Kevin Labby is Senior pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Winter Springs, Florida.

This site is offered for the growth and encouragement of its members and friends.

Devotional - Rescued and Restored

Devotional - Rescued and Restored

"I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel."

- Genesis 3:15

Have you ever seen the movie Taken?

Don’t worry, if you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil anything. But know that it’s a rough movie with rough themes (definitely not for children), but ultimately redemptive. In fact, I dare say that, despite its gritty portrayal of human depravity, it mirrors the gospel in some ways exceeding many other movies, even those with more overtly religious themes.  

Basically, it’s the story of a girl who disobeys her father’s commands. The rules are neither excessive nor burdensome. They're designed to protect her. Nevertheless, she chooses to disregard her father's will and do her own thing. In doing so, she exposes herself to horrific evil. She’s kidnapped and held captive by human traffickers.

In her last desperate call to her father, right before being taken, her father calmly describes what is about to happen to her as a result of her disobedience – while also assuring her of a single, undeniable truth: he will come for her.

The rest of the movie is the father’s formidable and ferocious campaign to rescue his daughter at any cost. Let's just say that, as the movie unfolds, it becomes increasingly clear that the gang tangled with the wrong father. 

The Scriptures tell a somewhat similar story.

God created us in his image, and entered into a covenant with us. He gave us commandments, but these were neither excessive nor burdensome. They were designed to protect us, to promote our true freedom and flourishing. Consequently, disobeying them involved a most grave curse: suffering and death (see Genesis 3). 

Adam and Eve, seduced by Satan in the form of a serpent, succumbed to temptation and committed cosmic treason. Spiritually, they died that very moment. They lost the desire and the ability to truly love God, to honor and cherish him above all else. They went from those who walked with God in the cool of the day to those fleeing from him. They were at once alienated from themselves, one another, the creation, and God himself. They were, in the words of Scripture, taken captive (2 Timothy 2:26). 

Immediately, God called them to account. He told them what would happen as a result of the curse, the misery resulting from their newfound captivity to sin and death. 

Amazingly, however, God wrapped a promise of rescue within the curses; the first promise of grace. We read it in the earliest pages of the Bible, in Genesis 3:15. One day, God would send a son, born of the woman, to crush the serpent’s head - i.e. to destroy him and his work.

And so, even as the dark specter of hell was falling over the world – its death, disease, destruction – the light of God’s love and grace could not be extinguished. He would win. The rebellion would be crushed and paradise lost would one day be restored. With the ferocity of a loving Father, he was coming for us. 

This is the heart of the Advent season. We take time to remember that God didn't turn his back on us when we turned our back on him. He told us clearly what would happen as a result of our sin, but promised a coming rescue born of relentless love. 

Child of God: As humanity waited millennia for the light of Jesus Christ to shine in his first advent (coming), we now wait for his return.  When he appears, everything will change. As hymn writer, Isaac Watts, so beautifully wrote in Joy to the World:

No more let sin and sorrow grow
Nor thorns infest the ground:
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

Everything wrong will be made right. Everything sad will be made untrue. All that's been lost will be found. He's coming to make all things new. 

You're loved. Don't forget it. 

Devotional - The Bright Light of Jesus

Devotional - The Bright Light of Jesus

Devotional - A Prince or Princess in God's Kingdom

Devotional - A Prince or Princess in God's Kingdom