Hands Off

‘David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”’ [2 Samuel 16:11-12 NIV]

Vacant placeI find the way David responded when he heard Absolom was marching against him very hard to take sometimes. You would think he would take up arms and fight for his throne. You would think he would stand up for what was rightly his, God ordained even. But no, he takes his men and leaves the city — retreats.

At first thought, this seems like cowardice, defeatist, weak. But on closer inspection I think David did something that goes against our natural human tendencies. He put his future and his throne in God’s hands.

David had made mistakes, several of them. One of the worst being adultery and murder involving Bathsheba and her husband. He knew he wasn’t entirely guiltless. And he had seen what happened to Saul when that king stopped obeying God — God removed him from the throne. So, perhaps David thought his time was up, that perhaps God had drawn the line.

Instead of rising up in pride with the attitude that the throne belonged to him and that he had a right to it, he humbly stepped back and allowed God to have His way. It is reflected in this one statement he made above. ‘Maybe the Lord will restore me to His blessing.’ He didn’t presume to know God’s will, in spite of receiving several promises on the matter. He simply allowed God to be the one to restore him, instead of doing it in his own strength.

How many of us can say we have acted with such humility when something we think God has promised us seems to have been stolen from under us? Something to think about …

Published in: on 13th May, 2013 at 10:21 am  Comments (2)  
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The Big Picture

“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” [Genesis 45:5-7 NIV]

iStock_000009079578XSmallJoseph had a dream when he was a young lad. A dream that he had authority so that even his brothers and parents bowed down to him. His brothers were so annoyed by the supposed arrogance of this dream that it led to them doing a despicable thing — selling him into slavery.

For Joseph, all his dreams came crashing down. And then when things started to look up again, when he’d been entrusted with Potiphar’s household, circumstances not of his making caused him to end up in prison. Not guilty. Once again his dreams shattered.

Hope burgeoned again when he interpreted dreams for Pharaoh’s baker and cup-bearer, but he was forgotten, left to press on in the dungeons. I wonder how many times Joseph cried out to God, ‘Why?’ None of his journey would have made sense. It was unfair, undeserved –pointless.

Or so it seemed. Until the day he stood in the court distributing food to starving people, wearing the very authority of Pharaoh, and saw his brothers come before him. All of a sudden it all made sense. God knew a famine was coming — way back then when he was first dumped in the cistern by his brothers. God knew his family needed a deliverer. God had promised his great-grandfather a countless nation of descendents, and God would honour that promise. God had been in it all along. It was only that Joseph couldn’t see the big picture.

How many of us have received promises only to watch everything crumble around us? Take heart, child of God, you like Joseph, cannot see the big picture. If God said it, He will do it. Just keep walking in integrity and faith.

Published in: on 28th January, 2013 at 10:44 am  Comments (4)  
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Immediate Reward

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” [Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV]

These two verses are at the end of a chapter which summarises many of the Old Testament heroes of the faith. These men and women lived by faith in a God whom they couldn’t see and couldn’t relate to in the way we do now. They only had the Law and the occasional visitation by an angel to go by. And yet, they held fast till the day they died.

The Promised Land from Mt Nebo

The Promised Land from Mt Nebo

They believed in the promises of God. They believed in something that none of them saw the complete fulfilment of in their lives. Even Moses, who was given the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey, never saw it except from a distance. He never entered the fulfilment of the promise. But it didn’t change his deep faith in the God of the promise.

Today, we have seen much fulfilment of the Old Testament promises. We have the promised Salvation by Christ’s death on the cross. We have the promised Holy Spirit, so we can communicate daily with the God of heaven. We can see His power at work in those around us — indeed, we can see a little of the Kingdom of God on earth. Our faith, here and now, has immediate rewards, even while there is still a future promise ahead of us. How fortunate we are!

Does our faith rank up to those Old Testament heroes though? Do we still keep faith and believe on God as our rock and foundation even when we don’t see the answers we want? Something to think about.

Published in: on 17th December, 2012 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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