Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
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.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
And he said, "Go."
Then one of them said, "Won't you please come with your servants?"
"I will," Elisha replied. And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. "Oh, my lord," he cried out, "it was borrowed!"
The man of God asked, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. "Lift it out," he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it. 2 Kings 6:1-7
I love this short little story tucked into the narrative of Elisha's ministry. It shows us God’s great concern for us, especially in everyday things, like cutting down trees and building a place to live.
All Elisha had to do was to cut a stick and throw it where the axhead fell in. God did the rest. Cutting and throwing a stick seem a little weird, but against all expectations, the heavy iron floated to the top of the water. “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).
I pray today that God opens our eyes so we can see Him working His little miracles all around us. And if he prompts one of us to cut and throw some sticks, well—“according to our faith let it be done” (Matthew 9:29). May we reach out our hands and take all God has in store for us and experience floating irons on a regular basis.