Tuesday, November 21, 2017

day no. 14,274: slippery when whet

Psalm 7
As much as David's flesh was in danger, his soul was also. The lion's claws were aiming deeper than his dermis. They were threatening to tear his heart and soul to shreds. It is a vulnerable/spectacular place to be when you can say in clean conscience like Job, "I did not do anything in this particular situation to deserve this. If I have, show me my error. I will repent. I will gladly lay down my arms if I am, in fact, in the wrong. But if I'm right, Lord, stand up now and fight! Bring hell, fire and brimstone. Bring fury and wrath and rage. I stand opposed to those who will not be opposed by You, God. Those who will not stand down when faced with their sin, those who pursue me without questioning their motives as I have asked You to reveal mine.

God feels indignation every day. That is a stunning thought. God cannot be deaf or blind. He hears every cry produced by persecuted people. He hears every injustice. He sees it all. He peers into the hearts and minds of those who delight in wickedness. He cannot turn away. All is before Him. And He patiently burns with rage as He restrains His fury for the day the dam breaks and the deluge of fire bursts forth to purify and refine. God whets His sword. It may surprise some to discover God has a sword. It may shock even more to find out He is sharpening it so that it delivers more deadly blows. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword of the Lord. Vengeance is His and while for the moment we see merciful calm, rest assured a torrent of violence is growing increasingly just behind the curtain of history's end.

Monday, November 20, 2017

day no. 14,273: livestock and land

Genesis 47:25
And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.”

It is a natural response for a man whose life has been saved to feel inclined to live indebted to the one who saved him. We see here that Joseph's (a la Pharaoh) wisdom has saved the lives of his subjects. While it cost them their livestock and land, what are possessions if one loses their life? In light of being saved, they beg to become bondservants, living in gratitude and service for the lives they will continue to possess. How much more should we who have been saved by Jesus Christ -- the better Joseph, the better Pharaoh -- earnestly seek opportunity to gladly and gratefully lay down our lives and livelihoods, our livestock and land, in order to serve and bring honor and glory to Him?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

day no. 14,272: unless they are hard pressed

Psalm 6
The word endure or persevere used in Scripture literally means, "remain under." It is being under fire, in the moment, in the trial, and remaining faithful to God. Few things prove to be more difficult than remaining under. Almost every instinct we possess pushes us to find a way to get out from under whatever is pressing in on us. But grapes do not produce wine unless they are pressed hard.

Here the Psalmist wrestles with nearly every common question a believer might ask while they remain under pressure: is this angry rebuke, is it loving discipline, it this going on longer than it needs to be, is this what life is now, is there any end in sight, can You hear me, Lord? etc…

But the Psalmist is sustained by God and even in the midst of all these questions and the continued pressure of remaining under great difficulty, a statement of faith and trust is produced: I know You hear me and I trust You will deliver me.  I know the mouths of those who mock will be stopped by the grace and strength of the Lord. I know. Even while everything else would say differently, I know. I believe. That is faith. That is perseverance. That is remaining under the grace of the Spirit of God while enduring under pressure.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

day no. 14,271: the main character?

Genesis 46:28
He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen.

As much as can be and has been said of Joseph, as much has been overlooked of Judah. The last 1/4 of Genesis makes clear the main character is not merely Joseph, but Judah, from whom the Messiah would share lineage. Go back and read the "Joseph" narrative and you will find Judah, by name, appearing steadily.

Friday, November 17, 2017

day no. 14,270: all of Israel out of Egypt

Genesis 46:27
And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two. All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

Not a single person belonging to the family of Israel was left behind. Everyone went to Egypt. Going forward, anyone who looks back at Israel as the source of their namesake will have a heritage interwoven with Egypt. Years later, God will draw another Joseph to carry His Son to Egypt in order to protect Him from destruction in Israel and then call Him back out of Egypt to deliver His people from their bondage.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

day no. 14,269: far away by contrast, close by compassion

Psalm 5
Lord, You hear everything. Nothing escapes Your attention. No sound goes unheard, no sight goes unseen. In the midst of all You have on Your plate today, please consider my situation. Please don't let my voice be swallowed up or drowned out. You are not just the King of all kings and God of all gods, you are my King and my God. This is the God to Whom I lift my voice this morning. A God Who can hear me; a God far away by contrast, but close by compassion; a God above anything, but involved in everything; a God mighty to save and merciful to rescue.

Just as my hope of deliverance is found in Your all seeing eye, so my assurance that justice will be given to those who defy You is also found in the fact of Your seeing it. You know the flatterer's heart, You see the liar's intentions. You see and You know. I can rest assured in my safety and my enemies' destruction.

No one is safe without You. 
Everyone with You is safe. 
And You know the difference.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

day no. 14,268: God knows and that's enough for me

Psalm 4
God, it's me again. You've heard me before. Hear me again today. I am in trouble. Please help! It feels like no one else gets it and that no one else understands. I feel all alone. Everyone else seems to have it all together even though they live in sin while I feel like I'm falling apart even though I'm living for You.

God is setting me apart. He is consecrating me, making me holy, like Him, altogether different than everything else around me. I know He hears His suffering servants' cry for justice and justification.

I find myself becoming upset when I consider how few follow God and it's the right response. But it is enough for me to know that God knows. I don't have to defend myself and scrap and claw to look like I'm right. I know I'm right because I'm following God and He's always right.

Lots of people want God to bless them, but few people actually want God. Even when they get what they think they want like money, fame, power, a good buzz, an orgasm, popularity, etc… I know I have something better. Everything comes to an end… eventually. Except the One Who has no beginning. He alone endures forever and all those who place their trust in Him will have all eternity to consider themselves wise.