A Hopeless Mess

by Sharon Betters

 

TODAY’S TREASURE

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity God put us right. A pure gift. God got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where we were intended to be all along. And God did this through Jesus Christ.”

Romans 3.22-24 The MSG

 

Leonard Cohen, author of A Broken Hallelujah was Jewish. For a time he also practiced Buddhism. He was not a professing Christian and there is a dark message in this song as well. In explaining the message of A Broken Hallelujah Cohen said: “I know that there is an eye watching all of us. There is a judgment that weighs everything we do.” This message shows up in the last phrase of A Broken Hallelujah:

I did my best, it wasn’t much

And even though it all went wrong

I’ll stand before the Lord of Song

With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.

For the one who lives life trying to please that One who is watching and ready to judge, these are words of despair, because no matter how hard we try we fall short. We mess up. We sin. We realize we cannot ever be enough to please God. When our mantra is to just try hard and hope for the best, there is no assurance of God’s love and acceptance because it is only through the sacrifice of Jesus that we are redeemed – not by trying hard.

For a child of God, one who has been forgiven and experienced salvation purchased  by Jesus, these are words full of hope. We know that our best, is at best a mess. We might “do everything right” but tragedy forever breaks our hearts. Our best often leads to a place where everything goes wrong. Like King David or Samson, we make life changing choices that lead to agony and life-long consequences. We deliberately gossip, slander, hold onto anger and bitterness. We struggle to obey God’s call to gratitude and a “long obedience in the same direction.” Today’s Treasure, Romans 3:22-24 reminds us that:

we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us,

God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity God put us right. A pure gift!

That truth drives us to the Cross where we experience forgiveness in a way that makes us want that grace again and again. When we come as God’s children, cleansed by the blood of Jesus, broken and repentant we discover that all the time His grace covered us.  His blessings were new every morning. At that moment, we surrender with a broken hallelujah for His mercy.

Only the redeemed can sing such a broken hallelujah. Revelation 14:3 says:

and they were singing a new song before the throne

and before the four living creatures and before the elders. 

No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

God gives us a new song through redemption that comes from knowing Jesus as Savior. While millions sing a generic Hallelujah, those who truly know Jesus sing a different Hallelujah. A Broken Hallelujah starts with a personal relationship to God through Jesus, and a growing sense of His constant presence and overwhelming love and grace. Knowing what God has done through His Son, Jesus, and the grace He extends to His children every day enables us to sing a broken hallelujah and even more, to live a life that is a broken hallelujah.

Leonard Cohen recognized his best wasn’t good enough. He didn’t understand that he could come to the end of his life with confidence that because of Jesus, he could stand before God with nothing but a Hallelujah that flowed from gratitude for the sacrifice of Jesus. Instead he would stand before God with Hallelujah on his lips, hoping for mercy.

Once more, review Today’s Treasure that reminds us of the indescribable gift of salvation that compels Hallelujah to flow from our hearts, whether in the every day mundane or broken seasons of life:

Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity God put us right. A pure gift. God got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where we were intended to be all along. And God did this through Jesus Christ.”

Romans 3.22-24 The MSG

 

PRAYER

Oh Lord, thank you that by the gift of Jesus, You provide a way for us to experience forgiveness and eternal life through His sacrifice. Thank you that it’s through redemption that we learn to sing Hallelujah.

 
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at dailytreasure@gmail.com.