9 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle;
10 they did not keep God’s covenants and refused to live by his law.
11 They forgot what he had done, the wonders he had shown them.
In reading this passage I’m reminded of pithy sayings I’ve heard over the years such as, “Adversity not only builds character in a person; it reveals character.” The same has also been said about involvement in sports. I’d like to add a third to the collection: “Experiencing signs and wonders can change a person’s heart but it can also reveal what’s in a person’s heart.” We’ve all heard stories of agnostics, atheists, and lukewarm Christians who became devout followers of Christ after witnessing a miracle or a healing. However, sometimes hearts were left unchanged or a change occurred that didn’t bear lasting fruit.
As a young Christian I was mystified by the behavior of the children of Israel in the years that followed their deliverance from Egypt. They saw the Ten Plagues, the Red Sea divided, the manna from heaven, the pillar of fire at night, the cloud of protection by day, and water coming from the cleft rock. And yet with all these signs and wonders, they did not enter God’s rest in the Promised Land and remained a stubborn and rebellious people.
Jesus ran into a similar problem in his ministry and condemned entire towns because of it: “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than you” (Luke 10:13,14). Korazin, Bethsaida, and not to mention Capernaum, followed in the footsteps of the children of Israel.
After several years of being a Christian, my experiences with people and their responses to the supernatural agreed with the biblical narrative. While living in Minnesota, I met a couple whose youngest son was healed of a rare disease through a Christian ministry and it changed the whole family from having a tepid faith to whole-hearted devotion. And yet, in other cases, I’ve known people who, despite experiencing the supernatural, displayed a heart similar to the men of Ephraim. What they saw did not have long-term benefits for them and they faltered in the day of testing. The faith of some has even been shipwrecked.
In my time as a Christian, I have seen another group emerge that I believe is especially dear to Jesus: they have seen very little or no dramatic supernatural activity and remain devoted to and in love with Jesus all their lives. Thomas doubted the resurrection of Christ until he saw his Lord in the flesh. Jesus said,“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
We should all strive to be in this group of disciples, because, unlike the men of Ephraim, they will not turn back in the day of battle. We may feel like we will never belong to this group, but we can always ask Jesus, like the father of the boy possessed by an evil spirit, “Help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). He will not deny us. He will not give us a snake when we ask for a loaf of bread.
5 “Who can be compared with the Lord our God,
who is enthroned on high?
6 He stoops to look down
on heaven and on earth.
7 He lifts the poor from the dust
and the needy from the garbage dump.”
We often make comparisons. And I honestly think it is a good thing. When we compare one thing to another, we almost always choose the better over the inferior. Will it be Chinese or Mexican tonight? That depends. Do we attend this church or another? God lead me. Wear a sweater or a coat? Maybe a raincoat? Choices will often define us, whether they are small or large. We make 100s of them everyday.
The psalmist wants us to make a comparison. In his mind there is no one around that can come close to Yahweh, that sits on the throne supreme. But the psalmist asks the question anyway. He assumes that we will agree, and settle ourselves in this truth aware.
The question gets asked in verse 5. And the verses that follow (v.v. 6-9) are a true and accurate descriptions of our incredible God. Reading these will give God shape. These are profoundly remarkable, in scope and merit. He is an excellent God. He stoops and lifts the poor and needy. Most Sovereigns try to protect their thrones, and maintain an image of power and control. They clearly avoid any unscripted spontaneous contact with their “unwashed” multitudes.
Our Heavenly Father does not do this. Actually, He does the opposite. Truly remarkable.
“Lord who has mercy upon all, take away from me my sins,
and mercifully kindle in me the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone, and give me the heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you,
to follow and enjoy you. For Christ’s sake. Amen.”
Wishing to Be Near God
For the director of music. A maskil of the sons of Korah.
1 As a deer thirsts for streams of water,
so I thirst for you, God.
2 I thirst for the living God.
When can I go to meet with him?
3 Day and night, my tears have been my food.
People are always saying,
“Where is your God?”
4 When I remember these things,
I speak with a broken heart.
I used to walk with the crowd
and lead them to God’s Temple
with songs of praise.
5 Why am I so sad?
Why am I so upset?
I should put my hope in God
and keep praising him,
my Savior and 6 my God.
I am very sad.
So I remember you where the Jordan River begins,
near the peaks of Hermon and Mount Mizar.
