You probably remember those times in class when the teacher had to leave. Either they were dragging the kid who had shouted an obscenity at the teacher to the office, or they were headed to the restroom. The teacher would look at a good student and say, “You, watch the class!” Then they would turn around to a second good student and say, “You, watch him! (or her)” The idea was that the first student would actually watch the class and play favorites. Every teacher who has had to do this, though, always saw the head looking out and the door closing quickly as they rounded the corner when they came back to the room. Everything was fine, No one caused trouble. Until the next door teacher asked what was happening while they were gone.
The passage from Isaiah in today’s readings remind me of that attitude. People seem to think the same thing about God. They don’t see Him physically. They don’t hear Him speak. God’s not around so they can do whatever they want. There is a time, though, when people will return to Him. “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:27-28)
God doesn’t need the teacher next door, or anyone else to tell Him what we’ve been doing. He knows. A lot of us seem to think that God has asked us to “watch the class” until He comes back. We do a great job of pointing out what other people are doing wrong. We’re just waiting for God to come back so we can tattle on them so that God will know, as if He didn’t, about their bad behavior. We have forgotten what others could say about us when we want to be the class watchers. We have forgotten the grace of God.
God has never left the classroom. God is still present in this world and the Holy Spirit guides us gently in HIs grace. Our job is to let others know about God’s grace, no be self-appointed policemen of thoughts and behaviors. As we bring people into the presence of God’s grace, the forgiveness that comes because Jesus paid the price changes us. We will turn to the Lord and follow His rule. While the Holy Spirit still guides us in the world, we also know that Jesus is coming again. Until He comes again, our privilege, our joy, should be to share the good news that God’s grace can cover our sins and we can be right with God.
Lord, so many people need to know You and too often I have focused on their behavior instead of Your grace. Let them be convicted of their sin not because I point it out, but because Your grace drives it out and makes them clean again. But Lord, cleanse me first.