Of Sheep-Wrangling, Kings, and Value

So, I’m reading Samuel 16, when Samuel anoints David to be king.  It seems like every time I hear anything on that passage, it is centered around the line of God looking after the heart, not the outward appearances.  And that is wonderful and amazing and true and of value.  But, maybe there’s more than that.  After all, it is a whole chapter, not just a single verse.

Rereading it, I was struck at how David wasn’t even there when Samuel was making his selection.  He invited Jesse and his sons to come to the event, yet David did not initially come.  Was he not invited in turn by his father?  Was he just way too busy with sheep-wrangling?  Was the Lord’s call not important to him?  Was he just always lost at events, unable to really fit in or find his place among 8 older brothers?  Although the Bible does not relate all the events around this why of the lack of David attending the event, I tend to think, based on how his brothers treated him with goliath, which is the only other account of them interacting with each other that I know of, I think it was a combination of inability to fit in and being busy.  I think God was very important to him, even at this young age, because of all that the Psalm say, and it seems that David was quite close to his father, as he sent him around to do different things and seemed to trust him, which comes from a good relationship and implies that he would not be forgotten in an invitation to do something as wonderful as attend a sacrifice with Samuel.

So, busyness.  Way too much.  It can keep us from the greatest things in our lives- we all know that!  We don’t know just when that moment will be, and it can get lost if we aren’t careful.  Yes, sheep are important, and serving, and washing dishes and laundry, and working, and all the other multitudes of things we fill our lives with.  But don’t forget to make time for God- and most activities, we can still be conversing with God in our minds….

But, to me, the biggest part of that is the not fitting in.  David, the future king of Israel, who shaped the rest of their history even now, from whose lineage Jesus was born, was treated as nothing by his brothers.  Perhaps they were just busy with their own lives, but it doesn’t seem like they helped him with the sheep- he says he killed a lion and bear by himself-, they didn’t value his time, work, or feelings- they belittled and disrespected him when he came to them at the field with Goliath-, and that, at least the latter, was after he had been anointed king!

Which makes me think- how often is someone I see as ‘little’ really a king?  In truth, we all are.  We were all created by God; we are His children, which makes us royalty!  We are masters of the earth, with the power to move (figurative and I believe literal) mountains if we let Jesus work through us.  So we all have an enormous amount of value.  No one should ever be invisible to me, or be around me and feel that they are.

God, give me Your eyes to see like You do!!!

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Is the Milk in the Cupboard Again?

Attributes of God, part 9 (the last in this book)

 

God’s Perfection

The perfection of God is amazing.  Just think- He has provided everything we need, He has already thought about how much air you need to breath, how those little weird bones in your ear need to work so that you can hear, how far away the sun needs to be so that you don’t fry into a crispy critter or freeze into a youcicle.  He has it all figured out.  He has it all done.  It takes perfection of provision.

His perfection extends beyond His complete provision for us, though.  How about the way He never makes a mistake?  The way that He guides the entirety of existence into fulfillment within Himself?  I don’t know about you, but I’m doing good if I can keep straight that the milk goes in the fridge and the cereal in the cupboard somedays, much less organize all that?  That takes perfection of mind.

But, more than that, how about how He is bigger than everything, how His heart encompasses all and loves us all, even though we are infinitesimally smaller than Him and flawed so much we cannot even understand Him well, much less return His love in more than a very small way.  And most of the time we run from that love or refuse and hate it.  That takes perfection of heart and existence.

The perfection of God- His heart, existence, provision, mind, and so much more, should lead us into humility and into a fear of God.  Not a fear of terror, but a fearful awe, a knowledge that we cannot ever truly understand this amazing God, and that we still need to seek Him and to understand Him.  That He is HUGE in so many ways and He fills that part of us that longs for something to search out, something to learn, something to know, something to never get bored of, something always fresh and new, something beyond our lives and existence.  A beautiful, real, all-enveloping, amazing, pure perfection that fills every longing of our being,  solely by His existence.

I think Isaiah 40:10-31 says it best, far better than I can.   (copied from theWord.net)

10​​​​​​​Look, the sovereign LORD comes as a victorious warrior; ​​​​​​his military power establishes his rule. ​​​​​​Look, his reward is with him; ​​​​​​his prize goes before him.11​​​​​​​Like a shepherd he tends his flock; ​​​​​​he gathers up the lambs with his arm; ​​​​​​he carries them close to his heart; ​​​​​​he leads the ewes along.

