Thursday, February 12, 2009

Move Past Your Devastation; Stay Close to God

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
Psalm 73:21-28

We all experience times of devastation that cause us to cry out, "Why God? Why did you allow this to happen to me?" or "Why did you allow this to happen in my family?" I cried out to God in this way when my brother was murdered. And sometimes horrible things happen when we are attempting to serve God, like David. Anointed as King at 15 years of age, David did not sit on the throne until he was 30. During those 15 years of waiting, he regularly inquired of the Lord. As a result, he wanted the presence of God to be near him as he ruled over Judah (and 6 and a half years later, Israel too. 2 Samuel 5:4-5). This caused the first thing on his agenda to consist of bringing back the ark to Jerusalem, which the enemy had captured.

David put together a huge party, about 30,000 in all, to commemorate the return of the ark. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and every instrument they owned. When they made it to the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled. Uzzah, the man guiding the cart and oxen, reached out and took hold of the ark of God. Because of his irreverent act, God struck him down and he died on the spot. The party--instantly over. David became angry and afraid. He asked, "How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?" (story from 2 Samuel 6)

When was the last time you were angry and afraid of God? Are you still there? The Scriptures (in the Psalm 73 above and 2 Samuel 6) reveal that the man after God's own heart moved past his devastation back into the arms of his Lord. After the tragedy with Uzzah, the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite for three months and the LORD blessed him and his entire household. David must have spent that time figuring out the proper way to carry the representation of our Holy God's presence. As soon as David heard about Obed-Edom's blessings, he mustered up enough courage to finish the task of bringing the ark to the City of David. Uninterrupted celebration and worship followed. David danced before the LORD with all his might.

Life works the same for us. When we get past our trials and heartache and truly understand that God is not harsh; GOD IS HOLY, we are prompted to return to brave obedience and do things God's way instead of our own way or the way the unsaved world works. God's ways will always surpass our thinking (Isaiah 55:8-9). Even though he is holy and mysterious at times, he remains a personal God who wants to comfort us and guide us through the ups and downs of living in a broken, sinful world. Our enemy wants us to stay devastated. What if David had held on to his anger and remained afraid to come near to God? There would be no "rest of the story." We can follow David's example by wanting the blessings of God for ourselves enough to get up and start over again. And then, we dance.

1 comment:

Wayne Dawg said...

Amen - Great post Susan