These verses ask that we truly understand a “seeking heart.” Unless we are in this specific frame of mind we will never understand. This has to be the precursor of all that follows. And only an adoring heart can enter these private chambers. These rooms can only be opened with a special key– humility blended with worship.
Have you ever been really thirsty? I mean bone-dry, parched, dehydrated. It seems that all you think about is a big glass of sweet tea, with ice cubes! Psalms 42 is a very accurate description of a heart that only wants God. There is nothing on this planet that draws a desperately thirsty heart like His presence.
V. 1, 2 David compares himself to a desperate deer, that is driven to the clear streams of water. Funny, but deer are very reliant on a water source, much more than other animals. They will stay close to their water. David described his need for God in these terms. Are you thirsty? The living God is your soul’s real source.
V. 3, there is a profound sadness in David’s words. There are far too many people who will mock and discourage his deep need for God. Tears are David’s only response. Lots of tears. They cynically demand to know, “where is your God?” There will always be resistance, no matter what. What it works in us though is rich and true.
V. 4, is an active memory of things– the way they used to be. However it is only heart-broken nostalgia set ablaze. The enemy, he pushes us into an amnesia. We no longer think clearly about things. But David remembers his response, of travelling into His presence. What he remembered was glorious, he sang and danced as he led God’s dear people. But there is a caveat; we can only truly worship what we love and respect.
V. 5, David processes things as he looks inside. He asks himself certain questions. He doesn’t ask real questions. As he knows true answers. He talks about “sadness.” And a grief that can’t be assuaged. He makes comments that will never be understood apart from “trial.”
V. 6. only develops things that would be “sadness.” Our grief would only irrigate this understanding. David truly understands sadness, and everything he embraces is full of sadness and woe. But David penetrates past his deep grief, and God’s presence meets him on the way. All that we see at this point is sadness. We must accept all that we can. We can only take the things that come too us.
“God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4, NLT
“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.”
Psalm 41:3, NIV
“The moment an ill can be patiently handled, it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain.”
Henry Ward Beecher
It is a general rule, that when you are sick– you become very vulnerable. I can attest to this having had more than my share of medical issues. And today, I’m smack dab in the middle of another one. It’s odd when one issue can open the door to another.
Ps. 41:3 is interesting. Especially for us who find themselves very sick. It is the “bedside promise” of our Lord’s presence. He is a visitor who comes to see us, to comfort and encourage us when we are flat on our backs. We are not alone, for He is truly our best companion. Typically our issues are disbelief and discouragement. We maybe in considerable pain, but for the most part that pain is a secondary issue. I can deal with the pain. My greater issues are this sense of intense abandonment. For the sincere believer, this can be frightening.
The choice of words here is perfect– “sustains and restores.” The Spirit’s ministry to us exceeds any antibiotic or surgical procedure. At my bedside, I will receive a spiritual treatment, that is administered by the wisest and greatest doctor who is present 24/7. He braces and bolsters me, effectively putting supports around me. He really does hold me in place. But He also restores. I have heard quite a few who have been ‘fixed up’ by their time in sickness or affliction. Some will look back fondly on their time of trial, because the Lord was restoring them.
My prayer for you dear one, is not that you are kept from affliction and sickness, but rather in your issues you discover a new sense of His amazing presence. This verse is one you can trust, and one you will need.
A psalm of David, regarding the time David fled from his son Absalom.
1 O LORD, I have so many enemies;
so many are against me.
2 So many are saying,
“God will never rescue him!”
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield around me;
you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
4 I cried out to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy mountain.
5 I lay down and slept,
yet I woke up in safety,
for the LORD was watching over me.
6 I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
who surround me on every side.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
8 Victory comes from you, O LORD.
May you bless your people.
8 Victory comes from you, O LORD.
Psalm 3:2 Hebrew Selah. The meaning of this word is uncertain, though it is probably a musical or literary term. It is rendered Interlude throughout the Psalms.
At the end though, the God of David does triumph. And since David trails so close behind, he too will understand victory. But none of this is easy, it certainly is not a “given.” David has to work through this “patch” of awful darkness, in order to get into the light.
