Jesus came to “bind up the brokenhearted“, Isaiah 61:1, and it seems Jesus keeps showing me more and more places that need binding. Thursday, I was enjoying my commute and memories were flooding in with every sign and tree I noticed. Suddenly I saw and Old Mobil Gas Sign, (the one with the Red Flying horse) and the memory of the night my first wife broke my heart coming home from an adulterous affair and telling me what had happened, flooded my mind, my heart was shattered. Clearly Jesus was telling me there is a shard you left behind years ago, actually it was 1977, 41 years ago. Looking deeply into Isaiah 61:1 the word translated brokenhearted is the Hebrew word “shabar” defined broken into pieces, shards like glass, doesn’t your heart feel that way at times, part of you has been broken off and is still back in 1977.
Jesus had already prepped me in my prayer time with my word for the day being, “healing”. I was on my way to my men’s group, yesterday so I told the Holy Spirit we would take this up in the morning.
The next morning during my daily prayer when I asked for my word of the day, I expected something to do with the work I was going to begin with Jesus on healing my heart from that incident in 1977. I always close my eyes when I ask for my word from Jesus and when I closed them I got a a stunning vision of a black book, I knew it to mean the Bible. John Eldredge in a Ransom Heart podcast once noted that when you hear from the Lord be sure and ask the second or third question, don’t be shy, ask. So trying to understand why or where in the Bible he wanted me to head, clearly the spirit was leading me to the story in John 8 of the woman caught in adultery. So instead of just heading into a session with Jesus going over the incident. I first bathed my mind in that story.
Years ago I heard Max Lucado speak on “The God Who Stoops” an amazing look at Jesus posture throughout that incident, that gripped me as Jesus was at the Temple, they brought this lady to church, what humiliation. When the men brought her in, Jesus stoops, he didn’t stand to confront the women only later when he confronted the accusers did he stand. One thing I took particular note was the Greek Word katēgoros: defined “an accuser a name given to the devil by the rabbis.” I pondered,”where are those devils accusing you?” but I had no idea all that God had for me that morning.
So after I filled my mind with the story I went to Ransom Heart’s web site where you can get a sort of self help session with Jesus. It’s found in the Restoration of The Heart Series Video #7. I would recommend everyone watch the entire series and yes you’ll have to join, but they have a free membership for thirty day and a long term membership is worth it in my view. The Restoration of The Heart Series Video #7 is the one I have used many times, closed my eyes and let John Eldridge guide me through the traumatic shard breaking places in my life. Jesus has showed up every time I brought these stories of broken shards over the last couple years in huge ways for me.
So off I went back to that night in 1977 and it took me no time to see what Jesus was after, I had made an agreement that it was my fault, the betrayal was my fault? Yes, I had left my first wife at a party we were both at because it was too wild for me and I had begged her to come home and she said you go ahead I’ll be home in a little bit, angry I took the bait. There was the primary agreement that needed breaking, so I did that. “Lord I break the agreement with the lie that this was all my fault.” Naturally there were also a whole lot of forgiveness issues as well, Brenda (my 1st wife), the guy she slept with and me, (remember I blamed myself). I can’t begin to share the freedom these kind of experiences bring, but this was a small part of what Jesus had for me that morning.
Remember the vision of the Bible I had seen in my prayer, well during my normal routine in the last 30 minutes of my quiet time is to work on the commentary I have been writing for years on Jeremiah. I do a verse a day on the days I work on it or at least two or three a week, (these are written in the YouVersion Bible App and if you friend me you can read them if you are interested). So today I was on Jeremiah 46:19
Jeremiah 46:19 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
19 O daughter dwelling in Egypt,
get your bags ready for exile!
For Noph will become a ruin
laid waste, uninhabited.
“Pack your bags!” This scripture was originally written for the disobedient Israelites who had carried Jeremiah himself to Egypt. Idolaters, folks who had forsaken their real lover and His command to stay in the promise land and were now fixing to take the walk of shame to Babylon, if they lived to try.
As I began to write the Holy Spirit took over, really, I shocked myself as I understood what I had written, here is what I wrote…
“Pack your bags…as I study the Hebrew that is what it says… Hilarious in one sense, God’s clear instructions easily understood…. Tragic on all sorts of levels, the consequences, the lost opportunity of intimacy and love and shalom….
The trauma of moving when all has been lost…any like me who have been evicted, overwhelmed with loss, packing up driven by time working beyond exhaustion…
Caught in adultery paraded in front of the Pharisees naked to be condemned… Jesus is there, He stands up and says, “where are your accusers, has no one condemned you?” I say, “no one Lord.” Jesus says, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Yes I have been there but so was Jesus and he was in Memphis / Noph..that day too… My guess is that some saw Him and we’re also saved and understood… “There is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus.”
Now look up at the picture above, see the moving van and the Dealership, Westside Chrysler Dodge Jeep… Here too I had been betrayed by people I loved and here too I had made the agreement it was all my fault. This one I could see clearly my idolatry which is also adultery, a house and a business I had poured my life into expecting to get life back. God’s mercy sometimes looks a lot like exile. Yes there was the drive of shame when I lost the dealership, as I left it behind with many, many seeing my nakedness, and the day we loaded everything we had in a U-haul as the neighbors in “Clemmons West” looked, on pretty shameful.
A little over 10 years later, I would not trade the life in God I have had since for 20 dealerships and 50 houses. So I’m guessing the Jews that saw Jesus in the exile, and the lady brought to church in adultery having experienced grace from the Master, understood deeply, John 8:10 “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” and Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”