Iniquity is Crookedness
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In our Lenten Midweek sermon series, we are looking at the words for sin in the Old and New Testament. We are looking at the words for sin and the corresponding pictures of sin. Today, we look at the Hebrew word Avon, translated into Greek as Anomia, in English “Iniquity.” Today we see Iniquity as Crookedness.
If you watched the video that I posted, you would see that that’s one of the basic meanings of Avon, that sin is like a path that should be straight but it’s crooked. It’s like a way that should lead you to Mankato but instead leads you to Pemberton.
We’ve used similar language in our confirmation program. In Genesis 3, everything that is good has been broken, marred, and smudged. Notice the first part of that statement. Everything that is good. The picture of sin as Crookedness helps us to know this truth, that sin isn’t a thing in itself. Sin is when something good has been broken.
Sin as Crookedness is like walking the wrong direction. No matter how fast you go, you’re not going to make it to your destination.
Sin as Crookedness is like a bent bike rim. No amount of riding is going to make it better; anything you do will only make it worse.
It’s every time you go to talk to that one person, you know the one, and everything you say gets twisted into something you didn’t mean to say, or at least didn’t mean to sound that mean.
It’s every time you get into a situation where there seems to be no way out, no right choice, no option rather than to take the hit and just get hurt.
Sin as Crookedness.
One of my good pastor friends has said this again and again to me, “Never waste a good crisis.” Why? Because crisis tends to set us straight. It forces us to choose what’s important and leave the rest behind. It challenges us to turn off distractions so that we can listen closer to what matters – to God’s Word, to long for what we know we should long for – God’s promises, to know them for the truth that they are, a truth that rises above the regular hum drum of our day-in and day-out.
It rises above. Notice what that means. It doesn’t mean that your problems automatically go away. It doesn’t mean that your situation will magically change. It does mean that God would challenge you to care about something greater, something grander, something more.
What pettiness is God challenging you to rise above?
What distraction is God asking you to put down?
Where is God inviting you to listen close?
I can’t answer the first two but I can answer the last one. In fact, I’ll correct my earlier statement. It isn’t crisis that tends to set us straight; it’s God, your God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today and everyday, he’s inviting you to spend your days holding your family close, starting your day in His Word, or doing what you’re doing now, ending your day with Scripture and song and prayer to the one who unbends what is broken. Today and everyday he’s inviting you to long for the fellowship in worship that even a month ago, we could have whenever we wanted.
He’s the one patiently calling to you when all is well and he’s the one who’s voice you hear when everything is falling apart. He is the one who unbends what is broken.
When I think about that, I think about my good friend Ernie Gahler who lent me some tools, he’s lent me a lot of tools, most of which I’ve given back. He lent me a pipe bending tool, to bend some copper pipe.
Now I have to back up here. I can tell you that I’m not the handiest guy in the world so my wife does not ask me to do many handy-type projects. But one project she did ask me to do was she wanted me to make fanciful geometric designs out of 1/4in copper pipe. She wanted me to make a triangle out of this copper pipe to hang our hand towels on.
So, before I went to Ernie, mind you, I made the first bend, and I went, uh-oh that’s not right. So I went to Ernie and learned that there are tools for this, and I learned my first great lesson, which is, always buy more copper pipe than you need, and I made the thing, and then at the end I set to work on the first bit of pipe, and after fiddling with it for a while I learned my second great lesson, and this is the one that matters: You cannot unbend that which is broken.
I could get it better, yes, but I couldn’t undo what had been done. And the same is true for sin. On this side of eternity, we by ourselves, we cannot undo the effects of sin. Sin leaves scars. Hurts never really go away. Cares just grow.
Praise be to God that he unbends us from our crookedness and by the miracle of who he is, he makes our path straight. Praise be to God that he sends his son to do everything that we needed him to do. Praise be to God that he can do what no one else can do. He can straighten our paths. He can show us a way of peace. He can defeat death, by his death, even death upon a cross. He CAN do this, and he DOES do this. He does it for you and for me. He saves us in Jesus Christ, in his cross, and in his resurrection.
Amen and Amen.
Worship Sermons & Letters