V. 1, remember this, King David is being truly persecuted, and he isn’t paranoid. He understands being ostracized, and mocked as he walked down the street. There is as well, an idea of being hated by a whole lot of people. The word “many” is mentioned 3x in two verses. David is realizing the scope of all that he must endure. The slander, and mockery are intense. He seems to have become the ‘Richard Nixon’ of 1000 B.C.
V. 2, The people felt that David was beyond salvation. That he had simply sinned too much, and Absalom’s rebellion was just a reaping of what David had sown. He didn’t belong anymore in the “covenant of faith.” He was outside God’s love. This what the majority of people thought.
V. 3, 4, Pressed to the wall by this deep resentment, David makes his faith known. He declares that it is God who protects him, like a “shield.” He also pronounces that God is responsive to him; that God listens, and reacts to him. It seems that King David, who is mocked and villified by everyone, still has God’s ear!
V. 5, 6 There is peace, something special which is working through David’s life. This example of “sleeping” while people (10,000 enemies) encircle him is remarkable. Many of us would lose sleep if just one person is offended by us. But the masses David faced could have incapacitated him.
“I am not afraid.” This is an incredible declaration in the light of so much intense hatred. It is something bold, and confident, and perhaps a tad outrageous. But that is what grace is like to a watching world.
V. 7, 8, I suppose that this is a desire for justice. We agree that there is a right and a wrong. When we are “sinned against” we deep down want things to be restored. No one wants to live being hated and mocked. There is a profound sense, (it’s deep down ) and something innate. On several occasions I have experienced unjust situations, and am very much bothered to this day by those issues that have not been resolved.
In part one of our meditation on Psalm 15 we concluded by asking the question, ” Why does God’s heart grieve so greatly when His children do harm to one another?”
Part two simply states: The answer to this question is probably related to the truth that people are made in the image and likeness of God; they have incalculable dignity and worth. Because they are ‘God-like,’ to harm them with our words and deeds is in a sense to harm or offend God. Any parent knows that when their child has been slandered or cheated, they themselves feel slandered and cheated.
The Apostle John goes so far to say that “…anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, who he has not seen” (I Jn. 4:20b). This is why Christ said, “If you do it to the least of these, you do it to me,” and why Mother Teresa of Calcutta was utterly convinced that her ministry to the poorest of the poor was really a ministry to Christ Himself.
Here’s how all this relates to Psalm 15— If someone harms their brother or sister in word or deed, they offend the entire Trinity– “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” In doing so, they alienate themselves from God’s presence and will need confession and repentance of their sins in order to acquire forgiveness and re-enter that presence. David was familiar with these truths, and that’s why, in the aftermath of his adultery and committing murder, he said to God, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (Ps. 51:4).
Finally, I can now understand how many Christians, including myself, can be intimidated by Psalm 15. I can imagine a brother in Christ telling me, “Jonathan, I came from a very messed-up family. I’m not making excuses but I have a lot of unresolved anger because of what my parents said and did to me. Because of this, in the heat of the moment, I’ve said hurtful things to my wife that I can’t take back. I feel terrible about how I’ve hurt her and wonder if I’m forever separated from God’s presence. I certainly feel separated from hers.”
I would respond, “No, you’re not forever separated from the presence of God. The Psalms say, ‘His mercies endure forever.’ There’s a common teaching among practicing Catholics that God’s mercy is his greatest attribute and simply overwhelms all his other attributes (e.g., justice) just like the Pacific Ocean overwhelms a sea bass. I John 1:9 says, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’ “ It’s good that you feel sorry about what you said, but let this sorrow lead to repentance and a real reconciliation with your wife. Please, dear one, make amends and always remember, His mercies are tender, unfathomable and inexhaustible. Put your trust in His unfailing love.”
David concludes the Psalm by saying that the person “who does these things will never be shaken.” The true Israelite will be at peace. This kind of believer will sleep well at night and can look himself in the mirror. He has evidenced his love for God by loving his brother. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment” (I Jn. 4:18). If we’re living right with God and our neighbor–i.e loving them, then what do we have to fear? The true Israelite has an inheritance in the kingdom of God that “is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
Psalm 15 (NIV)
A Psalm of David
1 Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
2 He whose walk is blameless
and does what is righteous,
and speaks the truth from his heart
3 and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellow man,
4 who despises a vile man
but honors those that fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath even when it hurts,
5 who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.
