February 13, 2023
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“I will always keep the Lord before me. He is always with me at my right hand. I shall not be moved.’” (Psalm 16.8)
David understood that God did not, does not and would not chase after him. David had been chased in his life by King Saul who abdicated the throne which God established for him. It was by Saul’s weakness of heart, mind and spirit that he experienced the sad failure of being lost. He had no desire to repent and be redeemed. He chose to remain stuck in his way of thinking and living. Imagine, all he had to do was seek the Lord’s help and he would be saved. Instead, he consorted with witches and mediums to determine his future. What was his future? It was decided by a double-edged sword on which he fell taking his own life on Mount Gilboa. What a tragic end to a tragic life that held so much potential for greatness for himself, his people and for the world. What a survivor story his life could have been to motivate others to see the value of repentance and redemption. Instead, he allowed the monstrous temptation of professional and personal jealousy rule his life. In the midst of that story, we find David on the run but never chasing after Saul or Saul’s crown. Why didn’t he? Well, it was already his. He had been anointed by Samuel as king when he was just a shepherd boy tending his father’s flocks in Bethlehem. He did not chase after Saul because he was a “king in waiting.” David waited on the Lord and David waited upon the Lord. He served the Lord with gladness. Let’s remember that David was not perfect. He had a bit of arrogance in him. He flaunted his victory over Goliath. Granted that was a tremendous victory but there would be other “Goliaths” to face in his life. He flaunted his place before the Lord establishing a Tent of Presence for himself in opposition of the one which had been established by Moses. He flaunted his own authority and position as being untouchable. He stayed home one spring while sending his armies off to clear the land of all enemies so that he could take advantage of his “literal” position to see the sights such as Bathsheba. He even committed murder to validate the actions taken by a lustful heart and wanton spirit. David did not chase after God, at times, nearly as much as he chased after the things of this world. But, he did repent and was redeemed. He was different than his predecessor Saul in this regard. He is a testimony to each of us about how to make things right for ourselves before God. He would declare the inevitability of God’s presence as being everywhere which we can read in his 139th Psalm. It might seem that God mysteriously appears here in one moment and there in another. The great reality is that God is everywhere. His reign is all encompassing. Nothing escapes God’s attention nor His Spirit. That being the case, it was God’s rule and guide which measured his days according to the Word that was given to him by the Law and the Prophets. It was given to him in his youth so that as he grew older and more experienced he would not wander far from it. The same is true for us and should be the truth through us to those generations under our care. Sadly, we all have sinned and fallen short of meeting and reaching this expectation. But, God has not and will not fall short. He has established Himself all around us. He works to make known the truth of His Word and the desire of His heart for us. He only appears to be “against us” when it is in fact that we put ourselves in a position “against Him.”
God does not need to chase us or chase after us. As He is everywhere, we find ourselves running toward Him and into Him at every juncture in our life. For many that seems to be a confounding truth and an everpresent reality. Even when we go as far as Saul and Judas Kerioth did and take judgment into our own hands, we do not and cannot escape the reality check of God’s presence. That is an interesting side of God’s presence as we take into our mind the image of the “gates of Heaven” and the “door of the sheep.” We might look at them as a coin which has two sides. There are two sides to this coin. On one side is Heaven and on the other is not. At the gate of the Garden of Eden an angel was stationed to keep reminder that Adam and Eve nor any of their descendants could reenter. Eden became a “no fly zone.” What we may experience is that God walks with us in this world as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden. He offers His word to us. He shares His spirit with us. He has most graciously sacrificed His Son for us that we might dwell with Him forever on that side of the door. You might imagine then that God stands at the door. He knocks on it so that we know it is real. Its reality is without question. Its inevitability, however, is our choice. God created the option and then put it into our hands. And as far as we know and believe, once that threshold has been crossed to the other side from the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven, there can be a “turning back” but there can be no “going back.” That moment of inevitability occurred at the death of Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. Imagine that before that moment in the history of all realms, the shadow of our passing was counted in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Even before we were born into this world, the shadow of our lives existed in that place. But, we were not alone there. The Good Shepherd revealed Himself in the cross of His rod and His staff. We are therefore given the opportunity to chase after God instead of chasing after the wind. In that moment, Jesus revealed Himself fully to those who were in darkness. Those who followed Him who is the light of all life found salvation and became captives set free. It was His death and the promise of Resurrection which glorified Him before all living things. His glory abides even now as it did for David. He made his choice and humbled himself in repentance. He sought God’s forgiveness and His steady presence that abided always with him. It abides with us and calls us to walk humbly, love mercy and to act justly with God. We are called to surrender our frenetic pace of living in the world and take on the measured and patterned walk of faith not by sight amidst the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.
Tomorrow we can look at the vision, the mistaken vision, of what the two sons saw and what their father knew to be true. Until then, let those with eyes to see perceive and ears to hear listen for understanding. Shalom!
Father, how good it is to know that You are with us even when we act as if You are not convincing ourselves that we can be apart from You. That day will come when the sad truth for many will be the longing for Heaven that can no long be reached. Until that day comes in each of those lives, let us be committed to highlight, magnify and glorify Your presence which calls us into the light of life and truth forever through mercy, forgiveness and abundant authentic love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.