There are SO many decisions that we face in life these days. Many of our decisions are superficial and rather trivial. Maybe it's just personal preference, like which lunch meat and cheese I make my sandwich with.
And then there are the decisions that matter. How do I respond to someone offending me? Should I take this job or that job? Do I move, and where?
What should be our criteria for deciding the important decisions? And am I thinking from a human standpoint, in all of my limited understanding? Am I allowing myself to be tempted to do something that is not in my best interest? Am I following God's leading, and trusting Him? Am I thinking from a "spirit-led" perspective, and doing what I believe God wants me to do?
King David faced this in 1Chronicles 21. Satan was tempting David to have Joab, his military commander, count all of the men in Israel who were able to fight. Maybe David was needing reassurance of his military might. I'm not sure. But it appears that Satan had convinced him that looking at the situation from a human understanding was better than just trusting that God had it handled.
Joab tried to discourage David from doing this. He knew God would not be pleased by this act. The King overruled Joab. In a small act of rebellion from Joab, the bible states that he did not include the men of Levi and Benjamin in this count.
As Joab predicted, God was upset by David's choice to rely on his human need for a count of fighting men.
David then made the first wise choice in this story. He humbled himself and took responsibility for his sinful actions. He apologized to God and asked forgiveness.
In response, God gives David three consequences to choose from. Three months of famine, three years of David's enemies overpowering them in battle, or three days of God's wrath at the hands of his angel.
Wrath of man? Or wrath of God? Which is scarier? Human thinking would tend to tell me that man can't do nearly as much to me as God can. David took a more "spirit-led" perspective. He knew that our God was a God of mercy. It was better to humble himself before God, and call on His mercy. Man would not be so merciful. And while God did allow 70,000 men to die, at David's repentant pleading, God did relent and tell His angel to stop the destruction.
It ended at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, we are told. David was instructed by God to build an altar there. This site would then be bought by David, and used as a place to offer a sin offering to God. And then it would later become the site of Solomon's grand temple to honor God.
I find it interesting that David was able to make the choice to choose the consequence he did. His choice shows extreme trust. He knew God intimately enough to trust that His mercy was something that He could count on in response to David's repentance. He knew that men were slow to be merciful, but God's mercy was something he could count on.
I make mistakes all the time. I am a sinner in desperate need of God's mercy. I am in desperate need of His guidance and leading in all I do.
Oh Lord, save me from myself in the decisions I make. Help me not to be swayed by fear or lean towards trusting in my own understanding, but to strive towards trusting in your way for me. Help me to trust your ways, even when they don't make sense now. I know that when I look back later I will see the fullness of your plan and understand what I can not see now. Thank you that my limited human understanding of things doesn't have to rule my thinking. Thank you for the knowledge that your ways are better. Help all that read this post to know your love and your ways through your word. Thank you Lord for your blessings and love. Amen.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Monday, February 20, 2017
It has been a long, icy, cold winter. Spring is on it's way. Where ice and snow have covered the landscape for far too long, suddenly ground is beginning to appear. Hope begins to renew with the thaw and the smells of spring.
I look over to an elderly gentleman in the grocery store parking lot.
"Are you as excited as I am that little patches of ground are showing again?", I ask.
"Yes!", he replies, "The only thing that winter is good for is killing mosquitoes!"
I have to agree that that is a real benefit to winter. I smile and nod, and wish him a good day.
Now spring is on it's way, and with it come beautiful reminders of God's glorious creation . . . like beautiful flowers. There will also be weeds (. . . and mosquitoes).
Again I am reminded of the way that God provides a spiritual parallel to the physical things of this world. Both sides of our nature, physical and spiritual, reflecting God's beauty and glory. And then come the sinful, ugly weeds. They appear among the flowers, threatening to choke out the beauty and goodness.
I am in a weeding season. I have been in one for longer than I'd like to admit. But then, do the weeds ever stop attempting to steal ground, kill our joy and beauty, destroy God's work in us. Hmm . . . steal, kill, and destroy? Sounds familiar? John 10:10 tells us that Satan's whole mission is to steal, kill, and destroy.
But wait! There is hope! Jesus continues on to tell us in this verse that He has come that we "may have life, and have it to the full." We simply need to trust and follow the good shepherd, Jesus.
Trust God, follow Jesus, call on God to help us weed . . . then repeat. This is the season that I am in. And as the ground is reclaimed from it's snowy cover, and the sun comes again to warm the land, the flowers and the weeds will come.
And as my soul is reclaimed from the cover of sin by the SON, and His Glory warms my heart, the beauty of this Glory will shine again. Then human frailties and sin will bring weeds to try to steal ground, kill our joy and beauty, and destroy God's work in us.
Trust, follow, weed . . . repeat.
LORD, THANK YOU FOR YOUR WISDOM IN BRINGING US YOUR WORD TO GUIDE AND ENCOURAGE US. AS THE BEAUTY OF YOUR LOVE GROWS IN US PLEASE GUARD OUR HEARTS AGAINST THE EVIL ONE. DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO CONTINUE TO STEAL GROUND, KILL AND CHOKE OUT THE JOY AND BEAUTY OF YOUR CREATION, AND DESTROY AND DISTRACT US FROM YOUR WORK. CONTINUE TO PROTECT US, AND PROVIDE FOR US. WHEN WE CALL ON YOUR NAME THE BIBLE SAYS THAT THE ENEMY HAS TO FLEE. BIND THE EVIL ONE AND HIS SCHEMES. CAST THEM OUT. WE PRAY THIS IN JESUS' HOLY NAME. AMEN.