Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The loosener of knots

I'm back in my Daniel study again after lapsing a bit this last week. It's no excuse, but being sick left me so tired, I chose the easy route and did not engage in active bible study the last few days. Lord, please change this about me so that I might not choose the easy way of this world, but give me a heart that chooses you in every circumstance!

I'm at the point in Daniel where king Belshazzar has been frightened to death by handwriting on the wall. The queen mother comes and tells him about a Jew named Daniel, who "was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems" (Daniel 5:12).

That last phrase, "solve difficult problems," in Aramaic is literally "the loosening of knots," implying that Daniel could loosen "knotty" things or difficulties. The question was then posed: what knots do you wish God would enable you to loosen?

I have to admit, I had no idea when I came across the question. What in my life is "knotty"? I don't know.

But what if I phrase it a different way: what is there in my life that ties me up, or entangles me?

Ah, now, that is easier to answer.
1. My temper - I don't get "angry" so much as frustrated, and I have been frustrated a lot this past year. It does no one any good, and only works to entangle me in sin.

2. My tongue - ain't this the truth for most all of us? How often do our tongues get us in trouble? Cursing. Using the name of the LORD in an unholy way. Gossiping. Speaking less than the truth. Convincing ourselves (or, worse, others) that the lies Satan tells us are the truth.

3. My self-reliance - here I am not talking about physical reliance, but that ridiculous part of my ego that says I can handle things on my own. The part that tries to tell me that I don't really need God's help, I can figure out life, the universe, and everything without Him. The part that makes me worry until I'm sick about things I have no control over because it says I should have control.

There are others as well. Oh, how these have tied me - chained me, really - to sin. They tie me to the worst parts of myself, and work to prevent the glorious mercies of God from transforming me like He desires to do.

But, friends, there is glorious, wonderful news for all of us who tie ourselves up until we are strangling in our sin and pride.

Christ is the great un-tier. Listen to what He proclaims in Isaiah:

For the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion -
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of HIS splendor.
~Isaiah 61:1-3

He is the great releaser, the freer, the one who can take our chains (and our knots) and bring complete freedom. He brings beauty, gladness, and praise to replace our ashes, mourning, and despair.

Paul wrote that "the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who, with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).  He brings freedom as He transforms us from our sinful selves into reflections of His glory. 

Paul also wrote that "anyone who has died has been freed from sin ... count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:7, 11).

The good news is this, friends: we do not have to spend our lives (or eternity) tied up, chained, constrained, and constricted. We serve the Almighty God, the freer of prisoners, the untier of knots, and the giver of LIFE!

Oh, Lord, untie my knots, release me from my chains, and transform me ever more into your glorious likeness, that I might reflect you and proclaim my freedom in you!

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