Seeking God for God


Battlefield

Dear Father,

I was caught up with a task deadline this last few days, one I thought I’d never finish. Finally, last night I completed my task – 3 days late of the deadline. During those last 3 days, I remembered You a lot: I read about You, I wrote about You, I missed You. I was desperate.

Heart Commandment

Heart Commandment (Photo credit: Will Humes)

I came across the dreaded verse again yesterday in an email devotional: “The two greatest commandments” – with a twist. It highlighted how You gave the second commandment even though the people didn’t ask for it. The question people asked was – what is the greatest commandment? You answered – loving God. Then You gave the second too – without the people asking for it. The email highlighted that it was because loving God is only complete (and comes full circle) when I love myself and I love others, and these 2 commandments cannot be separated.

Cover of "Battlefield of the Mind: How to...

Cover via Amazon

I found a very inspirational blog Father – Jumping on Clouds – and through the blog I found a person who had gone through painful things in their lives but had come out victorious through You. Someone who is both hopeful and joyful through You. Like Joyce Meyer says in her first chapter of “Battlefield of the Mind” (the book jumpingonclouds recommended to me), I used to be both hopeless and miserable. Then when I was 15 and was found by You, I became hopeful and for a time joyful. But I didn’t let go of my past. My misery and pain remained and so the scars didn’t heal completely. I didn’t let go, so You brought me face to face with it in December 2010 and more profoundly in July 2011. I’m recovering from those experiences, yes, but I haven’t yet learnt about being joyful. You keep bringing me against situations where I cannot ignore.

I started listening again to Joyce Meyer’s broadcasts from her website. In her “Intimacy with God – Part 2” she said something that really got to me: we are so caught up in asking “things” of You that we seek You for “things” but we don’t really seek You for You.

I don’t know where I go from here, Father, but like Paul said in Philippians 4:6-7, and like Joyce Meyer also said, I’m going to ask here for what I need. You. Please. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Savior through His blood and the cross.

Amen.

Recommended Links

Success bounce (via Qualiaquotesforlife’s Blog)


Success

We all hit bottom. Right now I feel like I am at the bottom. Do I accept defeat or do I fight back, pushing back against pressure to conform and be yourself in the process? I bounce back. As high as I can! Away from the people who want to talk you down, out of your dreams. I don’t hear them anymore. Even when it’s my near and dear loved ones. Satan attacks the mind, heart and your words through where it hurts the most.

It’s not right to shout back at your mother when she is unconsciously registering doubt in you when all you want her to have is faith. You need someone to have faith in you. But it isn’t completely necessary, because Jesus has faith in you. He had so much faith that He gave us the benefit of the doubt always and gave us free will, even when He knew we could go from bad to worse. That’s because He had faith in us. As such, we should never let the “bottom” stick us up to it but keep jumping as high as we can to get over the slump.

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” – General George PattonRead More

via Qualiaquotesforlife’s Blog

What’s a Rash Oath? A Study on Rashness


God's creation

Image via Wikipedia

Nina woke from sleep hearing her parents’ voices arguing in the next room. Tousling her hair in sleepiness she reached for the clock to see the time. The luminous hands showed 30 minutes past midnight.

Her father was drunk again. He had promised a week before that he wouldn’t come home drunk. Nina was hurt, disappointed and angry, because she loved her father very much.

Nina’s disappointment with life had thrown her in such gloom that she was for a time seeing a psychiatrist and taking anti-depressants. However, she had decided a week ago it was to stop taking pills. As a result, she was having trouble sleeping. Tonight, she fallen in to a natural and deep sleep after quite some time. Until she was rudely woken up! She walked over to the next room and announced with anger and rashness,

“Dad! If you won’t stop coming home drunk like this, I won’t try to sleep and I won’t eat or drink anything either!”

Saying this, she went to the lap top and turned to an online bible site to read 1 Samuel 14 which was about rashness and divine inspiration within the lives of one father and son.

When reading through the chapter and commentaries I realized further how right God’s decision was to remove Saul as king and give the throne to David. With each passing scene, Saul is becoming more and more a law unto himself, moving from bad to worse. Rash actions, bold speeches, and haughty pride don’t make a good king and these are the characteristics that are developing in Saul as he ages. The extent to which Saul was ready to go to prove a point is seen by his declaration that his own son be put to death to justify his oath: a rash and unnecessary oath that nearly had his army killed during battle.

If God knew Saul to be such a person, why did He allow him to become king? That’s one question that comes in to my mind when I think about the chapter. I know that God knows all things. God also knew what sort of a man (outward look and behaviour) the Israelites wanted when they said they wanted a king. I think this is an instance that makes the adage “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” true. Did God wish the Israelites to understand that what they wanted could never make a good king, through practical experience? Did God want the Israelites to SEE the difference between what THEY wanted from God and what God wanted for them: Saul and David?

I believe real bravery comes from following divine inspiration as Jonathan did. Not by running in to battle when the enemy was confused and being so impatient he couldn’t wait to see what God’s answers were to his questions. I cannot help sharing feelings of disappointment at King Saul, right along with the Israelites of the time.

What did I learn? 

