September 7, 2020

Unbidden and Unearned

And God would have fed them with the fat of wheat, and with honey out of the rock would I have sufficed thee.
Ps 81:16 (Geneva Bible)

At the end of Psalm 81, the psalmist talks about a people who have closed their ears and hearts to God. But it need not be this way. The grace of God is still grace. Our rejection of it is no more possible than preventing the sun from rising. The final verse is a demonstration of this:

Fat does not drip from wheat stalks (after all, מֵחֵלֶב חִטָּה doesn't mean finest wheat, but wheat-fat), and rocks to not ooze honey. Yet this is what is on offer to the people of God. We can talk all we want about what's really meant by these strangely beautiful images, but I would maintain that they are but metaphors for grace—something impossible on their own, and inexplicable in human terms, and yet something unbidden and unearned that drips and flows from the bounteous hand of God for the nourishment of the elect:

Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. 
Ps 81:10 (Geneva Bible)

While I am not active in earning or creating grace, action might well be my response: Filled with the good things of God, I can praise the giver and share the gift with my neighbors.

Open my heart to receive your goodness, Lord—a goodness that is out of reach without you, but—with your help—strengthens and inspires me to reach out to others in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

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