To “beg the question” means to avoid or evade it. To beg off means, “to avoid the performance of one’s duty.” (New Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1981).

     When God invites us to attend His banquet our immediate impulse is to decline the invitation. Certainly we recognize our own unworthiness to attend a feast set by God Almighty! It is unthinkable that our crippled legs should rest beneath the table of the King. And so our polite yet firm refusal seems reasonable.

     But what if the Host repeatedly assures us that He has made every provision for our attendance? What if His provision even includes perfect satisfaction of all requirements made necessary by our unworthiness? What if our Host even takes an oath, stating emphatically, “All things are ready-I promise?” What then do you make of our persistent refusal to attend?

     Once Yahweh makes full provision on our behalf we no longer have a valid “excuse.” Our unhealthy, obsessive paranoia becomes a phony cover up for unbelief. Our constant self-degradation and humiliation is indeed a thin veil for a deep-seated lack of trust. In light of the graciousness of the Host, not to mention His unquestionable trustworthiness, our irrational refusal to attend becomes a personal insult to the One extending the invitation.

     May God forever protect us against the unbelief that causes us to shrink back-fearful, defeated, filled with paranoid doubt. Ever clinging to an external, ritualistic, obsessive neurosis and never fully claiming the victory that is promised to God’s faithful.

     May God’s holy fire refine each one of us so that we no longer trust in ourselves-or even look to ourselves-as the basis for our entry into God’s presence. May God grant us the ability to learn to wholly trust in Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the provision for all of our needs.

     By the precious blood of Christ let us enter now, once and for all, into the banquet hall. Let us enter with boldness-with praise on our lips and shouts of halleluiah on our tongues. And until that Great and Final Day arrives, let us go forth in victory-spreading the Good News of our God throughout this entire land!