Many biblical scholars regard Psalm 15 as a kind of “entrance liturgy” where those Israelites seeking to enter the temple court are made acutely aware by a temple priest what kind of conduct is necessary to enter these sacred precincts. God is holy and requires those who want to enter his temple and dwell in His presence to also be holy (Lev. 11:44). Jeremiah 7:5–7 echoes this Psalm in that the Lord tells his people that He will only dwell in the temple with them if they “do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood or follow other gods…”
The person described in Psalm 15, who qualifies to enter God’s holy presence, is first and foremost a person of sterling character and integrity. Verse 2 shows that what he says and what he does are one in the same. Verse 3 reveals that he has control of his tongue and verse 4a and b disclose that his assessment of other people’s character is accurate and commendable. His dealings with others are above reproach concerning oaths, lending money (no interest), and taking bribes (v.5). Please notice how this list of qualities is weighted heavily towards how one treats their neighbor: Our access to the presence and fellowship of God is inextricably linked with how we fulfill the Golden Rule.
Talk radio show host and virtuoso thinker Dennis Prager, who is deeply committed to Judaism, says there is a strong tradition in his religion that our judgment and reward from God in the hereafter will be mostly based on how we treated other people.
In Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, The Divine Comedy, there is much focus on the Seven Deadly Sins–Pride, Envy, Anger, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony, and Lust–as Dante himself, the protagonist, takes a journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. What’s relevant for our study is that in the poem, sins like Pride, Envy and Anger are regarded as worse than sins like Sloth because they take delight in harming others.
Think of Christ Himself dividing up the sheep and goats at the end of the age in Matthew 25:31–46. One group, the sheep, are granted eternal access to the presence of God while a second group, the goats, is eternally banished from the presence of God. The criteria that Christ uses for making this judgment is how each group treated others, specifically whether they extended works of mercy to the hungry, thirsty, unclothed, alien, prisoner, and the sick.
Think of a good parent’s heart and family dynamics. Few things grieve the heart of a parent more–or God the Father–than their kids fighting, doing harm to one another, or withholding love and care to a sibling because of indifference or malice. This observation leads to the question, “Why does the abuse or neglect of our brother grieve the heart of God so, even to the point, in certain cases, of denying a person fellowship with His wonderful presence? We’ll explore that question in part 2 of our study.
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened[b]—
burnt offerings and sin offerings[c] you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.[d]
Psalm 40:6, NIV
I am hard of hearing. I find I am constantly asking for people to speak up. At times I admit I just shake my head, and pretend I heard what was just said to me. I’ve been tested and I have significant hearing loss. Perhaps the years of rock concerts have taken there toll on my poor ear drums. And if the background noise is fairly loud I find myself in an auditory nightmare. But I am highly resistant to being fitted with a hearing aid.
David is writing about his hearing. Or, more precisely, his new found ability to hear. It would seem that the Father has given David the very real and significant ability to hear His voice. “My ears you have opened.” A work has been done in David’s life. He now has the supernatural ability to hear and listen to what the Lord is saying. I suggest that this is mot a casual or ordinary capability to the average person. This seems like a case when God has given David a special ability to hear what God is saying.
Open ears improve our service, and gives us wisdom, and a solid assurance. Many of us try hard to serve the Lord, but if we are spiritually deaf, we will constantly falter in this. Hearing as a sense is way too crucial to fake. Sometimes, I think the Holy Spirit has to resort to “sign” language to communicate to us. If we can not hear Him, how are we going to serve Him?
“My ears you have opened.” This suggests a true work of the Father. I once saw a poignant sequence of photos, which were taken of a boy whose hearing had been surgically restored. His face lit up, when he heard the voice of his father for the very first time. Somehow, I have to believe that this takes place when we hear Him spiritually for the first time.
Far too often, our hearing is blocked by the steady drone of background noise. There is too much noise, much is media driven. Temptation and sin create a bubble that filters out the Father’s voice. We are deafened by our own wrong choices and desires. Our spiritual hearing is compromised.
“Father, help us to hear you. Help us to do all that is necessary to tune your voice in. May our hearts receive your voice, that we may follow you even closer than we now do. In Jesus’ name.” Amen.
- Deafness and Hearing loss-Insights, Prevention, way forward (kobbyblay.wordpress.com)
- Five Common Myths about your Hearing (healthyhearing.com)
- 5 Unexpected Ways to Lose Your Hearing (healthyhearing.com)
- Psalm 40: Gratitude and Prayer for Help (daddyslittlebrat.wordpress.com)
21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever.
