Friday, January 06, 2017

David and the Multiple Smaller Foes

Six days into the New Year and I am following a series of devotions on the book of Psalms, “The Secret Place” by Jerry Rankin.

God and I had a curious conversation the other day.  It was all about dunking teabags. It began with a question – “Mel, why don’t you use your teapot more often?” It is not a huge teapot – enough perhaps for two cups and top-ups. I insist on warming the teapot first – a little hot water swilled around and emptied out before dropping in the teabags and filling with water. And there you have it – it all takes time. Most of the time I’m making tea for one and it is more convenient to dunk a teabag. God continued – “I think you should use the teapot and let the tea brew properly. You need to slow down.” We weren’t just talking about tea – there is always some deeper thing with God.

With any book of devotions it is easy to get into the habit of reading the passage that has been assigned to the day, reading the devotions, reading the prayer at the end of the page and ticking a box somewhere in the head to say you have done it. I am trying not to do that. I am trying to treat the whole thing like making tea with the teapot – slowing down, lingering and waiting for things to steep a little.

Psalm 5 found me sitting in a café with my Bible, a note book and Jerry.

It seemed to me as I read through the psalm, incredible that David, the man who slew Goliath with a single stone, could have been brought to the point of such distress. Weeping? Dissolving the couch with his tears? He defeated Goliath! It seemed to me that in defeating Goliath, a giant, that all other normal sized foes would be a piece of cake in comparison.

But, perhaps it is the nip, nip, nipping away over weeks, months and years that makes the numerous smaller foes that much more difficult to deal with. Maybe those single giants are easier to dispatch than the multiple smaller ones – the one after another, after another that wears you down.

It is not a sign of weakness to reach that place where you have run out of resources and appeal to God for help. You are exactly where God wants you – as close to Him as you can get, leaning on Him, looking to Him for victory.

“I did it my way!” isn’t in the Christian song-book. God fights on our behalf so that we can’t say we did it our way. Only God gets the glory.

David was confident after calling on God for help that His enemies would be dealt with.

“All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.” Ps 5:10

He didn’t wait until the enemies were dispatched and disposed of before he began to praise God. The very fact that he had laid it before God was enough. His prayer was as good as answered.

I am already on the victory side. The real enemy, the one that lurks behind all the others, has been defeated by Jesus, at the cross.

Things I Should Not Say

I should not say
My flame was extinguished
By raging wind and storm blast
Can I only burn
When clouds are soft and skies are blue?

I should not say
My faith cannot blossom
Under scorching sun and baked earth
Can I only flourish
When rain is gentle and sunshine is kind?

I should not say
My spirit grows cold
In autumn’s aging and winter’s bite
Can I only thrive
When springtime frolics and summer gleams?

Then I call this to mind, Lord
Yours is the flame ignited within
Yours is the seed stirred to life
Yours is the breath I inhale
I align my life
According to Your seasons

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