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I, I am the one who blots out your rebellious deeds for my sake; your sins I do not remember.
Earlier, in verses 14-15, the speaker calls Himself, "The Lord, your Holy One, Israel's creator and King." It is not by our own power, but by the power of God in Christ Jesus: that is the power that blots out our sins. It is the blood of the Lamb! This promise rings throughout scripture: that God's design for us was always to redeem us to Himself and reconcile our broken relationship. Sin broke our relationship with God in the garden of Eden. Jesus Christ restores that relationship, and allows us to receive His grace and forgiveness of sins. When God looks on believers in Christ He sees His perfect Son standing in the breech. Jesus' righteousness is credited to us; sinners in desperate need of a Savior.
Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls for yourselves and go first, for you are the majority. Invoke the name of your god, but do not light a fire.” So they took a bull, as he had suggested, and prepared it. They invoked the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us.” But there was no sound and no answer. They jumped around on the altar they had made. At noon Elijah mocked them, “Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.” So they yelled louder and, in accordance with their prescribed ritual, mutilated themselves with swords and spears until their bodies were covered with blood. Throughout the afternoon they were in an ecstatic frenzy, but there was no sound, no answer, and no response.
The prophets of Baal take their turn, and Baal does not answer. The first instinct of these prophets is to change what they are doing, because that might move Baal to answer. They jump on the altar, they shout louder, they cut themselves with weapons until they are covered in blood. Some of this may be in response to Elijah mocking them, but cutting themselves was a "custom" that they followed regularly. The point is, 450 prophets are frantically calling out to Baal from morning until evening, and there is no answer. Nothing consumes their sacrifice. Next up, Elijah and the living God.
When they were all satisfied, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves left over by the people who had eaten. Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus performed, they began to say to one another, “This is certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone.
After miraculously feeding 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, The disciples gather up the "leftovers". Why are there leftovers? Try to place yourself in this crowd. How would you feel looking on as disciples come around to you with the all you can eat bread & fish buffet, and then see them collecting leftovers? All of this blessing came from so very little. We cannot fathom what God is able to do in and through our lives. He is able to bless infinitely, to change hearts infinitely. Jesus is MORE than enough for each one of us. He truly is the bread of life.
O Lord, you examine me and know. You know when I sit down and when I get up; even from far away you understand my motives. You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; you are aware of everything I do.
Consider today how you live your life. Do you ever act like nobody is watching? Do you ever think as if nobody else knows what you're thinking? Today, hear the truth: the Lord searches you and knows you perfectly. This truth forever propels us toward grace, because if it was not for the grace of God in Christ Jesus, we could not be in relationship with Him. Because of grace, God sees the righteousness of Christ when He looks upon a person who believes in Jesus. Isaiah 43:25 says, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins." You have been set free to rely on the power of God and sin no more. He knows your ways, and He is able to deliver you from evil every time. Take courage, and trust in the complete sufficiency of Christ.
I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart.
Jesus is praying for His disciples, and those who would come to believe in Him. Jesus prays for us to live in this world, but to live remembering that we do not belong to the world. We are set apart as Christ was set apart: set apart in the truth of God's Word. We have been sent by Jesus Christ into the world to live transformed and restored by the love of God. If you have ever felt like you don't belong to this world, please know that you are feeling the truth of God touch your heart. The truth is, we don't belong to the world, we belong with Jesus living eternally in heaven. He has called us to live in this world with courage and compassion, and has appealed to the Father on our behalf! He has blessed us and goes with us as we live for God.