12​​​​​​​Who has measured out the waters in the hollow of his hand, ​​​​​​or carefully measured the sky, ​​​​​​or carefully weighed the soil of the earth, ​​​​​​or weighed the mountains in a balance, ​​​​​​or the hills on scales?13​​​​​​​Who comprehends the mind of the LORD, ​​​​​​or gives him instruction as his counselor?14​​​​​​​From whom does he receive directions? ​​​​​​Who teaches him the correct way to do things, ​​​​​​or imparts knowledge to him, ​​​​​​or instructs him in skillful design?

15​​​​​​​Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket; ​​​​​​they are regarded as dust on the scales. ​​​​​​He lifts the coastlands as if they were dust.16​​​​​​​Not even Lebanon could supply enough firewood for a sacrifice; ​​​​​​its wild animals would not provide enough burnt offerings.17​​​​​​​All the nations are insignificant before him; ​​​​​​they are regarded as absolutely nothing.

18​​​​​​​To whom can you compare God? ​​​​​​To what image can you liken him?19​​​​​​​A craftsman casts an idol; ​​​​​​a metal smith overlays it with gold ​​​​​​and forges silver chains for it.20​​​​​​​To make a contribution one selects wood that will not rot; ​​​​​​he then seeks a skilled craftsman ​​​​​​to make an idol that will not fall over.

21​​​​​​​Do you not know? ​​​​​​Do you not hear? ​​​​​​Has it not been told to you since the very beginning? ​​​​​​Have you not understood from the time the earth’s foundations were made?22​​​​​​​He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon; ​​​​​​its inhabitants are like grasshoppers before him. ​​​​​​He is the one who stretches out the sky like a thin curtain, ​​​​​​and spreads it out like a pitched tent.23​​​​​​​He is the one who reduces rulers to nothing; ​​​​​​he makes the earth’s leaders insignificant.24​​​​​​​Indeed, they are barely planted; ​​​​​​yes, they are barely sown; ​​​​​​yes, they barely take root in the earth, ​​​​​​and then he blows on them, causing them to dry up, ​​​​​​and the wind carries them away like straw.

25​​​​​​​“To whom can you compare me? Whom do I resemble?” ​​​​​​says the Holy One.26​​​​​​​Look up at the sky! ​​​​​​Who created all these heavenly lights? ​​​​​​He is the one who leads out their ranks; ​​​​​​he calls them all by name. ​​​​​​Because of his absolute power and awesome strength, ​​​​​​not one of them is missing.

27​​​​​​​Why do you say, Jacob, ​​​​​​Why do you say, Israel, ​​​​​​“The LORD is not aware of what is happening to me, ​​​​​​My God is not concerned with my vindication”?28​​​​​​​Do you not know? ​​​​​​Have you not heard? ​​​​​​The LORD is an eternal God, ​​​​​​the creator of the whole earth. ​​​​​​He does not get tired or weary; ​​​​​​there is no limit to his wisdom.29​​​​​​​He gives strength to those who are tired; ​​​​​​to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.30​​​​​​​Even youths get tired and weary; ​​​​​​even strong young men clumsily stumble.31​​​​​​​But those who wait for the LORD’s help find renewed strength; ​​​​​​they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, ​​​​​​they run without growing weary, ​​​​​​they walk without getting tired.

Too often, I think we only read that last verse.  But the verses before are God.  What and Who He is, the amazingness of His heart, His power, His mercy and provision.

Thank You, God, for all that You are!!!!  May my eyes ever increase into seeing Your awesomeness.

Destructive Holiness

Attributes of God part 8

 

God’s Holiness

All of God’s attributes are very hard for us to really understand in even a limited manner, but I think holiness is the hardest one.  What is holiness?  It’s purity, cleanness, truth, rightness, ect- but is there really any of that on this earth that we can relate to and see that in the littlest bit?  No.  Think of the most awesome, best, most ‘saintly’ person you can think of.  And that person is no where close to God’s holiness.  How can they be?  They are small, flesh, humanity that cannot be truly perfect no matter how hard they try.  They might look that way, but that is not the truth.  Ask 20 people what they think about you.  How many of them are really right when you look at the truth in your heart?  And no one is different- the thought that we are different than anyone else, that we are the only one that feels or thinks in such a manner, or wrestles with any particular issue, is one of the biggest lies ever.

