Not There Yet

I’m nearing the completion of reading through my Day by Day Chronological Bible. I shared a few thoughts about this Bible here. It’s taken me nearly three years to get through, for life happens, and I’m easily distracted, especially when a pandemic unsettles our world. Rather than race through like a rabbit, I have continued to trudge through at a tortoise pace, wanting to glean whatever God had for me.

Recently, a Scripture passage brought a flashback to an earlier reading. This led me hunting to check if my memory was correct. Once I found the first passage, I knew why the current one triggered the flashback. Each passage roused emotions in me, emotions that stimulated deep, intense soul searching, leading me to my knees in gratitude to God. I’m grateful God connected the two passages revealing more of His character and magnifying Himself.

The recent passage is found in Paul’s letter to the saints in Rome:

“I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying; my conscience testifies to me through the Holy Spirit — that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the benefit of my brothers and sisters, my own flesh and blood” (Romans 9:1-3, CSB).

I bold the text that captured my attention, for it immediately brought to memory a passage from the Old Testament where Moses says something similar in conversation with God:

“So Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves. Now if you would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book you have written’ ” (Exodus 32:31-32, CSB).

Do you see the similarities between the two bolded phrases? Two faithful men of God willing to sacrifice eternity for the salvation of others. That is what I saw, and read, and moved me emotionally. I wept and confessed, “LORD, I’m not there yet. I don’t have the love to willingly sacrifice my assurance of eternity with You so that another could take my place. I know that’s not how it works. But Moses and Paul were willing—if it were possible. Father, through the Holy Spirit, change my heart. I cannot. Only You have the power and love to change hearts.”

Jesus has that unconditional kind of love and He made the ultimate sacrifice. Jesus traded places for me and you. He left Heaven, His rightful place, and took the penalty we have earned—death for our sins.

There are some diverse opinions and thoughts among commentaries and Biblical scholars about Paul’s statement in Romans 9:3. Most have to do with how the Greek word “anathema” is translated into English as cursed or accursed. Regardless of where a person lands on the interpretation of these verses, both men paint a picture of Christ’s substitutionary love with their words.

Dear Reader, are you there yet?

He [Paul] would submit to be treated as accursed, to be disgraced, crucified; and even for a time be in the deepest horror and distress; if he could rescue his nation from the destruction about to come upon them for their obstinate unbelief.

— Matthew Henry

Reference Source and Supporting Scripture:
“Romans 9:3” Commentaries, https://biblehub.com/commentaries/romans/9-3.htm. Accessed 17 October 2022.

“Then Paul replied, ‘. . . For I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus’ ” (Acts 21:13b, CSB).

Author Bio
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.

Would you like to know more about the afterlife and how you can be assured of eternity in Heaven? Check the Questions page.

Check the Free Gifts page for downloadable/printable study guides and resources.

Copyright © 2020-2022 Musings of Manette Kay™ All rights reserved. Requests to the author and publisher, Manette Kay, for permission.

“Nearly There” photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.
Open Bible photo by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash.

Published by musingsofmanettekay

Sharing bits of memoir in the format of devotionals, prayers, short stories, and occasionally a poem.

25 thoughts on “Not There Yet

  1. I am not there yet. I have come to believe that Jesus is all I really need. But I am not yet wiling to give Him up for anyone. I don’t think I’m even close because it is hard just to imagine. Good and thought provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jesus is all we need–Amen! Theologically, we don’t have to dwell on our “willingness” long because it’s impossible for anyone but Christ alone to atone for the sins of others.

      I hope my sharing will lead people to see what Christ did for us in a fresh way. As people muse on this idea, may they think less about Moses and Paul and more of Jesus Christ with humility and gratitude. Moses and Paul would concur, they don’t want us to elevate them to some sort of “hero” status. They were sinful men too, redeemed by the grace of God, like us.