Psalm 73:21-26, NLT
Our hearts are unstable things. Our spiritual life is often in a turmoil. For many, the yo-yo is not much more than a toy to amuse a child. At any given time, it seems we can be in any given place. Only God truly knows how confused and tumultuous we get. Some intrepid photographer once put a bull in a china shop just to see what would happen. The pics are really funny, as the bull put on a raging show, blasting glass everywhere. The more he broke, the more agitated he became. Sometimes– I think about this.
Psalm 73 is like a silver trumpet. It sounds out many things. And when we get toward the end of the psalm we run smack dab into vv. 21-26. The writer has a big dose of self-awareness. Sometimes we can travel a long way with an imperfect faith, without ever realizing what the truth really is. Oh, dear one– these can be very good times. The psalmist realizes his ugly issues. He realizes that he has gotten bitter, and he has become very foolish.
For many of us with a strong set of religious principles, we deem this inconsistency as a complete and total failure. We see our stupid behavior and decide that God will never, ever accept that kind of person (whether its you, or someone else.) But, my Bible reads so much different! I’m told that,
”Yet I still belong to you;
you hold my right hand.” (v. 23)
Can a jerk follow Jesus? But more, can a bitter believer be held close, and loved so faithfully? When we begin to “really” see ourselves, we may often condemn what we see. Condemnation is one of the most insidious diseases of the spirit. The Holy Spirit saves his strongest medicine for us who are regularly sickened by this evil.
If you take a piece of white chalk, and you dip it into a cup of india ink. The chalk obviously absorbs the ink– it is porous. If you snap the chalk, and examine the inside, you will see that the ink has altered everything, this is how condemnation works. Once affected, we are very vulnerable to bitterness and confusion and guilt. We discover that our life is bracketed by the word, “if.”
Verse 23-25 speak loudly of a love that will never let you go. Never. Write down your sin, tally it up, “ Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand.” As sinners who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, “though our sins be as scarlet; they shall be as white as snow.”
6 I hate those who worship worthless idols.
I trust in the Lord.
7 I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.
8 You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.
Psalm 31:6-8, NLT
God’s promises are like watching a sunrise. It is beautiful, and they somehow work inside of us. Wise and patient eyes realize they are seeing something amazing, and it’s good. These three verses overlay each other. When I was a boy, I was fascinated by books that had transparent plastic pages. These pages would fold over on each other. I remember seeing the human body. You see the bones, but if you flip one of these pages– you could see the circulatory system imposed over the bones, and you can add the nervous system and see that as well. Pretty heady stuff for an eight year old boy. This was old school anatomy.
David wrote these verses, and they belong together. ”I hate those who worship worthless idols. I trust in the Lord.” This verse deals with the subject of discernment. The ability to distinguish between certain things, is not always seen as a positive. I cannot remove the stigma of this word– “hate.” In the NT we’re anchored to this idea of love. But in Ps. 139:22,
“Yes, I hate them with total hatred,
for your enemies are my enemies.”
Hatred is a dangerous emotion. It’s has a handle, just like a suitcase. It can be controlled by the Holy Spirit, or manipulated by Satan. As believers, we should be aware of this possibility. Hatred has a place. Romans 12:9 is a ready verse, “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.” We must walk a tightrope here; it will require wisdom and awareness. But I’m also very confident in the Holy Spirit’s ability to assist you in this matter.
The next verse carries with it an intense blessing. It is also a verse that folds into “our picture book.”
“I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul.”
Being truly glad is the waiting room for believers. It is an active state of a humbled heart. David is thrilled. He is quite aware of having God’s focus– he knows that he is incredibly loved. God has taken on the trials and burdens of David. David’s personal anguishes are taken up by the Lord.
“You have not handed me over to my enemies
but have set me in a safe place.”
David truly believes this. He thinks that this is a truly blessed state to be in. The deep realities of “what could have been” are factored into this awareness. God could have easily sent David to his doom. David is aware of what might have been.
These three verses, (vv. 6-8) snuggle together, like those “Russian nestling dolls.” One inside of the other, inside another. Or like our original metaphor– multiple transparencies coming together to give us a clear view of David’s real truth.
