only protector is its
shepherd. As we go out into the
world we should feel incapable of
protecting ourselves in our own
strength. We should feel so ill-
equipped for violence that we
rely totally on our Shepherd to
protect us. There should be no back
up plans should He not deliver us.

I love that passage in the book
of Daniel when the three are in the
fiery furnace and are requested to
worship another god. They say,
"This is a no-brainer. Our answer
is no, we will not worship another
god, period. For 'our God, whom we serve
is able to deliver us ...and he will
deliver us,...but if not...be it
known that we will not worship
a golden image.' (Daniel 3: 16-18).

Such is the trust of a lamb.

Our calling as lambs is to a bold
but gentle meekness. The Lamb's
servants are meek and because of
this they shall inherit the earth
(Matthew 5:5). This is a new
earth and a new order, one where a
lamb is unafraid of lion, and where
the wolf is not willing to hurt the
lamb (Is. 11:6 ff- note: the wolf, not
the lion is said to lie down with the

Here is the victory of the Lamb's army.
Here is our call, our inheritance, and
our destiny.

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