      I’m glad the reading was thought provoking, Mama Lava. Yehovah bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I must congratulate you in finding this gem in your Bible study Manette; but what a challenge it is to us sister! I must confess I am far from ready for such a self sacrifice, especially today which has been challenging. I think this means I am very much a work in progress. God bless you today sister 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Alan, we are all works in progress. We need not let the enemy shame us rather allow the Holy Spirit to encourage and inspire us by the faith of these men. Men like us who had their own failings, weaknesses, and sins. These are men who learned to trust God as they learned to fear Him and were bold enough to respectfully question God. I’m thinking of each man’s unique encounter with God:
      • Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3) enters a relational dialogue right from the start.
      • Paul when being struck blind on the Damascus road (Acts 9 and 22) asks God two questions: “Who are you Lord?” and “What should I do?”

      Moses and Paul had free-will to surrender and obey like we do. Yet even our faith is a gift from our gracious Heavenly Father and we can pray, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

      Yehovah bless you as you walk in faith and serve God with your gifts and talents.

      Like

    1. Robert, adoration of our Savior is what I hoped to inspire from this post and you’ve hit upon the second. The Father’s unconditional love in us through the Holy Spirit will lead us to prayer and sharing the Gospel.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yehovah bless you.

      Like

  3. That is a heavy question and one if those things that only God can prepare us for. As Jesus told His disciples in John 13 “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now…” But later on all of them but Judas did follow…but in a farmer’s terms – it was a long hard row to hoe. What a wonderful patient Savior we have that He teaches each of us how to follow in His own perfect way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, Pastor Pete, only God can prepare us. Thank you for sharing the supporting Scripture about the disciples. Please see my reply to Manu, it sums up what I hope will be the take-a-way from the post. I think you captured it too. Yehovah bless you.

      Like

  4. Wow! Manette you really made me reflect in awe of what Christ has done for us. I am not there yet too and as such in contrast the extent that Christ went for our sake is beyond words. I never want to take that for granted.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Manu. Your response blesses my soul! You captured the message of this post it’s about what Christ did rather than the lives of Paul and Moses.

      We can be inspired by many from the Bible and throughout history but that’s not where we should land. We can go deeper into the core of why an individual inspires. In this instance, Paul and Moses are inspirational because their lives are an imitation of Christ.

      Inspiration is often a fleeting warm fuzzy feeling, whereas imitation = action. I want to land in the latter. It sounds like you have, Manu. Yehovah bless you.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Thanx, Manu. How different the world would be if more were willing to die for their lost loved ones and enemies.
    “A man really believes not what he cites in his creeds, but only the things he is ready to die for.” (Richard Wurmbrand)
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand’s story. Their lives are amongst those that imitate Christ well. I support the mission he founded, “Voice of the Martyrs”.

      C.A. thanks for reading and commenting. Yehovah bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all, Manette, it warmed my heart to read about your reading through the Bible; my church began a three-year plan in mid-Feb. of last year, so we’re over halfway there. Second, I have heard those two passages linked before; even though it’s impossible to “trade” eternities, so to speak, with someone else, both men show the depth of love in their hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The depth of love in their hearts is extraordinary––Holy Spirit infused!

      Keith, it’s nice to do reading plans with others. I started with a small group of women and we were meeting until the pandemic hit. I know that two others finished at about a year (that was our original plan). A couple gave it up after we were no longer meeting and I kept going at my tortoise pace. I’m glad I did because I’ve learned a lot.

      Yehovah bless you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I cannot pray that prayer of Moses or Paul either. I even find it hard to pray “whatever it takes, Lord” for loved ones to turn to Jesus. I have a long way to go to die to self!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My wife stood in line, a long line, at a bookstore to meet and greet one of her favorite devotional authors. When it was her turn at the author’s table, my wife told her how much she soaks up her written words, and how she can’t wait to dive into the new book just out. The writer smiled, hugged her and simply said, “Go with God.”. The journey seems lengthy with turns and curves and cliff edges, but I am not there just yet.

    Liked by 1 person

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