According to the freedictionary.com rash actions are prompted by ill-considered haste or boldness. Was Nina’s statement not to eat or sleep a rash oath in the class of Saul’s oath? I think it is. In Nina’s case the motive may be good: she wants her father to stop drinking and be the man God made him to be for he is a good man if not for his one weakness, but Nina’s fault was not stopping to ask God what HE would have had her do in the situation. God would probably want Nina to continue being gentle and strong, be a humble and gentle daughter but always pray and wait for the day God would heal her father Himself.

It isn’t easy or fun waiting. But this I’ve understood over time. Being a Christian means doing one of two things. You are either obeying the Lord’s will or you are waiting for the Lord’s will.

Here are some interesting pointers that caught my eye withing Matthew Henry’s commentary on the chapter:

  • “Those can never think themselves safe who see themselves out of God’s protection.”
  • “Those most indulgent to their own sins are most severe upon others; those who most disregard God’s authority, are most impatient when their own commands are slighted.”
  • “Sometimes we find most comfort in that which is least our own doing, and into which we have been led by the unexpected but well-observed turns of Divine providence.”
  • “He that made the heart, knows how to make it tremble.”


References:

  1. 1 Samuel 14 of the NKJV Bible
  2. Matthew Henry’s commentary on 1 Samuel 14
  3. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary on 1 Samuel 14

And So A King Got in to Trouble: Saul


Painting Of The King Saul.

Image via Wikipedia

I read 1 Samuel 13 today and found it interesting at some instances, ironic at others and confusing overall. That was until I read many commentaries to understand what was going on. Here was a new king, the first king of Israel who during just his 2nd year of reign gets in to a constitutional mess by disregarding God’s express wishes. What was so horrible about what he did that caused the throne to move from his line to David’s? And why was David chosen over him, a man of many shortcomings, problems and moods, if you look at Psalms.

The surrounding story stands thus (you can skip this part if you like):

It’s the 2nd year of King Saul’s reign. He keeps 3000 men as his guard and sends the rest home. 1000 men are for his son, Jonathan and the rest are for him. It’s during this period of Saul’s life that Jonathan attacks a Philistine garrison (a reason is not given). The story spreads about in the Philistine camp, angering them and causing them to finally take action against what is now a clear case of Israel insurgence.

Meanwhile on the Israel side of the border, Saul sounds the trumpet for all Israel to know what was done, but somehow the message is misunderstood to mean Saul as the initiator of the attack and not Jonathan. The angry Philistines have come with a great host to war against Israel and the advantage is with them. It seems the Philistines have had the upper hand in the land for some time. They have had the forethought to remove all blacksmiths from among Israel pushing Israel to get their utensils (garden and crop) sharpened by the Philistines themselves. So here they are facing a huge company of warriors with garden tools, the only swords being the ones with Saul and Jonathan.

The Israel men are trembling though unwillingly following Saul with panic and doubt in their hearts.

On a previous occasion Samuel had told Saul to wait 7 days for him. When Samuel came, the burnt offerings could be made and the Lord would instruct Saul what to do. With panicking men at his side, Saul couldn’t wait till the seventh day closed. As his men started deserting him, he decides to do things himself. He makes the sacrifice (something only a priest should do, I believe), changing the kingly constitution appointed to him by God and disregarding the kingship of God over Israel and declaring his own sovereignty instead. Not only does he do all these, but when confronted Saul presents excuses to Samuel for his conduct, spoiling him in God’s eyes forever. In fact, it was the beginning of transferring the throne from Saul to David.

Rising of many questions:

At first, I wondered. What an overreaction! Impatience, disobedience and giving excuses. I’m a convicted sinner of these sins on all counts. What hope for me if God was this harsh with Saul for what he did. Then I remembered that God doesn’t look at people the way we do. He looks at the heart. Maybe there’s some other things that I don’t see on the surface at play here.

So what were Saul’s sins?

Impatience, disobedience and giving excuses? Was it all? What existed at the heart of the matter that tipped the scales for Saul?

Yes. Impatience caused Saul to make the burnt offering. It also caused him to break the law. Not any law. God’s law! He took on a role that wasn’t meant for him and tried to cover it up with his kingly freedom. A king can do anything but he cannot go above God.

Saul forgot God and tried to make himself as one with God. At least this is the beginning of trying to take on God’s role. God knows what is happening and doesn’t wait to nip the thing in the bud.

Why was David called “a man after God’s own heart” even though he had the same shortcomings?

David was a man. As a man, he made many mistakes, fell many times and even brought shame on his friends and family. However as a king, he never forgot who the “true” king of Israel was: God. He never tried to change the constitution to take on roles that were not his to begin with. Every time he did make a mistake and someone pointed it out to him, he was quick in his apology, humble to admit them and ask for forgiveness.

Finally, what I understood from this chapter was that it is not our actions alone that shape our destiny but a combination of our actions and our motives. Because, destiny is in the hands of God and He looks at the heart of the matter every time!

References:

  1. NKJV Bible 1 Samuel 13
  2. Bible Track Commentary on 1 Samuel 13
  3. Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary
  4. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Samuel 13
  5. Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary on 1 Samuel 13