Friday, February 20, 2015

A visit at Martha's House, part 20: Jesus, the Defender

But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42 NASB)

A very interesting thing happened at Martha's house the day Jesus came to visit. After He arrived, he went straight to the business of preaching. That's probably not what He would have called it, but he sat down and started talking. When He talked, He spoke truth that needed to be heard, and Mary did not want to miss a word. She positioned herself at His feet and listened intently. Martha, however, was scurrying about, "making preparations" for her guests, but not spending time with those guests.

As we have seen, Martha was frustrated with Mary for not helping her and that frustration rose to such a point that Martha took her anger to Jesus. "Mary is not helping! You come here with a dozen men and it is a lot of work to take care of You! Tell her to come and help me!" That's not how she said it, but it was the essence of what she said. Martha went to Jesus expecting that He would defend her. What a surprise it was for her when He did not!

It's interesting to me that Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and did not say a word. She did not get up, either. I would have popped up and hurried to calm the conflict. I would have wanted to defend myself. Not Mary. She sat calmly at the feet of Jesus and stayed put, letting Jesus defend her if He would, and defend her is exactly what He did.

Scripture is filled with images of our Lord as a strong tower, a defense in time of trouble, a refuge in the storm, and Mary found that to be true in the small storm brewing around her at Martha's house. Our Lord is a strong tower and we can run to Him for refuge. 

For Thou hast been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, and shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a rain storm against a wall.  Isaiah 25:4 NASB

He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. Psalm 91:4 NASB

My tendency is to want Jesus to defend me, no matter what, but a look at this passage shows us that, in the dispute between two much loved women, Jesus chose the part of the one at His feet. The refuge under His wings described in Psalm 91:4 is a beautiful place, but it is promised to the one who "dwells in the shelter of the Most High." 

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide n the shadow of the Almighty." 
Psalm 91:1 NASB

Many times, Israel found themselves on the receiving end of discipline from the Lord that they did not expect. Israel, though much loved and blessed by God, was also disciplined by Him when they turned away from Him. It was only when their hearts turned back toward Him that His defense would come.

This is a hard word, and I hesitate to speak it, but it is one we would do well to consider. It is one I, myself, need to remember. Our Lord will not defend my sin. If I choose the way of the world, I should not expect Him to embrace my choice nor to defend my choice. It is only when I choose "the good part" that He will defend the choice I have made. Will He still love me when I do wrong? Of course, He still loves us, but our perfect God has no part with the sin of this world except to cleanse us from it.

The beautiful truth that Mary found is one I have found as well.  The faithful disciple can count on our faithful Lord to defend our walk of obedience. What uncommon, unbounded, amazing grace is found when I embrace the simple life of following Him. In that walk of discipleship, I do not have to defend myself, for my Lord will rise to my defense Himself. He is a strong tower, and, though the breath of the ruthless come against that tower like a raging storm, the walls will hold. (Isaiah 25:4) Isn't that a beautiful image? 

Dear ones, may you and I position ourselves at the feet of Jesus, staying there no matter what storm comes against us, confident that our Lord will not only protect us, He will defend us, as well.