This morning, I read Psalm 13. Written by David, it reflected a painfully trying time in his life. Some scholars believe that he wrote while fleeing from Saul. Others put it at the time of his flight from Absalom. No matter when he wrote, his words probably convey the way many believers have reacted to their circumstance.
“How long will I store up anxious concerns within me, agony in my mind every day?” (Psalm 13:2 HCSB)
It seems that David was imagining every conceivable worse outcome to his situation. He felt that God had forgotten him and that God was hiding from him. His prayer request was simple in such circumstances. “Consider me and answer me, Lord.”
That does not sound life much of a prayer. One can’t even get half a blog out that. No one, except those most extravagant with words, could write a book about it. It doesn’t seem like a power prayer, or something that will result in mountains being cast into the sea. But, it moved David’s heart, and that was what mattered, because when you ask God to think about you and believe that he does, all the reasons you have to fear and to worry seem smaller.
No longer feeling abandoned, David trusted in God to deliver him. He heart rejoiced because he had hope of deliverance. David sang because God had been generous to him.
What changed between verse one and the end of the short Psalm? Nothing changed in David’s outward circumstances. The only change came in his perspective. He saw God for who God was. Prayer does that.
Posted in Bible, discipleship, God, Old Testament Personalities, Prayer, Spiritual Discipline, Spiritual Growth, worship
Tagged Bible, David, Discipleship, faith, God, King David, prayer, Psalms
Samson was both a man’s man and the stereotypical dumb male. He had the strength of Captain America, the libido of Captain Kirk and the brain of Captain Caveman. Dedicated to God since before birth, he seemed determined to work against God’s will. He was not content with good Jewish girls. No, he chased after Philistine women, much to the pain of his parents. And he did not show common sense. Delilah could tie him up, put his hair in loom, and do just about anything, and it seemed to never occur to him that she might be out to get him. In the end, he broke every part of the Nazarite vow, lost his strength and got his eyes put out.
Yet, God used him. He took all that rebellion, worked it into His plan and accomplished what had been his purpose in setting Samson apart. He liberated the people of Israel from the Philistines. The life and death of Samson shows God’s sovereignty despite the best efforts of humans to work against Him.
The story of Samson is found in The Book of Judges, chapters 13-16.
And for your viewing and listening pleasure:
(My writing has been sparse lately. With work and other projects, I will probably be very hit and miss, but when I have the time, I will try to write something.)
Our family is in the midst of packing and getting ready to move back overseas. We have done this several times, and my wife has become an expert at packing. If I fold a sheet, it takes up a large box. If she folds a sheet, it fits inside my wallet. Needless to say, I stay out-of-the-way until something heavy has to be moved or until it is down to those things that don’t fit. Then, I try to find the space. But up until those points, I usually just get in the way.
What I do is trying to take care of the other things such as calling airlines about baggage allowances and the business details of making a move. I should have an easy life during this time. It shouldn’t be so difficult, but there is something about my character that makes this stressful. I am a worrier. If I don’t have something to worry about, I panic, because I must have forgotten something. And if something happens to cause me to think that plans won’t work out, I almost go into a panic. No one around me may realize it, but inside I foresee scenarios which have end results similar to a massive meteor striking the earth.
That is what happened to me this past week. An e-mail came that made me wonder if the plan for travel was going to work out. I panicked. I worried. I stayed up late at night so I could worry longer. Within a couple of days, another e-mail came that indicated that I had misunderstood the other one. All was well. I had no reason to worry years off my life.
In the book of Exodus, the Israelites had just crossed the Red Sea and had seen God deliver them from Egyptian slavery. Things seemed to be going well until they got to Marah. There, they found water that they could not drink. They complained and griped. They began to have nostalgia about the good old days of Egyptian slavery. God showed Moses a tree which Moses threw into the water to make it drinkable. They all drank water and moved on to a wonderful place called Elim where they found 12 springs of water and 70 date palms. (This story is found in Exodus 15.)
They were on the path that God put them on, faced a set back and panicked. That patterns sound familiar to me. It sounds like me. We often read these passages and think, “Silly Israelites. They never learn. If they had just waited on God, they would have water.” But, they did not know that. They had to learn to trust. They had to learn to see set backs as a time to wait on God and not a time to panic.
And I have to learn that lesson also.
Last week, we took our sons to their new home for the next four years (at least). Both are entering their freshman years at a small Baptist university. However, their having a new home has left me confused about where my home is. Since we were married, my wife and I have lived in four different states and three different countries, four if you want to count the one where we unexpectedly had to spend about four or five months. Our children were born in three different countries, and the two that were born in the US were born in different states. I have lost count of how many apartments and houses we have lived in.
So, for me, I don’t consider any place to be home. I had come to think of home as the place where we were all together as a family. For example, if we were staying in a hotel somewhere and went out for dinner, I would say when we were done eating, “Let’s go home.” Home was wherever we were as long as we were together.
Now, we are not together. One-third of the family is away making a new home. So, do I have to change my definition of home? Actually, I think that I just need to radically correct it. God created us to be with Him. Jesus said that eternal life is knowing the Only True God and Jesus Christ, whom He sent. (John 17:3) We are at home when we are close to Him. In this life, many distractions interrupt our being with Him. Yet, we should pursue the practice of His presence, learning to pray without ceasing, talking with Him as we would a friend standing nearby. In the end, we will have perfect fellowship with God when we are in heaven. Heaven is our true home, but heaven is where we will live in complete fulfillment of the purpose for which God created us.
Yes, I still want to be together with my family. I would love for that to be in one place and not to be constantly moving. But my longing for home should help me to understand my deeper longing to be at home with the Lord and to practice His presence in this life so that I will be ready to stand in His presence in the one to come.