Re:Verse reading–1 Samuel 18:1-16, 19:1-10 (day six)
Reading about David’s struggles reminds me of something Jesus told his disciples: “In this world you will have trouble. But have no fear; I have overcome the world.”
David, had to really wonder if he really was chosen by God to be the next king! Why did everything have to be so hard? Why were there enemies on all sides? I’m sure he faced some serious doubts. But here is the truth, the righteous will always face adversity, sometimes it is more than we can bear, but it is never more than what Jesus can bear!
Ease is not a sign of God’s favor; we should not expect it when we seek the purposes of God. Furthermore, we don’t do things because they are easy; we do them because Jesus has asked us to, because His reward far outweighs the short-lived promises of others, and because he has promised to walk with us every step of the way!
Re: Verse reading–1 Samuel 16:1-7; Psalm 139 (day six)
“You knew me thoroughly, my bones were not hidden from you… Examine me and probe my thoughts! Test me and know my concerns.” Psalm 139:14-15,23
You cannot know, relate to, or love yourself as you ought apart from God. Period. It is not that you are not capable of knowing the ongoings of your heart and mind, it is just that only God can provide proper perspective; he offers you the right view. Left to ourselves we see a distorted picture, a Picasso of the human self. We emphasize some things, and diminish others. We exaggerate; we are dishonest with ourselves. And enamored with what we can see with our eyes, we accommodate the expectations of the world by trying so hard to look the part. We idolize the outside with no consideration for the whole.
David asked God to search him (God needs no invitation), to shed light on who he really was, to offer the right perspective. Are you doing the same? Do you know yourself? Or is the world your guide? Run to Him, consume His Word, take a deep breath of the divine perspective, and you will see Him, and then see yourself. You cannot know yourself without God; anything else is a shallow facade.
Re: Verse reading–Exodus 12:1-14, 24-27, 13:8-9 (day six)
Does your heart sing? Years ago as a college student in Hattiesburg, MS I went to worship at FBC Hattiesburg with one of my closest friends. During the sermon the pastor was speaking on the extravagant love of God in our justification through Jesus, and being unable to contain himself my friend erupted with a loud fist pumping holler (like one you would hear at a football game). Needless to say he frightened many people, and probably left many scratching their heads. He was overcome with inexplicable joy! Isn’t this how it should be for us? Full of joy and erupting in song!
This week in Re:Verse we encountered the spontaneous praise of Moses and the Hebrew people following their salvation out from the Egyptians (Exodus 15). This is both beautiful to behold and compelling. Should not our praise erupt out of our joy of God’s salvation?! Yes, and again I say yes!
In fact the root of our joy rests in the saving work of God. In that work we see God for who he is as loving redeemer and mighty warrior. When we see God, we can’t help but worship. King David’s sin (and ours) was born out of dysfunctional worship. In Psalm 51:8 he wrote, “return to me the joy of my salvation.” Let’s pray like David that we never lose sight of our God who is mighty to save, so that our praise will always be loud and true!
Twenty-second Day of Advent
Micah 5:2-4 (ESV)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.
Unsuspecting. Humble. Small. Modest. Undistinguished. Ignoble.
The world could use any or all of these words to describe the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Think about it. He was born in Bethlehem…a shepherd’s town. He was born in a manger…not even your grandpa’s barn. He is compared to a shepherd…not exactly a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. His triumphal entry was made on a donkey….not quite Aladdin’s entrance to meet Jasmine. It’s really no wonder so many people missed the boat. They were looking for someone born of a king in a palace and introduced to the world with fanfare and fireworks.
And don’t we often make the same mistake? I so often look for God to speak in a billboard or a red-lettered memo or in a sermon where the Pastor says, “Tiffini, this is for you.” But instead I most often FIND God in whispers and worship songs and friends’ encouragement.
The world missed His birth because it looked too lowly to be the Messiah. They missed His life because He laid His head in the homes of acquaintances. They missed His death because it was no different than a criminal’s. The Old Testament is fraught with prophecies and don’t-miss-what-I’m-about-to-do warnings of how Jesus would come not from “just a carpenter” but from the lineage of King David, how He would not have a home but that His home was the place God intended for Him to spread the Gospel message, how He would not die as a criminal but as a sacrificial lamb for the atonement of the world’s sins.
So this Christmas I will choose to look for Jesus Christ not in extravagant department store displays or grand parades with blimps of every imaginable character. I will instead look for Him in my heart, in my children’s hearts, in the sweet words of an Advent devotional book, under the tree in a bed made of straw with the eyes of the shepherds upon Him. And my guess is that I will use different words to describe what I find….
Wonderful Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.
Re: Verse reading – John 6:25-51