But I digress.  The point is that, deep inside, on one is holy, no matter how they appear on the outside.  So how can we understand God’s holiness?  It was partially revealed through Jesus’ ministry and sacrifice, but I believe that it is also revealed a lot in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament.   Speaking about God, Isaiah 33:14 (… ‘Who among us can coexist with destructive fire? ​​​​​​Who among us can coexist with unquenchable fire?’) describes God as an endless, consuming fire.  To me, that is the best picture of God’s holiness- something that is purer than pure, that cannot abide anything that is not as pure as it.  Something that is far more than we in our simple humanity can be.

This does not mean that we cannot approach God’s holiness.  After all, as discussed in previous blogs, He deeply desires a relationship with us.  It just means that we cannot expect to come to Him and be unchanged!!!  He will burn away all of us that is not of Him.  He is a destructive fire- a fire that consumes all that is not holy, and leaves behind ashes that He transforms into beauty- a beauty that comes only from Him.  A beauty of Spirit, calmness of mind, hope filled heart, trust, reliance, and deep knowledge of Him.

Holiness.

Omnipresence and Santa Claus

Attributes of God, part 7

Omnipresence

God is everywhere.  That’s a pretty commonly taught thing in churches, so it is an easy one for us to understand, at least surface.  But, I feel like God’s omnipresence is sometimes used like Santa Claus- if you aren’t good, God is watching, and you won’t get any presents come Christmastime…

Now, there is a bit of truth in that- God is always watching us and we will have to give an accounting before Him of our lives someday, but think deeper.

Like, if God is everywhere, how come I don’t always feel Him?

Or, if God is everywhere, is He in hell, too? And, if so, what makes it so different than heaven?

And, (my first question) how is omnipresence so different from infinitude?

So, the answer to the last one, just in case anyone else is wondering, infinitude means that God is huge, and is everywhere.  (See a previous blog for further discussion).  Omnipresence means that God is close, no matter where you are.

The answer to the middle question is easy to answer, hard to understand.   Read the following verse:  (copied from theword.net, emphasis is mine)

Psalms 139:7-8KJV

7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I fleefrom thy presence?

8If I ascend upinto heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

That kind of says it right out- God is in hell.  Which was not something I’d ever thought about before, but, it makes sense.  If God is everywhere, well, everywhere means everywhere.  However, I think the rest of the answer to the question- if God is in hell, why’s it so different from heaven? – is answered with the first question asked above.

If God is everywhere, why don’t we always feel Him?  Why do we often feel so far away from Him?  One reason is we think in such a physical means, that we can’t feel Him.  We are so busy looking for things we can physically touch and see that we don’t take the time to look for what we can see with the rest of us- our inner souls.  God is everywhere, as we’ve just established, which includes inside of all of us. (Which is an idea I kind of wrestle with, I must admit.  I have a lot of friends who are New Age (not supporting that belief at all, by the way, but I understand why you have it if you do), and so say that my God is the same as their god.  I believe the difference between an omnipresent God and god being in each of us in bits is that I look to God within and without me and acknowledge that God being within me does not in any way make me God, while most New Age holds that we are all gods or a piece of god, because god is within us. ) We see from such a human perspective- from what we know or think that we know.  We cannot really get in touch with God….

….unless we are changed and enabled to see with a spiritual perspective.  Which is what the whole born again process is about.  Because we receive God’s Spirit, we are able to be in touch with God’s presence and see Him everywhere, if we are willing to look.  We feel much closer to God because we can understand Him; we have something in common with Him, a common ground.  So we understand the omnipresence of God much better, and He isn’t just Santa Claus anymore, He’s a friend and helper and guide and so much more.

So back to the whole question of heaven and hell.  If we have been changed to be able to really feel the presence of God and communicate with Him, we can do that in heaven.   If we have not been changed, even if He is there is hell, it makes no difference.  It is eternal separation from knowing the One who made us desire Him most of all, who is our fulfillment in life.

And the best Christmas Gift ever!