Sharp Edges

by Rev. Thomas E. Engel

Our old barbecue grill was as rusted as an old wreck in a junkyard. So my wife and I spent the early part of April shopping for a new gas grill. When we found one that met our needs, the grill’s big box barely fit in the trunk of our car.

I was apprehensive as I imagined all the parts that needed to be put together. Opening the box, I saw a sheet of paper that read in capital letters, “BE CAREFUL OF SHARP EDGES.”

I crumpled the paper, tossed it on the floor, and started to pull the pieces of the grill out of the box. I was relieved that most of the grill was assembled already.

After a while, my wife checked on my progress. With a big, confident smile I said, “I’ll have pork chops sizzling in no time.”

She smiled but said nothing. I could tell she was looking at my hands. “Can I get you some Band-Aids?” she asked. Glancing at my hands, I saw several cuts and scrapes. I remembered the crumpled piece of paper on the floor.

As with most of my life, I don’t like to think about sharp edges, only the smooth ones. But when a bill that is higher than expected comes in the mail, I cry, “Ouch!” I hear from a friend who has just been told he has cancer. Another friend has lost his job. News reports tell about bombings in Baghdad, where my nephew is a soldier. All are sharp edges.

Read Psalm 140. The psalmist is probably a king. Make a list of the “sharp edges” the psalmist has encountered.

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How do the people in the list plan to harm the psalmist? How does the psalmist believe he can be saved?

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Psalm 62 is also written by a king, most likely King David. What does verse 3 indicate about the king’s strength, his vulnerability?

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How do the forces against the king try to overcome him?

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Where does the king look for rest from his enemies?

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What reasons does he give for puting his trust there?

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In verse 12, what will every person experience from God?

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St. Paul tells about his “sharp edges” in 2 Cor. 6:3–10. Read those verses and make a list of Paul’s trials.

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Obviously, Paul experienced many hardships in his life. Now make a list of his “smooth edges.”

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Discuss these two lists.

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Read John 19. What are the physical “sharp edges” that Jesus suffered?

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What final suffering did Jesus take for us when He gave up His last breath?

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What does this mean for us when we deal with hardships and trials?

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God does not take away all the “sharp edges” of our lives. By faith, we can move forward, knowing that God has taken away the sharpest edge of all—-the eternal death we deserve because of our sin. Christ’s saving work is making our way smooth with His constant love and grace.

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