Came across a phrase this morning which jumped off the page. Not because I wasn’t familiar with it, but because I was. But what made it pop was that it showed up in the “wrong place.” Not just in a chapter I didn’t expect it to be found, but in a book where I never knew it existed. And not just in a different book of my bible, but in a whole different section of my bible–the Old Testament. What I had been very familiar with as a New Testament command showed up this morning as an Old Testament creation.
And so, it jumped off the page . . . and I sat back in my chair . . . and smiled to myself and said, “Self, He really is the Creator of all things.”
Through [Jesus] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. (Hebrews 13:15 ESV)
“I have seen [the backslider’s] ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” (Isaiah 57:18-19 ESV)
The fruit of the lips. I’ve know about it for a long time from Hebrews. I discovered it afresh this morning in Isaiah.
For years I have been aware that our praise is viewed in heaven as a sacrifice. Available to every believer, it is to be offered continually before our God. Kind of like the incense always burning in the holy place (Ex. 30:1-8).
But the aha! for me this morning is that, while it might be mine to give, my offering of praise, like so many other things, is also a gift sourced by Another. That what is to be offered to God has, in fact, been created by God. He is the Creator of all things, even the fruit of the lips.
Any fruit I have to offer is only because the high and lifted up One, who inhabits eternity and dwells in the high and holy place, has, in His steadfast love and abounding grace, also determined to dwell with “him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit”–and does so in order to “revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isa. 57:15).
Though He knows the tendencies of the backslider’s way (aka the guy sitting in this chair), He has also purposed not to contend forever, “nor will He always be angry” (57:16), but with compassion He will discipline them (Heb. 12:6-11) so that, with mercy, He can heal them, lead them, and restore them. And thus, creating the fruit of their lips.
His restoration is the source of our response. The salvation He has promised becomes the catalyst for our sacrifice of praise. His unfailing love and abiding grace are the seeds which bear the fruit of our lips.
He is the Creator of all things — even the fruit of our lips.
Of course, He is! I knew that. Oh, how thankful I am that I’ve been reminded of that.
To Him be all glory. For He is the Source, the only source, of such amazing grace.