Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Bethany Bullet - October 5, 2010

*This week’s Bethany Bullet is from the Monthly Chimes Devotion. This past Sunday’s sermon was one that could not be reproduced Bullet-wise. You can hear the sermon from October 3rd, again as a pod-cast through the Bethany website.

When you hear the word “tender” what comes to mind? I must admit that the first thing I think of when hearing the word tender is TJ Detweiller.

  • Who? He is the middle school star character in Disney’s cartoon, Recess.
  • Why? When something really good has happened, TJ’s response is “Tender!”

TJ opts for “tender” over “great,” “awesome,” or “wonderful.”

TJ isn’t even king of the playground, Bob is, but that might be more than you need to know. So, maybe your mind jumped to the radio rather than to television. Undoubtedly, you know the “king” at least, who gets that title in pop-culture, and it very well could be that the above question got you humming, “Love me tender...”

On the other side of the spectrum, “tender” is something people do with their resignations as well. Through events at work or politics maybe that is the first thing you thought of when I asked what came to mind with the word “tender.”

Historically, “tender” was another term used for money or payment. Perhaps that is the first thing you thought of when you considered the word “tender.”

I would be surprised if anyone said the first thing that came to mind was God; whether in a text or as an attribute we often don’t list “tender” high on the list in our thoughts of God; that isn’t all that shocking to be honest, that isn’t all that shocking. The word “tender,” is only recorded a dozen times in Scripture. In ten of those occasions the reference is to something or someone else other than God. One time it is used metaphorically of God’s servant, i.e. the Messiah, “He grew up before him like a tender shoot.” (Isaiah 53:2a) The other time it describes the emotion behind God’s saving work in sending the Messiah’s forerunner (i.e. John the Baptist) “...to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God.” (Luke 1:77, 78)

Yet, this month we are focusing on the truth that God’s heart is a tender one. Is there any way we can reasonably say God’s heart is a tender one when the word itself is used so sparingly in Scripture? The answer to that comes from God’s own mouth. Through the prophet Isaiah, God speaks. This is what He says, “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, and that she has received for the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.” (Isaiah 40:1-2)

“Jerusalem,” that is God’s people, could do nothing to make amends for their debts incurred by sin. Nevertheless, the Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, and ultimately through the Lord Jesus Christ, would let Jerusalem receive good things instead, and, in fact, it was a “doubling down” of good things from the gracious hand of God, despite what His people deserved.

+ God would provide the payment, i.e. “tender.” (See Romans 3:25)

+ Jesus would offer, i.e. “tender,” Himself in our stead, an offering fully accepted by His Father. (See II Cor. 5:18-21)

+ So gentle, “tender” is His disposition that is love, toward us that He would reject His own Son in order to never let us go. (See John 3:16)

+ All of which leaves us with nothing to say but, as in the words of TJ Detweiller, “Tender!”
(See Eph. 2:4; Tit 2:13; I Jn. 3:1, also Psalms 47:2; 66:3; 68:35 & 111:9, and finally Ps. 31:21)

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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