Jeremiah 23:5 (NIV) “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.
Luke 19:2-4 (NIV) A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him, since Jesus was coming that way.
Go Out on a Limb
Risk-taking is in the natural tendencies of some people, but not most. Believing in God, stepping out in faith and forging a path that God has called His children to walk is risk-taking. Since many of us shy away from risk-taking, we can miss out on the great blessings that God has prepared for us because we refuse to take that first step with Him into the unknown. Is God drawing you down a path of the unknown? Are you taking it?
Genesis 12: 1-3 (NIV) The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Abram/Abraham left everything to follow God’s leading. God called him out of his native land so that all the world would be blessed by God. What if Abram had never left? The outcome could have been very different. God’s will is always accomplished, so He would have called someone else. Abram would have been the one to miss out on the blessings of God. Don’t be left out! God wants to bless you in His way!
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus. He was short and devised a way to get over the crowd to catch a glimpse of Jesus. He didn’t push his way through the crowd, but rather rose above them. Imagine a well-dressed IRS Agent climbing a tree! He caught the attention of Jesus.
Jesus didn’t just ignore the accepted rules of the day, He broke them wide open. Everyone was included in receiving His love. The hated and the untouchables of society were lifted up to receive attention and love. God’s grace transforms us into His image by loving us and challenging us to grow in the knowledge of Him.
Grace is the main theme that ties all of Scripture together. It is expressed in the promises of God throughout the Bible and is embodied perfectly in the person of Jesus Christ. Not only can we do nothing to earn God’s grace, but it is God who continues to bind our hearts to Him.
2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The expectation of transformation comes from God.
Risk Taking is Rare
Jesus invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house. Zacchaeus could have responded in different ways. He could have refused. He could have changed the location to the local tavern. He could have stood in disbelief and inaction. But he accepted Jesus’ request and they had an encounter that changed his life. This encounter changed the community’s economic well-being because Jesus challenged Zacchaeus to deal fairly with his neighbors.
Risk-taking requires something from us. God is calling us to greater reliance on Him. He doesn’t call us to a life of risk and then disappears. He walks with us along the way, guiding each step and paving the way for others to be blessed through us.
When we refuse to follow His leading and challenge, we miss out on the blessings of God. There are so many ways that God blesses us and many of those ways go against human understanding. When we change what God is wanting us to do, we miss out on His true blessing of walking along-side and achieving what God wants. We miss the opportunity to do something great with God. If we are paralyzed and don’t act on what God is calling us to do, again we are the ones that fail to be blessed and fail to become a blessing to others.
God went out on a limb for each one of us
God didn’t refuse to step out in the difficult circumstances. He went beyond stepping out on a limb. He picked up that limb and then hung on it and died.
John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
He came to save rich outcasts, like Zacchaeus. He had a keen eye for people who were out on a limb, people who were desperate. We are all in need of a loving, forgiving Savior.
There’s a good word for you today: “Hurry and come down,” Jesus says, “for I must stay at your house today.”