black holes

for when my heart is cold, my fingers numb – when i think i can no longer repent. read His word and be amazed, be in awe once again.

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I remember being stunned the first time i watched Interstellar; the scene with the black hole left me particularly speechless. I remember hitting pause on my laptop just to stare at the spectacle before me, cosmic vastness captured in 15 square inches. I remember being in awe of the amount of engineering that must have gone into recreating that scene, the work of organizations like NASA that have allowed us to even conceive of what a black hole looks like. The beauty and scale of the scene shook me.

Granted, it is easy to stun a Singaporean. We are a people who rarely look up, because the streetlight-stars we see are too small to shock. Hence, even the smallest flicker of an actual star is enough to set our hearts racing. Who would be surprised that the representation of a black hole would enthrall us so?

Yet even now I can remember moments when the beauty of nature stood before me, but I was left unmoved. Sunsets at the end of tiresome days, my eyes too weak, too drooped to catch even a beam. Days when I am a crescent moon turned into myself, all those moments of beauty I missed. It takes little to distract us, to chill our hearts that they remain cold even under the sun.

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The Hebrews were like us in many ways. Constant in complaint, blind to God’s persistent grace and mercy. They were a people turned inward, people who looked to themselves as gods, who crafted for themselves gods.

Jeremiah 2:13 – ‘For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves —  cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.’

Another way of phrasing this: My people have rejected me, the best thing they could ever have, and have instead turned away towards false gods who cannot compare to me.

In other words, they remain numb to God – He no longer excites their hearts, no longer is He our fountain of living water.

The prophet Micah prophesied to Jerusalem, calling out their sin and speaking judgement upon the city of God.

Micah 6:12-14

“For the wealthy of the city are full of violence, and its residents speak lies; the tongues in their mouths are deceitful.

“As a result, I have begun to strike you severely, bringing desolation because of your sins.

“You will eat but not be satisfied, for there will be hunger within you. What you acquire, you cannot save, and what you do save, I will give to the sword.’

We often look at the judgement of Israel and Judah and think, ‘Indeed, the Israelites were horrible, stubborn people. They had it coming.’

For sure they did. Yet do these words not ring true for us today as well, even within the church? What then shall we do with these words of condemnation?

What stands out to me the most however is Micah’s final recorded words in 7:18-20.

Who is a God like you, forgiving iniquity and passing over rebellion for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not hold on to his anger forever because he delights in faithful love.

He will again have compassion on us; he will vanquish our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

You will show loyalty to Jacob and faithful love to Abraham, as you swore to our fathers from days long ago.’

Who is a God like you? These are the words of a man stunned! Shocked, laid bare, undone not by mighty power, but by incredible mercy and grace.
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We are rarely stunned by God’s forgiveness because we rarely remember just how undeserving we are of it. The fact that we can repent and again hope in Jesus is amazing news!

It is easy to stun a Singaporean because he so rarely sees the stars, so when it comes he is amazed. How much more should we be stunned by the forgiveness of God when it extends to a people like us!
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We are no different from the people of Israel. Have we not sinned, carving out our own little thrones to sit on? Do we not constantly reject his kingship, setting up our own rules and laws?

We are not a people who deserve forgiveness. We deserve death. Yet God’s forgiveness has extended to us. Who is a God like He? Who loves like He? Who is merciful like He?

Holiness is a summary attribute of God for He is so set apart – there is none like He, in any way, shape or form.
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What then shall we do with the words of condemnation and judgement we read in the prophets?

Let them sink in. Let them strike your heart. Let yourself be made aware of your sin and how much you deserve His wrath.

Then turn to Jesus, and be amazed at the forgiveness God has given to us. Put your faith in Him and remember that He is yours forevermore.

Truly His mercy and love is like no other.

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