10″ The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty;
yet their span is but toil and trouble;
they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11 Who considers the power of your anger,
and your wrath according to the fear of you?
12 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:10-12, ESV
(Actually, in order to scoop this up, you should read Ps. 90:7-17. I can honestly predict good thing emanating from your reading.)
I once attempted to carry Bibles into the village of Minto, Alaska in January 1985. Minto is small and isolated, and it is north of the Arctic Circle. In winter, it is a cold, beyond cold. We saw the temperature drop to a -30, with a windchill of -50 F.
When it gets this cold, the tires on your car freeze. They get flat spots, frozen rubber that keeps its shape. So you hear a clumping sort of sound when someone drives by. This is readily seen in Fairbanks.
Our car just had to breakdown in this frozen waste. We were quite isolated, we were the only vehicle in 50 miles. I tell you this. The cold was horrific. The dead car now was nothing more than a “windbreak”. Since the engine couldn’t run, the temp quickly plummeted. And I knew two things.
- One, I discovered that this kind of cold could quickly kill you.
- Second, I was going to die, as “a Bryan flavored popsicle.”
But we found a miracle. Twelve hours later, a singular snowplow right at the point of turning around, saw the red top of our little Toyota. The driver hesitated, and then decided to find out this mystery. He discovered us, and yes, we were quite close to dying. (No melodrama here folks, just keep moving).
“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”
This is a Psalm of Moses, and we see him connect the dots. This particular verse should lift us up. Just the idea of enumeration should connect us to a deeply eternal watch. Moses is writing directly to the psalmist, and we must accept all that he has said.
Things are astonishingly brief for us. Even as believers (expecting something better) are never really content. We think that we deserve much more than this. But our life is shortened to a set of days, and we have no recourse but to take all that is given to us.
In 1985, in a beat-up Toyota Corolla I suddenly understood the issues. My life was negotiable. This was my certain moment, when I could really understand. We must “count our days”. Only the person who discovers his mortality, can really appreciate” eternal life”.
Its simple, really. We focus on the numbers, and the numerical count we have accrued. We can honestly do nothing less– and nothing more. It seems we are living on a tether, and we can only advance so far. But this is not a bad thing.
There is an “old world” idea of bravery. It’s not so popular lately. But we will only advance if we understand “bravery.” Courage is the only accepted currency in the spirituality of this moment, today. We will trust in the things He gives us.
- The Fellowship of the Saints (brokenbelievers.com)
- Respect Your Elders: 1971 Datsun 240Z Vs 2013 Scion FR-S (automobilemag.com)
- How Dark Could it Possibly Get? Psalm 88 (psalmslife.com)
- To Number My Days – Poetry (cathykilpatrickleadership.wordpress.com)
- Jesus, forsaken by God for us. (explorethestory.wordpress.com)
“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.”
Psalm 51:8, KJV
“Make me hear sounds of joy and gladness;
let the bones you crushed be happy again.”
Psalm 51:8, NCV
When I was five years old, I made a grand effort to fly. Jumping off the top bunk, I went one direction– down! Landing on my arm, it really hurt. Going to the E.R. they did a x-ray, and they couldn’t find anything wrong. The doctor told us that it was just bruised.
After a miserable three days, with my mom “exercising” my arm like the doctor suggested, it got worse. Back to the E.R. and after another x-ray, the doctor returned to tell us that the arm was indeed broken. Evidently it wasn’t spotted until then. I got a plaster cast, and a sling.
King David spoke about broken bones. For him, they were not physical. It was much worse. It was spiritual. He essentially collapsed with the torturous Bathsheba decision. The bones were snapped, and it left him in considerable pain. The whole affair came within inches of completely destroying him.
The chastening hand of God often settles on us. Rarely is the pain physical, it is worse. We seldom cope with this kind of discipline.
“We do not enjoy being disciplined. It is painful at the time, but later, after we have learned from it, we have peace, because we start living in the right way.”
Hebrews 12:11, NCV
Pretty much the entirety of Hebrews 12 will press us into a deeper understanding of truth. I encourage you to read it. Perhaps though, the most important thing is to realize that His love is always behind His discipline. Yes, He breaks bones. But He also mends those bones that have been broken.
“We may feel God’s hand as a Father upon us when He strikes us as well as when He strokes us. We often learn more of God under the rod that strikes us than under the staff that comforts us.”