Waiting for a thief
My dad, years ago, was convinced someone was stealing our plastic garbage cans. Weekly he’d put them out for the trash man to pick up, and next day, low and behold, they disappeared. It was a compelling moment, and the only reasonable thing was to load the gun and wait. It wasn’t a question of value, but a stand for possibilities. There were things of high worth that were at stake, and we had an appointment with a thief.
The concept of thieves stains our mind with a shadowy impression. We’re adjusting right now to almost electing a whole pile of thieves. Now, there are others, who are toying with evidence that we actually got hornswoggled by a pack of thieves.
This isn’t a question of when, we know the thief is coming. We can post it on our calendar. This is a scheduled event and will happen. When everybody’s walking around complacent and cocksure, congratulating each other—”We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.
It would be helpful to know what day this thief is coming. When’s this prince of thieves coming to turn our holy place into a hell hole?
Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; for the day of the LORD is at hand; for the LORD has prepared a sacrifice; He has invited His guests. And it shall be, in the day of the LORD’S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with foreign apparel. (Zeph.. 1:7-8)
This “day of the Lord” is not a 24 hour day. It is a time period with many events. The initial event is a major heist. A robbery of what most consider the deplorables.
A deplorable is someone who deserves strong condemnation:
They are disgraceful • shameful • dishonorable • unworthy and shockingly bad in quality.
They are lamentable • regrettable • unfortunate • wretched •atrocious • awful • terrible • dreadful • diabolical • sorry • poor • inadequate • appalling • dire • abysmal • woeful • lousy • grievous and of course, totally hated.
There is nothing attractive about a deplorable, nothing to cause us to want Him. They’re looked down on and ignored; they suffer and know pain firsthand. One look at a deplorable man and people turned away. We look down on Him, think He is scum.
But the fact is, this deplorable thief steals our pains. He carries them away— our disfigurements, thus all the things wrong with us.
We thought He brought it on himself, that God was punishing Him for His own failures. But it was our sins that did that to Him, that ripped and tore and crushed Him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we are healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and become lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all of our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on Him..
He was beaten, He was tortured, but He didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, He took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and He was led off— and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for His own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave; even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true. Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him. Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of our sins. Therefore I’ll reward Him extravagantly— the best of everything, the highest honors—Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sins of the many, he took up the cause of all the deplorables.
We found the garbage can thief. He was the wind blowing the empties into a jungle of blackberry briers. I love this thief.